People blame unemployment for everything from poverty to instability among youth, but can they blame it even for rape? A BJP lawmaker from Haryana, Premlata Singh thinks that there is a correlation between the two. Which is why she said, “The frustration that has crept into the minds of our youths is one of the reasons behind such incidents (rapes). Youths who are frustrated, unemployed and unsure of their future commit such heinous acts,” reports NDTV.
Singh is not the first person to blame the rise in sexual crimes against women on the rising rate of unemployment. Numerous people stand by this assertion, reasoning that an empty mind is a devil’s workshop. In this case, with time on hands and very little to do, frustrated Indian youths are increasingly becoming aggressive against women. Singh’s claims are wrong on many levels, but the most concerning part of her opinion is that yet again it deflects the blame from where it actually belongs.
Rape is a result of our misogynistic mindset, the male entitlement and this very disturbing tendency of our society to throw darts in the peripheral ring of probable causes, instead of aiming dead at the centre.
It is irresponsible to deflect the blame in such a way
From short skirts, to carrying mobile phones to unemployment, the society is scrambling behind every available excuse to deny that the problem lies in our collective mindset. Besides such an assertion excuses employed perpetrators who assault women. Husbands, who toss their wife’s consent in the bin every night in their marital bed in average Indian households, are they not employed? Teachers, who abuse and rape underage girls, do they not have a job with a decent salary? Then why this generalisation that only unemployed youth is turning aggressive towards women increasingly?
- A BJP lawmaker from Haryana, Premlata Singh has said that frustration among young men in India leads them to rape women.
- This misplaced statement yet again hides the real culprits and helps society shrug off any accountability in failure to bring up boys right.
- We must ask ourselves when and how did the entitled Indian man get the right to use women’s bodies as their punching bags?
Time and again during discussions on the high rate of sexual crimes in India, we conveniently turn away from the actual cause. The male entitlement which shields rapists behind such flimsy and rash conjectures is one such elephant in the room. Till when are we planning to hide behind the length of women’s skirts, the employment rate and chow mein? There will come a time when we will have to acknowledge how our inherent misogyny is the clear culprit here.
Yes, frustrated and unemployed men and boys may show sexual aggression towards women. Especially the sight of independent girls, who are smarter or independent than them does make them feel emasculated.
They feel enraged at sitting idle and having nothing to do, while girls step out to work. It is possible that this frustration pushes them to “teach” these girls a lesson in the only way their narrow minds and big egos know too. The only measure of supremacy which matters the most to many men still, employed or otherwise, is sexual supremacy.
But then who filled all this garbage in their heads? How did they end up believing that they are entitled to a better life and opportunities in life purely on the basis of their gender? The society did. Now it is busy fussing over these isolated signs of male aggression like alcohol consumption, unemployment, objectification in cinema, while refusing to see the root cause.
Which is why our symptomatic treatment of rape culture in India is failing so miserably. Like Singh, people do not want any share of this blame.
You can give a cushiony job to every man in this country and yet you won’t be able to deter the ones with a toxic mindset from sexually harming women. Because it was never about frustration from unemployment. It was about this mindset, which still seeks to see men as poor, helpless, wronged.
We must ask ourselves when and how did these wronged and frustrated gents end up with the right to use women’s bodies as their punching bags? Alas, we would rather beat around the bush and endanger lives of young girls and women on daily basis, than acknowledge that we have been deliberately avoiding answering this question correctly.
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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.