By Soumya Jeet Kar

Edited by, Madhavi Roy, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist

In a patriarchal society, rape is considered just another assertion of a subhuman superiority complex of the masculine on the feminine. In India, where society unfortunately hasn’t yet emancipated itself from the claws of misogyny and gross bigotry when it comes to gender, rape is an easy conclusion. It is informally quoted that every thirty minutes a woman is raped in the country. Given the enormity of such news on dailies, such a proposition isn’t all that blown up. However, what is even more shameful is the perception of the general public on rape.

Recently I happened to come across this video on social media, registering the opinions of more than ten people, all urban, on rape. I was appalled to see that each and every person ascribed the occurrence of rape to westernization of women’s outfit, which ‘shows’ more and ‘invites’ rape. It is downright stupid and illogical to comment in such a manner. According to the people whose views were recorded, the number of rapes is on the rise because of girls wearing short clothes. The most heinous of rape cases which have rocked the country have been on either rural women or have had no correlation with how much the victim was ‘exposing’. Statistically speaking, the number of marital rapes in India has also been prevalent at a disgraceful level. I fail to relate that to western clothes. If one sits and eliminates rape cases where the woman was wearing a sari or something Indian for that matter, we will probably have the least percentage of rapes in the world. That is the degree of absurdity of the thought. Moreover, it is not that the number of rapes are on the rise, but more cases are surfacing which in a way is a good sign that women are at least breaking out of the stigma of rape, to talk about it and fight it.

Another shocking thing was that the respondents were not some illiterate bunch of men from whom such prejudices are anticipated- they all had a refined sartorial sense and a few were students. This sadly points to the fact that education has failed in eradicating the patriarchal biases from the society. We are so deeply immersed in chauvinism that it has become convenient to attribute the cause of rapes to women’s clothing, because men imbibing morale and respect for women hurts the male ego. We might have come a long way in overcoming the shame associated with rape, and the political attention received by a few cases has paved the way for more survivors of rape to get justice, but none of it has cured the mental blindness of the public. Rape continues to perennially victimize the victim. “Why had she gone out alone? Why was she wearing a particular type of dress?” And other such irrelevant questions continue to exist in the minds of people. It is as if we are talking about a pack of dogs that will be attracted to food if it is kept in the open. People often say that if a woman makes such ‘moves’, it is ‘natural’ for the man to act accordingly. I really wish I knew what fascinating ‘moves’ women make before they are raped. And it is not just men who harbor such feelings and judgments, an elderly woman was also questioned and she opines that the morale of men is contingent to how women conduct themselves. It seems that the entire nation is suffering from a grave disease of a lack of sensible thought- from the educated youth to the common man to religious leaders who are self proclaimed guardians of the society.

We are so busy in vilifying women around us that relevant questions never come to our mind. Why don’t we ever question the rapist’s intentions? Why is it so difficult to expect restraint and sanity from them?! Everybody talks about empowering the women and such fancy stuff, but unless we guarantee this ‘human’ justice to them, we don’t deserve to talk about empowerment. The root of the problem is in the archaic patriarchs who see rape as a convenient tool to clip women’s movements in the society.  The result of that confinement won’t be a reduction in number of rapes, rather it’ll lead to even fewer cases being reported. It is very easy to beat up an isolated foreigner on the Metro on grounds of ‘supposed’ eve-teasing, but it really takes ‘being human’ to give women their due respect which accidental human beings will find impossible to understand and that, is the tragedy of our society.

Soumya jeet kar is currently a student of Economics, at St. Stephen’s College. Being a hardcore Bengali and Calcuttan, he is a voracious foodie who loves to cook and eat. He is also passionate about books, mainly thrillers and off record; he also loves to write, {not laughing out loud}. Having been trained in Indian Classical Music, he is rather proud of his refined taste in music and the performing arts. Email him at jeet0112@gmail.com.

Posted by The Indian Economist | For the Curious Mind