HindustanTimes Wed,22 Oct 2014

Putting rape in right perspective

Narender S Thakur, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, May 05, 2014
First Published: 00:19 IST(5/5/2014) | Last Updated: 00:29 IST(5/5/2014)

A bad theory is as bad as a bad recipe. Or even worse. Recently a young woman from Nagaland, who worked at a mall in Gurgaon, was forced to jump out of a moving car after its driver made an audacious attempt to rape her.


Of late so many things have been said and written about the ghastly 2012 Delhi gangrape. From the press, streets to Parliament—much was said and talked about in a variety of tenors and expressions. One writer put it thus: “Because rape, let’s face it, isn’t about sex. It’s more about assertion than insertion...more about humiliation, domination and the bottom of all, insecurity.” The writer even went on to suggest men raped women because the latter made them feel insecure.

I beg to disagree with all those who subscribe to the idea that the underlying reason behind rape is not sexual perversion or lust but something else. By looking at rape in the mere binary of oppressor and the oppressed will be tantamount to doing disservice to the understanding the issue and taking remedial measures.

There is widespread misogyny in our society, we agree. A writer in her column cited the case of a young female executive at a Delhi call centre who was picked up outside her home at 2 am by some people in a truck after she was dropped by her office cab and eventually raped by them in a secluded place. The writer went on to conclude they violated her because she was “an empowered and financially independent woman” who made them feel so insecure, being illiterates themselves. All this is because, the writer went on to say, women have “encroached” upon male territory and the latter felt threatened. This is where the whole argument seems to have lost direction. As a matter of the fact, the accused did not even know who that girl was. Isn’t it outlandish to suggest they felt threatened by her because she was independent — financially and socially — and went on to perpetrate a crime like rape on her without even knowing who she was? 

So many countries around the world have a provision in their judicial systems for chemical castration as a measure to check incidents of rape. But if rape is only about “feeling insecure” or “isn’t about sex” or “more about assertion than insertion”, then why talk about things like chemical castration? The young woman became a victim as the rapists found it convenient to commit the crime in the dark. If the “because women make men feel insecure” proposition is true, then it automatically implies women who are not financially independent or empowered — especially those living in rural areas — will rarely be victims of rape.

There are many cases of sodomy where the victim is male. How shall we put it then? As they say, delivery lies in detail. Governments do not bring about cultural revolutions. They can work on tangible measures such as making our public spaces safer, better policing  and efficient  judiciary. India’s policing system needs a drastic overhaul — right from recruitment, training to the working environment.

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