R & S – Rape & Stigma

Rape has pretty much become a word that is used in general conversations these days. All thanks to rising crime rates and the inability of the government or the police to curb it. And, of the course, the inability of the male population to control their wild untamed libido. The worst part is that most of the accused admit that the rape was not only an act of forced sex, but majorly a power play. They wanted to show the women where she belonged. As much as the society is progressing in terms of men women equality, people like these are pulling it back in the opposite direction as much.

There is another aspect of the rape phenomenon that is happening these days – the blame-the-victim game! I think it started with some moron saying that girls out on the streets past a certain time of the night were inviting troubles. And then the mockery never stopped. Someone said, it was the jeans and revealing clothes that were the cause of men raping the said women. Then someone said Mobile phones were responsible. Another one said chowmein was. A political honcho said boys tend to make mistakes. And that they should not be hanged for them. Another one said, the girls are an equal participant in the act, and hence they must be punished too. Well, to say the least, I feel disgusted. I don’t want to comment on the above remarks and give them any more attention than they have already been given.

As if raping a woman wasn’t enough to snatch away her basic right to say no, to be the way she wants to be, the society attaches all the stigma to the victim. And the accused have an easy run getting a bail, and leading a normal life.  Why does a woman who was raped and brutalized has to spend the rest of her life fighting the stigma and being called a rape victim? And the accused always gets called by his name. It is high time that the women be accorded the basic respect they deserve. The least we can do is, not to rob them off their identity for the rest of their lives and accord them a generic and very demeaning “rape victim” tag. And apart from improving the men’s mentality about women and punishing them, it is the guilty who must be referred to as a rape accused for the rest of their lives, if they are not hanged, so that they are the ones who are looked own upon, and are not allowed to lead a guilt free life after destroying someone else’s

Soldiers wanted – Men who can let women be !!

I am sure all of us have seen and loved the Gillette adverts which promote the “Soldier for Women” campaign. Although its a sad thing that it has come down to this. That the whole of mankind and the womankind is sweating it out to save women all over the country from certain animal like men.
And so when I had to write about the special man in my life, I knew it had to be H.

For all the years that I have known him, I always liked the fact that he respected all women in general, and would not make any disparaging comments about any women in a way of objectification, something that I have heard most male friends/colleagues/acquaintances do. They may say that its all harmless fun but excuse me, I beg to disagree. I find it quite down market and cheap.

But there was always one area of this whole issue about women safety and eve teasing that H and I never agreed on. He always said that women should make a hue and cry about if anyone acts fresh with them. I said it was no use, since nobody comes forward even if you shout (not true now that the whole country is in a state of high alert about women safety). He said most eve teasers would get scared/feel embarrassed if shouted at in public, and might not repeat the act in future. I thought they might develop a silent grudge in their heart and become a stalker or one one of those acid-throwers. He said there was no point in being insulted and getting used to it, and then cry about it later. I always said that it was easier said than done. He probably didn’t understand a girls’ apprehension of drawing unnecessary attention towards her. And so we had our differences.

After the recent gang-rape and murder stories doing the rounds, I was asked to be at high alert at all times. I drive with my car windows all rolled up and locked, carry a pepper spray in my bag at all times, and majorly try to avoid any desolate places all by myself. And the old debate also resumed, since many a times, strange men pass some lewd comments on the road, and if I tell H about it, he doesn’t take very kindly too it. A couple of weeks back, we both were in Connaught place (C.P., New Delhi) for some work. After finishing work, we were just taking a stroll through the inner circle when a harmless looking guy crossed us. Before I could even realize what was happening, I felt a sharp pain and a moment later I realized that I had been groped. I turned back, and he was walking down the road as nonchalantly as ever. As expected of me, I just cursed and ,mouthed some expletives under my breath. H sensing something amiss questioned me and I told him what had just happened.

And the next thing was straight out a movie scene from Bollywood. H ran after that guy and pushed him on the road. He cursed him with all his expletive strength acquired in 28 years, kicked him with all his might, landed blows on his back and even slapped him. I was shivering meanwhile (And this was kind of pay back time for all the time I have been mean to the ladies who have played the damsel in distress 😛 )
Anyway, during all this chaos, some 10-15 people had gathered and everybody started cursing the guy and somebody suggested he be handed over to the police. The accused guy by now had started crying and his statement had meanwhile changed from “galti se ho gya (happened by mistake)” to “sorry, aage se nahi karoonga” (sorry, will not repeat this in future)

And that day I realized that my hero did walk the talk. Someone who believes in doing the right thing. And standing up for it. I even joked about it saying that if he had done this before we were married, I might have thought he was doing this to pataao me 😛 😉 (Ain’t I mean?)

