This post might be considered offensive or explicit to some. Please read at your own discretion.
Rape is a choice men make to use sex as a weapon for power and control. For rape to stop, men who are violent must be empowered to make different choices. All men can play a vital role in this process by challenging rape supporting attitudes and behaviors and raising awareness about the damaging impact of sexual violence. Every time a man’s voice joins those of women in speaking out against rape, the world becomes safer for us all.
~ Men Can Stop Rape
India is a lousy place when it comes to getting back from the government what you pay as in good citizenry. This is especially true for women. Women are ever, an object of desire alone in a man dominated world. High ranking politicians get away with anything. And when you come down to the level of common man, even many rapes don’t go reported. And if it is reported, the police ignore the complaint or make it harder to file one. Even if one is filed, how long does it take to get justice assuming she does get it at last? Wasn’t it recently reported that the village panchayat ordered a woman to be raped? Right after the infamous Delhi rape of a student, a rape was reported in West Bengal months after the event all because of fear of retribution. With the media becoming more prevalent with the influx of electronics in the 90s, these are at least reported and people get to know about it. And this is increasing the awareness among the people and even administration. There is some degree of fear among administrative officials now that they are not in the background anymore and any negligence can surface any point. On these lines, it is commendable that a few reports of abuse that were reported made news, most notably the case involving a Supreme court justice.
Whenever a case of sexual abuse comes up, it is not uncommon to hear about a woman dressing provocatively. What is provocation? I am sure there will be a lot of definitions each overlapping the other in terms of what is right or wrong. I don’t want to offer a definition but want to look at why one gets to be provocated. It depends on the seer what he or she sees. The more aware you are, the more you see. Something that is provocative to one might not be to another. Especially when it comes to a woman’s dressing. There are many reasons for men getting provocated in India or elsewhere for that matter
a) a lack of respect for a woman or human being. Respect comes from appreciating what it is to be a human being first and foremost. When one starts to look beyond what the eyes can see, one gets to appreciate all that is involved. A woman is tied to a family; she is a sister to someone, she is a daughter to her parents, she is the life of the house she lives in; she brings joy with her laughter and sparkle in the eyes; she cares for the household giving up her own care; she takes on a multitude of responsibilities in keeping up the house including managing many children. See – you get to think about what is behind what you see, then you start appreciating, right? Then, why don’t some men stop themselves from acting on the urge? It is too complex, but on the spur of moment, even a well-meaning man such as a Supreme court justice can forget his sense of judgement. BUT, an inability to display judgement all the time is what I am talking about.
b) a society with conflicting messages about sex and morality. The Hindu culture can be a foremost subject of conflicting messages when it comes to sex. While sex is treated as sacred act between two lovers, in Lord Indira’s court it is always froliking-time with madira and fun. A Draupadi can be wife for many men, while a man is advised to view a married woman as divine. A Arjuna or a Krishna can espouse many women, but love is so sacred that it needs to be shared with one only.
c) a society that promotes sex but doesn’t implement sex: You look at the media and see women paraded in skimpy clothes or shaking away all their middle and tops in Bollywood romances all the while sending a message that they want a physical companionship. While this is meant for her object of desire, the message conveyed is ever so confusing. At the same time, once you get out of the movie world, where in the world can a man find an outlet to play out that physical companionship? And he wants the same heroine that he saw in the movie, of course for that companionship. So he turns to look at similar woman around him to assume that she is available just because she is dressed up.
As I see it and think about it, I see a few possible solutions to the problem
a) make prostitution legal. Whoever wants to can get out of harms way, this way. In one of the novels I read, a woman who plays a spy courts a man. This 007 like character is pretty much done after a one-go as she knows, so she coaxes him to extended foreplay and it is all over and she is safe. It is a known fact that by legalizing alcohol and drugs, the incidence of abuse or black-marketeering has come down. Why not do the same with sex? Yes, some fallible minds can fall prey, but it comes down to education. Even with the freedom in America, I find much stronger youths here than anywhere else. I find young men and women brought up here have a better sense of values and judgement that those who are merely taught morals. I can’t remember exactly, but read an article in the media, that American youths are more independent than those in England; it came down to the individual independence demonstrated.
b) Education. Much like glamorous bodies are paraded in the news and media, so should unglamorous bodies too. A doctor knows this best. It just takes a few moments to look at a woman’s body in a medical setting, especially those that are middle-aged and above, to develop a sort of revulsion for the sexual point of view. Once a man sees drooping breasts and ungainly fat on a woman’s body, it is enough to turn him into a saint. We need to instill in the young minds the other aspects of age on the bodies and instill in them the idea that the physical body can be quite repelling.