Pernicious Terror of Rape Continues Unabated

November 12, 2014

Turn the pages of any news daily in any language  on any day or turn on the news channel of your choice on any given day, seldom  will you pass a day without reading or hearing a story of petrifying, terrorizing and dehumanizing rape on a woman or abuse of a child taking place in some part of India! The incessant and unabated terror of rape on a land known for its culture and tradition has indeed brought India to limelight for the wrong reasons to say the least. The metaphor of terror or terrorism to describe the phenomenon of rape is apt because no girl or woman today can feel cent per cent secure in India as she steps out of her house during any time of day or night. The horrifying incidents of rape reported every other day have created a sense of phobia and uncertainty in the female population.

Almost two years have elapsed since the brutal and animalistic act of rape perpetrated on a physiotherapy student in Delhi on  Dec 6, 2012 on a moving bus –what is better known as  the Nirbhaya case -  and the country has witnessed numerous sexual assaults on women in different parts of India since then. Nirbhaya case which evoked an unprecedented public hue and cry against the crime of rape should   have put a permanent full stop to similar crimes or at least reduced them significantly. Despite the introduction of stronger legislation in many states, the said crime continues unabated.

Last year again, a medical student of Manipal University was abducted from the premises and gang raped. The incident, however, did not grab as much  attention of the nation as the Nirbhaya case. The suspicious rape and murder case of Sowjanya, a  pre-university student of SDM College Ujire, a town on the outskirts of Mangalore city has not seen a decisive end in spite of order for high level enquiry  by the  CID and CBI. This incident that cast the needle of suspicion on a high profile personality has failed in finding justice to the victim and its family so far. 

In an interview to a private news channel, a female CBI officer narrated her agony of desperately waiting for justice in a case where she herself was the victim of sexual atrocities by a colleague. What does this imply in this case and innumerable other similar cases? Justice delayed is justice denied!

In the last few months, Bangalore known as the IT hub all over the world hit the headlines for child rape incidents that occurred in school premises. What shook the conscience of the parents and the civil society is the fact that the perpetrators were the staff of the so called International school! Another similar incident of child abuse in a different  International school in Bangalore recurred much before the implementation of the security guidelines issued by the GOVT of Karnataka! That apart there have been many similar  ghastly incidents of rape but did not receive the same media attention.

In the most recent unbelievably brutal incident, a woman in Rajasthan was forced to suffer humiliating public punishment after being accused of killing her nephew. Stripped of all her clothes, the woman was paraded naked on a donkey on the orders of village elders. Further her hair was cut short,  face was blackened and was beaten. “Instances of public shaming are common in India and women can be stripped and paraded naked as a form of humiliation and punishment.”, reports Mirror of United Kingdom. What an image of itself  India is projecting to the rest of the world!

There have been many instances of women being gang raped or paraded naked  as a punishment for falling in love with the boy or man from a different caste! The West Bengal case of gang rape  is particularly troubling, because it was allegedly ordered by a council made up of village elders. Such councils are not legally binding in India, but they are socially very powerful. The councils decide on social norms in the village, and in some cases they dictate the way women should dress or who they should marry. Those who flout the councils risk being ostracized. In a similar incident, a few years back, a girl was paraded naked through the village with the mob chasing and abusing her along the way. Incredible India! Where are the so called custodians of culture and self-proclaimed moral police!?

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 24,923 cases of rape were reported in India in the year 2012. It is worth-noting that these statistics are only about the reported cases! God alone knows how many similar cases have slipped under the carpet or not being reported at all! In a country where sex is taboo and  not a topic to be discussed in the public, the voice of victims of rape is enfeebled. Often their worst fear is who would marry them once they are known as rape victims. 

Even as the incidents of rape are being increasingly reported, the statements issued by a few irresponsible politicians are annoying. The best example to the case in point  is that of Samajwadi party head Mulayam Singh Yadav who spoke in a justifying tone that it is natural for boys to commit such crimes! (Boys are after all boys). Related to child abuse incidents in Bangalore recently,  Karnataka politicians namely Eshwarappa of BJP and Ivan D'Souza of Congress stooped to a new low in using sexist language and  exploiting the topic of rape for political gains!

The million dollar question now is whether the rape is  increasing or is it being highlighted more nowadays? This is a topic that needs serious research because recently when the home minister and chief minister of Karnataka were quizzed about the increasing incidents of rape, they retorted, “The media is looking for news on rape for increasing its TRP rate”. The intention of the media for reporting rape is a subject of introspection.  Having said that the Government  cannot escape from admitting the fact that there is no smoke without fire; no reporting without the crime!’

