Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rape and Patriarchy in India

Well, it may seem to readers(the occasional ones that i get)that it has become my favorite topic to explore. Well the thing is - its not. Its just that, the topic refuses to leave the public sphere. Its always there. And why would it - in a sex deprived nation like ours, rape remains a reality that we conveniently would like to put viel on. However, that;s not the point i want to discuss today. Today, i would like to explore a different point of view - that why Rape remains such a powerful issue. In India, where the setup is predominantly patriarchal social system, rape is not just a crime - its a tool for men to show their supremacy over women, tool for upper cast men to wield their power over the lower casts. Rape is still referred as "Izzat lootna"(dishonored) in hindi newspapers and in general discussions as "Ladki kharab kar di."(Couldn't find english for this, similar to being dishonored though). Some of you may be laughing over these sentences but it remains a reality for a larger population. Women are still supposed to preserve the honor of the family by staying virgin till they get married. Don't bother asking what happens next. After marriage she becomes the property of the husband and it doesn't matter if he rapes her everyday. The absence of recognition of "Marital Rape" in Indian law is a reflection of how entrenched patriarchy is in the society and among the educated people. So the question that I want to ask is - What do we want to prove by asking "death for rapists"? Aren't we reinforcing the idea of patriarchy by doing so? That rape is such a powerful crime and the perpetrator has so much power over the victim that he must be killed? Why nobody talks about empowering the victim by taking away all the importance to it? I agree that the damage to the psyche of the victim is huge and it takes her years to get over it. And i can only imagine the level of violation she must feel!! However, if we give her more power, put her on the path of recovery and treat her like any other person and not as a "Rape Victim." She doesn't need your sympathy, she needs your support. if you can give her that, stay around. Else, get lost. Her life doesn't end because of one incident that happened. Yes, she will take a long time to recover, but what we need to do it to empower her by treating her as if we would treat any other person and not by treating her as a victim!! That's just your patriarchal mindset working.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rape, Media, Society and Us.

So much has been said about rape, its causes, who is responsible for it, how govt. should take extra steps and what not. I wonder if there is anything that has been left unsaid. I would still like to go ahead and express what i think on the issue. My firm belief is that we should stop blaming govt. for a rape. Not that i am trying to absolve them of their duties or responsibilities. But think again, is it really the govt. who is doing it? Is it them who will stop it? Are they the ones who are encouraging it? Do you have answers to these questions? My stand on the issue is that whenever a rape happens anywhere in the world, it's society's collective failure. One of the prime reasons that society was formed was that it provided us a sense of security. Rules were made and people obliged by these norms because they used to feel secure. Is it still happening? A six months old girl child, who is raped by her own father or uncle, what rule did she really break? We often hear people saying: oh why was she out so late at night, why was she hanging out with a man! My question to these people is- How safe is the girl who dresses up in the most conservative way and doesn't go out after 6 in the evening? Are we as a society able to guarantee her a safe life where there is no molestation or rape or mental torture? There is no guarantee. Statistics show that in 70% rape cases, the perpetrator in known to the victim. What are doing? What are we teaching our children? What values do we give them when we raise them? The objectification of women as a means to satisfy a man's need? Most of the media around is filled with examples. Why just single out Honey Singh and ignore the advertisements and 'Fevicol' song? Wherever you look, you will find that the general portrayal of women in the society is that of an object. Whether that object is to fulfill sexual needs or false ego is irrelevant. Just saying that hang the rapists and improve the police force is not solution. Policemen, they are one of us. Their attitude is reflective of that of society at large. Why blame only them? Why not take a good look inside us and evaluate what are we made of?