Friday, January 04, 2013

In Retrospect...

     I wrote an article for on fighting rape. While reading it lately, I could not help but think that there was so much more that could have been added. Read it for yourself reader and then we shall discuss it some more.
     The rash of rape cases that have rocked Haryana has resulted in a media blitzkrieg with the state government being torn apart for failing to provide enough security for women and attention getting focused on the shockingly negligent attitude of the cops. 19 cases have been reported in the past 34 days and a majority of the victims have been Dalits or underage. Naturally, far from taking steps to stop this contagion of carnal crimes a bunch of people have been taking it in turns to spout off nonsensical garbage that appears to be unrivalled in terms of sheer inanity.
The Khap Panchayat raised hackles by saying that rape could be prevented if the legally permissible age for marriage was to be lowered. By suggesting that we ought to encourage men to become statutory rapists they have earned the wrath and scorn of an entire nation. But there are others who have outdone even these geniuses. A Congress minister said that the whole situation in Haryana was a conspiracy against the ruling party and yet another Congress minister asserted that in his opinion, 90 percent of the rape victims consent to “go” with their assailants. Given the attitude that seems to be prevalent among those in positions of power, it is small wonder that women are not safe not only in Haryana but in the rest of the country as well. Apparently, in India, a rape is committed ever hour! (It is equally likely that this statistic, I pulled off a Google search is a gross underestimation!)
Women need to wake up to the fact that unfortunately, we do not live in a Utopian society where new age  Knights in shiny designer apparel exist and live by a code of chivalrous conduct whereby they are expected to be courteous and considerate towards women, display courage, honor and valor, and most importantly zoom to the rescue of damsels in distress in flashy sports cars. A woman dare not risk feeling safe even in terrain she has traversed since she was out of diapers or even in the comfort of her own home. And despite what the Khap Panchayat wants you to believe, married women are certainly not safe. And despite what believers in the tooth fairy and world peace have to say, children are not safe either. Once, a woman can force herself to accept this scary truth, she has to take steps to do whatever is necessary to empower herself.
It is important for women to stop being sitting ducks. They should adopt Kannagi as their role model – not the mousy woman who wept while her husband was seduced by a comely courtesan and then wept some more when he sold off almost all her jewelry to keep his lover in style, I am talking about the woman who burnt down a city with the potency of her rage. Goddess Kali is an even better role model with her garland of skulls, protruding tongue and the alarming fierceness of her countenance not to mention, the cool sword she carries and the decapitated human head. It is time for women to embrace their inner Goddess. Surely it is the only way to even the odds against them in the fight against rape and the prevention of similar perversities?
A few simple precautions can go a long way towards making a difference. Carrying a can of pepper spray in the handbag while stepping out is a potential weapon against assailants. Deo – spray is less deadly but it is still effective. Money shelled out towards self – defense classes is money well spent. Few things in the world are likely to be more satisfying that driving a trained knee into the groin of a would – be rapist or landing a well placed kick to the kidneys. And one does not have to have the skills of a Bruce Lee to fight back. Fingernails are invaluable when it come to clawing out the eyeballs of a sex offender. The teeth can also be employed to good measure. And anyone can throw a decent punch under supreme provocation.
Do not be careless where safety is concerned. Keep your doors locked and barred even if you are living in what you perceive to be the safest neighborhood in the universe. It suits a lot of people to believe that horrible things happen to other people far removed from the minutiae of their own lives and they themselves are wrapped in an impenetrable armor of invincibility. That kind of thinking may be likened to that of the Ostrich which believes the smartest thing to do when confronted by an enemy to stick its stupid head into the sand. It sucks to live life with so much precaution, but it must be remembered that no woman is safe in this world.
The few decent men out there can chip in as well to keep women safe. The next time, they witness any kind of atrocity being perpetrated against any member of the female sex, instead of whipping out their cameras even if it is for the ostensible reason of gathering evidence (remember the intrepid reporter who captured the appalling sight of a young woman being public molested outside a bar on camera?), they ought to help out even if outnumbered. They ought to stop judging women or their attire and simply see them as human beings. Because no human being deserves to be raped. And it is time to take the fight to the rapists and bring them down once and for all. Enough is enough!
Do you see what I meant? In light of the Delhi bus gang - rape case, all the stuff I mentioned did little good. A 23 - year old physiotherapy student was gang - raped by six men on a moving bus. She had fought back with the paltry weapons at her disposal. Cops discovered bite marks on three of the accused and DNA results reportedly show a match to the victim. And no doubt she tried to kick or scratch but the sad thing was the fact that she fought back provoked the animals into giving her a brutal beating with a rusted iron rod that caused what turned out to be mortal organ damage. Her male companion who also fought in her defense was taken out with the same rod and he also suffered severe head injury. The two victims had been lured into the bus and the savages had reportedly taunted the girl asking her what she was doing at that time of the night with a man. 
In retrospect, it would appear that preventive measures would do more good as well as constant vigilance. But all that would come to naught as long as idiot males persist in justifying rape. As long as men consider themselves as self - appointed judges of a woman's virtue or lack of it, this menace will continue to plague the nation. And Mother India will be royally buggered. 
The original version of this article appeared here.

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