A FEMALE FRIEND, who has been practising as a gynecological surgeon for nearly 40 years in India and abroad has been following the recent revival of outrage against what has begun to be called the rape culture of India, asks, almost in despair:
The news from India on incidents and statistics of rapes and gang rapes makes for truly horrifying reading… very somber, sad and upsetting, it touches the core of one's soul. How has the Indian Psyche descendent into such depths of depravity?
I told her that I have been doing my best to analyze it, as have scores of psychologists, sociologists, journalists, social workers, policy makers, law makers, artists, writers, intellectuals and scholars as well as common citizens.
The entire dynamics of political, economic, caste, communal and gender equations needs to be overhauled completely. Let our outrage turn into concrete action for reform.
As a common citizen, here are some factors that I have tried to analyze
1. Lack of education particularly lack of healthy friendly well formulated sex education in family contexts at home and at school for the young , including children and young adults, in a hypocritically inhibited and repressed society is one factor that comes to mind. It is not just the scientific facts of sexual life but the emotional, ethical, and social aspects of sexuality and sexual behaviour that need to be discussed by responsible people like parents, guardians and teachers with young children and teenagers and young adults in an open and compassionate manner, instead of which we see a hypocritical silence, avoidance of responsibility, prevalence of myths and fetishes and rituals and unscientific superstitions that surround the subject.
Sexual variance, deviance or disease is hardly ever discussed in healthy and open ways due to which many sexual, psychological, and psychosexual diseases go untreated .The more taboos we attach to sexual behaviour, the more taboos end up being outrageously broken: say the taboo on incest or infanophilia or pedophilia: all these are being widely and almost spectacularly outraged in today's India, adding to the social outcry but failing to bring us to a scientific analysis and effective solution to the epidemic of inhuman behaviour around us.
2. Falling sex ratios due to systematic female foeticide have created a clearly visible problem of availability of women of marriageable age in some North Indian States like Haryana, Punjab, parts of UP and Rajasthan. Many kinds of deviant sexual behaviour among adult males can be seen in these areas.
Men in Migrant populations and men in the armed forces or the paramilitary forces who stay away from families for long periods also show deviant sexual behaviour, especially the armed forces while dealing with minority or SC ST populations, where the labels "extremist" "naxalite" "separatist" are easily bandied about and an obnoxious "nationalist" label is put on their behaviour to keep it shrouded by hushing up or brutally suppressing all attempts to complain about it or even to indirectly justify it. AFSPA gives them immunity from rigorous scrutiny in some parts of the country where they have raped women and children on a mass scale with impunity.
3. Traditional Indian Patriarchy and misogyny reinforced by the heavily corporate and NRI financed propagation of Regressive RSS Hindutva ideology reinforced by the political power of the BJP, a similar pattern among Muslims via Madrassas financed by Saudi Arabia, Iran or even ISI, among Sikhs by Akalis or Khalistani groups again with heavy foreign funding, among Christians especially of the new fetishist exorcising, rock - music swaying, Charismatic variety of so called Christian cults, and the new age singing dancing rapist Babas and procuress Maa and Mata types, have formed a heady mix of immoral tendencies disguised as religion or spirituality or ethical Gurudom - which only ends up giving more impunity to rape.
4. Part of it has to do with easy internet access to porn of the most perverted paedophilic and infantophilic sort, revenge porn, porn with communal and racist tags- this is such a widespread addiction that it has reached every household and every age group: children as young as 6 or 7 raping infants are clearly showing imitative behaviour from what they have seen in real life or on audiovisual media, repeatedly or been themselves subjected to.
5. Rape of women, children of all sexes, transgenders, people in conflict situations, people in police custody or in jails, patients in hospitals, Dalits, Adivasis, minorities, wives, sex workers, show that violent and forcible sex is used as a tool of domination, as an outlet for hatred, as a method of subjugation, as a means of revenge and the increasing insertion of cutting, penetrating, hurtful, damaging and even lethal objects into genitals is a reflection of either compensatory behaviour for impotence or sadomasochism or both.
The recurrent images of war violence and depravity around us, many a times shrouded in the respectable garb of art or entertainment also lead to the development of rape culture.
6. The primitive and tantrik beliefs about restoration or increase of libido and potency through sex with virgins, the younger the better, is also behind the epidemic of child rape.
7. Drug and drink addiction which make people at least temporarily oblivious of the consequences of their actions are further aggravating factors that are contributing to rape culture in our country.
8. Most of all, it can be seen as an expression of a very fundamental insecurity frustration and hopelessness with a strong proclivity for violent behaviour among people who see the darkness of the world around them and are aware consciously or subconsciously of an even darker and fear- inducing future, which they are unable to face and from which they seek relief through violent depravity or depraved violence.
This is artificially induced and misdirected libido in the sort of personality which has completely lost faith trust and confidence in the ability to love and be loved in return.
For the rapist the act of rape is either an act of relief for pent up often artificially induced or enhanced libido or a form of revenge dominance and expression of anger or a permutation or combination of more than one of these factors.
9. The violence in society and polity around us, the rape of the Earth and of Nature, the obscene exhibitionism of the rich and pampered, especially the super- rich or the nouveau riche, the recurrent images of war violence and depravity around us, many a times shrouded in the respectable garb of art or entertainment also lead to the development of rape culture.
10. The breaking up of joint families and the breakdown of family values in a healthy sense rather than in contexts of traditional patriarchy is another contributing factor towards growth of deviant and violent sexual behaviour in India.
Drug and drink addiction which make people at least temporarily oblivious of the consequences of their actions are further aggravating factors that are contributing to rape culture in our country.
11. Repeated baying for blood of rapists obfuscates the need for patiently analysing the causes behind this alarming epidemic of rapes gang rapes child rapes and infant rapes in the country and the long term as well as short term measures that need to be taken to put an end to this menace.
The hard examination has to be done by every individual and the hard work too has to be done by each one of us, by every household and every family that makes up society. Only then can we assure efficiency and accountability of the institutions we have built over time to keep us safe from such heinous crimes including our legislature, our judiciary our police and our administrative machinery.
Our entire social hygiene needs to be improved if we are to root out the menace of rape.
The entire dynamics of political, economic, caste, communal and gender equations needs to be overhauled completely.
Let our outrage turn into concrete action for reform.
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