Rampant Rapes In Delhi

The news that a 23-year-old physiotherapy student was raped by at least five drunken men in a private bus which was audaciously driven around South Delhi localities on Sunday night (December 16) must have shocked people and jolted the collective conscience of the entire nation but soon it’ll be forgotten because rapes are so common in India and people have got enured to hearing about them so frequently that unless it’s screamingly heinous like this one, no one cares.

Here, I’m not categorising rapes because every rape is an assault not just on the modesty of the victim but on all women. That this happened on the roads of the capital is an issue that is all the more shocking.

The skewed sex ratio of the northern states and overall pejorative attitude towards women contribute to sex-related crimes. That doesn’t mean that in other states, where gender ratio is relatively in balance, you don’t get to hear the incidents of rapes.

Rapes take place all over India but Delhi and Haryana are always leading in crimes against women. Most of the rapists have the patronage of political bigwigs and they’ve connections far and wide. They’ll soon be released, nay unleashed, on helpless women.

Have we ever thought of how a rape victim lives life after what happened to her? No amount of counselling can cure a woman of the engrained fear, hatred, incertitude and the vacuum.

I’m not a proponent of any kind of violent punishment but at times I feel that those who rape must be (clinically) castrated or rendered impotent. In some Islamic countries, where Sharia  is promulgated, rapists are punished in public with one hundred lashes if unmarried and stoned to death if married. This may seem to be extremely uncouth to the ‘civilised’ world but at times, it appears to be the only measure to stop rapes.

What’s even more disgusting is the widespread apathy. Instead of condemning and punishing rapists, the victims are held responsible for ‘inviting rapists’ by dressing up provocatively. But these fools, who criticise women for wearing ‘sexy clothes’, don’t understand that rapists will rape, whether or not women wear ‘cheeky clothes’.

Rapists are sick people. They’ve no respect for women. They’re perverts and perverts can release their perversions, regardless of the clothes and age of a female. Germaine Greer put it succinctly, ‘Any woman with a vagina is a potential prey to perverts.’

We live in a society that accords scant respect to women. We’ve been brought up to look at a woman with lust. That she can also have different roles is unthinkable to a male chauvinist.

Anthropologically speaking, rape is a man’s way to ‘put a woman in place’ and assert his patriarchal and chauvinistic supremacy over her. It’s not just release of pent-up sexuality, it’s also release of anger and frustration. Men rape because they think that they’re naturally endowed and empowered to ravage women. In aboriginal and subaltern societies, women were (and still are) brutally raped by tribesmen comprising their fathers, brothers and other men just to prove that they (women) can be ravaged at will. In Haryana, when lovers are caught, the girl is often raped by her father and brothers before getting brutally killed. Here, rape’s a punishment for eloping with a boy of her choice. We still have a long long way to go and get evolved. 

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 January 2013 on page no. 2

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