Dear Kangana, Mothers Don’t Give Birth To Rapists
You know a Kangana Ranaut film is close to release when there’s a barrage of controversial statements made by the actor. At a recent press meet to promote her upcoming film Panga, Ranaut took a shot at Supreme Court advocate Indira Jaising, who had asked Jyoti Singh’s mother to “forgive” the four men convicted in the Nirbhaya rape and murder case. On this Ranaut said that Jaising should be kept in jail along with the convicts, adding, “How can these women pity the convicts? It is these kinds of women who give birth to such monsters.” Must the burden of accountability in case of a heinous crime like rape fall on the mothers of perpetrators? Do mothers make men into rapists?
- Kangana Ranaut has criticised Indira Jaising for her request to Jyoti Singh’s mother to forgive Nirbhaya’s perpetrators.
- “It is these kinds of women who give birth to such monsters,” Ranaut said.
- Is it fair to hold mothers accountable for the crimes committed by their sons?
- Is raising children who are empathetic and respect virtues such as consent singularly a mothers’ job?
Must the burden of accountability in case of a heinous crime like rape fall on the mothers of perpetrators? Do mothers make men into rapists?
To be clear, this isn’t about whether or not one should support Jaising’s plea to relieve the Nirbhaya case convicts of the death penalty handed to them by the Indian judiciary system. The entire nation is very emotionally invested in the case. Besides, the brutalities they committed aren’t something worth forgiving to many. However, being a lawyer and a female one for that, Jaising has every right to put forth her point. She has spent decades in the labyrinths of our judiciary system, has been part of numerous cases and has always been vocal about women’s rights. So, if Jaising says she is against the death penalty, she may have her reasons. And while we may not agree with what she says, this doesn’t give us the right to troll her.
Ranaut, on the other hand, has displayed how women often internalise patriarchal misogyny, with this statement. What exactly does she mean when she says, “It is these kinds of women who give birth to such monsters.” Is she calling Jaising a sympathiser? Or is she saying that it is the mothers who condition their sons to become rapists? I am not angry at Ranaut but I merely sympathise with her, because she isn’t the only woman, or person, I have come across who holds mothers responsible for their son’s misdemeanours. There are numerous women like Kangana who instead on pointing fingers at patriarchy, toxic masculinity, poor understanding of consent, male entitlement and many other factors that contribute to enabling the rape culture in our society, blame mothers for not raising their boys right. We do need to raise our boys right, but must the onus of that task only fall on the moms only?
It is high time we realised that raising children is as much the responsibility of society and other members of their family, like that of their mother.
Since the onus of upbringing largely falls on women in a family, it is mothers who are held accountable for the misconduct of their sons. Such is the patriarchal enthusiasm to shield masculinity from any blame or shame, that it finds a way to blame women for crimes committed by men. There is always an excuse we are expected to buy. His mother didn’t pay attention to him, the girl was out late at night, she had a boyfriend, she got into an argument with them, she shouldn’t have worn those clothes. And conditioning has ensured that women buy these excuses as well, thus internalising blame and responsibility for the conduct of men around them or the horrendous fate that befalls them.
No mother wants her son to grow up to be a rapist. Besides, it is high time we realise that raising children is as much the responsibility of the society and other members of the family, as that of the mother. The rate of sexual crimes against women and children in this country is proof that we are going wrong somewhere as a society. We need to collectively commit to finding a solution to this epidemic. The discourse that mothers give birth to rapists is just a convenient way on our behalf to get rid of our share of the blame.
Image Credit: Firstpost
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.