Sunday, 21 April 2013
Law v/s Culture: Does law stand a chance against peer pressure from culture?
Peer pressure is not a word that is commonly used in a pleasant context, yet it has the power to make everyone bow to it at some point. Case in point millions of people get into drugs owing to peer pressure.
As a woman undergoing a divorce in modern day India, I feel the law stands no chance against peer pressure from the society. Of late I have realized that the need to conform to society is as abusive as the marriage itself. The stigma of a divorce, the viewpoint with which the society views you post divorce makes a person trapped in a marriage.
A lot has been said and read about how stringent our laws are and how law has ensured that women are empowered. There are sections of people who feel that the laws in India are lop-sided and anti-men, yet the crime rates against women show no signs of abating. Logically this does not make sense as laws are meant to control crime. A closer look will tell us the reason behind these crimes are not insufficient rules but it is the popular culture in the society that have made it so insufficient. I am not saying the whole Indian culture is wrong, but it has been lenient enough that the Indian society at large has misused it.
Take the example of hundreds and thousands of brides who are burnt everyday for the greed of money. Although there might be some respite with law punishing the offenders, there is no shame or stigma that these criminals suffer. These are people who have brutally murdered an innocent helpless bride within the four walls of her home. Can anyone imagine the trauma of the girl who is victimized not by outsiders but by her own family. If a girl cannot feel safe at her own house then no law can help her. On the contrary if she does come out in the open and seek the help of the law, she is ostracized by the society. In case she seeks to come out of this bondage there is a stigma that she and her family have to suffer. How fair is this system that punishes the victim but turns a blind eye towards the perpetrator of the crime.
The answer to all these questions lie in how we a society view crime against women and women in general. Women here are treated like objects of use. The attitude is if you want someone to cook and clean for you, get married. The wife becomes a maid for a lifetime. Sons are assets and daughters expenses. What the society fails to understand is that they themselves have created these stereotypes for their comfort and they do not have to conform to it under all circumstances. Society can evolve as people and the world itself has evolved. Of what use is this culture that promotes crime against women and renders them helpless and victimized. No law in the world can help a woman where crime against women is accepted in the name of "honor".
Things might change for the better in coming times, but for now women will have to bear the imbalance that this culture creates. After all "JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED". And law can do nothing but watch on.