Thursday, June 23, 2011

NOT a feminist rant

It has been months since a turbulent period of unrest has been ushered into the history of middle-east politics. The Jasmine revolution which started in December, 2010 in Tunisia and led to the downfall of the President Zine El Abedine Ben Ali's corrupt regime spread like wildfire in the countries of Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Bahrain and so on. People united by their common goal of attaining freedom from oppression and other democratic liberties, continue to protest despite the violent crackdowns initiated by the army.

Protesters have been subjected to such brutal forms of torture by pro-government forces that many of those instances have landed up in the pages of international dailies, shocking the world beyond measure. Thousands have been shot dead.
In such troubled times, when the future of a regime or a dictator looks bleak and uncertain, women and even minors are being raped and sexually assaulted, to terrify the rebels into submission. If recent news items are to believed, Gaddafi, the Libyan head of state, has been ordering large quantities of Viagra for his soldiers, so that they can carry out his orders of mass rape without any glitches. Despite the fact that the Libyan regime has vehemently denied the charges(well duh!), and that during a war situation more lies emerge from the battlefield than not, the statements by Iman al-Obeidi, the victim of a gang-rape herself, and similar such reports, have atleast established the fact that rapes and acts of violence against women are quite a common method of intimidation used in such situations. A woman's chastity once sullied, the "honour" of the entire family is lost. Nothing is scarier to a man than the burden of a raped wife, daughter or sister.
In countries like Syria, sometimes such victims of sexual crimes, are abandoned by family so as to preserve the honor and dignity of her kin.

Closer home in my state, the Tata Motors-Singur unrest had claimed the life of a 16 year-old Tapashi Malik. She was gang-raped and then later burnt alive in 2006. The perpetrators, as it turned out, were CPIM goons and policemen aided the assault. The incident drew nationwide attention to the crisis brewing in Singur and the Trinamool Congress and other parties wasted no time in politicizing the atrocity and launching a vendetta against the Communists. This was no doubt the quickest way of instigating public outrage and win popular support against the misrule of CPIM.
Presently the 12 rapes within 3 days in Mayavati ruled Uttar Pradesh, seem to have offered the Congress with another glorious opportunity to criticize her rule and brighten their chances for the 2012 Assembly elections. But they seem to have conveniently forgotten about the burgeoning rate of crimes against women in Delhi, where incidents of  'eve-teasing' are as natural as the rising and setting of the Sun.
I could offer similar such examples of war crimes against women in every other nation.
But the point of my post is not to state the obvious. Rather to shed light on the fact that rape is not merely an act of individual violence during a war situation but a tactical tool used for political repression. Women are raped in order to shame an entire community and instill fear in the hearts of civilians.
The actual wrong-doers are seldom caught and persecuted in such cases while sympathizers turn out to be people looking to reap political benefits from such crimes or journalists scouting for sensational stories.

To the more fortunate members of society, such sordid tales are only considered news and statistics, worth being debated on twitter, facebook or elsewhere at work.
But every woman who is falling a victim to this kind of savagery must be just another woman like me, with her own set of colorful dreams and goals in life irrespective of whichever stratum of society she belongs to.

I'm scared to ask the following questions because I'm afraid I won't receive a decisive answer to any of them but....
Hasn't mankind progressed from the days of The Holocaust or the rule of the Soviet Union, characterized by outright denial of human rights?
How long will women continue to be trampled upon just because they're not physically strong enough to protect themselves?

Barbaric habits die hard it seems.

Photobucket

25 comments:

Nethra said...

I guess I should learn kung-fu like one of my friends is doing. It's really scary to go out nowadays.

Anish said...

Among the many things history has taught us,this is perhaps among the most important-Every age will bring forward tyrants-people who will think they are above law,people without an ounce of humanity in their entire soul,people who would wreak unimaginable havoc among mankind and this world.But another important lesson history has taught us-tyrants fall.And fall hard.

This post was really thought-provoking.It would have been even better if you portrayed the inhuman torture endured by men too during these tyrannical reigns.Not just the physical torture-the mental trauma that one endures when someone's daughter/sister/lover is raped is unimaginable.The world isn't divided on the basis of gender-it's divided on the basis of power.The powerful and the commoners.

Prateek said...

Endless debate could be carried this topic yet it boils down the male understanding of their counterparts. In fact it can be deduced that male dominance is a pillar fact among many.

Selenium said...

I may sound very negative in this comment, but what goes... :-/

Usually, if you fill a container with more stuff than it can take, things overflow - in nature, they die or discharge.

If the container has no routes to let the excess stuff overflow? - in nature, the whole system (or society) breaks down and shatters.

While I'm not saying that having less stuff will solve problems, but then, the problems would be manageable.

Given the state of Human society right now, where everything is in excess (Population, corruption, money, power, technology, illiteracy, etc) someone said (I forgot who...) that this planet and it's human society has become a time bomb. One spark, and it's gonna explode prematurely...

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

It's strange isn't it? One one hand a woman fights for human rights and justice and equality, and this is the way her fellow women and daughters and sisters are abused. And more often, by the people whom she is supposed to trust, kins, relatives, police? It is a disgusting state of affairs and I don't know what the culprits seek of it. No punishment is enough.

Nice article.

Blasphemous Aesthete

Giribala said...

