I have not seen a rapist so far. But I do know people who have patronised victims of rape by availing of their service after the victims had been “suitably rehabilitated” in some lurid corner of the flourishing sex industry of Delhi. Here the question of morality or offence against women did not arise, at least for the customers, because they were not guilty of any form of violence, though some did tell me they should not have partaken of it even after knowing they were rape-victims. Why their conscience pricked is easy to tell. Modern business management says the customer is also a stakeholder in any form of trade. In other words, they gained from the fact that the women who offered their bodies had been raped. Stretch the argument and we find that some of us have a stake in the survival of rape as well.
But it is still strange to me as to how I have not seen a rapist. In imagination they at one time seemed all around me when I was in my finishing years at school. And their being there bought one question to mind — how are rapists born? From unfulfilled sexual desire? From the crass language in which such desire is expressed? If that is so, which is to be blamed — the desire or the language? In my circle of friends were eve-teasers who looked down upon me for not being able to come up to their level. Let me admit I could not do so not because I was a high-minded individual but simply due to the fact that I was not smart enough and actually a coward. So does smartness, or the desire to be smart, lead to such tendencies?
This is one side of the story. The current anger against rape, highly blameworthy for being so late in coming, is apt to be misunderstood by those living in the outback of the country, where rape is more common.
If an industrial house offers a job to a rape-victim, one cannot but appreciate the gesture in most gracious terms. But spare a thought for those whose deep anguish did not find the articulation that is being seen today.
It is heard, sometimes from women themselves, men are often provoked into this kind of crime. And here I am again reminded of my student days, when the eve-teasing friends of mine had women admirers. Maybe for their smartness, who knows? A woman classmate, not known to be a nymph, told me most cases of rape were actually voluntary acts of submission. I would like to ask her after the recent Delhi incident if she still stands by her deep understanding of women’s sexuality.
To state the much-stated proposition, rapists are not born. They are made. And let the fight against rape be started by those who are willy-nilly caught in the sordid tangle.