Recently, after reading many news regarding this menace increasing manifold in the society, I could not stop myself from publishing this post.
Hi all. Let me introduce you to some of the characters of our society, whom we encounter daily in some way or the other. With some characters, you will be able to relate yourself too.
Nisha, a 3-year old, cute, little, jovial girl. She starts to shiver with fear in the name of stepping in the campus of her playschool. Her parents thought it might be due to some corporal punishment awarded by her teacher. So, they discussed the matter with her teachers but No, the reason was not that. It was something really very cruel and shameful.
Priya, a 20-year old, college going girl. She hesitates to enter the cabin of her male faculty, when he asks Priya to get her doubts clarified after college hours in his cabin. Even if she enters, she takes a friend along with her or asks her to wait outside the cabin and to enter, if it takes much long than the stipulated time.
Radhika, a 28- year old IT professional, working in a branded MNC in a metropolitan city. She prefers to stay in office dormitory rather than taking public transport or office cabs to return to her flat during late night shifts.
Divya, a 40-year old housewife, a mother of two daughters. She gets appalled at hearing the knocking of the door of her home at unusual timings, even in day-light hours, when her husband is not supposed to return home from his office.
Geeta, a 67-year old lady, whose husband is paralyzed. She misses her evening prayer in the nearby temple, if her son doesn’t have time to accompany her to the temple which is just about 200m away from her home. But she would not even think of going to the temple alone.
Do you think these characters are behaving in some eccentric way? Some would say yes. Some would say no. Some would say May be.
Let us try to guess the reason of their peculiar behavior.
Presumably, Nisha got sexually assaulted by the watchman of her playschool, Priya gets uncomfortable when her ‘so-called’ teacher stares at or touches her private parts intentionally and then apologizes with a cunning smile, Radhika got horrified by the infamous Dhaula Kuan rape case of Delhi, Divya is terrified after watching the news of rape of vulnerable housewives and daughters, which are broadcasted in almost every news channel. And Geeta feels insecure after hearing the sexual assault of a 70-year old nun in some other part of the country.
Do you still think the characters are behaving in a strange manner? No. Not at all. Their behavior is the upshot of the fear instilled in their mind by the numerous cases of sexual assaults occurring every moment in some part or the other of the country.
Now, let us try to analyze what rape actually is. Is it only about the forceful penetration of a penis in a vagina against the woman’s will? No, not exactly.
Then, what actually constitutes the factors which culminates into rape?
I make an attempt to answer this question.
In some cases, the reason is just to satisfy the lust of the sex-deprived, savage beasts wandering in the form of human beings.
In most of the cases, it is about evincing the superiority of the masculine gender over the so called ‘inferior’ feminine gender.
In few cases, rage, anger, and retribution are cited as the reasons for this heinous crime, when the male-ego of the convict gets hurt by the denial or dominance of the victim in some really petty issues (like denial of proposal of marriage).
In few cases, generally in communal riots, rape is the way of showing hate and dominance over the people of one community by the cowards of other community or religion.
In few cases, rape is considered as a way to teach a lesson to the victim for not being submissive to the demands of convict (as was quoted in a banned documentary, by one of the convicts of the 2012 Delhi gang rape).
Moreover, in some parts of the country, having sexual intercourse with a virgin woman is considered as a remedy to get rid of some sort of diseases related to sexual organs.
In a nutshell, in our society, it is considered as a prerogative of men to impose their authority on women in all phases of life. This mentality is inscribed on the brains of the male child right from the childhood by their own parents. They are taught that their each and every act is justified in some way or the other as they are ‘MALE- THE SUPERIOR GENDER’. It can quite frequently be heard from boys that ‘ I am a boy. I can do anything. She is just a girl, what would she be able to even if I do this and that with her?’ ( in hindi,”Main to ladka hu, kuch bhi kar sakta hu. Wo kar hi kya legi agar main kuch kar du uske sath? Hai to ladki hi na” ). The whole problem lies in the upbringing of the children which transforms them into remorseless criminals.
Now, comes the most important question- How should this sprawling menace be mitigated?
Firstly, the rape victim should not be stigmatized i.e. she should not be treated as a fetcher of disgrace to the family and the society. She should be treated with compassion. The family and society should not blame the victim for her plight. Instead, she should be supported and encouraged to file a complaint against the accused. The society should support the victim till the accused gets penalized.
Secondly, the judicial system needs to be reformed. In all the cases, the victim refrains from filing the complaint as she would have to go through the trauma of the incident again and again, right from the police station, to the medical procedures and to the hearings in courts. What can be done is that the rape cases should be handled by the female police officers, female doctors, female lawyers, and judges so that the victim could feel a bit comfortable while sharing her gruesome experience multiple times. However, this is not a feasible solution as of now, reason being the dearth of women in the aforementioned professions. So, women should be encouraged to join the male dominating professions like Police force, journalism, advocacy etc.
It will take time, but it will deliver desirable outcomes, definitely.
The next area of reform is the over delay in the delivery of the sentences in courts. Large numbers of cases are pending in the courts. Few of the reasons are ‘Red-Tapism’ and lack of judges. Lok-Adalats were intended to speedy disposal of cases. However, it has been observed that in most cases, the accused is absolved due to lack of proper evidences. Also, the cases are handled by novice practitioners. So, the concept of Lok-Adalat ended in a fiasco.
Now, comes the most contentious issue- manner of penalization to be awarded to the convict. How can justice be done in a country like India where people fight for the human rights of the incorrigible criminals? I say, the punishment should be such that an example gets set in front of the society so that no man should think of defiling a woman, not even in his dreams. Be it castration, be it ostracizing, be it capital punishment or be it public execution. Let the form of punishment be draconian and brutal to any extent to deter the occurrence of the crime. The form of the punishment should be such that the mere thought of daring to touch a woman without her will leaves a man horrified. The diluted punishments have not helped to deter the crimes either. Mere few years of punishment and a negligible monetary sanction is not even an iota of suffering in the comparison to the trauma which the victim would undergo throughout her life. Moreover, the conditions of prisons in India are such that instead of reforming the criminal, it transforms him into a recidivist. In my opinion, rapists do not deserve to be reformed as ‘rape can never be justified on any ground’. No one has got right to outrage the dignity of anyone. And every individual has got right to live freely in the democratic country.
I am neither a doctor nor a psychologist nor a criminologist. I am an engineer by profession. So, there is every chance that my notions might be fallible on some grounds. I am just a common person of this country who gets perturbed by reading or hearing about these criminal offences happening every now and then in some part of the country.
I cannot call a country as ‘developing’, if a substantial part of the society remains deprived of its basic human rights. I do not say ‘Respect Women’. I say, ‘Respect every living being’. Be it a dog or a cow, be it a man or a woman, be it a dalit or a brahmin or be it a Hindu or a Muslim or a person of any other religion. Respect every creation of God.
Live and let live.
Stay happy. Stay blessed.