Monday, December 24, 2012

RAPE: Are We Fighting The Right Battle?


"Of all the evils for which man has made himself responsible, none is so degrading, so shocking or so brutal as his abuse of the better half of humanity; the female sex." M.K. Gandhi

The night of 16th December 2012 shocked the entire nation… people suddenly realized that it was not human beings, but humanity that the Mayans predicted was about to end. There were protests, both real and virtual, all over the country. The problem with the protests was that there was no clear agenda. Some wanted justice for the 23 year old girl, some were protesting against the rape crimes and rising violence against women, while others were there because they were afraid of their and their family member’s future in the so called ‘rape capital of the world’. The ones with clear agenda were the opposition. The police was definitely tempted by few miscreants, who wanted the police to attack the innocents and make one more case against the government that was already weakened by corruption. The weakness of non-violent protest is that one small act of violence gives the police enough reason to attack and breakdown the entire protest. Amongst the pandemonium one thing was clear, people were concerned…and there were good reasons to be.


There is a staggering eight fold rise of rape cases in India in the last four decades…a woman is raped every 20 minutes [1]. Delhi topped the chart of rape cases in India with Mumbai close second. Though the crime is rising, the conviction rate is dropping and stands at just 26% [2]. Does that make India and its society the worst in the world, or Delhi the rape capital of the world as many claim? No. Delhi is definitely not the worst in the world, and if one considers the number of rape cases per unit population, it isn’t the worse in India. States like West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Mizoram, which is generally considered safe, might stand worse than Haryana. The problem is country-wide, not just Delhi… and the problems are more complex than we think.

United States is a multicultural country having an open society. However, considering the number of rape cases, it is worse than India. Every 2 minutes a woman is sexually assaulted in US, 44% victims are minor, 54% cases are not reported, 97% rapist never spent a day in jail, 2/3 of assaults are committed by people known to the victims [3]. These statistics are not for us to rejoice, remember, more rape cases are reported in US than in India. but our perception of safety is based on the reported cases only. Why then we feel more unsafe in India? Because of the negative publicity by the world media. While it helps pressurize the society in punishing the guilty, it also restricts women freedom further. Family members become much more protective about women telling then what sort of safe dresses to wear, and restricting the time they spend outside. It curbs women freedom, never a good thing.

“Human rape appears not as an aberration but as an alternative gene-promotion strategy that is most likely to be adopted by the 'losers' in the competitive, harem-building struggle. If the means of access to legitimate, consenting sex is not available, then a male may be faced with the choice between force or genetic extinction.” [4]

The above statement brings out two critical points:

Human rape is not an aberration. Rape is common amongst other animals too. It isn’t an excuse, but the point is that rapists are not people with mental disorder, but normal people who live within us. This makes it so difficult to find them. For every 1000 cases of boys staring at, or having 'bad' thoughts about a woman, there will be 100 cases of molestation. For every 100 molestation, there will be 10 rapes, and for every 10 rapes there will be one that will be brutal resulting in death. The key is to stop the minor cases that are easier to find, the rest will take care of itself. One way of doing that is making strict laws.

Section 375 IPC defines rape as penetration sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the offence of rape. Term will not be less than 7 years but it may be for life or for a term which may extend to 10 years. The person shall also be liable to fine. This law is not strict enough. Whenever a rape case is proven, not easy in many cases, there should be a death penalty. Castration might seem more justified for the criminals, but a death penalty will be more effective to stop would-be criminals. Punishment should be same for husbands who have forceful sex with their wife against their will. Even eve-teasing should have jail term of minimum 5 years. Then again, which law will ensure that women are protected within the four walls of their own house? More girls are raped by their relatives, including uncle, father-in-law and father than by strangers. Will the police be able to stop that? Strict punishment will definitely reduce the number of cases, but it is not the solution to the problem because rape is not the problem but the side-effect of something deeper.

The second point is that rape is a strategy adopted by losers when consenting sex is not available. The skewed sex ratio in India and especially in Delhi makes this point very important. The lesser the number of fairer sex the more unsafe it becomes for them. Again, the skewed sex ratio is not the problem but the side-effect of something deeper.

