The Politics of Rape in India – Asifa, Unnao, Who next?
The horrific rapes in India are now so common that every other day there is a Nirbhaya case. To me, in any case, no rape is less gruesome than another. How many stories right from the time of Suzette Jordan have we heard of women going up to the police station and being mocked for being a rape survivor. How many times have we heard politicians say ‘boys will be boys’ and not take the issue head on. In fact, there are enough cases to prove that rape has been a big part of India’s politics, from leaders to their sons and nephews all thinking it’s a right of behaviour.
“The act of rape is about imposing power and flexing muscle to show dominance, over the other gender, over the other community or over the other person,” says Gurmehar Kaur to SheThePeople. “In most cases of rape in India, especially the recent cases that have shocked the nation once again, rape is not an act of lust but used as a tool to show power or take revenge, in these cases it is so difficult and almost unfair to not talk about the politics. We shouldn’t politicise rape but we should hold people and parties in power and ideologies that propagate this culture accountable.”
We shouldn’t politicise rape but we should hold people and parties in power and ideologies that propagate this culture accountable.
What we need is a completely independent investigation arm empowered by a parliamentary act to look into all cases of rape. Just as we have an election commission for voting. Why not instil a real democratic method of justice for rape?
We have cases after cases, headlines after headlines but where is the justice? What do we have to show for, where have we punished the rapists? Where are all those politicians and their connections who raped – why aren’t they rotting in jail? Time of the offence and its justice must have a time deadline. “Time factor is crucial in the investigation of sexual offences. If you lose crucial time and there are multiple medical reports, cases may get publicity but may not turn into anything substantial and getting conviction of the accused,” says Ravi Kant of Shakti Vahini. “What people in power do is that they delay the process of investigation when significant evidences are lost so even if there is some collateral damage which is bad publicity but at the end of the day they come out without conviction.”
“What people in power do is that they delay the process of investigation…
Why is religion even brought into reportage, discussion on rape as if it is to justify something. The nation should outrage rape irrespective. Rights activist Rana Safvi says, “This case is just evil and should not be connected with religion or politics. The way it was planned and done is sheer evil. It is just a murder of humanity along with that poor child. It is angering me so much to think that just because she was from a very poor nomadic family, the outrage is less but if she belonged to a good family in the capital then everyone would have come out on the streets.”
Why are we politicising rape? If it happens under BJP, we would have Congress waxing eloquent on how this government has failed. Has Congress government done better? In 48 hours after the Asifa Bano and Unnao cases took the nation’s attention, we have had no leader make public statement on it. Why? Why are we so social media savvy when it comes to announcing bridges, infrastructure, startups and so on? Why? Why is social media a megaphone for self-aggrandisement? Am angry with female politicians who are putting their political careers ahead of themselves (presumably that’s whats holding them from speaking up) even though these incidents may be churning their sensibilities?
Am angry with female politicians who are putting their political careers ahead of themselves (presumably that’s whats holding them from speaking up) even though these incidents may be churning their sensibilities?
In India, you are ‘inviting’ rape when you choose to wear skirts, jeans or eat chowmein noodles. In India, you can be raped for loitering in dark places. Here you are raped for going to bars to drink and have a good time. You can be raped because of orders by a khap panchayat or salishi sabha. You will be raped because a politician or his son set his eyes on you and wants you. And you can also be raped and murdered for falling in love outside your community. In India, you can be raped because you happened to be an innocent child who was made into a poster case to prove a point to Bakharwal community nomads to refrain from entering certain areas.
It’s all okay to come up with policies to protest women, the girl child and more. But where is the policing? Where is the law and order? Where is the justice system that shows direction on severe punishments for rapists? Post Nirbhaya excepting using the name for announcing funds, where is the real safety for women?
Rape is not a problem in India. It’s an epidemic. It’s not just being propagated by those who are part of the act but also by those who are staying silent and choosing not to speak. It’s not just a crime, it’s increasingly a culture.
With inputs from Poorvi Gupta
The views are author’s own.