The following is a post I originally wrote on a Delhi Bloggers Community Forum @ Orkut. Thought I’d share it with the larger community here……The topic of discussion was “what should be done to the rapists?”
“Being aware of the recent discussion here, I finally decided to add my bit to it. Would beg all of your pardon for thinking a little off-track.
How many people can take part in the present message board? About 200-250 that’s the total of members of this community. Now for how long can this discussion continue weeks and months…at the end of the discussion how many past, present and future victims would the 200 of us be able to help? Who is putting forward the ideas and who is reading them? Are we actually turning a single pebble?
Now, there you go all of you. “We might not be able to actually help anybody but by these discussion we are trying to bring a change amongst ourselves, sensitizing ourselves on the cause”. I agree. “Its not in our hand to help, we can only suggest ways to improve the scenario the implementation has to be done by authorities. I agree again. But since they are not doing their part should not we as individuals actually do some overt physical act to help the situation. I mean just our bit. Let me ask all of you (including myself) ...CAN WE as an individual do something about it? Do we even have a responsibility to do anything about the situation? And by ‘something’ I am not talking about teaming up, starting an NGO, collecting funds and bungling funds...I am talking about things we can do with our ‘hands and feet’ ‘ears eyes and mouth’ ‘heart and mind’. How many of us think we are incapable of doing any thing at all regarding the matter, and who all are of the opinion that there sure is something that can be done howsoever small it might be. Lets not anymore come out with suggestion as to what the police, judiciary and Government should and should not be doing. Debates and discussions are of immense importance I totally agree, as a matter of fact its from this discussion on orkut that I am coming up with the present ideation, otherwise I too was sleeping over the incident.
But I am sure there already is a huge intellectual young lot debating and discussing. Some of us have to do the action part as well. It could very well be you and me and us.
Now if we decide the way I am thinking we should decide then the question that next arises is what can we do? Are we going to become policemen watching out for probable criminals? Are we going to preach ideas as to how girls should carry handy weapons, how they should raise an alarm, how they should act smart and run. My answer is No (I could very well be wrong). Rape is a very very sensitive issue and it needs to be handled with utmost care, concern and delicacy. To begin with arises the question ‘what’ and ‘why’ of Rape. “What should be the punishment” is a question that has to be raised much later. When I was studying Labour Law for every labour related problems we were first required to find out the causes which led to the problem. Once you identify a cause only then can you have a legislation thereby providing a so-called solution to it. If bonded labour or child labour has to be eradicated we first got to understand why they are there in the first place. Rape being a subject we (the moral, conservative, decent Indian) don't talk about much few of us have actually tried to find answer to the questions ‘Why’ and ‘What’. There’s very little research done on the root causes. Mostly people are of the opinion that there aint any cause; it’s just that the guy was a heinous criminal. That, to a great extent is true. I mean I have come across hundreds of reasons justifying bonded labour but I can't think of any reason or rhyme behind this heinous crime. Assuming so, lets consider the next point What is Rape. What is it that stops the parents of a victim from reporting the crime. Why is Rape not considered to be one of those 500 crimes defined in the Indian Penal Code. Why Rape has to raise eyebrows and give birth to heart churning mummers in the society.
I am very curious to find out how my mom and dad (middle class) would react if tomorrow I introduce them to a friend of mine who they know to be a Rape victim. I wanna know how my maid servant’s mother (Lower class) would react and how my Boss (upper middle class) and how the Ambanis and Birlas would react to the same situation. How comfortably and confidently can a victim walk in her neighborhood. Because if she can’t she would be reluctant in reporting the incident and as long as the criminal knows she is reluctant he would have a upper hand. In criminal jurisprudence it is said that ‘the criminal is not the victim’s criminal it is of the society’s. That’s why a victim is not allowed to withdraw from a criminal complaint. Punishments work as deterrent on future criminals but seldom helps a victim. And I think in cases of rape as much as the victim needs to see the rapist being brought to justice she also needs umpteen support and care. We hang the Rapist while the neighborhood was still murmuring about her clothing style or hour of work, while she was walking down the streets. Did she get peace? Its important to take away the taboo, the inverted comas from the word rape. It has to be understood that rape and sex is not synonymous. Sex is a natural desire. Rape, like murder is a crime. Sex involves the desire of both parties while rape doesn’t. We have to understand this difference and not out-rightly jump to conclusion that she (victim) definitely had a hand in it. We don’t I know. We at orkut don’t but there are people who do. One has to identify them and try to change this clichéd mentality and attitude that they have.
Conduct informal surveys, interviews, extend the present group discussion to those members of the society whose voices (read it murmur and rumor) matter when it comes on that girl walking down the street. Can we do it? Can we give up our weekly barrista hangouts, bear the scorching summer sun, face the public ogling at us trying to figure out what we are upto when we ask them questions no one dared to ask...think about it.
I am not a crusader and I don’t claim I can give up my weekly barrista hangouts but who knows may be… as for now I just wanted to put my thoughts here. I am not trying to launch a new ball, am not trying to change the course of ball set to roll by a fellow community member. I respect all of your thoughts and ideas. This was mine.
I never got a response to this post of mine and the discussions on this topic came to an end.
Soon I found out there was a new topic on the board, “whether Government’s decision to ban cigarettes in movies is fair?” And this is what I posted….
”I havn't read any of the above posts and I don't care what you guys have been saying. I kind of know bout the latest topic for intellectual frustrates (i being one of them)
Just wanted to remind all of you and reassert my stand.
Reminding you about my post on the previous topic "what about the rapist" if you haven’t read it yet, read it now if u wish to, doesn’t really matter if you don’t. all i tried to convey there is that this discussion on orkut is senseless and a sheer killing of too much of leisure time. i of course had conveyed this message in a much more politically correct and sugar coated words but today i am in a particularly pissed off mood. My words - just stop flattering yourself by calling yourself a social thinker who sits in Barrista and thinks over a cup of u know what.”
Some one pls gotta do something more than talking.
Reasserting my stand that it would take a blink of an eye for us to forget the present social cause and find a new one...see how fast we forgot the rape issue
just think about it.