Rape & Rants

Last night, I went to a friend’s birthday celebration and met a lot of new people. Everyone was in high spirits (pun intended). This friend of a friend was an out-of-work journalist and he was worried about all the girls reaching home safely. Then, he started ranting about the plight of a wronged Manipur girl who lived in the city of Delhi.

Apparently, she had been brutally raped and was in a terrible condition. Her face was disfigured beyond recognition and her lower torso was in an unmentionable state. Despite this, Delhi Police refused to file a complaint. That journalist friend ranted and nodded his head. He said that he does not believe in creating divides and stressing on minorities but he didn’t know how else to comprehend this situation.

Unfortunately, North East Indian girls are highly sort after in child and human trafficking circuits. This region which is mostly cut-off from the rest of India, with a distinct cultural personality of its own, is in almost a permanent state of political turmoil. Families desperate to step out of poverty resort to drastic measures and end up bartering women or young girls in the bargain for a better life. This doesn’t imply that every female from that region is a victim of this trade. But because of this well-known urban lore these girls tend to have a dented impression when they venture out of their region to other states.

I don’t know the real truth behind the story of this girl from Manipur but I’m very well-aware of the social malice they face and probability of crimes against them being unreported.

Nobody deserves to be raped irrespective of the background they come from. No, not even if they are prostitutes. You can’t touch a woman without her permission. Period! How difficult is it to grasp that reality?

It enrages me immensely as I have a lot of male friends who are so chivalrous that it is borderline annoying and then there is this other set of monsters! I fail to understand this.

Why don’t we round up every rapist on this planet and lock them up in a concentration camp. Not to torture them to death but to grill out every line of thought they’ve ever had that motivated them to indulge in such satanic acts of inhumanity. Why do rapists rape?

They are everywhere and not just in our country. India doesn’t fair very well when compared to the other G20 nations in context of gender equality. There is no denying that fact but rapes happen in other countries too. There was (and still persists) a lot of hue and cry about new laws being implemented, about the lackadaisical attitude of the law enforcement and the misogyny of our patriarchal society. Agreed, we have flaws. But this happens elsewhere too.

A man in Cleveland, USA was recently arrested after three women were found alive, a decade too late. He kidnapped them and held them captive in his home for that many years subjecting them to unaccountable torture and harassment. One of them even had a daughter and all of them had a number of miscarriages. Read full story here. That man hoodwinked the system and society at large for 10 years! We expect a developed nation to be more adept at nailing their criminals but the fact is you cannot curb this anomalous behaviour no matter how many laws we put in place.

Maybe, I’m being a bit presumptuous here. But what about those women in Somalia who’ve accepted their fate as sexual victims and consider it lucky if they survive till they hit menopause? Or about those women in Hoeryong concentration camps in North Korea where whole families are held captive and women are more often than not subjected to rape and sexual harassment as a form of punishment? Or about daughters in Saudi Arabia that are always viewed as objects even if they are covered from head-to-toe in a burqah and can still end up being victimised? These countries have capital punishment for crimes like these and even then, rapes happen.

Sickening stories as these are a constant reminder that at the end of the day no matter how much we progress as a civilised society, some primal instincts will always persist. Rapes or gang rapes are a common practice in chimpanzees, gorillas and even dolphins for that matter. This urge, this instinct is deeper than the battle between the sexes.

The only way to eradicate a disease is to get to the heart of it. And I don’t know where this starts and how we can put an end to this. Every time I hear a story like that of the Manipur girl, I have a hard time sleeping at night.

I don’t want dark circles. This must end.