When will we see an end to stalker crimes?

A 21-year-old woman was stabbed at her house in Najafgarh, by a man who couldn’t handle rejection. Headlines like these don’t even shock us anymore, in fact, most of us are numb to them. It’s absolutely terrifying how we are almost unaffected. Almost all women have conceded that they are potential victims if they commit the grave sin of hurting the fragile male ego.
The incident:
A 21-year-old teacher was stabbed a dozen times by a man who proposed and got rejected multiple times by the woman. The accused, Amit, son of a Delhi Police assistant sub-inspector was already married to another woman four months ago. He befriended the victim’s brother a year ago to gain access to their house.  However, the woman rejected his advances. A fortnight ago, he attempted to poison her. Upon failing to do so, he conspired with his cousin, Basant, to kill the woman by stabbing her. She was at home recovering from typhoid at the time, while her family members were at their workplaces and her brother was sent to the market by Amit, despite him refusing initially but finally agreeing due to the insistence of the latter. The gruesome incident was witnessed by the hapless 3-year-old niece of the woman.

While the response to such incidents is often met by the remark that ‘not all men’ are like that, we forget to notice how much fear is instilled in the minds of women, who begin fearing the act of making their own choices. As much as we would like to say that we live in a much more progressive society than that of the past, gender-based violence is almost just as much rampant if not more. This, however, does not mean that women do not inflict violence on men, however, if we look into statistics, it is an inarguable fact that gender-based violence normally has men as perpetrators and women as the victims. Our society, well not just ours, but most societies around the world expect men to aggressively pursue women, and take the initiative to woo them, while the woman is expected to reward them by accepting their advances, the concept of their consent is almost nonexistent. The course of a woman’s life has to be charted by men only. It’s a sense of entitlement that exists among men that encourages them to commit such heinous crimes against women. They feel entitled to the woman who they set their eyes on as if she is some commodity to be acquired and not a person in her own right. Her refusal is the ultimate insult to him, and the one common idea behind all such stalker crimes is that the woman must either be ‘possessed’ by him or by none. It’s high time that we taught our sons that masculinity does not lie in possessing egos which get hurt at the drop of a hat. As long as we continue to condition men into thinking that they somehow are entitled to the woman in their lives or those whom he desires, we will have to hear or worse – even be victims of such abhorrent crimes.

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