Off late the country is reacting to the recent events rather actively. This is leading to a lot of questions which we always wanted to avoid. Looking at things we get a feeling that the country has reached a point where their threshold level of tolerance is breached. However this situation is rather painting a confused image of our country to the world and even to its own people. I was rather surprised by the amount of importance this Delhi gang rape got, you can’t blame me because considering the number of rapes that happen in this country year in year out not all manage to reach this heights. Maybe the brutality of this case imparted some sort of fear which made people think that, ‘Well this is should not happen to me or my loved ones’ forcing them to react. Had this rape happened behind closed doors we wouldn’t even be talking about it. According to me there is no brutality level for rape, a rape is a rape. If it takes this level of brutality for our country to be awakened then you seriously need to question the moral ethics and standard the society has set for itself.
What’s more strange is the way the people, the media and the system are reacting to it. The only word to describe their reaction is ‘CONFUSED’. They don’t know what they want; they don’t have a solution I’ll tell you why because there isn’t one.
Rape – The National Crime
Technically speaking rape is having sexual intercourse without consent but in our country it is coded as as a matter of family honor the ‘besmirching’ of a woman’s name is considered more shameful than the mental and physical violence she suffers. Marital rape, on the other hand, is not even considered punishable, and family sexual abuse is almost always unreported, meaning that these ubiquitous private spaces of rape (conjugal beds, homes, families) are invisible to the law. So people thinking that India has a huge number of rape cases; Think Again, there are innumerable cases which are not even reported and marital rape is not a crime in our country. Whenever a rape case gains enough footage you would have observed that many victims emerge from nowhere claiming that they were also raped xyz years ago. Be it rapes by the military in the North-east, the gang rape in a West Bengal train earlier this year, rapes of Dalit women by landlords in retaliation against their voting pattern or even this rape case, you will see so rape victims hiding their faces and giving interviews for the news channels expressing their struggle and giving an insight and views on how things needs to be changed. This makes me think that a talked about rape case becomes like a festive season (perfect time to come out) for the other rape victims who are in the dark to come out in public. Strangely enough one began to wonder if victim had so much strength to go through such a tragic event whose physco-social effects one is still suffering why wait for an event to happen to come out? There can be numerous personal reasons, most of such victims suffer family abuse and most of them now live a perfectly normal life with people around them unaware about their dark past. Maybe the males are smart enough to have a basic idea about the fear and the social aura women in this country are surrounded by. This underlines the use of rape as a deliberate demonstration of male power for female humiliation.
The Root Cause
From last few days I have been watching a lot of debates happening asking the question about solving the problem from their roots. So I asked myself what’s the root cause for rape? I had a difficulty answering this question. Lack of Education? Not even close. Most if not all who commits rape prior to their act have the knowledge and the awareness about the fact that it’s a crime. Lust? Partially Yes. If that’s the case then rape is correlated to uncontrollable male urges — a physical and psychological given, with a ‘men will be men’ sigh of resignation which is adopted by the society. This paints a picture on an entrenched sense of male entitlement to women’s bodies as empty (or irrelevant) vessels waiting to satisfy male sexual desires. Outlook towards women? Another possibility. It is the nature of how men view and perceive women and their roles in society that will ultimately determine how they treat or mistreat women. With our society’s government and justice system being male dominated, women are socially and culturally perceived as “the other”, mostly as irrational, unpredictable, unreliable, and feeble minded by men. Our very institutions are patriarchal, ruled and governed by rules that are familiar to men and conducive to “defining, controlling, and regulating women” and these institutions are so infused with male domination that sexual violence(visible and invisible) can be defended, perpetuated, and condoned.
So according to me patriarchy is a root cause of rape. Patriarchy gives men power and an excuse to control and dominate women. That is why rape occurs to such an extent that it appears to be an acceptable and inevitable part of human existence. Rape is such a culturally and socially accepted phenomena in that the very behaviors that our society values and perpetuates as inherently male are, in fact, at their most extreme, the very behaviors that lead to rape. Men, not just women, need to change their behavior in order to eliminate rape in our culture. Our entire society needs to alter their perceptions of what a man is because that perception, in action and taken to an extreme, leads to rape.
Indian males lately have been cursing themselves a lot. And one so called King Khan even went to the extent of saying that he’s ashamed of being a man of this country. Well, this kind of reaction by Indian males is sheer exaggeration. Indian males don’t have the best impression in front of the world female audience anyway. In the internet age my fellow brown men have trolled enough virtually that they are mocked by millions of females in the west. Now even the women of our country view the male community as a bunch of perverts. This is an immature generalization of epic proportions but sadly one which is hard to argue on. I tend to have a slightly different view on this; Indian men ‘seem’ to be more attracted by sex than any other men on the globe and India being the birth place of Kamasutra has nothing to do with it. The way our society works isn’t whole sex accepting way, this leads to a lot of ‘behind the back’ stuff. This is often interpreted as men’s underlying lust. The way things work in our country women are the currency to social access and it is a parameter for a men to analyze his place in the society which he can’t see go down. Imagining a male centric society would be the easy way out. If you compare how women were viewed couple of decades back and how they are viewed now, you can see the difference but is it significant enough to change the mindset of our society? Sadly NO. This insignificant change in society view forces the female community to feel insulted about their individuality and their very existence amongst us men. But having said that, even after considering the high number of rapes happening every year viewing half a billion population as perverts and being ashamed about the fact that you share your society with them is not a fair thought.
I wanted to write a little about the Indian Media but I fear I’ll steam and lose track of the point I am trying to make here. Since I already started talking about it least I can do is write a few more lines for our great cutting edge reporters
Braveheart? Who was she? Mel Gibson? She was just a female who wanted to go home and she couldn’t. She didn’t become a revolutionary (as the media claim) to lead a revolution and awaken everybody and to show how bad rape actually is. Stop portraying her like she is the lynchpin or some martyr who sacrificed her life to awaken the country. She was just one of many million women who aren’t safe in the same country who the media claims to be the freaking voice of.
*deep breaths* I promise to continue this rant some other time.
Now, coming back on track and asking the main question……
Can it be stopped?
The fact is that our culture values the aggressiveness and dominance in men way too much just because it is this behavior that is central to our patriarchy and, in fact, our culture does encourage this behavior. Therefore, we have rape, and the general social apathy towards the consequences of rape, as a natural byproduct of natural male tendencies.
However preposterous this idea is, it is prevalent and pervasive. A logical female might ask, “Rape is something that men do, therefore, why should women be responsible for preventing it? Why can’t men learn to stop it?” However, it is obvious that our society values the way men way too much and does not expect them to change.
In order to stop rape, men have to let go of and share this power. Men have to acknowledge that they have not and do not view woman as equals, and that they now want to and are willing to, in a sincere effort to stop sexual violence and rape. Until our society does demand that men give up this power and until they soften their aggressive tendencies, rape will continue and men will continue to rape.
What the country is trying to do has never occurred – a challenge to the system that creates the environment for rape in the first place. The very system that allows the existence of rape is the very system that gives men power and control in society. What are the odds it will change?
Your guess is as good as mine….