I had written this after the Uber incident last December. An unfortunate time when the Indian government decided to ban a taxi app, pass the paneer tikka and inform the masses that safety has been restored on our streets.
I re-posted it after reading a recent report about one of the accused in the horrific 2012 Delhi incident in which four guys who brutally gang-raped and murdered, inside a bus, a 16-year-old girl. Among other frightening perspectives, the accused spoke about how rape victims must share the blame. That “she should not have fought back”. It is not an uncommon train of thought in India. Some of our politicians believe that. Women politicians too.
I have since heard many men condemn the accused. Some of them sounded like those people who nod their heads while walking past “say no to rape” signboards. At the next bus stop, they slide their hands between sweaty bodies, hoping to cup a pound of flesh. They just want to be new-age sensitive men surrounded by women who understand just how new age and sensitive they are. The purpose of which is to sleep with them of course. And they want their friends to think that they aren’t the sort of monsters to condone an act of rape.
These are the same guys on social networks stalking your friends. Your friend’s friends. Their neighbours. They exchange jokes about non-consensual sex. Use words such as “bitch”, “cunt”, “whore” and “rape” to glorify their fractured sentiments – no matter the topic of discussion. Objectify women at every chance; kidding about how they are child-bearing machines and consensual orifices. I am unsure if the women in their lives even understand the kind of men they are capable of being. The line, while seemingly thick and vast, that separates the accused in rape cases and such men, that we may even know and interact with, is sketchy at best – in my opinion. Like the gorgeous performance artist – Marina Abramovic – once proved, people can confuse power with pleasure.
During one of her performances, Abramovic placed 72 objects on a table that her audience members could use, for a duration of six hours, in any manner that they wanted to. There were feathers, pens, honey, roses, scalpels, metal chains, a gun and single bullet. In the beginning, the audience members were hesitant to even approach her. But as time went by, they took turns mutilating her. Finally someone even pointed a loaded gun at her. Another took it away at once, but it was clear. There lies the urge in some people to cause pain. Not since they find some amount pleasure in it. It is because they can without facing the consequences.
Many of the sex crimes in India are based on the politics of power. A collective sexist mentality that is as passive as it is infectious. As a nation, we are more misogynistic than we are chauvinistic. It is the kind of regressive mentality that also results in children getting married to frogs and husbands legally raping their wives, if it came to that. Perhaps one could argue that I am being too sensitive; that I am prescribing to pro-women discourses since I am a guy too, with urges and strategies to get laid.
That’s my point. Sort of. I have been one for the entirety of my life thus far; all 33 years of it. I know how our brains work. I can easily see the line blurring when either a man’s ego is broken beyond repair or when the price is right and the situation – dire enough.
Clearly this generation of men have little hope left. We have grown up, thinking that our mothers enjoy spending in the kitchens. We treat women like how we think that pretty girl, way back in school, once treated us. At least talk to your sons about how they would remain men no matter what happens to them. That there is no reason to exert gender dominance. No need to blindly assume roles in an equal marriage. And how not to be passive aggressive, power-hungry and penis-glorifying products of patriarchal societies.