Saturday, July 26, 2014

Rape and India

The rape of a young six year old student in a school in Bangalore came to light thanks to media attention and the persevering parents and citizens who were bent on getting justice. It was not until the matter went into public space and a huge outcry was raised that the school authorities and the police reacted. Such incidents are happening on a regular basis and I am sure that for every case that is reported in the media there are hundreds that are hushed up and hidden. One cannot but feel for the victims and their families and the state must accept its culpability in the perpetration of these crimes. It cannot wish its responsibility away by blaming it on clothes, cell phones, pubs, education etc.

I cannot imagine the trauma and anger that the child must have gone through. A six year, a three year old...what kind of an age is it for those souls to undergo such crimes in places where they must be protected, taken care of? I can't imagine the anger the parents must be going through at the trauma their little ones have had to undergo. One would think that there would be instant, swift action to nab the culprits in such cases. But here is what actually happens - something that confounds me each time I see it unfolding.

First the school denies all such happening. They wash off their hands and try to hush up the matter. Their only concern seems to be that their school's name ought not to be sullied. Any such publicity is bad for them so they think they ought to hush up the matter. How stupid and short sighted? How against the right and wrong of it. Here is a child entrusted to your care and someone who you have appointed and handed over the child to, has misused the trust, and you try to wash your hands off? Instead of cooperating with catching the culprits and ensuring that the right thing is done to the child, they hush up the matter, tamper with evidence? The police suddenly seems to find it difficult to get any clue as to who and how was the culprit? What kind of a system is it that needs too be constantly told to do the 'right' thing, to do their 'duty'?

It is sickening to hear of these stories of such perverts going about free in society, being shielded and protected sometimes. If the rape of these innocent children chills you, we have the other extreme as well and the connection cannot be ignored.

It appears that India has no law on marital rape from whatever information I could gather. We are in an elite list of countries where spousal rape is criminalized only when the couple is separated which means that as long as they are married it is fine to violate. As a society we seem to tacitly subscribe to the idea that rape is an 'internal matter' and we will not have a law because it could be 'misused'. It is better that it is misused I'd think, than not have a law at all. It's almost like saying go ahead and rape the spouse, she's your property after all. How can we set the thought on society right if we do not set it right in the marriage itself? Won't the man feel entitled whenever he has the urge?

Once again, as in many things, we in India, show ourselves up for the hypocrites we are. For all the talk of being broad minded, religious, gentle and such other adjectives we like to brand ourselves with, we are a bunch of bigoted and insecure perverts who cannot bear to give an inch to a law that allows women to claim their basic dignity and not let any man (including the husband) violate her. I am pretty certain that if we do not set it right in the institution of marriage itself, and bring equality and dignity to the woman there, we cannot make a dent in the psyche of the men who think they have a right to use women as they would a tissue paper. For someone who has grown up seeing his mother being treated thus at home, there might not be much respect for women as a whole.

1 comment:

Harimohan said...

It certainly has something to do with how we view women at home. As a society we need to really learn to respect human dignity as a whole. That each person is a separate individual and deserves respect is lost on us.