And the rapes go on.. mercilessly.. unabashedly… with impunity. Ages vary.. it could be a one year old or a sixty year old with everything in between… all you need is a vagina! The latest that has hit the news big is the rape of a 25 year old who was raped by the taxi driver meant to drive her home safely. And like each and every time, the knee jerk reactions are spot on: ban the cab company, ban all the cab companies. As if that would help. If one were to take this ludicrous logic to its absurd end then as the man was a repeat offender one should ban the judicial system that set him free and as he was in possession of a character certificate issued by the police, then ban the police! And then why not just ban men altogether. Or better still as has been often suggested: ban women from dressing as they like, going where they like, drinking what they like and so on.
Statistics show that on an average 92 women are raped every day in India and 4 in Delhi. This is simply 92 too many! According to a psychologist many taxi drivers were migrants from less-developed areas where patriarchal attitudes remain prevalent and were not accustomed to seeing women out alone late at night or dressed differently. The same was said about the perpetrators of the heinous Nirbhaya rape. And what about the cops who treat victims as perpetrators and blame the way women dress for the rape they have come to report. I guess they too are patriarchal just like those who favour honour killing. And what about the politicians who seem to sing the same tune.
But that is not all. Instead of being outraged by the fact that a woman was raped, many seem to think that she should not have fallen asleep, or her friends should have made sure she get home and so on. But a rape is a rape and cannot be acceptable under any circumstance. And anyway if the said lady was according to some ‘careless’, how does this argument hold in the case of the rape children where it is always someone you trust that violates your innocence.
I read a recent article that looks at the recent rape from the point of view of the perp.The author quotes studies wherein it is stated that of lack of sexual functionality could be one of the dysfunctions perceived by the offender, to make up for which, rape becomes a tool of power reassurance. Till date we have looked at rape from the victim’s role as it is always assumed that rape is about sex. In the case of the recent rape, the author opines that the woman contrasts his own self perceived inadequacies that included a life of crime, a mediocre background in academics and a job of a taxi driver, generally considered less than ideal. What if he could dominate her? That would be the ultimate power reassurance tool for him! So of if it did not happen this time, the stage was set for a potential rape in the future.
The same author goes on to make another point this time about law enforcement. He quotes Douglas, who in his book Anatomy of Motive, who posits that sex offenders (who are different from ordinary men who rape in specific contexts, such as war, where their actions are attributable to the specific source of stress in their life, like say, the theatre of war) start off small, with crimes like voyeurism and depending upon the consequences they have to face, escalate into bigger crimes like sexual assault. So in the case of the cab driver, had the authorities done their job, this rape could have been prevented. But in a land were boys will be boys, and a plethora of family members are ready to jump at the defence of a boy who has committed an offence not realising the floodgates it can open, a lot still needs to be done. And let us not forget that the men who normally investigate these crimes belong to the ‘boys will be boys’ fraternity. What is needed is to sensitise police to the gravity of even the smallest offence against women. Only then can we hope to have things change.
The problem seems to be a disconnect between the way women have evolved and the moralistic and patriarchal attitude that still prevails. No one seems to be doing anything about bridging that gap. And yet until that is done, nothing will or can change. Men have to be taught to respect women but in a society like ours, where gender biases begin at home how does one begin to bring about change.
Talk of sex education and everyone is ready to slaughter you. But unless we take the bull by its horns, how can we ever tame it.