Two men tried to rape a woman in Punahur village of Banda district in Uttar Pradesh. They didn’t succeed for she managed to rip off the tongue of one of her attackers, in an effort to protect herself. She took the tongue to the police station, according to this news report . She is alive, and did not get added to a rape victim stat only because she was instinctive and brave enough to fight back.
The topic of rape is disturbing, violent, over-discussed and is still something that finds print space only with a big gruesome story. As much as it is impossible to report and talk about every case that happens, it is important to remember that each rape equals to a new Nirbhaya added to the list.
Will the Uttar Pradesh police ensure her safety, now that the attackers have reason for vengeance? I would like to believe they will. I hope they do.
Does increasing gruesomeness numb sensitivity?
This is precisely why we need to keep talking, keep resisting and educating ourselves about rape. Incidents such as these mostly go unreported because they aren’t in a
metro city, the police is insensitive in dealing with a victim, and the shame attached with ‘rape’. Who will outrage over a poor woman’s rape in a village? Media loses interest in stories because the news industry thrives on numbers, analytics, page views, TRPs.
For the sake of news stories, rape victims become stats to be doled out. We all have pondered a while over this issue now. Inside newsrooms, with our friends and families. We have asked ourselves time and again – Why does someone rape? What is a rapist thinking? Is it only about power?
The woman from Banda wasn’t out walking the empty streets, alone or with a friend. She was at home with her child while the husband was away at work, during the day. She wasn’t even wearing ‘skimpy’ clothes. This is a classic case that doesn’t check off any item on the list of ‘why rapes happen in India’ as believed by many politicians, babas, sadhus and sadhvis.
Rape as a symptom
Leslee Udwin, who interviewed Nirbhaya rape convict Mukesh Singh, wrote for BBC , “… For me the truth couldn’t be further from this — and perhaps their hanging will
even mask the real problem, which is that these men are not the disease, they are the symptoms.”
Among the most symptomatic was the driver of the bus, Mukesh Singh, who gave a lengthy interview to Udwin from prison. He denied taking part in the rape, but recalled
it in great detail.
“Singh showed no remorse and kept expressing bewilderment that such a fuss was being made about this rape, when everyone was at it,” she writes.
Rape is everything that we understand of it – it is about establishing/enforcing power/dominance over a/any woman/man/child, emerging from a repressed, patriarchal
society that saw drastic changes economically and culturally, changes that didn’t seep through/made available to all levels. India has been bearing the burden of complex class and caste distinctions which have remained big reasons for division. Add to this the gender divide and a troublesome Independence from the British, who left behind deep rooted skin racism. And then there is marital rape.
India has borne the brunt of centuries of repression, angst and pain. We have education but that has not stopped us from being patriarchal, even today. This article is not attempting to lecture on rape, but an attempt to understand how symptomatic the act is. Rape is a mirror of how brutal, ruthless and remorseless many of our fellow citizens have become. We walk by these people, may even know some of them.
It is time we stop looking for someone to blame, and proactively educate people each time we see a parent distinguish between a male and female.
Let’s be responsible for salvaging India, from being an unsafe place for women, to a place where we would like the next generations to grow up, unscarred.