Has India Forgotten To See Rape As A Crime Unless It Is Violent?
Can you believe there are people who think that the act of having sex with a person against their wishes is not violent? An outrageous statement made by a filmmaker has brought into focus a mind-set that deems rape and violent gruesome rapes, which lead to death, as two separate entities. What’s more? This director feels that “rape without violence” should be legalised by the government because poor rapists act out of sexual frustration. He further adds that rapes would in fact not happen if “girls don’t deny sexual desires of men”. So male sexual entitlement and fear of safety should completely override women’s sexual agency? Is rape only an offense when it is violent? Is telling women to accept male sexual desires, even if unwanted, the correct solution to the rape crisis of India?
- A film director has said that government should legalise “rape without violence.”
- The act of forcing yourself sexually on someone is violent in itself, but why do some people fail to see that?
- A lot of commentary around rape by misogynists condemns the crime but then puts the blame on women, for denying sex to men.
- Is women accepting unwanted male sexual desires the correct solution to the rape crisis of India?
This man’s statement draws our attention to a fragment of an answer to the question that a lot of us have been grappling with lately; why do men rape?
It takes a lot to rile one up, especially when you are accustomed to scrolling past such deep seated and unreasonable misogyny on a daily basis on social media. Some people advocate outrage against those who say such a thing. However, does outrage change people’s mind-set, or does it simply prompt them to be politically correct? Besides, this so-called filmmaker is not alone in feeling that the blame of rise in rape in our country lies with women, for denying sex to men. Just when you thought there was no other possibility for women to be held accountable for this rape epidemic that engulfs in our country. So we need to add “stop denying sex to men” to that growing list of things to do, which will, according to our sexist society, keep us safe.
Although, this man’s statement draws our attention to something, that can be a fragment of an answer to the question that a lot of us have been grappling with lately; why do men rape? A large number of Indian men are still bred in the cradle of entitlement, rocked by our patriarchal society. They feel entitled to be prioritised at home. They feel entitled to love and attention and sex, from the opposite gender. If what they desire isn’t given to them, they feel entitled to taking it by force. Keep in mind that for such men, words like consent and agency have no meaning because they have never been exposed to them.
There are many red flags that this recent case has raised. Our lack of inaction, our incapability to sensitise men to consent, the fact that people are advocating lynching and death penalty so openly, but not uttering a word against how we are raising our boys, to name a few.
It is also possible that all the media coverage given to shocking cases like Nirbhaya and Hyderabad rape case, all the details that are shared relentlessly by people and media, may have ended up desensitising a section of people to an extent that they do not see rape as a crime unless it is violent. There are many red flags that this recent case has raised. Our lack of inaction, our incapability to sensitise men to consent, the fact that people are advocating lynching and death penalty so openly, but not uttering a word against how we are raising our boys, to name a few.
We cannot let these red flags recede beck into the crevices of our memory amidst the din of outrage over statements which clearly look like publicity stunts or an attempt to kick the hornet’s nest just for the heck of it. Yes, it pains to see people advocate rape that isn’t “violent” or blame it on women, but outrage can silence one misogynist voice, just like lynching would rid us of just one rapist. The mentality that breeds hatred and objectification of women will continue to thrive. What are we doing to rid ourselves of it?
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.