Why Men Rape, is it time To Ask Some tough questions? Rekha Kurup says it is high time we start talking about men, focusing on mindsets, and asking some serious questions. In this guest opinion she underscores the way we raise our boys, the access we give them, the access we don’t. Does society code men to be violent? Do we forget to put enough focus on the behaviour of men in society? Read the perspective below and share your comments.

Yesterday I started watching the Netflix series Delhi Crime which is based on the Jyothi Singh’s gang rape case (Nirbhaya) that took place in the neighbourhood of Munirka, in South Delhi on the winter night of December 16th in 2012. I have resisted watching it just because. However, the recent events and my already pulsating nervous system has moved me to watch it. The series follows the story in the aftermath of the gang rape, where Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Vartika Chaturvedi is tasked to find the culprits, responsible for the assaults and death of the female victim. It is very well made. The plight of the boys and men in our society stands out irrespective of privilege.

The brutality of the rape in Nirbhaya case is beyond words. There is no justification for that (just like in every other rape). What is even more imploring is the rapists boys and their psyche. The main accused was mentally in deep depression, and almost psychotic. He controlled the rest of the men as the gang leader through his violent strength. Even though they all knew the psychotic-ness of him, there is something they received from him that maybe they didn’t from others in the society. Something similar can be observed the Hyderabad case. This gang mindset is something I have witnessed even in my life in US in underprivileged low income neighbourhoods. One individual becomes the protector of the rest and there is some connection that the others find in surrendering to this abusive protector.

There is a lot of trauma alive and active. I feel it is high time we start talking about men, focusing on men, and asking some serious questions:

1. In low income neighbourhoods and even generally in society, how do boys become men? What are the initiations they have to move thru? What brutal rites of passage rituals are boys put through to become men? How much violence is encoded in that? When is that going to be spoken about? When will that shift?

2. How does the lack of fatherhood and the absence of a a conscious loving responsible father figure do to boys becoming men? What models are defining fatherhood and manhood in these low -income areas and how do we change the narrative?

3. When are we going to talk about trauma in the nervous system of boys and men in our society? How can we address the psychological, mental-emotions, relational trauma states of these boys/men?

4. How do we make psychological support available and accessible to low income families? How can we have processes that support trauma-work for boys and men at all jobs in all areas – in every Indian system (education, transport, politics, construction, hospitals, sewage, cleaning, manufacturing)

5. When are we going to speak about the easy availability of pornography to boys and men on their phones, magazines, movies, videos, social media?

6. When are we going to address the easy access of alcohol, drugs, weapons, etc again in these neighbourhoods?

7. When are we going to look at our own cultural contexts ( the gods, goddesses, religion) to rename, re-inform, and reform the sexually misguided, gender-based narratives?

8. When will we start talking about the importance of exploring, engaging, expressing intimacy, Sexual Pleasure, love-making (not sex) in relationships between any couple (teenager onwards)?

9. When will conversation about gender, body, sexuality, and sex in schools especially Government schools across the country in the context of this land and its wisdom happen? Without doubt it needs to happen not just for the students but for the teachers and staff as well.

Most important of all, we definitely need to begin from our own homes. Have we as adults done our own enquiry into it? Till we are able to openly, consciously, kindly, compassionately enter into these myriad gateways, the world will continue to express inner-trauma in dramatic ways!

Views are the author’s own

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