Horrible!! I find such news very stressful....

Perception said...

The sam ehappened in Godhra riots, the partition and happens in Khap Ruling..The reason is simple, easy targets and the burden of society and the shame with which the person is made to live..

Strong deterrents

Samadrita said...

@Nethra: Learning kung-fu is good no doubt. But carrying a bottle of pepper spray will also be effective I guess.

@Anish: It is or maybe it isn't. I'm not too sure given that it is the women who suffer always. Rape is a crime which is much more gruesome and heinous than murder.

@Prateek: I don't know what is what. But I think this attitude that women can be tortured because they aren't strong enough to resist should go to hell right away.

Samadrita said...

@Selenium: You're not negative at all in fact you just stated the truth. Humanity has sinned in such ways that there's no scope for redemption now I suppose. It's good to know you feel so strongly about such crimes.

@BA: No punishment can rectify something like rape or make it right. A woman's life is ruined when she is subjected to this brutality and it is not only because of the society she lives in.

@GB: So do I GB. But I decided to blog about it this time. This is the best I can do anyway. :(

☆ ayu☆ said...

reminds me of the lust killers in the book that im reading..i also have the same question in mind.and im scared..actually the faces of those murderers in the book are scary haha

RE: ahh..hmm..the plot is common..hmm..i'll think about watching it..but im not sure..i have the urge to watch peach girl(taiwanese live action of the anime)

D2 said...

This particular breed of humans hasn't transcended from their animal ancestors yet. Like Blasphemous said, no punishment is enough. I am of the opinion that once convicted, they should be castrated. But then, they need to be convicted first. Is there an end to the myriad problems in our country?
Now the Supreme Court says that post mortem reports alone aren't enough to convict someone of rape. The laws are going haywire.

SUB said...

its a real shame on us...we human beings talk of love and affection and say we are superior to other animals...what a world of illusion we live in!

I do not even know if we have advanced much since the days of hunters and gatherers...

Purba said...

Women may have taken over as leaders of nations, influencing opinions, changing the course of history - yet they remain a pawn in the scheme of things.

You struck a chord there Samadrita...

Meera Sundararajan said...

Samadrita, may I first congratulate you on this powerful post. As long as women are seen as " property" of men by our patriarchal socieities, rape as a war crime will continue on women. With regard to UP it is shocking the number of crimes committed in 48 hours. There is a statistic that says that only 1 out of 70 rapes in India are reported. So imagine the number that are going unreported?

Sach! said...

Oh yes there is a harsh world out there. And no we are not being feminist but only we know so we say. I loved the post. :)

Take Care!

Samadrita said...

@ayu: Like I told you before. You are indeed reading a scary book. :P

@D2: I too feel that rapists should be given capital punishment. But then that's just wishful thinking. The gov doesn't take the crime of rape seriously enough.

Samadrita said...

@SUB: I agree.

@Purba di: Contradictory trends of our times. Weird.

@Meera Sundarajan: It's absolutely despicable how women continue to be treated this way. Some things never change.

@Sach: Thanks!

Farila said...

Hats of to you for handling this sensitive issue so well. You have made the point .. hope more awareness will bring some change.

Farila said...

I have shared this link on my facebook. Hope you don't mind

whisperingsilence said...

Each day I read of such ghastly acts being committed, all I can do is grit my teeth with anger & shake my head..I'm afraid to read the newspaper these days...girls being raped & then brutally assaulted or even murdered.And we call ourselves civilized?
the rapist walks scot-free while the victim bears the stigma all her life.. a long way to go before the society changes..till then I stick to the adage: prevention is better than cure..

Arvindh said...

Absolutely disgusting fellows. I am assuming that the idiots who are responsible for such crime will not have any drive to get educated.. therego will not end up reading such articles.
But that should not stop bloggers from spreading awareness.

Snow Leopard said...

Really well written. War leads to many crimes. And everyone loses the sight of good and evil. The mob mentality is the most dangerous thing.

Srikrishna said...

Wonderfully written.

To answer your (possibly rhetorical) questions :

A) Depends on how you define progress. Have we built more shiny things and 'infrastructure'? Yes. Have we understood how to live in an equitable society? No.
B) As long as society at large can get away with it.

The situation in Singur, and Chattisgarh just goes to show that our government doesn't really care at all. If the corporations come here with their money and can enhance our 'India shining' image, all the better. 'Rape? What rape?' seems to be the philosophy of the law enforcement.

This is something that civil society really needs to rise up against. You've said it very well.

CRD said...

How we treat our women is reflective of our culture. Sadly, that speaks volumes of how backward our culture is. So much for our so-called values and religious facade. Mob mentality also plays a major role in crimes. However, the way victims are treated demands a big change in our thinking, which unfortunately will never change in our indian hypocritical psyche. Its a sad fact.

Regards,
CRD

planetshiv said...

An article well written. I feel that there will always be goons and anti social elements present in our society no matter what. This people will always break laws and police will ultimately let them go scot free either for their benefit or under undue pressure from politicians. In an educated society like Delhi where rape happens as a daily event it is ultimately combined responsibility of the educated and responsible women to oppose forcefully and men to help in all possible ways to prevent such cruel and unsocial act. Moreover, capital punishment or at least solitary life imprisonment for such inhumans should be must.

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