It has been reported that 40% of the schools in India do not have separate toilets for girls. Majority of the households in rural India do not have a toilet at home and are forced to answer the Nature’s call in the open. In many such situations, women and girls have become soft targets of  sexual perverts.  The pervasive  caste system  is still an excuse  for many offenders against women in some parts of India.  The gang rape incidents during the post Godhra Gujarat riots revealed rape could be used as a powerful weapon to display hatred and hegemony. The rape of  female toddlers as young as 3 reveal that it is nothing short of a psychological disorder. It s a pernicious disease.

No single reason can be cited for every rape case. The background of the crime, psychological state of the offender need to be analyzed to arrive at the cause of this abominable crime.

So what is the panacea for this menace? Man who landed on moon, man who sent MOM to Mars is incapable to finding  a lasting solution to  this?

Every time there is a rape people and politicians urge that the guilty should be stringently penalized. True. But unless and until we have suitably man powered investigative agencies, enough number  of fast track courts, justice will be delayed or just denied!

The current process of investigation of rape by the police and subsequently by the medicos is  such that it is almost as traumatizing as rape Itself. In India hospitals  had no separate departments  to handle rape cases, not even uniform  guidelines for the doctors to diagnose and confirm rape. What is relieving is that the Union Health Ministry, which has drawn new guidelines for treating rape victims, has asked all hospitals to set up a designated room for forensic and medical examination of victims besides outlawing the two-finger test performed on them, dubbing it as unscientific

Although there are guidelines for the cops, the ones who violate them make the victims re-experience the agonizing moments of rape

The law of the land though independent seems to be in favour of those who can afford lawyers charging exorbitant fees. The victims often cannot afford the three-tier justice system. Tougher laws make sense when they are properly implemented. Providing security, financial and moral support  to the victims can make them stronger and steadfast in their legal fight against their offenders.

Laws alone cannot create wonders. What we need is metamorphosis in our patriarchal thinking. The cultural construct of woman as an object of pleasure as often projected in films and Ads needs to see a sea change. Encouraging women to take up a profession can empower them financially which in turn would give then the confidence to desist unsolicited male advances.

Incidents of rape are not less in developed countries. Despite scientific and technological progress, sexual violence has become commonplace. Nevertheless that is in no way a justification for a developing country like India for the brutal rapes. Before India is branded as ‘the rape capital of the world’,  let’s arise and awake for a positive action. Let there be ‘anti-rape campaign on the lines of ' Clean India campaign!'

By Anthony D'Souza, Madanthyar / Bahrain
Anthony D'Souza, a lecturer in English, is currently working for the Ministry of Education, Bahrain. He has an MA in English Literature from Mangalore University with Gold Medal and M Phil in English Language and Literature from Gandhigram Rural University, Dindigal. Writing on issues related to education and social concern is his avocation.
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Comment on this article

  • Geo Agrar, Mangalore

    Wed, Nov 19 2014

    Dear Antony,
    Congratulation for beautifully written article. there are diversified factors leading to RAPE/ABUSES. Immediate legal actions, employment, banning of negative motivational films, writings and pornography. Start punishing the leaders first who are involved etc.. It is a subject for discussion and draw conclusions and develop policies.
    Thank you for the timely thoughtful writing


    Tue, Nov 18 2014

    Nice article Anthony D'souza. Even as an increasing number of violent crimes against women, especially rape, continue to be reported across the country, a 13-year analysis of crime data reveals that a little more than 57 rapes were reported every day. This averages over two rapes every hour, every day during the last 13 years. A total of 2,72,844 cases were reported across 28 states and seven UTs in this period.

  • Dr. Maryada Varalakshmi, Hyderabad

    Fri, Nov 14 2014

    The author has well presented his ideologies about the plight of women in India. However, we must also look at the other side of the coin. We claim to be in a digital age with sharpened intellect and smarter approaches where Indian youth are highly influenced by western culture. In the West, freedom may relate to the physical and social atmosphere, but in Indian context, freedom is the core value of life. Freedom as an important aspect of Indian culture, provides immense benefits if sought strategically. On the other hand, if freedom is sought by derogatory means it deteriorates a person in the society and strips off the the values.Why everyone sympathizes the victim of a sexual assault and accuses the predator? Surprisingly, none looks into the factors that stimulate sexual aggression in men. If the fundamental focus of women is to work towards liberating themselves from the bonds of culture and effortlessly put an end to ethics with regard to dressing manners and undesirable acts in public, the future of India will definitely be endangered.
    A time has come to reinstate the cultural strengths rather than condemning the politicians and eminent persons who stress the importance of decency and dignity in dressing to curb sexual harassment or molestation. ‘Respect cannot be demanded it has to be earned through decency and self-dignity.’ Reestablishing the focus on liberating ourselves from unnecessary thoughts and promoting intellectual growth is most important today.

  • manoj kumar, Dubai

    Fri, Nov 14 2014

    Worth reading article, sir..

  • ashok mendonsa, mudarangadi

    Thu, Nov 13 2014

    Thanks for well meaningful article.