As protests are happening all around India I find people blaming each-other. People outside Delhi blaming people of Delhi, people of Delhi blaming government, government blaming opposition, opposition blaming police, police blaming people of Delhi. Never have we stopped and looked at ourselves. We have lost the respect for each other which is evident in the way we behave. We don’t respect the poor, we don’t respect other’s privacy, we don’t respect other right of way when we drive, we don’t respect the fact that our friend might get better marks than us, or get promotion instead of us. We don’t care if there is an injured person lying on the side of the road, we don’t care if a naked poor man is shivering in cold. In a society like this how can we expect respect for woman? The problem lies with the mindset. Manu Smriti proclaimed "Women, Sudra, dog and crow embody untruth, sin and darkness"while according to Aristotle "We should look upon the female state as it were a deformity, though one that occurs in the ordinary course of nature"This primitive mindset is yet to change in our society. According to Martin Luther "The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes" Official statement of Southern Baptist Convention declared on 1998 that "A wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband, even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ"Indians politicians are no different as they blame women and their dress for rapes. They want women to stay indoor doing household work, taking care of their husbands and thus not get raped. Unfortunately most rape happens in victims house by people known to them irrespective of the dress she wears. So the logic does not hold. This primitive mindset needs to change. but in a country where vote bank politics depends on primitive thoughts like castes and religion, it is a difficult problem to tackle. Sex education does not increase a parties vote bank. so instead of politicians we have to be the change.

What makes rape so brutal is not just the act itself, but the way society treats the women who have been raped. We, as a society, ensure that life becomes hell for the woman and her family. We either avoid them and make them outcaste, or shower our sympathies at them. We keep reminding them what she has gone through and make sure that life isn't normal for her again. Who will punish the society that rapes the woman emotionally every day after the act has been committed? In India more than half of women believe that it is justifiable for a man to beat his wife. Who will change this mindset? As long as the bride’s family will give dowry, as long as the woman becomes property of male family after marriage and stop supporting their parents, as long as women are not given equal opportunity in workplace, women will not be independent. As long as women are not independent, they will be burden on their family; they will be killed before birth. The real battle should not be against government or police, but against the society that promotes gender inequality. It might be a fight against our own family, our own parents...a fight against whom we love... are we ready for it? As long as we don’t fight the devil within us we will not make our country safer place for women.

Added on 29th December 2012:
The girl is dead. Now she can rest in peace because had she been alive our society would have killed her every day. Her death also makes it legal to hang the criminals for murder. But once (with a big if) they are hanged, will that be the end of it? Will we go back to our 'normal' life and her death be lost in statistics? Probably yes, that's how we are.


[4] Wilson, Glenn. The Science of Sex: Glenn Wilson on Rape. The Great Sex Divide, pp. 128–131. http://www.heretical.com/wilson/rape.html

You React:

25 comments:

  1. Speechless
    Very true
    fully agree with you

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  2. Somewhat agree with you but when it comes to women's security or justice, society can't provide that. We have laws for that and unfortunately that's at the worst phase as of now. Now who rules the police, it's the govt. Govt is full of criminals and rapists themselves. Where should one go?
    The innocent girl's whole life has been shattered with her intestine being removed. There are acid victims too where criminals are bailed out and roaming free. I'm horrified and definitely against anyone who doesn't provide justice. Let that be govt, police or anyone.

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    1. I agree we need strict laws, like i said in the post...Nothing less than death penalty for rape criminals...as of now the minimum penalty is of 7yrs...justice needs to be given

      But that won't stop the other violence against women...we need to fight against our society to change the mindset...that's a bigger fight that's due...

      And i do think society can play it's part....instead of running away from a crime scene we can fight and protest, or atleast call for help....

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. @Khoj,

    I agree with your viewpoint. I also agree that, gender inequality is the root cause of this superficial symptom of rape.

    I know plenty of men who think they are the superior sex and plenty of very successful, educated subservient women who would disagree with the concept of gender equality. However, what constitutes the cause of this behavior is a topic of much debate.

    Are they, the simple things like men eat before women at our poojas? or is it the societal pressure of having a house husband ?

    I truly believe that the modern Indian society is on a digressive path when it comes to social values and this is just a horrifying symptom of that moral digression.

