Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How to end Rape : Final Solution.

Disclaimer : this is not out of a newspaper/news channel report. This is not some boring cynical documentary about crimes against women. 
Mulk Raj Anand told a story in "A pair of Mustachios', in which a wealthy and arrogant man lost his total wealth, only to hold onto the twist of his mustache. He took his privilege to twist his mustachios too seriously.

To end Rape, we need a sea change in our attitudes and basic definitions of self-esteem. Let us start from the original, instinctive human psychologies.
When you take something too seriously, it becomes a target of others. For example, when you get irritated by someone's pranks, that someone is going to irritate you further. When you hold something dear, others will attack it. As simple as that. People tease those who react to teasing (remember such incidents from school and college?). People bully those, who can be bullied (e.g., in the workplace). People suppress those, who can be suppressed (imperialism). You will be abused if you do not resist. You will be insulted if you do not speak up for yourself.  If you are weak, you will be prowled upon. If the country is weak, enemies will attack it. (India was plundered simply because Indians could not defend it.) Your weakest point will be attacked first. This is an instinctive survival technique. Plain logic, which even a pre-teenager will understand.
Now, what is the weak-point leading to rape? It is 'Chastity'.  
I will not mince words. I cannot sugarcoat them. So get ready to read the next line. This is the strange, illogical, feudal, outdated, social norm : "You, as a woman, are honorable, if you hymen is intact till marriage".
Examples :
(1) Unmarried Kunti was repentant on losing her virginity to Surya, when she bore son Karna. Surya was supposed to have restored her virginity medically.
(2) Teenager Satyavati was nervous about losing her virginity to Parashar, when she bore son Ved Vyas. Later, when the romantic Shantanu fell for the ambitious Satyavati, he did not bother to inquire about her past.
None of the two above examples were rapes. Now if a woman is raped, why does she lose her character? Rape is called Charitra-Haran (Usurpation of character). "Character" means,  you don't give in to temptations, and you know your limits and responsibilities. Kunti and Satyavati, along with Surya and Parashar respectively, all succumbed to their temptations. But not much damage was done, as Kunti and Satyavati both became Queen Mothers and enjoyed royal lives. They had temporarily crossed their limits, but did not have to take the responsibilities of the illegitimate sons. The two men were never heard of again. Satyavati was known to be an ambitious go-getter, but Kunti was highly respected as a very pious, disciplined, righteous, dignified, truthful woman and mother (she made amends which was her atonement aka Praayashchit). Our Bhaaratvarsh is named after Bharat, who was also born out of wedlock ;) So add his parents Shakuntala and Dushyant also to the above list. 
This slice from our great epic indicates that losing your virginity before marriage is no big deal. This is equally true in the modern society today, if not more. In these times, we are careful in sex, so off-springs like Karna and Ved Vyas do not come into existence.
So, from where does rape come into the picture? Is it like, the man wants to procreate and the female does not cooperate? Ha! No way! Ravan has raped many women only for carnal pleasure, not for bearing sons. Now, why does rape become such a "big deal"? Why does "getting raped" become a big issue? Why does the victim's reputation come at stake?  Why does her life "get destroyed"?

I will have to say something cliched here. The male-dominated society, apne-aap, decided, without discussing with the ladies, that the woman's 'honor' is her reproductive ability and vaginal 'purity'. Men wanted to propagate their own Y-chromosome by getting a son, through a baby-producing machine called wife, and hence did not want anyone else's sperm in their machine : this is the idea of "purity" of women. A woman is simply a receptacle of their sperm. And the obedient daughters and wives unquestioningly assimilated the idea, given the lack of economic independence to rebut. She was supposed to constantly guard her hymen. Escorts and body-guards surrounded her movements all the time. Her physical body became a fortress to be protected, her brother being the chief guard. You understand Raksha-Bandhan, right? 
Now in the modern society of strong-willed, financially independent women, I will say something un-cliched.  Ma'am, you have taken your reproductive "duty" too seriously. "Society" and "culture" (two things that I don't understand well) defines a woman's 'izzat' as chastity, and only sexual chastity. But why do we have to take chastity so damn seriously? If you hold on dear to your chastity, others will attack it.
It is NOT that because you-can-be-raped, and thus you-must-hold-chastity-as-the-most-important-thing. It is the other way round. Women get raped because they hold chastity as the most important thing defining them. So the rapist thinks, "Let's make the pure girl impure!". He says, "Tumhara aisa haal karoonga ki tum kahin bhi mooh dikhane ke layek nahin rahogi". ROFL! What's the logic? I show my face based on what I can do as a professional and how I establish my identity, do better and better at my work, and have a well-balanced fulfilling wholesome life. I am honorable as along as I do honorable work and do not do anything illegal. 

