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Boys will be boys, of course! This adage has taken on a whole new meaning today, as the chief of a major political party connected it with rape and capital punishment, averring that it was unfair to punish boys for their ‘mistakes’. This was after a Mumbai court had given the death penalty to three ‘repeat’ offenders in the Shakti Mills gang rape case. “Boys make mistakes… if we come to power there will be changes in the tough anti-rape law!” After stirring up a hornet’s nest, the leader went on to say that boys and girls fall in love, and then part due to differences. “When their friendship ends, the girl complains she has been raped.”
The Delhi gang rape was also followed by callous statements by supposedly prominent people, who shot their mouths off, proving that common sense is, indeed, quite uncommon. And that ‘sensitivity’ is a word only found in the mouths of dentists recommending their favourite toothpaste. Women, of course, do not deserve to be looked upon with any kind of sensitivity. After all, according to the hordes of ignoramuses, steeped in patriarchal mindsets that should have been thrown out with the so-called burning of witches, and the prevalence of Sati, women invite rape, in the way they dress, the way they behave, and even in the way they breathe!
One self-proclaimed controversial God-man opined that the Delhi rape victim should have turned her rapists into her brothers, before they turned into her rapists! Other wise men prudently advise women to wear overcoats, eschew skirts, wear more clothes, and not walk around ‘highly dented-painted’! One gentleman spoke of ‘Sitaji’ , the Indian mythological Goddess, being abducted only after she crossed the Lakshman Rekha, something which women should not do as there are Ravans out there.
The ridiculous suggestions do not stop there! Ban cell phones that encourage girls to make futile small talk, abolish co-education, and stop consumption of fast food! A politician even blamed it on something that apparently had more of an IQ than he did – ‘chowmein’! And under no circumstances should girls wear jeans, ‘the attire of American cowboys’!
Another gentleman sagely concluded that rapes occur in India, and not in villages that embody the spirit of Bharat, as he pointed an accusing finger against Western culture that has seeped into India.
However ‘the most unkindest cut of all’, as the Bard himself put it, is when women support the rapist. In one case, a prominent woman leader spoke of a rape case as “a misunderstanding between the two parties involved, between a lady and her client”.
Another unbelievably outrageous statement came from a woman scientist, when she remarked, “When a group of men intend to rape, they will do it! Had the girl simply surrendered when surrounded by six men, she would not have lost her intestine.” The barb came at the end, “Why was she out with her boyfriend at 10pm?”
So many self appointed guardians of public morality, patriarchal figures whose tongues do not quaver when they talk against women who are wronged, molested and stripped of their dignity. A Khap Panchayat spoke of bringing down the marriage age to prevent the rising incidents of rapes.
The modern Draupadi finds herself divested of her clothing, while Sita is still scorned for having crossed her Lakshman Rekha!
Ironic, isn’t it? That every person, and his neighbor, speaks of how to protect women from rape, instead of trying to solve the actual problem – that of engraining the ideals of respect and reverence in the minds of men towards women. As Wilhelm von Humboldt put it so aptly, “The morality of nations depends on their level of respect towards women.” Going by that, India would be somewhere at the bottom of the list, wouldn’t it?
Published by the Red Elephant Foundation
Deepti Menon has always believed in the power of the pen. Having done her post graduation in English Literature and her B.Ed. in English, she had the option of teaching and writing, and did both with great enjoyment. She started writing at the age of ten, long before she acquired a Diploma in Journalism. Deepti also had the advantage of being an Army kid, and later an Army wife, and loved the idea of travelling around India, meeting new people and acquiring new skills. She firmly believes that much of her personality was honed during those travels. For Deepti, writing needs to sparkle with simplicity and originality, and she strives to find that one word that conveys her ideas most meaningfully to her readers. She believes that Mark Twain had the right idea when he said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”