Rapes in India – A Perspective

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From the past few days the news channels and the social media is abuzz with the news of Delhi gang rape and almost everyone is showing their anger through these mediums.  While we all have our sympathy with the victim and condemn, few question were being raised in my mind. These questions may seem inappropriate at this hour, but I feel they should be answered.

We are all posting Facebook status and tweets and going for candle marches in support for the victim and to grant him justice, but do any of us remember when was the last time somebody was given punishment by seeing our Facebook updates or reading our tweets or by signing a petition? Or can anyone can even recall last 5 rape cases despite them being high in numbers! I bet very few can. I am not saying that we should not stage our protest or not show our concern, but this is the cure, i.e. the damage is already being done. Even if we give the accused capital punishment, it is not going to change the scenario. I fully agree that it will give justice to the victim, but is this really the permanent solution? We know that prevention is better than cure, but why are we always focused on the cure part? What about the prevention?

I hear politicians debate about rape laws and methods to prevent it. They said they will increase security and they will give more protection, girls must carry pepper spray, learn self defence etc etc. Many mouth many opinions. But again, these are all the methods of prevention; they will not solve the root cause! So, what is the root cause? Some say that girls nowadays are given more freedom, they wear short skirts, skimpy clothes, have causal relationships, etc etc. So is this the real reason? Although most people will not agree to this but many people do believe this, although they are too afraid or shy to accept and admit it! But unfortunately this is also not the real cause. If that be the cause then USA, UK etc should have much more rapes then India! But this is not the case. So what is the root cause?

The reason I am giving may offend some people or some of you may shrug it as rubbish, but this is what I felt going through deep thought process.

Indians are from the very beginning very conservative people and we always give importance to our values, our so called sanskars. Traditionally our women have been concealed to purdah or ghunghat, and they were not allowed to take part in business matters or various other things, and were supposed to work in kitchen. As time changed, these traditions were ceased and now women have an equal status in India. But do they really have an equal status in our minds? As kids, we are supposed to behave and become a good person. One of those things was maintaining distance from the opposite sex. In school, girls and boys were not allowed to sit together, and they were differentiated on most of the aspects. In our homes also, boys are given much more importance than girls. Gender bias exists everywhere. Many of you may not have faced such a situation, but I am not talking with regards to a particular set of people; this is with regards to majority of Indians. In our families and in school, at a very early age, this bias begins. The boys are told to stay away from girls and the girls are told to stay away from boys. A child or a teenager, who follows this advice is said to be sanskari. Others get comments like ‘awara ho gayi/gaya hai’ etc. We are so much sanskari that we don’t even discuss sex education in our schools or at homes. If any boy or a girl is seen to be good friend with opposite sex, than parents and teachers scold him/her and warn him/her. We are allowed to party with our friends, but only if they are of same sex. From the very beginning, we are taught that girls are weaker and we should respect them. So, what is the cumulative result of all this?

The result is not instantaneous; it shows up after years after nothing can be done. As boys are taught to respect girls because they are weaker, they tend to believe that they are indeed weaker and end up disrespecting them. Due to that lack of communication between boys and girls in earlier life, boys and girls could not mix up properly, and hence boys are never able to understand what women truly are. Most of the boys do not get a chance to talk to girls till they are adults, so they only think of them as beautiful piece of flesh. They never get a chance to understand them. They never accept them as a part of their own mankind. As we do not have sex education in schools, this topic is still a big taboo. These sanskars which at an early age were supposed to help us become better human beings spoil us into being inhumane. Why the situation in other countries is not same as in India, despite girls there are more free, wear skimpy clothes etc. It’s because they do not have such bias as Indians like ‘you are a girl and you are a boy and you should not mix and mingle’!

I am not saying that we have bad values, am just saying that some of the values of our system are not helping us. There is no point in discriminating between boys and girls. If we will suppress both genders and do not give them a chance to understand each other, the problem will not solve. The root cause lies in our own system, in our values and ethics. True, that the thinking is changing, but lot more needs to be done. Stop discrimination. Have a broad minded thinking. It’s no harm if both the genders mix. The boys will stop ogling at girls and passing comments on them if they will have girls as their friends from school time. This way they will get to know them and will really respect them. They will understand that women are not about how curvy they are, but they are about how beautiful their heart is.

I am not very sure that I was able to convey my thought properly, as both rape, and our value system are a very sensitive topics and I do not want to hurt anybody’s emotions. Please ignore if you have any objections.

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