“Yatra naryastu pujante ramante tatra devta”, a famous shloka from ‘manusmrithi’ which means where women are honoured, divinity blossoms there, is long forgotten. Increasing rape culture in India is not only the mockery of the above mentioned verse but also brings into palisade the very existence of humanity and modern societies that are believed to be much civilized. Recent horrific incidents of Kathua, Surat, Unnao, Rohtak had not only ashamed but shook the consciousness of humanity Hollowness of system is revealed and all schemes of government that endorses women empowerment seems to be mere rhetoric when such monstrous behaviour is repeated so often. Rape as a culture suggests a pattern of learned behaviour that is created, organised and transmitted from generation to generation as a part of the expectations associated with being male and female. In the most strident form of rape culture women are considered as the property of men who deny them respect and the right to control their own bodies.
Rape is not just the problem of an individual victim or of a sick perpetrator but a socially and culturally produced problem to be addressed at the societal level. A rape culture is a product of behaviour and attitudes as well as of the institutions supporting those behaviours and attitudes. Like in the recent Kathua case where as per chargesheet a minor was brutally gang raped and murdered as pre plan to create terror among the Bakarwal Community so that they may evacuate land and later instead of punishing support provided to such monsters by none other than those in uniform (police in destroying evidence and Bar association barring justice) who are otherwise considered as saviours of justice. Another case of unnao where a girl is raped by a person who is elected by the people as their representative in the hope of better governance and welfare, is too ironic. Such cases not only exposes the failure of democratic institutions but also highlights the existence of feudal and barbaric tendencies.
Now the question is why such insensitivity prevails in our so called modern and educated society that even after committing heinous crime criminals are provided support base by the people sometimes in the name of religion as in our country often Hindu Muslim colour is given to divert from the main event. Either there is nothing like human consciousness or still it is the same barbaric age that even minors are not safe. Why such feudal mindset from generations enable men as arbiters of power to exploit and abuse women – consciously and unconsciously sometimes in the name of revenge, sometimes as trophy of victory or more often to showcase power has not changed even in this modern world? Why women are still not treated as human beings? Why from generations they are look down upon as sex object, property of honour symbol? Answer to these questions lie somewhere that a rape culture is generated and maintained by a social structure based on gender disparity, where men are expected to be strong and unemotional who are legitimised to do anything otherwise termed as sin for women on other hand. Women are expected to behave lady like, accept all ills of men and to remain in the frame and boundary created by the society.Indian society has laid down a Laxman Rekha for her women that has not be crossed at any cost but irony is that no such boundary is drawn for men.
This is the reason it is often heard in some cases that victim herself was responsible for her rape as she was not dressed as per society guidelines as allured men to do so n poor creatures were helpless and forced to commit such crime.In a rape culture women are socialised to assume responsibility for controlling the”naturally aggressive “ behaviour of men in interpersonal relations and by restricting their own movements and behaviour. Young girls internalise fear simply because they are female. Now the question is can such society based on gender disparity be termed as modern. Modern society in real terms means when both men and women are considered as equal pillars. Infact women empowerment seems to be like an impossible dream till women remains to be the improvished section of the society. Empowerment in real terms could only be achieved when a female could lead her life with dignity and without any fear. When a girl alone is not considered as so called “ghar and samaj ki izzat” rather a guy becomes ghar and samaj ki izzat. Where both girls and boys are brought up in the alike manner to be grown up as not only responsible but also sensitive humans. Where no more a woman is considered as sex or pleasurable object or a mean to satisfy all needs of man. Empowerment should equalise to bring women as mainstream society rather than being improvished. Need is to reform the societal behaviour, to make it more sensitive than such diseases could be cured automatically to great extent.
Besides society our system too has got an important role to play. Such horrific crimes are repeated so often because justice is very slow process and criminals are not dealt sternly. In such heinous crimes capital punishment is only justified and that too through speedy process so that such sick people should think twice before ashaming humanity. Girls should also be made more aware against sexual assaults and abuses. Schemes like “Beti Bachao” will appear worth only when system on other hand is strong enough to prevent such heinous crimes to happen and than fair enough to punish such anti social elements. Lets make the country a safe place for her daughters to live in with dignity. Lets lead our country to be a super power in real terms where ideals of development are based on modern progressive ideas not on old feudal mindset that cannot be lifted above religion or gender.
Shahid Majeed Mir hails from Misribehak Machil Kupwara and can be reached at [email protected]*