I have a hobby, I won’t exactly call it a hobby, but it is a favorite pastime of mine when I have absolutely nothing to do or I have to study. I read book reviews or book summaries on flipkart and amazon and create an imaginary list of all the books that I will buy sometime in the future. And so I happened to stumble across this book 2666 written by Robert Bolano. It was about a small town in Mexico, Ciudad Juarez, where more than 4000 women were murdered between the years 1990 and 2003, worst part being,it is NOT a piece of fiction and the perpetrators were never indicted. This freak of nature actually led to the coining of a totally new term “femicide”, described as the “killing of females by males for misogynist reasons”. I mean, seriously, did all the men in town have nothing better to do?
It was probably a bright hot sunny day in Juarez, the council members had been debating, more like fighting for more than an hour now. The stuffy room and the sweltering heat was leading to more and more arguments now, and nobody could reach a conclusion. Mr. X was sitting at one corner, wiping the beads of perspiration on his bald head, he looked totally disgruntled. He had the worst seat in the whole hall, the seat we was sitting on seemed to be on fire, all because of his wife. She had served him lunch late, and so he had missed the best spot. “Damn that woman”, he cursed under his breath. The lanky fellow with the yellow shirt was shouting,”We have to do something to bring our place on the map”. Another shouted,”Hell, there is a place in Mexico, famous for chillies,I mean, freaking chillies!!” The sleepy old man with the hammer banged it on the desk and said,”SILENCE! Does anybody have any suggestions?”, he asked. X, wiping his brows, with no clue about the things going-on in his surroundings, said,”All these bloody women should be killed”. Death Silence and everybody turned to look at him. And that was probably how the men of Juarez accomplished getting their little town on the world map.
The last story was a figment of my wildfire like imagination, but seriously,I think about the women in that place. Every morning when they wake up, they probably wonder whether they would make it through the day or not. The condition in my country, is no better; where in every 20 minutes, a women is raped. And the stats only seem to be increasing instead of improving. Awareness marches, pledges on social networks, ads on TV or even new phone apps have failed to produce any changes. I won’t be surprised if something like Ciudad Juarez happens in India too. Juarez is a small place, with a population in thousands, ours is a country with around 10 billion people, the repercussions would be even more gruesome. Its a sad state of affairs, that too at a time when we have women working and living independently. In this year of 2014, events like these only make the world’s largest democracy seem like a sad place to be living in.
I am a working woman, living on my own and I want to go anywhere feeling safe. I don’t think anyone would like a re-run of Ciudad Juarez here in India.