Perspective and Perception

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The moment we think it’s over, another shocking incident takes place. We were awaiting the final verdict on the primary accused in Delhi rape-case and the news channels were telecasting the gang-rape that happened in Mumbai. Eighteen police teams on a look out for five accused. They were caught within 4 days after committing the heinous act. When the Delhi rape case took place some people accused the girl for staying out at night and most people affirmed it in their heads. So, what did the victim of Mumbai rape case do wrong? We need to be clear in our thoughts about who is to be blamed. What kind of a society are we shaping where one (girl/woman) doesn’t feel safe? Another issue that needs urgent attention is the psyche behind rapes. The problem is grave and is rising at an alarming rate. It is not only the frequency that we should be bothered about but we should also focus on the ‘who’ factor.

In the recent past newspapers and news channels have reported about son raping his own mother, father raping daughter, relatives sexually abusing niece, baby girls being raped and so on. Well, there is also marital rape however that is another serious concern that needs to be handled differently.

Getting back to the accusation which is most times towards the victim; so where does a baby go ‘wrong’!! I’m not mentioning girls/women as the only victims. Young boys are also violated. What do they do wrong? If the answer to rape of a female is curiosity or the need to assert power but then how come a boy!! This again is another issue to be dealt with sensitively.

We (Indians) keep ranting about our ‘rich’ culture and lifestyle infused with ‘tradition’ that looks down upon rape. We blame it on the western influence for the rise in epidemic called sexual abuse. We take pride in talking about our glorious past. Well I wasn’t alive then; all I can see is the present and it doesn’t make me happy.  Let’s not blame it on Western Influence. We are not kids, we all are conscious adults. The problem is our art of ‘objectifying’. The range of objectifying is wide from the people living next door to celebrities on Page 3.

The problem with us is the ‘culture’ and ‘tradition’ talk is limited to closed doors and to the people who are already aware. Anything beyond that perimeter is not our concern.  We cut loose those values when we are not in the familiar zone. People who talk about values are sometimes the one to whistle the loudest on a dance number in Hindi movies. Once I heard a person say this after watching a movie, “There was so much hype created about the movie, the actor didn’t even expose. She should do justice to her body.”   In India all men carry an invisible license to stare at women- no matter how she is dressed.  The focus is never on clothes it is on the body beneath those layers. Some of the standard remarks are ‘awesome legs’, ‘what an ass’, ‘well shaped boobs’ and so on and age of both the commenter  and  the one commented on has very little role to play.

No numbers of stringent laws are not going to hinder it keep aside bringing an end to it. The transition has to come from within. The Sexual Harassment at workplace Act mentions ‘colourful remarks, gesture, comments’ etc to be considered as harassment however people are not going to become sensitive. For instance I had once suggested a person to wear t-shirt when house help is around and also not to linger around the kitchen while she is there working. I could feel she gets conscious and alert. However his instant reaction to my suggestion “Please she’s a maid and I don’t think she feels like that. She has been working for so long, she is used to it now.” What she feels is her prerogative and her being a maid doesn’t make her feelings any lesser!

Why is it men feel like ‘men’ only when they are able to assert their power? Why do they have to suppress/ harass/ subdue a female? What gives rise to the instinct of always taking control of another person? Somewhere in our society we must have gone wrong when defining what ‘manly’ means and we also went wrong while defining women both those related to us and the unrelated ones.  When imparting the ‘how to present yourself in front the society’ it the responsibility of the ‘female’ to restrain, remain covered, talk softly, adjust, agree and best of the all not being provocative in any manner. Why the men not give into provocation?! How difficult is it?

It is high time that we give a serious thought to refurbish our society.  Let not the rich values and traditions become like mere set of guidelines that no one is adhering to. We need to promote and bring use of the withering away glory. Society is a construct of our contribution and it is our responsibility and well within our capacities to bring about the change. We (as men and women together) need to work on creating an empathetic and sensitive society rather than feeling sympathetic and sorry about each horrific incident. 



India will keep producing

India will keep producing Bhavri Devis, Nirbahyas and  Daminis till there is a chage in the attitude of the patriarchle socity we are a product of. The society that view women as "objects" rayher than individuls.

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