RAPE and Education
Earlier this week, Monday, to be precise, was rather horrible in terms of newspaper reports. The first half of the paper seemed to have nothing to report other than rapes, abductions and gruesome murders of women and girls. With a feeling of nausea so strong it was physical I put the paper away, seeing that reading it is a waste of time and a way to generate bad energy.
But that’s not good enough, I told myself – “ You can’t bury your head in the sand and pretend its not happening just because you find it so disgusting.” So, although I would much rather the Jessica’s and Aarushis, the murders of young lovers to save the family’s ‘honour’ (do they have any ‘honour’ left after butchering their sons and daughters?), the abduction of young women from the North East who have the gumption to work the physically strenuous grave yard shift – I wish none of this were true. But it is true.
I read an interesting angle to rape, where the writer – I cannot remember who it was – said that the rapist cannot be blamed for what he does, because his lack of education makes it impossible for him to understand that forcing a woman to have sex is a human rights violation, it is rape, it is awful.
I bought it. For five days, it quelled my rage; I was calmer about this rape issue, believing that if only we could provide education to all they would understand or begin to understand human rights, or that a woman needs to say ‘yes’ and if she doesn’t agree to the act then it is rape.
This thought process carried on till this morning, this ‘understanding’ for the poor victims of lack of education who are animals, cannot master their urges and think it is ok to force sex.
But the argument has a flaw. Even educated men rape. We know that. And they rape because their education is not deep enough to understand human rights, women rights, or any other such ephemeral qualities. Popular culture upholds the angle that forcing a woman is a sign of manliness, it’s just another step in the game of courtship and women actually like a man’s strong touch. Most Hindi films show rampant sexual harassment of the heroine by the hero
– she is not interested, he goes out of his way to convince her that she IS interested, and then, she capitulates. Story line obviously written from the angle of male fantasy. No woman would let that pass. A woman knows, if she is not interested in a guy all the ‘persuasion’ in the world is not going to convince her. Nor is forced sexual intercourse. But men seem to think it’s a cute form of wooing.
There are many other reasons why men rape, but for some men it seems to berecreational, definitely not seen as the violent act that it really is. Education is not the reason why other uneducated men, peasants for example, stop themselves from raping every eligible woman, or anybody they feel needs to be taught a lesson, or whose family needs to be ‘punished’ by raping the women of the family. They may not have a bookish education but they do know what is right and wrong. Their families and their communities have taught them values.
What has become of values in North India? What of learning at one’s mother’s knee to respect women and love them? Where have these finer softer thoughts been eroded? The women still teach their sons right and wrong? Do their fathers subliminally suggest otherwise? Does society? Do Hindi films, their compatriots; their surroundings in general make them believe that they are cool to rape?