I, for worse, cringed at the blatancy of it all. That a girl, in a crowded area, at 7 in the evening, walking alongside a 6 ft tall guy, and still some guy has the b***s to feel that he can get away with his monkey business. But, for the better of it, I learnt a lesson for life. Silence might be golden, but sometimes golden is not the need of the hour. Speaking out is essential. Speak up ladies. Meanwhile, let the men be the soldiers of the country who can stand up for the women with courage and integrity.

Will the Real Men please stand up?

Even as I write this, there are thousands like me and you who are out there on the streets of New Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Simla, Mumbai, Patna and various other states in India for they are angered. Nirbhaya or Damini or whatever name you want to call her with, the girl who was brutally gang raped in Delhi in a moving bus last week finally succumbed to her grave injuries today. Her death has instilled a fear in each one of us that we could be the next.

Even as her death is deeply troubling, so are some other issues that have happened since the incident.

I wrote about the gang rape just after it happened, and the article and my subsequent post on FB saw a lot of men taking offence.

They said I was attacking their gender.

Why didn’t I write about the cases where women harass men and even kill them?

That women are misusing dowry laws to take advantage of men.

A virtual reader Partha goes on to say that “Whatever has happened in Delhi is barbaric (if true and no media exaggeration)”.
Partha also says that “on one hand women always object to objectification and on the other hand they want to look sexy and wear all those revealing clothes to show off how independent they are. If men look at them or call them sexy that becomes harassment for them. If men do not look at them, those become impotent.”

I was quite mortified after hearing Abhijeet Mukherjee’s comments on young women whom he called hypocrites because they held candle light marches in the day and wore make up and went to discos at night. He also called the women “dented and painted”. A few hours (and possibly a kick in the ass) later, an apology was issued by the President’s son and the way he said “I want to withdraw my statement. It was not meant to hurt anyone’s sentiment” clearly showed how it was just a cover up and he was completely unapologetic about it. But it did give us a fair amount of idea what kind of minds are ruling our country. But then, we have known that for a pretty long time. We are not new to moral diktats from the police or the govt. like “she invited rape by dressing in a certain way”, or “by being out of the house after 9 P.M.” and so on and so forth.

But what really churned my gut was when some fellow virtual people started attacking me for my blatant article which said that “anatomically having b***s doesn’t make you a real man. If you are a real man, learn to protect and respect your women. Otherwise you are just another animal. One that needs to be herded and chained and invariably killed one day.”

I still stand by it. And I also want to address the above questions one by one.

Attack on a gender: 

Now, I am really confused here. Are women raped by women? No. Raped by men? Yes. Who am I targeting here? Men. Isn’t LHS = RHS? What gender am I attacking? I am just stating the facts.

It’s quite sad that because of a large population of indecent, lewd, uncultured men, a whole gender is being targeted here. BUT. If you are a real man, I expect you to understand that. I didn’t expect some of you to have such shallow egos that got hurt at the mere mention of rape. Did you ever think about countless women who have to experience something as horrendous, then face police and system apathy and get on with their lives?

YOU come out of your cozy bedrooms and get real.

2) Why didn’t I read write about the cases where women have harassed women? 

Tell me, if your house was on fire, would you call up the fire extinguisher first or get your faulty plumbing fixed first?

The point I am driving at is the country and it’s women are facing an unprecedented number of sexual exploitation cases in the form of molestation rapes, gang rapes and forced prostitution. In this regard, a lot of laws have been made and maybe a handful of women misused them for their own benefit. But does that take it away from the real issue its brutality? Don’t you realize the gravity of the situation, if gangrapes start happening in the heart of the city, inside public transport ? What is the working class women supposed to do? Sit at home, to defend her honor? Not venture out of the house at all?

I did say in my article that we need the strictest punishment for the culprits. So what’s wrong with it? I still demand it and I stand by it!

And we HAVE to address and fix this issue; before we go on to amend the existing laws at a human level and not on a gender bias.