Now let's get into the intricate nuances of rape. Rapes are NOT for sexual pleasure or "fun".
  • Some are revenge rapes. It starts with male chauvinism, considering women as inferior beings.
  • Some are punishment rapes : for "teaching the girl a lesson". 
  • Some are political rapes : for banishing a woman from the scene.
  • Some can be for settling scores with the husband : remember Ramaayan?
  • Some can be for getting even with the brother : "Saale ke bahan ko uthha le". 
  • Some are possessive rapes : "How-dare-you-turn-down-my-marriage-proposal-and-hence-I-will-rape-you-so-that-no-one-else-will-marry-you-and-I-will-be-your-last-resort". 
  • Some are war-rapes and riot-rapes: let's-pollute-their-community-with-our-sperms-and-make-their-race-impure. 
(Guess why a stranger is least likely to rape you : he does not have any issue with you to settle scores on. )
Ok hypothetically, say, I am raped. Should I sit and cry for the rest of my life? Should I mourn my 'lost honor'? Should I walk with my head hanging in shame for ever? What shameful act have I done? If I am raped, should I consider I am 'spoilt' and 'stale' and no more 'fresh' and 'new'? C'mon : this is like taking your virginity too seriously. If you are attacked, will you simply get raped, lying down? Why did you let that animal walk over you? Where is your resistance? If India is attacked, will it get looted and plundered? If India has defense, you also need to have defense, right? 
It is time to change the newspaper headline from "Woman raped" to "Woman successfully defends rape-attempt".

A physically strong woman runs the risk of appearing tomboyish. Chalega....doesn't matter. No one is holding you at gunpoint to act ladylike (read 'oh damsel-in-distress'). Who brainwashed and hypnotized you into believing that "a woman needs physical assistance all the time"? Society? Culture? Upbringing? If you are able to defend yourself before your brother comes to your rescue, and he feels his ego is hurt, then he is not well brought up. You do not lose your femininity by being self-dependent.
It is trick of the male-dominated society. One man will attempt a rape on you. Another man will come and save you. Men have this plan since the dawn of civilization, as follows: "We men will make women feel, at every instant, that she is physically weak, and hence she needs us, to protect her. We will take turns (alternate between) raping and saving her. She will be trapped in this web created by us, and hence will be under our control and act according to our wish. If she does not need us, she will ignore us. (And women are hardworking and sincere enough to run their own lives). OMG! We cannot afford that, since we have our ego to preserve. By this power-play scheme, we will keep the females dependent on us".
If the the reader does not believe this sub-conscious plan, watch the 2nd reel of the movie "The Burning Train" (1980)

Rape is also a method to restrict the movements of women in the geographical space and limit them within the four walls of the house. Why do girls have curfews and boys don't? Women are advised where and when to go or not to go. May I ask, when I am a citizen of India, every square inch of India is mine and I can set foot on any square inch 24/7/365 (Fundamental Right to Freedom move freely, Article 19(D) of the Constitution). 
Refer to Ramayan : Ravan had no grudge against Sita as a person. But he abducted her since she was Ram's wife. (That he did not rape Sita was another aspect of the story). Do you bear the brunt of your husband's enemies? Solution : be less of a wife and more of an individual.
In contrast, in Mahabharat, Draupadi was insulted and almost stripped in open court because Duryodhan has a personal grudge against her as person, not because she is the simply wife of the Pandavs. 
Understand the power-play and suppression, or Daman. You will be systematically suppressed if you are weak. If you allow the world to treat you like a doormat, the world will gladly do it. If you discriminate against yourself, others with discriminate against you. So, become strong and scare off the other party. People should be slightly apprehensive of you. If your body language is confident, 95% of the potential rapists will ward off. Behave like a first-class citizen of this country : with exactly the same fundamental rights as your male counterparts. You do not need anyone's permission to set foot on this soil. So walk with your head held high. Interact with men exactly like you would interact with women. The more you can talk with men, the less likely will the man treat you like a potential prey, and more like a compatriot (an equal).
Also, understand the society's compensatory gimmicks and the damage-controls. All of them are hypocrisies.
(1) "Mother" India : the country is personified as a woman, who is presumably weak (women are weak, na), and therefore needs to be protected.

