Rape is not a stand-alone crime against women. There’s a whole spectrum of seхual-harassment that tops with rape. It’ll be a mistake to treat rape as an isolated issue. A bruta1 gangrape with vi01ent details quickly becomes national news. There’re street protests, candle marches and hunger strikes – whereas a “small rape” (how infamously described by Kiran Bedi once) goes completely unnoticed. A violent gang-rape carries the shock value and media milks it, till it can. While a ‘vanilla’ rape case is a day-to-day crime and doesn’t register on our society’s conscience.
It needs to be understood that rape at it’s core is a social crime. We expect the government to make stronger laws to punish rapists. We also expect our law-enforcement agencies and judiciary to be more efficient. They’re all valid expectations. But all these are essentially post-rape measures. The real question is that what exactly is turning some men in India into seхual-predators?
A potential rapist may never actually commit rape. Rape is a big crime and comes with it’s own associated risks. But there are many lower seх-crimes available on the menu. If our society needs to find a real solution for women’s safety, we need to target seхual-harassment first. Every woman in our country has experienced some kind of seхual-harassment in their lives. Our society should hang their heads in shame over this hard fact. I can imagine women nodding their heads while reading this. And if you’re a man, you can ask women you know in confidence and they’ll agree. This shocking statistic is 100% true. If you’re a female in India, irrespective of culture, financial-status or age – you’re bound to be seхually-harassed at some point in your life.
This is ground zero of the rape-crime. If something needs to be done, it needs to be done at this level. Indian society needs to become strictly intolerant towards seхual-harassment and sexist attitude. These are the seeds that breed rape. But is this going to be so simple? Every rape follows a series of outrageously sexist statements made by several sections of our society. These are followed by angry condemnation of such remarks by the liberal population . But what does that achieve? Culture and society are extremely broad terms. No government or individual can completely change the attitude of a society single-handedly. The only solution would be to kill everybody with bad attitude before the can influence the next generation. Absurd, right? People who are sexist don’t hangout on the internet to read about how they can change their attitudes. When a person suggests that he/she believes that women are to be equally blamed for rape – you can silent them but can you ever truly change their opinion?
The most obvious public response after rape is demonification of male seхuality. The mood of the society about seх become black and white. Women blame it on the natural desire of female form that resides within the groins of a man. Some apologetic men too join this chorus. Shaming men universally for being such ‘pigs’ becomes politically correct. On the other hand, there are some men with low empathy for the opposite-seх, who blindly defend the actions of a rapist. They claim that it’s the women who entice. What can men do? They’re helpless. Anybody who sees any validity in this argument commits a gaffe. What must not be forgotten though that a solution for rape and other seх-crimes against women can’t be found without including and understanding the seхual-behavior of the Indian male population. You should ask, is the Indian man a born rapist?
Rape is a work of biology and human behavior. Rape can’t be removed from seх. Hardcore feminists would like you to believe that rape is not about seх at all, it’s about male-dominance over women. This is the most ridiculous argument ever. Yes, maybe in open societies where men have easy access to seх, and they don’t need to become predatory to fulfill their carnal desires. There a man may rape or seхually-harass a free-confident woman to claim his social dominance. But not in a patriarchal India – here rape is only and only about sex.
No man is a born sexist (or rapist). Something very sinister happens between the years of puberty that completely poisons his mind. Test0ster0ne happens. But that is not unnatural. In modern India there’s massive influx of seхual content in media, films and culture at large. Today average teenage boy is more seхually aware than young men ever were 50 years ago. Still most men in India have sex for the first time after marriage. The legal & average age of marriage has already been pushed up by several years. We are looking at several years of seхual frustration before Indian men can ever get laid. Is it so hard to believe that all the pent-up test0ster0ne is poisoning their minds?
A large section of Indian men is seхually starved today. India at large is unaware of positive or enjoyable seх. Here seх is mostly either hidden or perverted. Universal seх-education is a far-fetched dream when even the highly subscribed entertainment industry can’t produce any healthy intimate relationships onscreen. Instead profit-driven media and Bollywood keeps serving subtle-cheapness, within or bending the norms of censorship, to the young unguided men. Seх in Indian cinema is always titillating and further objectifies women, but never demystifies healthy intimacy. Believe it or not, most teens in India learn their first lessons about love and seх from Bollywood movies. You get the picture?
Bollywood with the collective folklore of Indian culture places women on a pedestal. They teach you to worship women. Utter BS. ‘Bhartiya Sanskar’ creates this infallible image of ‘Bhartiya Naari’. Why treat women like goddesses? They just want to be like normal human beings and have equal rights. Women have every right to make their set of mistakes. But, Indian culture is extremely manipulative – it puts women on a pedestal only to imprison them with these set of rules. They call it ‘maryada’. She will be worshiped till she stays inside the ‘laxman rekha’ – and if she steps out she will be taught a lesson. This traditional upbringing never lets men see female seхuality in a positive light. Young men don’t know how to relate to modern independent women who can like and appreciate seх. But such women by the definition of Indian traditions are deemed “dirty”. Media cultures the appetite of hyper-sexual scanti1y-c1ad women among Indian men, while bhartiya sanskar program them to judge those women who conform to this image. This guilt of original sin can only breed perversion, nothing else.
India has an approximate population of over 500,000,000 males (15-60 year-old) who need regular seхual release. An average healthy male thinks about seх every 3 minutes. Single largest reason for increasing number of rapes in India is that our cultural sensibilities prevent a large portion of this male population to achieve much needed sexual release. When your culture demonizes seх, men demonize women who inspire seхual feelings in them. This is the birth of misogyny. Ours is a patriarchal society. It empowers man to sometimes misuse his position. He believes he can get away after committing a seх-crime. A woman’s consent or morals mean very less to these testosterone-crazy sexually-frustrated men. If we have to see worse, we should see Islamic countries. Islamic culture demonizes sex to crazy levels. These societies witness the most perverted forms of sexual-conduct.
India is becoming seхually liberated but in an extremely uneven fashion. Where one part is readily embracing maturity towards matters related to sex, the other still tightly clings onto the old social order. We should realize that seх is already out in the open, we can keep looking away at our own peril or choose to embrace it. And this is not just for women empowerment, but for men too. Men’s seхual needs are often misunderstood and discredited. Men need to be provided with safe outlets for seхual release. Else, we’re looking at an army of seхually-frustrated men with pent-up testosterone pushing them towards vi01ence – rapes and other crimes against women will only increase, as a result.
Efforts towards making Indian population more seхually liberated will produce much long lasting results in fighting seх-crimes than merely making the punishments more severe. Like the laws the efficacy of these steps too will only depend a lot on the quality of enforcement. This is our last chance, else our society is definitely down-hill from here.
Written by Ishaan Mohan Bagga
Follow him on twitter @IshaanMohan