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The argument that men rape because they are ‘denied’ sex, comes up repeatedly, even when it has been proved to be false.
Sex is a natural urge in men. It is sometimes said that after food, the next requirement is sex.In a conservative society like India, one can ordinarily have sex only through marriage. But when there is massive and rising unemployment, a large number of young men cannot marry (as no girl will ordinarily marry an unemployed man). Consequently a large number of young men remain deprived of sex, even though they have reached an age when it is a normal requirement.So says Markandey Katju, an ex Supreme Court Justice of India, in a Facebook post talking of the recent brutal rape and murder of a young woman in Hathras, in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
While he hastens to add that he is not excusing the crime, only explaining it, reading it made me long for a Justice of the honourable court who could pass a law that excises this regressive and completely false notion in the minds of men as well as women.
Yes, sex is a natural urge, not just in men, but also in women. Yet, we don’t see women committing horrific rapes (or if they do, they are very rare, and rarely explained as a result of their being ‘deprived of sex’).
So no, rape is not an outcome of sex being unavailable to anyone.
Yes, we all need better sex education, and the linking of sex to marriage and the controlling of young peoples’ sexual desires by parents are all problems in India. None of these excuse or explain rape.
Rape is about power. Rape is about what you can get away with. Rape is about caste, because the reality is that women from marginalised castes have the least amount of power and therefore, protection.
In a country where FIRs are filed as a matter of routine and where police investigate crimes promptly, ‘denied’ sexual desire may result in more time spent wanking in the bathroom, but not in rape.
In a country where trials happen within a reasonable amount of time, where evidence is collected and processed carefully, most potential rapists would be deterred for fear of spending time in jail, libido high or low be damned.
In a country where caste does not exist and in societies where people are not graded on a social ladder based on their assets and social ‘class’, a rapist in the making would be afraid that his victim is considered equally valuable by everyone else in the community, and that her death will galvanise everyone into action.
That country is not ours.
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