(2) Women's clothes are sexist and subversive. The sari is highly seductive : baring the midriff and highlighting the curves with the diagonal wrapping. Skirts are only a temporary cover of the lower body : try bicycling wearing it and find yourself feeling so conscious  (even embarrassed).
(a) Purdah : cover your face, of men will be aroused by your face (eyes and lips). "Nazar tumhari buri, aur purdah daaloon main?"

     (b) Ghoonghat : cover your long hair, or men will be aroused by your long hair. (Question : how do I do my professional jobs like medical operation / teaching classes / lab experiments / photography / housekeeping / Yoga training / etc. if my one hand is constantly busy handling the ghoonghat, so that you don't get a hormonal rush?)

   (c) Duppatta : cover your breasts, or men will be aroused. (Question : Then why have a tight, deep necklined kameez?)

(3) "Ladies First". You have heard this in many public places : it is simply a damage-control technique. Its like "We men have disrespected you women so much in the past that now we will compensate for it". Same goes for the Women's Reservation Bill.
(4) Goddess worship : another gimmick! Women are worshiped as goddesses; after rape, dowry, foetocide, discrimination, etc.etc. Eyewash, eh? The same is true for companies/businesses/ brands/industries being named after mothers, wives, and daughters : "We men will control the money, and you will be our poster girls (decorative purpose)".

(5) Mum's the word : excessive devotion to mother. This comes post-teenage. The son troubles the mother endlessly for 18 years, rebels, disrespects, argues, disobeys, breaks rules, throws tantrums, ignores, back-answers the mother; and then wants to 'compensate' by being her blindly-devoted son for the rest of his life.
Please understand that there is nothing called compensation. You cannot compensate for rape by offering to marry your victim. Your crime does not get atoned, and you are not doing a favor! Look at the strange rule of the "society" : If a man rapes you, you are "dishonored". If your husband "gives" you sex, you are "honored". In both the situations, the physical act remains the same. It is the mood of the man that decides your "honor". REALLY? May I ask who is someone else to decide who I am, and what my self-esteem is? 
Marital Rape. It originates from objectifying women, once again. The husband gets a trophy wife, but treats her like a machine/robot/servant. Marriage becomes a license to have intercourse whenever he wants. He thinks he does not need her consent; since he thinks that through marriage, the society has given the complete right on his wife's body, and her consent is immaterial. If she resists, he says authoritatively, "I am you husband (hear you better cooperate)". In India, the husband is called "Swami" or "Pati", which means owner/master/controller! Again this power-play of one-upmanship precipitates domestic violence.
If the wife wants sex, she does not pounce on her husband. She patiently and indefinitely waits, for 'Pati-ka-Pyar'. She can, at max, request him. Right? 
Stop giving so much importance to sex and reproduction. Have you noticed : most of swear words are sex-related? Be any language or vernacular, humans think the same everywhere. "Izaat loot gayi, main barbaad ho gayi"....shouts the helpless 1980-90's Hindi movie heroine. Don't you have other agendas in life? Is child-bearing your only job on this planet? Even after 3 decades of existence, I have not been able to figure out what 'Izzat' is. Is it the angle at which you hold your head? Is it something biological (read virginity before marriage)?
Stop considering your female body as a "khooli guyi tijori", which can be looted. Have you not heard, "Izzat loot gayi?". Stop objectifying yourself : be a live human being. Stop calling breasts as "assets". As a man, stop ogling at women simply because they are physically slightly different.
Stop watching such movies. Don't allow your children to watch such movies.

