Monday, 25 September, 2017

Goa’s dark side

Danielle McLaughlin’s murder has shaken up a lot of people in Goa, locals and tourists alike and has drawn comparisons to the years old deaths of Scarlett Keeling and Denyse Sweeney.

20th March 2017, 06:46 Hrs

Accepting that Goa is not that safe for women is the first step in effecting change 

In a recent story, the Daily Express stated that one foreign tourist dies every week in Goa; some from drowning and accidents, but many from drug overdoses. Goa and India have a very dark side to them, especially when it comes to women. Let’s make no bones about it, Goa is not exactly a safe place for women. Although, the same could be said for almost any place 
on earth.
This is in no way any sort of defense to the heinous act of rape, murder and even disfigurement of McLaughlin’s body. The perpetrator needs to face the harshest sentence possible and there can be no escaping it. This will set an example for anyone who is even thinking of heading in that dark direction in the future.
The first high profile murder case in India, in recent times, would have to be the decade old Scarlett Keeling case. The two suspects were recently acquitted by the courts, but many maintain that this was a miscarriage of justice. Perhaps so. This is where the authorities need to start pulling up their socks and working harder to maintain law and order. But this is not easy. The murder suspect in McLaughlin’s case was someone known, someone she had brought along with her to the beach party, along with a few other men. In many other rape and assault cases, the antagonist is always someone known. This is where women travelling in Goa need to keep an eye open. Most rapes have occurred to women who were travelling 
alone or who were alone at the time. A single woman is in danger anywhere in the world, more so in India. Goa is not really that different anymore, in that regard. There is safety in numbers and this is a fact that even Goan women have come 
to terms with.
Even now, in the state, you’ll find local Goan women ensuring that they have known people close to them. This is the case elsewhere in India too. That’s not to say that the chances of getting assaulted are nil, but the danger quotient goes down drastically. Perhaps the government of Goa needs to work on spreading the word, putting up advisories at points of entry and tourist hotspots, asking tourists to make sure that they are not putting themselves in danger. Nothing will come from hoping that the furore dies down and this is swept under the carpet. Acknowledging that evil is rearing its ugly head in Goa far too often is the first step to fixing the problem.

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