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The repeated occurrence of rape, and in brutal ways, only shows us that something is deeply wrong with our society, and we need to get to the root of it.
This post contains mention of abuse that may be triggering for some readers. Please use your discretion.
The issue of rape is complex and not just a matter of inserting a penis into a vagina forcefully (not implying by any means that this is anything less heinous).
Rape is the tip of the iceberg. It is the ultimate volcanic manifestation of matters churning for a long time, in a very wrong way. Where did the men go wrong, or probably all men and women go wrong? If women are seen as objects of sexual gratification, the stigma is not on men alone, but on you and me as well.
Is it lust that lifts up the male flesh so unconditionally or is it the reckless show of power (which men and women believe) that men have over women, or is it the frustrated outburst of deprived men, the envy arising at the sight of what they can’t afford to ‘own’? Whatever it may be, it is definitely about emotional and sexual illiteracy.
The occurrence of rape being so frequent, and with increasing brutality, the hue and cry we raise is insufficient. This is an age old problem which needs a solution, a cure, preventive as well as punitive.
The causes, I think, are centered on the position attributed to women generally and the sick outbursts of lust permitted.
This is what I have learnt. Both my parents held jobs. Mommy would do all the cooking and cleaning and house-keeping and caring. Achan would read the newspaper in the morning, while mommy serves him tea. When all of us sit for dinner, and if someone needs a pinch of salt or a glass of water, a spoon or anything, mommy would rise and would get it from kitchen. Today both of them have crossed 70 and they still continue in the same way.
Mommy has told me many times that I should learn to make a home, as I should ‘go’ to ‘another house’. My brothers were not told or expected to. I have swept the floor, mopped, washed vessels, done the dusting and cleaning. I have not seen my two brothers ever doing these. They still don’t.
And there are so many small errands and roles which are deemed to be suitable for me to perform, because I am the she in the house. Not that it is imposed on me, but by natural or trained instinct, I do all that or rather I am expected to do it.
This is what I attempt to unlearn. I do tremendously less home-making than what my mom used to do. Many times, my husband and I cook together after returning from work. But many more times, I cook alone after both of us return together. And there are so many small errands and roles which are deemed to be suitable for me to perform, because I am the she in the house. Not that it is imposed on me, but by natural or trained instinct, I do all that or rather I am expected to do it. But I am thoughtfully bringing in a change now, because I am afraid my son would carry forward the same lessons as me.
To a casual observer/reader these have no implication or relevance. But as a woman, I understand that it is highly relevant that women and men are equal in all aspects, as far as dignity is concerned. There is no need to stereotype any role to anyone. Small, little things add up to a big attitude. I have decided to spare my son that. But for this, I need my husband’s cooperation as well. The respect he gives me in words and deeds and even by a small aspect of demeanour carves my son’s outlook on women. More so, I should uphold my self-respect, even at the cost of a momentary breach of peace at home.
Movies play a significant role in shaping attitudes, specially about women. How many times have we heard that hero’s ‘romantic’ dialogue, “You are my girl. I want you to give birth to my children, cook for me and wait for me to kiss and make love”. How many times have we heard repeated that kingly line, “After all you are a woman, a mere woman.” When her lover states ‘teasingly’, “I will rape you , you are so tempting”, she happily woos him away, and I laugh in stupid glee. But I understand now that ‘Rape’ is not a four letter word to be used in fun. It is a generation of insolence.
The grave aspect of lust is to be addressed even more delicately. Sexuality and the sexual urge is very human. Our society allows sex only under the auspices of wedlock. And marriage is a luxury, not affordable to many due to lack of funds or the wrong stellar configuration. So what is being suppressed is their biological need and urge.
To add to this menace, sex illiteracy is of such a level that orientations are developed through filthy magazine pages and pornographic movies. It is not that I wouldn’t have liked to see porn at an appropriate age and mood. But it is about incest, rape, and such depictions that mould the sexual make up of many. So, censor board scissors are to slice away not the nudity and the sexual intercourse, but the impermissible violations on humanity. Not to touch a person’s body without his/her permission, and that too for sexual purposes, is morality. Not to demean a human being on the grounds of her being a woman, is morality. This is the morality we should learn and help learn.
Not to touch a person’s body without his/her permission, and that too for sexual purposes, is morality. Not to demean a human being on the grounds of her being a woman, is morality. This is the morality we should learn and help learn.
Let there be free sex between consenting adults. Get rid of the virginity taboos. Let prostitution be legalized, as long as it is not trafficking. Let loyalty be an issue only between committed couples. If all of these are too much for a cultured Indian to swallow, let the possibilities in masturbation be explored and made popular, open and acceptable to quench one’s own self. Let sex toys be developed, well-advertised and made acceptable. Let a man not chase and pounce on another for sex.
Are women vulnerable because of the way they dress? I do not believe so. I have been a member of a quasi-judicial body, where I saw that a woman in her fifties, with a thin, not conventionally attractive body, clad in a sari, was raped at her workplace. There was no enmity between her and the accused, or any friendship. It was a mere case of a man’s lust, a mere case of finding a place to spill himself.
For the same reason, children becomes victims – it is merely their anatomy which makes them vulnerable, not their clothes, nor their looks. Such men are sick. And arrogant. This tendency needs to be curbed by stringent penalty. Deterrent theory helps, when all other fail.
Pic credit: evaekeblad (Used under a CC license)
Law Teacher. Law is my passion and writing a catharsis.
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