Saturday, 19 April 2014

On Rape : Part I

Hey friends,
Back after a long hiatus!! Duty called and such calls cannot be ignored. So here I am and with a very sensitive subject to talk about.

Today a friend shared an article about Rape, and how the perpetrators are not usually a match with the  "monster myth" created by society. The creator of the article goes on to say that we, as a society, are collectively responsible for rapes.

Being a woman, and having lived all my life under the shadow of this calamity of "rape", which can befall me or any of my dear ones anytime anyplace, no other issue is dearer to my heart. The first time I tried to express my views on the issue in an essay, under the topic of women's empowerment, in a public exam, I was handed out a 39% and shown the door. It is another matter that in the same public exam, in another year, when I wrote an essay on a very "neutral and safe" topic, the same examining body conferred me with a 75%, i.e., a distinction, in essay. That taught me to keep my mouth shut, my pen idle, my voice silent, and my thoughts inside my head. It is only recently that, after a series of incidents of sexual assault, which were the theme of many newspaper headlines, and of public discourses on electronic and social media, that we have heard a number of voices talk a little more openly about this issue. This has also encouraged a common person like me to speak out.

The Nirbhaya case was a first in terms of the extent and ferocity of protests not just in Delhi but across far flung corners of India like TN and Kerala. I was living in New Delhi at that time, and that too, just 2 km from India Gate, which was ground zero for the protests. The traffic diversions created a lot of difficulties for all residents of that area, but for once I didn't mind the inconvenience. The conduct rules of my employment prevented me from actually joining the protests but my support to the movement was heartfelt. Incidentally, I had visited Safdarjung Hospital on the morning of December 17, 2012, for a medical issue. There was a huge posse of policemen as well as a cavalcade of news vans outside the hospital gates. Being curious, I had asked my doctor about what had happened. He had told me that it was a very sad case of rape and that he was one of the doctors attending the victim. Only at that time, I had not known the gravity and unbelievable bestiality involved in the crime. 

Of course crime cannot be graded. Each incident of crime affects the victim in a different way. A socially insignificant crime like mental harassment of an employee by an employer or superior, may leave the victim depressed and mentally paralyzed for life. The victim's future and his or her family's life may get destroyed, and society would not bat an eyelid, leave alone classifying the case of harassment as a "crime". But if such a rating was possible, I would rate rape as the gravest. Murder is a crime that deprives the victim of his or her life, the victim's family of physical, economic and psychological security, and the society of a productive member or may be a potentially productive member, who could have created a new paradigm or protocol in society, and the world at large. But rape is a crime which violates the mind, the body, the spirit and sense of security of an entire gender, i.e. half of humankind. Murder is in most cases for some kind of gain; monetary, territorial (including jealousy induced murders), psychological; sometimes as collateral damage; or in some freak cases, it may be a heat-of-the-moment crime. The perpetrator does not target the victim solely on the basis of gender, for the most.

However, rape is used as a weapon to terrorize and subjugate an entire gender.  

                                                                       (Cont'd)     on Rape : II

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