Thursday, December 5, 2013

India’s Rape Epidemic – We Need 'A Man'ly Solution!!

"Trampled, plucked and squandered away
By dozens and scores each day!
We’d see them not; we felt them even less,
The pain, and horror – of both mind & flesh!"

A perfunctory perusal of the some of the recent headline grabbing news items in the country reads somewhat like this

-          Tehelkha editor accused of rape, arrested
-          Asaram Bapu held for sexual assault, son arrested for rape
-          Mumbai records 229 rapes in Jan-Aug of 2013
-          Two held for techie’s rape in Kerala
-          Teacher booked for alleged rape of minor in Andhra Pradesh
-          Four men rape, kill a 31-year old woman in Assam
-          CBI Director in the dock for suggesting, ‘enjoy rape if you can’t prevent it’

This would have been bad enough if these were news items that were to have shocked the conscious of a nation over the period of an year – yet, even more shockingly most of these ‘high-profile’ incidents have occurred over just a couple of weeks or about a month! And therefore, it shouldn’t and doesn’t, come as little surprise that the Time Magazine has given us title of producing one of the top 10 news stories of the world; aptly titled – ‘India’s Rape Epidemic’

There’s no other way to put it really, other than rightly calling it an epidemic! Looks like we Indian men can’t hold that libido with woman being raped and abused – left, right and centre! There’s no state, city or even an inch in this country that seems even remotely safe for that half of the population which has been rested with the sacred responsibility of bringing each of into this planet. Somewhere, there needs to be a realisation that such brutality is just way over what is acceptable for a civilized society.

A civilized society has just enough room to tolerate atrocities such as murder and rape – while even a few is few too many, we can accept and thereby be willing to correct or punish those who indulge in these crimes!

Sample this; a recent report compiled by the National Commission for Woman pointed out that 1/3rd of all woman employees in India faced one or another form of sexual harassment. By what virtue is that under the limits of acceptability for any civilized society? The nation’s financial capital is soon acquiring the moniker of being the nation’s rape capital – Mumbai! With as many as 237 incidents of rape cases reported in the year until August. Delhi meanwhile continues to have the numero uno status with 1,036 reported cases in the same period!

That by my rudimentary math is well over one incident each day for Mumbai and four for Delhi. If I were to extrapolate the same for the entire nation, would I be too off the mark to suggest we are raping and abusing thousands of women each year? Even in a nation of ½ a billion women that’s way too much!

Still unconvinced? Why not take a look at these statistics – the year 2012 began with a total of 13,221 registered cases of crimes against women across the country. Through the course of the year convictions in these cases were a meagre 3,563 while fresh cases ballooned to 79,476.  The nation ended the year 2012 with 101,041 pending cases of crimes against women and by all means 2013 must have added a hundred more thousand to that!

Why? Is a question that stares ominously upon us!

Surely, this is not just a case of a few gone astray – this is an entire generation of young men of this great nation who just can’t hold their horses!

Sadly, there are no easy answers! Reasons from sociological to economical to legal - all are pertinent and all so relevant! They said a stringent legal system would help, but no! They said changing social paradigms would help, but no! They said increasing income levels and employment should help, but no! Nothing has quelled the raging thirst of an Indian man to lord it over a woman and nothing has helped her hapless cause to be able to escape it.

Going back to the case of the 237 rapes in Mumbai, if the numbers alone don’t numb your senses then scratch the surface and it should! Most of the rapists were the victims’ own friends, lovers and/or neighbours! Read that again, and ask yourself as a man if it doesn’t make you feel pathetic? Or as a woman make you squirm in disbelief!

The UN Population Fund states that close to 2/3rd of married women in the country have been at some stage been beaten, raped or forced to provide sex! If the person charged with protecting your identity and dignity becomes the predator who wants to just satisfy his carnal senses – by hook, lunge or slap – where shall thou turn for solace or justice?

What is wrong with us Indian men?

For a variety of reasons we are well past the time and age of rationality! We are well past the stage well a bunch of well-intentioned sociologists could redraw our social athematic or a battery of jurists could re-align our judicial underpinnings to find solution to this epidemic. We have to find individual solutions and find them fast.

The fact of the matter is that we have a terrific record of being able to pass the buck! Why do so many rapes occur in India? – the list of reasons is exhaustive and endless – from provocative clothing to Bollywood to the lack of policing and legislature.

Seldom does it occur to me – I am the cause! It never hurts personally, it never bothers personally!

We are all culpable – directly, indirectly or intentionally and unintentionally! Whether we like it or not we need to take a stance and one for the better, I hope! In our relationship with a woman we have to find the right balance of purity and passion; reason and romance; and sense and sensuality! Each of those elements is essential for every relationship – not necessarily in the same order or mix, but certainly in one form or another.

We cannot endlessly seek a momentary, blind pleasure in all our interactions with the female specie! The momentary, blind pleasure needn’t necessarily be of the sexual nature – it might as well be of submission and subjugation – in essence it is one of sadism! We’re filled, or worse, fed with a hollow sense of machoism that somehow suggests that ‘its ok to grab from or at a woman if she doesn’t give when asked!’

Our vision is often skewed by a sense of a dominant male-ego that prevents us from having the right relationship with our mothers, sisters, friends and wives! It is this right relationship that will unequivocally determine our right attitude to the women at large!

If I can find the right relationship with my mother, sister, friend and wife! I could prevent that one case of abuse or rape! And even if ½ of the ½ a billion Indian men could do that, lo and behold we’d have taken care of the epidemic that currently dogs us!! A manly solution isn’t one with plenty of ‘to-show-off’ guts, its one where each man can stand up – as and for himself – and thereby for those women whose lives he touches everyday!!

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