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Markanday Katju’s statement on Hathras case shows how deep rooted rape culture is in India

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The recent Hathras rape case has shown how India is truly bleeding from so many places. Indian women have felt unsafe in this country for the longest time, but this case has even moved us and has shaken us to the core. The case shows how the police were complicit. They did not act for the family, for the justice of the victim, instead they cremated the girl without the consent of the family. Some police members in Hathras have even denied that the rape ever happened. The Superintendent of Police recently passed a statement that the Aligarh hospital has not confirmed that it was a rape. Amidst this fiasco, we need the people of India speaking up in powerful circles about rape and condemning the action. We expect people in the power circles of India to stand and voice their anger about the issue. 

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Former Supreme Court Judge, Markanday Katju who would be expected to speak up against the recent rape case has let the country down. He has truly shown how skewed justice can be even in the mind of a Supreme Court Judge in India. He passed a statement saying that rape is what comes after food for men. It’s a natural urge. This statement in itself shows that men have no control over themselves and it passes a message to women in society that they should feel uncomfortable in a man’s presence. Young girls who read his statement will grow up believing that men’s sexual urges lack control. 

Though the former judge said that he condemns the rape, there was no anger in his tone or voice. It was merely understanding where he was trying to explain why rape cases are rising in India. He said that it is because of massive unemployment in this country. Is unemployment reason enough to explain rape cases? Is it not the mentality of Indians who think that rape exists in society because men are not sensitised. 

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Men in India grow up in households where women are looked at as sexual beings. Many men grow up in families where their own sisters are restricted and stopped from having privileges because the family wants to protect their daughter from being raped. When men realise that they are more privileged than women, it makes them see women as inferior and unequal. Add to that a recipe for caste inequalities and we have anger, frustration and vengeance fuelling people. 

In a society where there is massive inequality because of prejudices of gender, caste and class, the way to reduce rape in India is not by solving unemployment, it is by fixing mindsets of people. How can we equate rape to the economy? Does the privacy of a woman’s body fluctuate with GDP or with how well the country is doing? If the country was suddenly to do well with 0 unemployment we would have 0 rapes and if suddenly there was some unemployment, would all the unemployed become rapists?

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Are we here saying that the men who rape are all unemployed? Are we saying that employed men do not rape?

The statement which was passed by the Former Supreme Court Judge, Markanday Katju shows that no matter how educated someone can be, they are still not sensitised towards issues like rape. It also shows wilful ignorance and wrong priorities. Instead of using his power to condemn the action fully and to create change in society, Former Judge Katju used his power to justify rape and explain why it happens. 

His statement did not blame the men who committed the rape, instead he blamed the economy. He portrayed that men have no self control. He portrayed that the economy has failed the rapists pushing them to commit a crime. Not once did he talk about how society has failed women, the Hathras girl who was raped. 

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We really need to shift the narrative of our conversation from how men have been impacted by an action to how women have been impacted.

Only then can we create justice. The conversation and narratives need to incorporate the impact on women. Rape does not exist because of unemployment. Only the unemployed do not commit rape. It is a systemic issue which is fuelled by society’s mindset. We need to change the mindset. 

Vidhi Bubna is a contributor with SheThePeople.TV. Views expressed are the author’s own.