Friday, 23 August 2013
Rape! Attitude... or something else?
For once, I am at a loss for words... a total loss for words!
Yet another morning, and yet another rape... a simple google search threw up the shocking statistic 68000 rapes in our nation just 2 years. I am speechless, and shocked...
And I dont buy that nonsense that is oft stated - "rape happens even in the developed world, and at a greater rate". I care 2 damned hoots for what happens elsewhere, and at what rate. We are not discussing GDP Growth figures, for heaven's sake... we are discussing the dignity and life of 68000 women in just 2 years... a statistic that should be enough to jolt even the most lackadaisical and sanguine among us... a statistic that should, but does not, act as a brutal wake-up call to our society! It is not a competition; it is not as if we celebrate if our rape numbers are 0.001% below the US, or Pakistan. Having read many a statement online, like "doesn't rape happen in the USA etc", I think it essential that we deal with this matter first! Fact of the matter is that these numbers are just not acceptable!
I have already stated in my articles on corruption that our national moral compass is in dire need of correction; these are not signs of a healthy society. I am sorry to use such harsh words, but I am too numbed into senseless shock to be soft this time around. The sheer brazenness of the rapists has stunned me; there is no fear of the law, no fear of God, no morals, and no recourse for the poor woman either. Someone can just grab a lady and rape her at 5PM in the afternoon, right next to a railway track in Mahalaxmi, the heart of Mumbai? The enormity of the brazenness of this deed has stunned me speechless.
It seems clear that the rapists were just not scared of getting caught, and had lost total fear of the law. And when that happens, you have only your morals and your conscience between yourself and evil. I just don't buy that spiel that is given regarding attitude towards women; I cant see any attitude issue here. All I can see is a person who has no fear for the law, and no conscience and no morals. I can see an attitude issue towards the police; that they are ineffective. I can spot a morality that is in dire need of correction - but not attitude. Taken together with the rampant corruption as evidenced in the life around us, the signals are clear: signs of a serious societal decay, a society that is so bloody self-centred, so fearless of the law, so amoral, and so numbed into senselessness that it cannot take the steps needed to correct itself...
Do we have an attitude issue towards women? Yes, we do. A real world example from Corporate India will help to illustrate my point. This happened around 7 - 8 years ago, in one of the biggest companies in India. Two of the support staff took panning videos of the girls in my distributors' staff - full profile shots. There was a hue and cry. When I intervened, and asked - do you have a problem with our company? Answer: No, we just want justice - and these guys to pay for their deed. We don't like to have our full profile videos taken without our permission. Fair enough, and logical. They went ahead and complained. The feedback I got from a couple of senior managers was shocking: "boys will be boys. So what if some videos were taken? They are boys yaar - they were just having fun". Wow. Fun? And what about the girls getting insulted - for they were feeling insulted. This is in a small town in Central India. Someone takes a full video of a girl - panning from head downwards (as per descriptions I got), and that is "just having fun?". Now this is attitude. This is reflective of an attitude issue in society - and in my opinion, no part of India is free from it.
Rape is far, far beyond attitude. Let us not brush it under the carpet by stating it as an attitude problem among males. Rape is far, far more serious. Rape impacts the entire life of the woman. At times, some Rambo of a husband even leaves the poor raped woman, as though she is to blame. It impacts the entire family, and engenders a fear psychosis in society. It is a crime, plain and simple. Rape happens when a man loses sight of morality, fear of the law and is indicative of a power complex; that he can get away with it. Once that feeling sets in - that you cant be caught - then you have only your conscience and your values standing between yourself and evil. This is not attitude; this is not a complex. This is just a total lack of moral direction, conscience combined with fearlessness of the law. This is far, far more serious than attitude...
The repeated incidents highlight 2 clear points: there is no fear of the law, and that there is no morality left anymore. While we cannot do anything immediately about the moral correction bit - that is a long-term affair even at the best of times, we can and should do something about the law and order situation by improving the sensitivity, training and effectivity of the police. This is critical since it is evident that the people are just not scared of the law, due to slow pace of justice, corruption and connections which ensure that people go scot free and unpunished for years altogether.
The problem with calling Rape an attitude issue is that it is escapist, and a euphemism. Further, the word attitude does not tackle the lack of fear of the law; it also brushes under the carpet the larger issue of the life of the woman - as then the great Rambos in our society can lay claim to the weak excuse that this is part of our overall treatment of women. You then equate Rape with stalking a woman; asking unknown women, total strangers, for a date regardless of whether or not she wants to talk to you; eve-teasing; denying equal rights to women etc etc. Rape is Rape - nothing less. It is plain and simple an act of a criminal mind that has no place in society, a mind that has lost all touch with reality - and is indicative of a man who has no right to function in a free manner in a decent society...