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    1. True...and it's not just India, but women have been oppressed for ages all around the globe...it is probably the way we have build our civilization....west is slowly changing, still on average men gets much more salary than women even in US and UK...
      As far as India is concerned, wee need to let the boys and girls mix with each other right from the childhood...all schools should be co-ed... the more they mix, the more they understands, and thus care for, each other....

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    2. I think social norms are the main culprit...there is nothing seriously wrong with laws...largely laws are unbiased, rather favorable to womankind...everyone knows that giving or taking dowry is illegal...but see it is so blatantly demanded and given...each and every ritual makes them(girls) feel degraded...they are treated as an object...given and accepted as daan...horrible...but no one questions these rituals...it is an unsaid rule (not constitutional)that the girl has to leave her family and be part of other family without her consent...hereafter she has no right to help her parents in times of their need without permission of her in laws...it would be sin to even drink water from his house...this is the main reason of female infanticide and skewed ratio...in the sane society it could lead to girls becoming more precious...but see it has rather led to rapes, molestation,insecurity and in the course more female infanticide...if given a choice majority of the couples would like to have a male child and would not like to see their child to suffer at the hands of society unless there is a sea change in society...

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    3. exactly my point...a change can come only through a big revolution like the one against Sati movement...

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  5. i think it will take a plenty of time. i saw guys says u r not that much beautiful for whom i deserve. i m working in gail so i want 25 lacks..
    n we are the people who r educated have professional degrees.. but don't com in the category of a real literate.

    btw omg post after a long time :)

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    Replies
    1. yes, it is ridiculous....i know because one of my sis had arranged marriage....a shame...

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    2. one of my friend's daughter had a love marriage...but has the same shameful story to say the least..

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  6. n strict laws r not enough to change the mind set.. it can decrease the cases but what about the primary mindset of our society ??

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  7. well good points .. but in our nation the problem is lawas are made but no one Polices them.. moreover , even the people find loopholes around it , its only when they themself need to use that particualr law they realise .. otherwise if it is happening to others its all fine ..

    basically we the people have become hypocrites.. till that changes things will not change ..

    good to see a post after a long time ..

    and I also think there is another reason there is too much on MAN-WOMAN divide in our nation, everything seems to be brought to an end by saying oh its a woman thats why, oh its a man thats why ..



    Bikram's


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    1. true...implementation is a big problem...our fight should be against the hypocrisy of our society...unless that changes no law will help...

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  8. Is there anything called the "Indian culture'?

    The problem begins there, I believe.

    Let the Modis and Advanis create a real Indian culture. Real. Not fake.

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    Replies
    1. I believe there is...True Indian culture has always been integration of multiple cultures and opinions...true Indian always respected different opinions...vedic, buddhist and charvaka ideas has always been different, but part of the greater Indian culture even in 200 BC....Indian culture definitely isn't some narrow 'Hindutva' culture some political parties are trying to promote...

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  9. Sub, the attitude towards women need to change faster than technology if we can ever claim to be a civil society in the real sense!

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  10. This is really sad, as a citizen I feel I country it inflicted with some disease. The points you mention are valid but we want some action, the morals, the laws to change...I wish that happen and happens fast.

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  11. Informative, thought provoking and a sad post. We need to change our society, that one agenda is very clear.

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  12. If we see the middle eastern countries the human sex ratio its the same as India. The freedom to woman is worst . But the rapes are least in the world. There it is achieved my stringent laws. Some people are commented that stringent laws are not effective unless you change the mind setup but this is not true. I strongly agree with the theory of "force or genetic extinction". Solving this psychological and psycho issues are not strait forward. It needs years of grooming, sex education, strict laws and etc etc..In hot country like India prostitution need to be legalized with strict health checks and practices. Like some modern countries right to sex need to brought into law. Then all these Adult losers who didn't get married due to their joblessness, physically handicapped, poorness , ugliness,, uneducated etc etc...(our society accepts only rich and fair brides and bridegrooms) sent to these prostitution centers occasionally to cool their sexual hungry. All these should be done without abusing laws. Otherwise my above concept will be a big mess and will create opportunities of new criminals.

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    1. Sex ratio is bad in middle east that's precisely why they need strict laws...but India is not Afghanistan. the strict laws also restricts women freedom...But I do agree that strict laws are important, but what is more important is the execution of the laws....I guess the issue is very complex...

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