By Suma Varughese February 2013 Nirbhaya’s tragedy is an opportunity for us to move into a more harmonious and equal relationship with the opposite sex, says Suma Varughese Suma Varughese is a thinker, writer, seeker, latent crusader and Editor-in-Chief of Life Positive. Write to her at email@example.com There really could not have been a more significant way to commemorate the shift from the patriarchal energies of the old era to the Divine Feminine energies of the New Age than the heinous and tragic incident of rape in the capital on December 16. The trauma and torture that the 23-year-old physiotherapist, symbolically named Nirbhaya, was subjected to, has exposed patriarchy in the most graphic manner and forced everyone not just in India but across the world to engage with it. Meanwhile, almost all strangleholds of patriarchy from the politician to the clergy to the government, have covered themselves in inglory with their regressive and reprehensible statements that betray their own prejudices and belittlement of women. It is as if this one incident is yanking out all of society’s putrid sentiments and putting them out to air. Many would like to safeguard women once more, hide them behind purdah, in girls’ schools and colleges and stop them from engaging with their lives. However, this is not the time to play safe. Women must no longer run and hide. It is time for them to come out and hold their own in the most confident and serene possible way. We can also pray that the culprits may be empowered to heal and change What we are seeing is patriachy’s last cry, the visceral reaction of a gender on the run. My gut feeling is that things will get better as we go along – this is probably the dark before the dawn. I am saddened to read that many women professionals have exited from Delhi. This is playing into the hands of the patriarchy. Women cannot surrender their ground. They need to forge ahead. Meanwhile, what is to be done with the perpetrators of this heinous crime? Many have called for the death sentence, castration and other punitive measures. The law must take its course but if we truly want to be safe from the repetition of such acts, we need to work on ourselves. Within each of us, men and women, there lies violence and the need to dominate, control, and suppress. Can we heal these tendencies? Can we work on our own self-esteem so that we do not need to put others down in order to feel good about ourselves? Can we love and forgive ourselves? Can we go beyond the dark drives that control us? This is the real work we need to do in order to ensure that these powerful needs are dissipated from ourselves and society at large. We can also pray that the culprits may be empowered to heal and change. Imprisoning them or castrating them will not heal their minds. Their uncontrolled impulses will continue to impact and vitiate the environment. Only true repentance and inner change can cause them to rise above their instincts. Furthermore, men must have the courage to face their inner demons. They must face their need for power, for conquest, for sexual control and let go of it. Women must also work on themselves. It is time to release their victimhood and sense of being the lesser sex. It is time to take back their own power and to stand on their own two feet. If we play this situation right and use it for the reason it has come to us, perhaps Nirbhaya’s agony will not be in vain. She has gone down fighting for all humanity. Through her, we have the opportunity to take a giant step towards a saner balance of power between the sexes, towards a genuine partnership between men and women, towards a world where dignity, self-respect and safety is the heritage of everyone, men and women.
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