Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Food for thought

A five month old infant had been brought to a district hospital somewhere in Central India. Her rectum and vagina had become one as a result of a savagery called rape.
Was stunned and speechless as I heard this. An act of unbelievable insanity and unpardonable brutality.

For a while I was numb. But eventually when I got back to my senses, I was reminded of reports on rape and reactions thereon in newspapers and on television channels. A good number of people often opine that women actually "invite" trouble by dressing up provocatively, going to pubs, restaurants etc and by spending nights out of the protection of their homes..
In Bollywood films also one comes across references to "khuli tijori" meaning a woman wearing revealing clothes. And the irony is that such a term is used to suggest humour in the film.
I think it is very insulting for the entire womanhood and there is hardly any humour in such filthy similies. If anything such disgraceful references make the offenders bolder and their scatological views on women stronger and more legitimate (for them).
But then Bollywood has never really set examples in good behaviour. Nor do they seriously take up any social responsibility while "minting" currency of every kind.

While on Bollywood, one cannot forget the infamous Shiney Ahuja case.
He is reported to have said in his defence that the smell of washing powder on the body of a maid is enough for any man to be put off. So how could he even think of going near the woman.
One would like to believe that Mr.Ahuja has an extraordinary nose or else how could he smell the body of his maid without going near her?
However Shiney has been given seven years in jail by a court in Mumbai. Let us see if he really spends those many years in a prison.

Also there are those scores of so called reality and comedy shows on 24x7 entertainment television channels. Filled with cheapness and vulgarity of the lowest possible order, these shows are ironically supposed to be providing "wholesome family pleasure", specially on weekends.

I also recall here with grave sourness the middle aged woman who was among the passengers standing in a jam packed BEST bus one evening. She was dressed in an ordinary loose shalwar-kameez, a dupatta covered her head. Behind her were some young boys. Most of the passengers in the bus had not even noticed her until she turned her head and told the boys to "behave". It seems they were pushing her unnecessarily and in the process touching her obscenely. The boys started shouting in response saying did they not have better things to do than "waste" their time on a granny.
When the conductor intervened and asked the boys to apologise to the elderly woman whom they had indeed demeaned, they threatend him too. Other passengers in the bus including me were silent (or at the most murmuring) onlookers, angry at the arrogance and lewdness of the boys. But that was the most we did for the dignity of an elderly lower middle class woman.

Neither the five month old infant who I mentioned in the beginning nor this elderly woman who I describe now had done anything to provoke their tormentors. Neither in dress nor in behaviour.
Why then did they have to put up with so much atrociousness and injury to their dignity, their body, their soul...?

While I completely agree that women must be modest in carrying themselves, I vehemently refute the theory that their revealing outfits and their beauty can turn a sober man into a cruel rapist.

A rapist is most certainly a mentally disturbed person who also has criminal instincts, but this disorder remains hidden, until they strike and commit the heinous act.
Can such a crime be stopped/avoided? If not how should the poor victim be compensated and how should the wicked criminal be punished?
Let us not forget that many times the offender is not an outsider.

Will death penalty for rape keep a check on potential rapists?
It is a debatable issue. But most importantly the legal procedure to establish rape must undergo some humane changes as well. As per the present norms a victim must face a host of torturing querries publicly that further assault her self-respect and leave her femininity grievously injured.
The victim is stigmatised while the criminal roams about not just freely, but most often without even a scratch to his reputation and honour.

Isn't this some food for thought?
Can rape be ever justified?? Do eve teasers have the lisence to disgrace anyone whenever they please???

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