Millennium Post

That unbearable lightness of rape

Once again, a spate of most brutal and violently fatal rapes has spread on the body of the nation like a terrible rash. Incidents from every corner of the country, whether it’s Badaun, Bareilly, Meghalaya, Bankura, remote villages of Madhya Pradesh, have horrified the collective conscience of India, but the brutalities refuses to come to an end and the barbaric, lunatic behaviour of men towards women refuses to stop. Irrespective of the laws being in place, there is no fear of law amongst the errant and openly abusive sections of the society, which treat women across class, caste and religious divides as nothing but objects of discrimination, violence and the receptacle of repressed rage. Increasingly, rapes are turning into murders of the most gruesome kind, with the victims becoming the objects of most horrific and spine-chilling crimes that drain out all hope in humanity.  Despite spruced up rape laws, more and more women are being targeted in the most brutal manner, and the offences are becoming codewords to decipher larger social malaise, whether caste equations gone wrong or a communal clash resulting in women from the opposite camp being brutalised. In every situation, it is the woman who bears the brunt of a dysfunctional society, undergoing severe churns and unable to achieve its transformation in a more humane and acceptable manner.

Rape is fast turning into a most convenient tool in the hands of men to settle scores, whether an electoral defeat, a familial squabble or a feudal order challenged. It is no longer an individual crime against a lone woman; it never was. But the way rape is being collectivised and paraded, the body mangled and left out in public spaces for others to feast on, says a lot about the moral and ethical abyss we have touched as a nation. What can be done to lift our country out of this psychosocial morass? A collective campaign to make sexual and moral education compulsory, to make gender rights mandatory subject at school and higher learning institutions, among others, would be the first step. Fierce implementation of law must be ensured, while immediate steps to address issues related to women’s safety, such sanitation facilities in villages, security in cities at nights, street lights and policing at all times, equipping mobile phones with dial-a-cop features to provide easy and quick access to security personnel, should be brought about. Having said that, there is no substitute for a moral cleansing, which could only happen if the aspirations of the poorest of the poor are adequately met. Violence cannot be condoned, whether it’s against women or people from minority communities.  
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