If we as a nation are serious in preventing all forms of sexual assaults on our women we shall have to take collective responsibility.

 Here is a plan of action for all contributing parts of society–a plan which is simple, and practical. But the key is we will have to take charge of our specific roles and not wait for others to begin. We begin with ourselves with whatever we have in view of the urgency.

I term it as Six Ps plan for crime prevention to enhance safety for women. These being –

First and most important P is–Parents and Principals— Both integral parts of ‘People’.

No boy is born a rapist. He learns the language of his parents. He is either a product of care or neglect. His school is chosen by his parents, as is his upbringing. If a son is abusive, alcoholic or an addict misbehaves with women, parents are equally responsible. He either copied his parents, or he was nurtured poorly. Parents cannot escape responsibility for the misdemeanour of their son/s. Therefore message is be responsible parents by giving to society responsible boys. Without this police alone cannot prevent crimes against women?

In the same group is P for Principals.

 By this it is meant educators who are akin to parents in school. How they educate and inspire shapes the thinking of the students. Educators are equally responsible for value education. As educators they strengthen the hands of parents in shaping mind-sets of their sons and daughters. Parents and principals form the real foundation of people, called the community.

The second important P is Police.

This P has miserably failed to provide security and instil confidence amongst the women. In fact police is risk by itself. This is a matter of total shame! The real reason of this decay is rampant corruption which has eroded the service. Nothing is without a price. Police leadership has failed the country. If the Indian Police Service officers would remember for what they were recruited and who their first duty is towards, their whole approach to police would change. They would work with people, provide community policing, and ensure proper beat policing system. In other words it means doing community policing in crime prevention–preventing crimes with the help of NGOs, civil defence volunteers, NCC/NSS cadets, citizen wardens, village panchayats and private security agencies. There is no dearth of community help available. Provided one is willing to prioritise crime prevention and safety of women.

The next P is the Politician. This category has by its sad performance lost all credibility over the years. Some of them have become pests we can’t get rid of. If they realise what they were elected for, crimes against women cannot happen, for they will inspire and educate the people through all their interactions with people of their respective constituencies. But how do they do when some of them are perpetrators themselves? They are law givers. They have to provide strong laws, provide resources and ensure they do not interfere in justice system. This P is most vital to provide the enabling environment for earlier two Ps. (but this group only works when under pressure)

Fourth P is Prosecution. The means the way we conduct trials in the courts. This P has failed the community by its delayed trials, and shortage of judges—besides releasing criminals most of the times unconditionally. This P is important for restoring sense of justice.

The fifth P is pictures. Which are films, the way they do item songs and keep women skimpily clad? These do not enhance respect for women. It commoditise women. Our entertainment industry needs to reflect on the way it is presenting women most of the times in the films.

Last P is Prisons. This is where contamination has to stop and reforms have to take place as we did in Tihar prisons.

All Ps which are: people (parents, principals), police, politicians, prosecution, pictures, (media, films, advertising) and prisons need to work parallel to check crimes against women by fulfilling their respective responsibilities.

If parents and teachers would nurture and educate, police was to do its crime prevention and investigations honestly, politicians were to serve the people with integrity and character, prosecution was to prosecute with speed, and prisons were to reform, our crimes would be low and women would feel safe. 

If we are to truly protect our women from sexual assaults in this New Year, all 6 Ps must work simultaneously, by themselves and collaboratively. (We must understand failure of one weakens the performance of the other. It has a chain effect).

Even after a concerted effort if some incorrigible elements dare to commit ghastly crimes, their immediate arrest, speedy trial and stiff punishment will again contribute to prevention…

In sum, let all six Ps, People, Police, Politicians, Prosecutor, Pictures (Bollywood/media) and Prisons deliver this year. This must be our resolve…

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Kiran Bedi

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