(for readers outside my country : India can be a very twisted place for a young woman who on one hand is bombarded with urbanization and globalisation and on the other hand has to continue living her life in a society still stuck up with mindsets from a bygone era. Women have little or no rights at all. Yes we are better off than the middle eastern nations and yes women are more liberal here than they are in Afghanistan but that does not mean that atrocities are not committed against us, on us.
The capital of India is also the country’s rape capital. Haryana, the state in discussion has a sex ratio of 877/1000, better than New Delhi(capital) 866/1000. Female foeticide is rampant in the northern part of the country and so is flesh trade. Women are still commodities in most of the rural and even urban parts of the nation and men can have their way with almost everything. And this disturbing attitude leads to incidents of some foreign nationals also becoming a prey to the men who have no respect whatsoever for other life forms.
Haryana has reported a total of 12 rape cases in the last 28 days. Most of these girls are minors. The protectors of the society, an association of old people and a few moral activists what we call the Khap Panchayats have grabbed the limelight by making a lot of politically incorrect statements. Hence, my article.)
Haryana is in the news these days and no, it is not the honour killings this time. Over 12 women and girls have been raped in the last 28 days in the state and most of these are underage dalits. What adds to the misery of the situation are the statements made by the Khap Panchayats, the apparent protectors of the morals of the community. They have blamed the television and the media for the recent spike in the rapes. A certain Sube Singh, member of a Khap, even took the liberty to suggest that girls should be married by the age of 16, so that they have their husbands for their sexual needs and do not have to look elsewhere. What sort of an ill-educated and narrow-minded person says that, you might ask. In this article, we are going to explore precisely that: what makes men rape and is there a final solution to prevent rapes altogether?
Many of us believe that, men who resort to rape are wrongly wired in the head, that they suffer from a sickness of sorts and are mentally ill. For what else do you make of a man who is perhaps married, has kids of his own, is an uncle or a neighbour and still looks lecherously at young little girls? (One of the 12 cases in Haryana recently has a six year old raped by 3 men who were her neighbours/uncles). And what do you make of a man who being a stranger engages in non-consensual sex with unknown women? You would say this man cannot respect a woman and also perhaps that he has no control over his libido, apart from the fact that he absolutely has no sense of loyalty to some other woman he might be committed to.
Men often offer funny excuses and we even have many learned men and women making similar statements : her clothes provoked me, what was she doing walking alone in the night, her clothes revealed way too much, she was being very friendly to me, it was a dark and lonely road etc etc. And then the moral guardians step up to save the day and issue a set of guidelines for women to follow so that they do not provoke men: do not wear so and so clothes, do not travel after dark, avoid talking to strangers.
The question naturally arises: where are the guidelines for men? Why are these not being screamed out from radio channels and media posters?
- Respect women.
- Be loyal to your spouse.
- Try and control your libido, do not take it out on strange women or women who are not interested in having sex with you.
- Do not look at women you don’t know, do not talk to strangers. These women might arouse you and convert you into a creature you cannot control.
- Do not travel outside after dark. The streets are full of women whose signals your sick mind might interpret as an invitation for rape.
- Just because a woman is wearing such clothes or driving a car or walking alone on the road does not mean that she is public property and you can force yourself into her.
- Kids are kids do not ruin their childhood and mess with their innocence.
- Gang rapes are sick. Five men raping one woman, obviously without any protection, is a big health hazard, even for the men. And what sort of men can live with the idea of engaging in such a repulsive act? For what sort of men is this a turn on? (And before you jump to the defence of the educated elite, that no only uneducated and rural men do things like these, let me tell you the statistics offer a strong factual counter argument).
Why do men rape women? Are the media and the television with their provocative advertisements, misleading serial plots and depiction of women as objects of desire a main reason for most men to think that all women are just holes?
In their defence the media agencies will say that man is rational animal and is capable of thinking, ergo he should know the difference between projected reality and real-life. So then, does illiteracy become the root cause of rapes? Rephrasing this question into do only men who have not completed their schooling or college rape women? Not really, you will say. Because deep down, we all know why and what sort of men commit such heinous acts.
Men who are highly insecure of their masculinity rape women. Raping women gives them a sense of power. It hardly has anything to do with lust or sexual desire. These men have no other way of asserting their manhood than forcing themselves into a human being that is incapable of self-defence. It makes them feel powerful. It makes them feel manly.
The moral test of any culture is the way it treats its women and children. Haryana is full of men who are highly insecure and led by blind notions of power. The way Haryana treats its women folk is terrible and very disturbing. Just one trip to any of the villages in Haryana will tell you what I am talking about. When I am there, I see a large pool of men who feel manly only by disrespecting women, treating them coarsely and subjecting to unspeakable miseries. I cannot fathom what Haryana is trying to achieve with its pathetic sex ratio. Perhaps a more manly state where men can feel like men only after letting loose their clogged hormones on minors?
The caste angle has not even entered the discussion. You are right if you have deduced that most of the women who were raped were from the lower castes and their perpetuators were from the so called upper and noble classes. Raping Dalit women, is that the only way Brahmins can assert their manhood?( And caste does become an important part of the debate, because Punjab a neighbouring state has an even worse sex ratio, but it is highly compromised of Sikhs, a community that respects it women folk. Rape incidences in Punjab are very rare.)
So men who rape women and children are wrongly wired in the head, yes they are mentally sick and they think that raping a meek being is what it is to be man. And what do you do with men who are past reason? Trying to reform them is not going to go anywhere. Women have tried to do this before and many times – getting into arguments with eve-teasers or potential rapists, taunting them reminding of the mothers and sisters they have at home, telling them to respect women. All this has more than often led to the woman paying dearly for her intervention.
Where reason fails, force prevails.
The need of the hour is strict implementation of a set of very harsh laws against men who cannot keep their things inside their pants. Police should be given all the power to thrash the rapists and lock them up even before a FIR is filed. Force and fear are an immediate solution to on-going crisis. Reducing the marriageable age of girls to 16 is a foolish solution (how ridiculous can any thinking individual get?)
Because, after all, it is a power play. Potential rapists have to be reminded that they are not bigger than the law and that women are not objects for the parasitic needs of their self-esteem. That, if they even dare to look at any woman with eyes full of lust, the law will crush them or even better castrate them. Probably then they will know that there is more than just hormones to being a man.
In the long run, our society has to undergo a transformation. Men belonging to all strata of the society need to experience a paradigm shift. They should be more comfortable with themselves that the need to engage in degrading acts is wiped out. All this can be achieved hand in hand with educating the masses, increasing the sex ratio, increasing awareness among women and providing more career opportunities for women. When our society realises the value of human life, perhaps then it will itself come up with ideas like a proper help-line for rape victims, proper medical care for victims of abuse, psychiatric help to help them overcome the trauma and re-adjust to their normal lives. The next question arises and I wonder if you have ever thought about it: what happens to raped women, where do they go after they have been violated played with and tossed aside? Answers anyone?