The world looks upon the events transpiring in India in the aftermath of the Delhi Gang Rape Case. We are faced with unsurpassed grief and anguish for the 23 year old woman who had a lifetime full of happiness and possibilities waiting for her that are now dead. However her optimism and clearly expressed desire to see change now rests in our hands to keep alive.
This event has raised questions that we as individuals are trying to answer. We ultimately recognize that it is our responsibility and right to state our expectations to the Government of India and request that reasonable changes be made. These changes will address the glaring systemic failures witnessed by the world over. They will also reinforce a cultural change ensuring a better living and working environment for women in India.
Following are our requests to the Prime Minister of India.
1) This case should be tried in a fast track court (we are aware that this is being done), with a turnaround time of less than 6 months.
2) Death penalty for all of the accused found guilty.
3) The minor perpetrator should be tried as an adult due to the adult nature of the crime (premeditation, the heinous nature of the crime, danger to the society if/when he goes free, and lack of rehabilitation potential).
4) The victim’s family should be able to witness the punishment for the crime (precedence in the United States and several other countries).
Crimes against women need to be deterred with swift and decisive punishments. To ensure a system that is a deterrent against such crimes we present the following requests to the Justice Mehra and Justice Verma commission.
1) Setting up of fast track courts to facilitate cases pertaining to crimes against women with a processing time of less than 6 months (the high numbers of such crimes justify such courts). Clearing the backlog of the cases involving crimes against women as soon as possible.
2) Revising the minimum punishment for rape with hefty fines (more in line with the current valuation of currency and market) and increase in jail time.
3) Include sexual harassment (often referred to as eve teasing) in the definition of sexual assault. Hefty fines (more in line with the current valuation of currency and market) and minimum jail time of five years without parole, to be imposed on convicted criminals.
4) Amendment in the Indian Penal Code that enables the juvenile justice system to determine that a minor can be tried as an adult based on premeditation, the heinous nature of the crime, danger to the society if/when freed, lack of rehabilitation potential.
5) Intensive mandatory orientation and yearly training for the first responders i.e. police, firemen, emergency medical teams, emergency room staff on sensitivity and protocols on dealing with victims of crimes against women.
6) Monetary fines and stern disciplinary actions for neglecting to follow proper procedures by the first responders.
7) Mandatory orientation and yearly training in all government and private workplaces regarding the prevention of sexual harassment.
8) Owners/administrators of private and government offices to be held responsible with hefty fines levied against the company/office if there are incidents reported in the workplace.
9) Media (web, television, radio and posters etc.) campaign to increase awareness among people regarding crimes against women.
10) Gender sensitivity education in school.
11) Monetary reward for good Samaritans helping people in need.
12) Systemic changes to encourage people to come forward and report such incidents anonymously and fearlessly.
13) Sex offender registry with public disclosure.
The fines/monetary punishment levied on the above said crimes can be used to financially sustain in part or whole the fast track courts set up for these purposes.