Dress neutrally : neither like a saas-bahu serial character, nor in a bikini. Understand that any skimpy dress is like assisting a rapist in first mentally undressing you.  Remember that testosterone is highly volatile : why tickle it? So what if Aishwarya Rai said that you deserve to look attractive? Highlighting your curvatures is equal to making the statement of yourself as a 'sexual' being, desperate to reproduce.
Base you honor on things beyond anyone's reach, i.e. something which no one can attack. E.g., can anyone steal your knowledge? Can anyone destroy your Curriculum Vitae? Can anyone take away you skill-set from you?
Make you CV attractive, instead of skin-deep attraction. Make your reputation so strong that people praise you behind your back. 
Understand this and commit it to your conviction : Your Izzat is your ability to add to the country's GDP. It is your ability to create wealth. It is your ability to be resourceful and be of help to others. Your Izzat is your ability to set an example for others to follow. Kunti was respected for her ability to bring up her five sons so well, that they conquered the whole of India. Draupadi was epitomized as a gritty and determined lady, who would not take any insult lying down, even if she had to wait for 13+ years to take revenge. 
FINAL SOLUTION : Define yourself by yourself. Equalize the power play. Ignore the male ego and "fail" to notice their assumed superiority complex. NO need to be defensive : just do your job well, and your work will do the talking. Vouch for meritocracy. Carry an attitude : "I am a complete human being, not just a vagina to be entered. I cannot be polluted simply by your perverse attempts. I am the FULL me, not just my reproductive system." Make friends with your male colleagues. Develop a sense of humor and look too funny to be raped. Put on some muscle weight (5-7 kgs) and look too firm and formidable to be raped. If you sense a potential attacker, start a conversation with him about the newspaper headlines that day : intelligence and confidence equalizes you in the power-play and relaxes the prowling muscles of the animal. Practice accosting men whenever necessary. Walk fast with firm steps. Be physically fit. Run at times, Lift heavy things, Shout occasionally. Take quick decisions. Develop your reputation such that many people love you and respect you. Handle your money and invest it. Develop good road sense and geography sense. Drive the car properly. If you sense danger, talk in order to deflect attention and seem to be in a hurry : look busy with some very important work (as if you have no time to pay attention to that man). Treat the potential attacker as a compatriot (read an equal). Next time when someone threatens "I will rape you", make a quizzical-cum-confused face an say, "Usse kya hoga? Kaunsi meri salary rook jayegi?". 
Please get a synonym for "pati/swami" and replace it will something more equal. And don't bother about your  reproductive role so much. Also, read Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code.
End question : will you marry your girlfriend if she is a rape-victim? (Parents used to disown such daughters).


rahul said...

I will rather prefer a rape victim to a girl who had consensual sex to satiate her lust. What's ur take on this?

Unknown said...

I completely disagree. I have been attacked for rape in the past and I am not a conventional Bhartiya naari. Rape is when someone has sex with you and you do not want it. It's simply gross and mostly unsafe. I would not feel perverted/dishonored but I would feel depressed someone forced me against my will. Almost the same as if someone kept me and my family in prison and tortured us against our will. Also, the bad part about rape are the injuries, which are very hard to recover from. Rape is NEVER the woman's fault (see countless resources online). This article takes on the convention route that if women change, rape is prevented. It makes it look like it was our fault. That is what causes the depression after rape. The woman blames herself. That is almost as if to say that women in other countries do not get raped! Or only the 1% who believe in virginity and are pious Christians do.

I think objecting is a good place to start but it CANNOT be sold as a panacea. In India, if a woman objects to something, ten other people on the road will come and molest her. We have seen countless examples of this. This is a country where the law enforcers are biased prudes and think of free thinkers as immoral. This is a problem with the society, NOT the woman.

P.S. I work out and can lift as much an any Indian man but I doubt I or anyone else can fend off 4 attackers without a weapon.

Mahesh said...

Ur post doesn't give concrete step of stoping Rape.
the simple solution would be discuss rape....let be it family.....discuss with child (male/female)....wenever news come on tv discuss with family. let ur child know wat she feels about rape wats ur father think about it.
i feel this will reduce rape case.
another aspect is quality education.
stop censoring films and all that stuff....this create curiosity in child. some will say its neccesary but if we remove censoring then only one generation will have bad effect as they dont knw as a child how to overcome....as soon they grow older there experiance will help young generation on how control it (wat is rite or wrong watching).