  • Anthony Dsouza, Madanthyar/ Bahrain

    Thu, Nov 13 2014

    Thanks to everyone who has commented on my article.Regarding the views of Roshan Braganza, Mumbai all that I have to add is that I agree with his apprehension that anti-rape laws might be misused by some women. Infact, there have been cases where men were wrongly implicated. Women also have cooked up stories of rape in order to escape from some unavoidable circumstances of life. The author who is fully aware of this fact asserted that 'laws alone alone can not create wonders. What is crucial is the proper implementation of the laws".As regards, feminism I have studied the movement and I am myself against the hardcore feminism. Men and women are like two wheels of a vehicle that need to go together. However, However, I do not agree with the view point that there is no need for awareness campaign!Let other readers comment on it!

  • Roshan Braganza, Mumbai

    Thu, Nov 13 2014

    Unfortunately the above article depicts only one side of story and nothings new in that. Exaggerating the cases of women victims and propagating it as Gospel where women r always right and is a result of third wave Feminism which is sweeping across world. Considering the brutality of dec 16 and other real cases , the convicted has to b or will b punished , law takes it own course. But making it national outcry and creating a Mob and mediacracy , thus putting pressure on govt to draft amendments was a demonic and feminazi movement!. The crpc 2013 which drafted by Justice verma ( who happens to b a white knight :: male feminist ) is extreamly anti men and Gender Just. As it in the news , the intial proposal was to make it gender neutral , but feminists creeped in last minute and changed tide.

    The indian Evidence act is amended in such a way that just a verbal statement by a woman is sufficient to nail any woman. This opened pandora box of false cases and mutual relationship which turned soar also became RAPE. Thousands of innocent men prosecuted and its increasing day by day. 

    The cases where men r getting assaulted r legally invalid and it renders them helpless. Only Juveniles boys can get some relief under Juvenile act , the cases like women teachers who harrass school boys is yet to come up and right now there is no awareness about. One such case came up lately with the help of CRISP bangalore but media did not publicise it. Demonizing men is already taking toll as male teachers r already banned in karnataka. No Jobs for men and more Reservation for women. I Hope Author of this thread who is also a teacher is aware of this and sorry state of Indian Men.

  • K Kamath, Bantwal

    Thu, Nov 13 2014

    Well meaning article. However, the writing can be more direct, less cliche ridden and can limit the use of superlatives. Good writing uses simple words, is concise and vigorous. "Pernicious Terror of Rape Continues Unabated".... Really?

    “Writing improves in direct ratio to the number of things we can keep out of it that shouldn’t be there.”
    ― William K. Zinsser

  • John DSouza, Mangalore

    Thu, Nov 13 2014

    Thank you, Mr. Anthony D’Souza for emphasizing the need of anti-rape campaign on the lines of ' Clean India campaign!'
    By the way, what makes the humans to behave and act worst than the cruelest animals?

    Liquors and drunkenness is a major revenue source to the government, though it destroys or messes up the peace and security of the families and worsens the social life.
    Exhibition and attraction is the back bone of entertainment industry which poison, pollute and misguide minds with wrong impressions and encourage to have momentary fun by ignoring long term evil consequences.
    Sensitive information at cheap rate (or for free) tempts wrong actions with carelessness, negligence and miscalculation.
    Unemployment and unused human energy diverts attention towards wrong paths for quick and easy solutions.
    Depression and put downs reduce the morality, which lead to enjoy the one time feast (pleasure) by ignoring the huge pain and lengthy struggle of the potter. No fear of the life hereafter.
    If the self conscience fails to judge and give right verdict, it is difficult to get justice from the paid human courts.

  • geoffrey, hat hill

    Wed, Nov 12 2014

    In a situation where, as the author rightly says, ‘no single reason can be cited for every rape case’, only fast track courts and severe punitive action can somewhat better the current situation. In this process some innocent might also get penalized, but that’s a price has to be paid if the current situation to be thwarted from getting bad to worse. Metamorphosis in our patriarchal thinking on the other hand is a long term solution. As for statistics (Wiki), it’s said the National Crime Records Bureau suggests a rape rate of 2 per 100,000 people. This compares to 8.1 rapes per 100,000 people in Western Europe, 14.7 per 100,000 in Latin America, 40.2 per 100,000 in Southern African region and 28.6 in the United States. Statistics could well be misleading as many rape cases go unreported in India for various reasons.

  • Suleman Beary, Udupi

    Wed, Nov 12 2014

    Well articulated. Social mind set requires change. Intolerance, narrow mindedness, hatred surfaces when we express our anger either in support of victim or against.
    Unless we Indians respect each other, afraid of accountability and fear of God, this phenomenon will keep on repeat.
    We should not forget that the victim is some body's' sister or mother.

  • Sandra Mendonca, Belaman,Mubai.

    Wed, Nov 12 2014

    Excellent mind blowing article. keep writing. God Bless you...........

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