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.