When I started this blog, I had a clear idea in my head that I would just write satirical stuff, make-believe flowery love stories or relationship stuff.
But, things happened and I drifted towards more practical issues : dowry, male dominance in India , India and social change.
Here I want to make something very clear. I certainly don’t want to stand on a high pedestal of moral values and sound all too preachy or morally superior. I certainly don’t want to be seen like that. I write. Thats what I do. I don’t preach. I have here a medium to express my views and share it with people. And I would like to be looked at just like that : an honest blogger with a conscience.
The last 4/5 days have been goldmine for the media houses, be it print or electronic.
A 17-year old girl sexually molested and beaten up by a mob just because she was drinking in a pub at late hours of the night makes for sensational news.
There is widespread anger about the whole incident. 4 out the 11 identified have been arrested. Others are missing. Some groups are saying that the girl asked for it by staying till late at a pub. Some are angry that the media simply covered the incident for 40minutes without defending the girl. Some are livid with the police for arriving at the scene of crime 30 minutes late.
But, what bothers me the most is that these are simply knee jerk reactions and when the dust settles down, this case would be forgotten and we would all be going on with our lives as before.
The larger issue here is sexual molestation and the stigma associated with it.
In India, there is a certain stigma associated with rape. And suprisingly, instead of the criminal, the victim suffers the most here. She is looked down upon as easy, ‘impure’, and someone who’ll never find a husband (if she is single). So, the law here often comes up with a unique settlement for the woman – “MARRY THE RAPIST”. In most cases the law offers the woman this compromise – a redemption for her, a passport to a life with dignity. And in return she must withdraw the case he had registered against the offender. The offender gets a free run.
Here is a newspaper except :
“You normally don’t expect agirl to marry her rapist but in a recent case in West Delhi , a woman wanted to marry the guy who allegedlyraped her. This is obviously not a one off case and definitely brings to limelight the existence of an insensitive society that doesn’t think twice before putting a girl up for trial, once again.
This March, K G Balakrishnan, the then ChiefJustice of India had said, “Awoman should be allowed tohave a baby out of rape and/or marry the man and drop the rape charge if sheso wishes.” But most don’t call the step justified. Kavita, an NGO worker stresses on the point. “Thegirl has already been wronged once. And to add to the misery, her predator neatly escapes the consequences of the crime by simply marrying the girl. You never know if this practice catches on, rapistsmight resort to such techniques on any girl he fancies. This is just not done.”
The rapist also takes advantage of the social stigma that no man will accept a woman who has been raped.”
I think a victim is mentally raped the moment she enters in a matrimonial alliance with the offender. This is the moment when she chooses to be raped for every single day of her life.
And the offender is not responsible for the second rape and subsequent rapes. WE ARE. THE HYPOCRITICAL SOCIETY IS. We have created this stigma. We are all rapists, maybe not physically but morally, yes.
But India is diverse in its cultures and traditions. And also diverse in the quality of people that live here.
Like there are pricks, there are also men of honour.
Enter Suman Das, a 19-year old college student.
I happen to swim in the same swimming pool as Suman. The day before yesterday, we were having an animated discussion about the incident of the sexual molestation. Someone said that the girl’s life is ruined now because she would not find a husband.
Suman protested and said he was ready to marry the girl. He said he was even ready to marry someone who had been raped.
And I, for one, know that he was not being hypocritical. He meant it.
In this hour of gloom and depressing incidents, and social degradation, it is really refreshing to find CHANGE in a young 19- year old lad. Change is alive. Maybe we can all learn a thing or too from Suman. Maybe we can stop the mental rape of the girl by accepting her as any other girl. She was just the victim of a beast’s lust. Let us not victimise the victim. Suman Das is not a hero straight out of a Bollywood flick – he is how real men should be. But perhaps century-old traditions have conditioned us to become lesser men.
Its time we let a rape victim live like any other girl lives – sans judgement. Its time we treat her equally, judge her on the basis of her attitude, education, independence, and how beautiful a person she is.
Ask yourself – “Would you marry a