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Women suffer gender bias even 60 yrs after independence: HC

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Expressing anguish over “vile views” about women aired by people well placed in society and rape victims preferring to suffer silently than report to the police, Delhi High Court today warned that “the buck should stop here” as women have continued to suffer gender bias even six decades after Independence.

Noting that there was “serious dearth of awareness” about equal status of men and women, it lamented “when it comes to imparting moral education in schools, our country takes a backseat. This bias is further strengthened at home. Parents and elders have a huge role in shaping their child and to see what he grows up to become.”

A bench of justices Kailash Gambhir and Sunita Gupta made the observations while perusing reports of the Centre, Delhi government and various agencies on implementation of its suggestions regarding creating mass awareness to curb sexual offences against women and punishments for the same.

The bench had taken suo motu cognizance on the issue after disposing of an appeal filed by a man convicted for raping his minor daughter.

“Vile views aired by people who are placed well in the society as to how a woman should give in to rapists demands… More than six decades of independence hasn’t bestowed women the emancipation from such gender biases that they truly deserve. The change has to start from scratch and the schools and homes should not keep passing a buck, rather the buck should stop here.

“Real education starts at home. A child who grows up seeing his mother and sister treated with respect and equality would always grow up to have the same approach,” it said.

The court observed that there was a “basic lack and a serious dearth of awareness and sensitization in our society” with regard to giving equal status to both men and women.

It also observed that people were “still apprehensive about approaching the police” and the law enforcement agency was “not considered to be even a last resort for help”.

“They (victims) would rather be sufferers in silence than approach the police for assistance. This mindset needs a major revolution,” it said.

“The role of girls or mothers in the family differs from family to family and the saddening views on gender and lack of gender sensitization stems up in the minds of children from a young age when they see how the women in their family are treated. Education, be it at home or in school, has failed miserably and it is no surprise when the girl gets blamed for rape,” the court said.