The hot topic yesterday was India’s Daughter.
This post is my two cents. Not on the documentary but on the atmosphere the documentary created.
I am sure I don’t need to reiterate my revulsion of the rape and inhuman murder of Nirbhaya. I have a daughter who is barely two years younger to Nirbhaya… and she lives away from home- ALONE. I have another who lives with me at present but who will also move out one of these days; tomorrow or some day in the future. She too will have to fend for herself; I will worry about her too.
But these statements are misleading.
I am not worried about my daughters only, I am equally worried about my son. I am not worried only about my children, but about all children. All day today I have read commentaries about how unsafe India is for women. Only for women? And only in India? Really?! Isn’t that a tad naive?
The fact that rape threats are a thing says a lot about how rape isn’t a lapse in self-control but often a tool to punish & control others.
Is India safe for those boys/ men who are not rapists and will never be? Is it safe for them to come to manhood surrounded by the kind of filth they see? Is it safe for them to be declared guilty to begin with… only because some monster belonging to their sex has shamed mankind once again? It is somewhat like the guilt of the German people because of the things Hitler did. Is that a safe environment for boys/men- to be declared guilty and less than human as a default status? No! And I am worried about that. Very worried.
Men are as much victims of violent men as women are. Both men and women suffer at the hands of violent people- people who have no compunction about unleashing their inner strife on any innocent bystander. To grow up in a violent society, to witness such acts of brutality, dehumanized you in a horrible, ugly way, Such an environment can never be called safe by any standards.
I draw a line down the middle of a chalkboard, sketching a male symbol on one side and a female symbol on the other. Then I ask just the men: What steps do you guys take, on a daily basis, to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted? At first there is a kind of awkward silence as the men try to figure out if they’ve been asked a trick question. The silence gives way to a smattering of nervous laughter. Occasionally, a young a guy will raise his hand and say, ‘I stay out of prison.’ This is typically followed by another moment of laughter, before someone finally raises his hand and soberly states, ‘Nothing. I don’t think about it.’ Then I ask women the same question. What steps do you take on a daily basis to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted? Women throughout the audience immediately start raising their hands. As the men sit in stunned silence, the women recount safety precautions they take as part of their daily routine. Here are some of their answers: Hold my keys as a potential weapon. Look in the back seat of the car before getting in. Carry a cell phone. Don’t go jogging at night. Lock all the windows when I sleep, even on hot summer nights. Be careful not to drink too much. Don’t put my drink down and come back to it; make sure I see it being poured. Own a big dog. Carry Mace or pepper spray. Have an unlisted phone number. Have a man’s voice on my answering machine. Park in well-lit areas. Don’t use parking garages. Don’t get on elevators with only one man, or with a group of men. Vary my route home from work. Watch what I wear. Don’t use highway rest areas. Use a home alarm system. Don’t wear headphones when jogging. Avoid forests or wooded areas, even in the daytime. Don’t take a first-floor apartment. Go out in groups. Own a firearm. Meet men on first dates in public places. Make sure to have a car or cab fare. Don’t make eye contact with men on the street. Make assertive eye contact with men on the street.
~ Jackson Katz
But the thing that I really wanted to say is something else. And please, don’t say I am trying to dilute or condone the current socio-civil climate of India! Far from it!
This is not just an Indian phenomenon. Crimes against women are rising all over the world. Those fellow Indians, who have been running amok on an unrestrained spree of India Bashing following the introduction of this documentary on the social media, would do well to remember it.
Today, I have heard/ read (educated, discerning) Indians calling India a hell. I am not stupid enough to claim that it is a heaven. India has her unique diseases as does any country in the world- some of them a lot more potent than those in other parts of the world. But the tone of all the vituperative rhetoric being bandied about today was that incidents like 16th December 2012 happen (have happened/ will happen) only in India. I protest against that tone. I object to that assumption.
The issue is neither local nor something new. That certainly doesn’t mean we sit with our hands-folded over our belly and pretend we can’t see it growing under our very feet. Search the Internet and see for yourself how women have been treated the world over from the very beginning of human history. This article and this are merely the tip of the iceberg.
Throughout history, rape was as much a part of war as killing a foe was. It seems to be almost mandatory that a conquered territory must expect its women to be raped. It has always been the last, final act of war- across cultures, nations and time.
Do you know, they found land mines in woman’s souls.
More than the rapists, it was the lawyers- and all of their ilk- who ought to be hanged first of all. The righteousness… the glee with which they declared that Nirbhaya deserved what she got, has completely unhinged me. They look so horribly ordinary! They could be your neighbor or the grocery shop owner down the street. When (and why) do they turn from being the apple of a mother’s eye into something you feel like stepping on and grinding its last bit out of existence under your heel in horrified revulsion?
This poem says it all for such men… and the unfortunate women in their families. I’m sure you will note that the poem was not written by an Indian girl.
As long as the world continues to raise such sons, its daughters will continue to suffer. Nirbhaya fought back, that’s what added to the brutality with which she was punished. She ought to have submitted to it quietly, her rapists said.In fact, she had no business being out after six… or being born at all. Until societies stop assuring the men that it is their job, responsibility and right to teach a lesson to the women, the rapes will go on.
And not just in India.