3) Mr.Partha or whoever you are:
You don’t quite believe in all the cases of women harassment that media has reported because you think that they are possibly dented and painted too like the women of this country.

You seem to be a spurned lover whose advances got a sharp reaction from a girl. Let me tell you something. The way you have the right to look at a girl (to admire or to scorn at her), the same way, the girl has an equal right to either allow your advances or put an end to it. Be man enough. Learn to take it in your stride.

If your ego is the size of a dinosaur, it’s better to turn to men who will understand your signals better. May be you will never have to “prove” your (im)potency to anyone, ever again.

People like these guys have no right to tell us women what we do/don’t do right! Even if a women walks naked on the street, NO man has to right to force himself on her. We live in a civilized society, not in a jungle, where you pounce on anything that looks like a prey.

I don’t know if capital punishment is a deterrent, or chemical castration is, or efficient policing and fast track courts et al. What I do know for sure is that if all the men around us pledge to protect us, to see us as equals and not as objects of sexual gratification, this country will be a far better place to live in. Where no mother will ever have to loose a bright and brave girl like Nirbhaya at the hands of drunk and perverted men. 

Men will be men! But when did they turn into animals?

The nation is in an uproar over the gang rape of a 23 year old student in Delhi. People are up in arms against the government, carrying out candle light marches and protests, fighting for fast track courts for rape cases and calling for the most stringent and rigorous punishment for supposed “men” who commit such crimes. The common man is blaming the police and so is the government. But why suddenly this hullabaloo? Is this the first time that a woman has been raped? Or is it that we have become so immune to a rape that unless it assumes proportions of a monstrous magnitude like this one, where the girl has not only been raped by 6 animals, but also been tortured physically to an extent that she might not even survive. And even if she does, she will have to undergo various surgeries to fix her vital organs and will possibly have to depend on intravenous fluids all her life. I don’t know what to want for her. Should I pray to God for her life, a life where she will always have to depend on others or should I want her to die – a life that was burning bright with dreams of a happy future but maimed, because six animals in our city couldn’t control their perversion?

Reacting to news incidents like these feels like a joke now. Because what we are doing is just letting the frustration out of our system. It does not affect anyone. In fact, the people who matter will say that girls invite trouble by their dressing, or by being out on the streets “late” in the night. By that logic, Muslim women who are covered from head to toe should never be raped, or young girls (kids) who stay at home invariably unless otherwise taken out by the parents shouldn’t be either. But that doesn’t deter people from heaping the blame on a victim. The Khaps in this country have an unmatched sense of humor. They will blame everyone, from mobile phones to chowmein, but never their men for a rape. The problem doesn’t lie with a few men, but with a whole society that is hell bent on covering up everything that points a finger at their men. What kind of a democracy is this? Where all the freedom is for the men and all the diktats (on how to dress and behave) for women?

The objectification of women needs to be put an end to. It’s not just rape. Women face eve teasing, molestation, forced prostitution and other such malice just because supposed “men” view women as sex objects. They possibly don’t see them as other human beings who have as much right over their body as them. They possibly think that it’s fine to be lecherous, to pass lewd comments or touch them in inappropriate places or even force themselves on her. Who gives them this thinking, this mindset? Their fathers who beat their mothers to establish a patriarchy in the family? Or movies which show that men stalking women to express love is very cool, or how even a policeman doing pelvic moves and dancing around with an item-girl like heroine is “fun”? Or the women leaders who blame a rape victim of being morally unsound or too adventurous for having it brought it upon herself? Who is the real culprit here?

No matter what happens with these 6 men or countless others who are yet to be convicted or even those, who are still roaming freely on the streets, because what’s been done is done. But will it really deter other animals before doing or even thinking about it? Attacking this evil at the root is an urgency. Every family needs to teach their sons the correct way to behave with women. The government needs to pull up their socks and make an example out of this case. Had they done this earlier – the Assam molestation case, the Dhaula Kuan rape case, rape of the German diplomat, the Mumbai case, maybe we could have avoided this. The need of the hour is to send out a very strong message, a spine chilling one and it needs to be understood by supposed “men” that anatomically having ba**s is not the only ticket to manhood.  

If you are a real man, learn to protect and respect your women. Otherwise you are just another animal. One that needs to be herded and chained and invariably killed one day.

PS: No wonder the Mayans said that HUMANITY will end in 2012.