Dear Indian Male,
The focus of the nation is on Delhi yet again for all the bad reasons. The Indian capital city is turning out to be something of a control group where all the problems of the rest of the nation are visible magnified multiple folds. If we choose to ignore these issues, we choose to subscribe to a slow death of society as we would like it to be. Rape is the manifestation of a bigger problem that India is plagued by. Rape is a symptom of much deeper worries.
There are no quick fix to stop such crimes. Capital punishment would be like giving pain killers to cure cancer! We need to understand why some of us, who have all sucked on our mother's breasts and embraced our sisters in our arms, suddenly become so hostile towards other women from our society? Why does a man rape? By the way, rape is nothing new! Ask any refugee surviving a war, the soldier who is perhaps the most respected citizen of any Nation turns into a barbaric demon when he enters alien lands - stories of soldiers raping women of the conquered nations are all true. The Christian crusaders raped the captured women in the name of Jesus, the Islamic conquerers raped the women of the nations they raised to the ground, the imperialist French, British all raped to establish authority.
The problem is that we men consider our female counterparts as our property. We wish to control their lives in whichever way we can. When we treat our own women as our property, we establish a similar kind of behavior towards women who we do not directly control.
The solution to bring about a change is not to kill a few rapist and wait for more to come up so that we can kill more. The solution is not to hide 'your' women behind curtains and doors. The solution is not simple and to a few may be counter intuitive.
Give your sister the freedom to go to clubs late at night, the freedom to choose who to date, the freedom to drink and smoke if she wants to (just like you!), the freedom to wear whatever she wants to make her look beautiful in her own eyes. Give her the freedom to question your judgement about the girl/guy you are dating, the freedom to ask your dad to learn to cook because your mother is getting old. Most importantly, try to realize that you are no one to 'give' her freedom, it is hers. She earned it by virtue of her birth just the way you did.
The problem of rape will not get solved by trying to establish a society where talking about sex is prohibited. Sex can be talked about in good health too, it is not always something that the society should mark as a taboo subject. The problem is of inequality!
Every human being, irrespective of his or her gender or sexual identity is equal, treat them with respect. You are not a superior person because you have the capability to impregnate a girl. In all probability, she is a superior being because she can create another human being!
If one is looking for quick fix measures to solve this problem, here are a few things that need to be lawfully imposed with a heavy hand -
- Stop the custom of dowry! Make stronger laws, launch campaigns, do whatever it takes!
- Stop female infanticides! Make much stronger laws, punish doctors who facilitate such crimes!
- Stop discrimination in the wages, treatment and employment of daily-wage workers based on sex. Make sure that a female laborer gets paid as much as her male counterpart!
- Discorage poor and uneducated families to have a huge number of children just to have a male child - A person who believes in "Who will carry the name of my family forward?" ideology is as responsible for rape as the demons walking the streets of our capital city!
- Instruct the police and other law enforcement agencies of all the cities to curb petty crimes. A police department that forces a city to shut down at 11:00 PM on the pretext that the city can become unsafe for women at night needs to be questioned about their responsibility and ability to provide security to us.
- Eve-teasing and other such 'small' offenses must be dealt with severely. People should know that it is NOT ok to pass sexual remarks in public.
- Establishments like "Khaap panchayats" should be declared illegal and people trying to establish such bodies must be put behind bars (a. In one rape case the Khaap panchayat punished the rapist by asking him to marry the girl he raped! b. In another rape case the Khaap instructed the husband of the victim to rape the wife of the culprit!)
- Start talking about safe sex to your kids! Let them know that it is natural to have an urge to have sex with the person they like but they must act like responsible human beings.
- Even if you go with an arranged marriage take into account the opinion of both the girl and the guy. She is not cattle!
Again, rape is because there is inequality! Whenever there would be inequality there would be a section of society that would suffer. Inequality based on sex/gender is not just stupid, it is down right evil.