Talking through their hats!
Following the horrific gang rape in Delhi last year, a lot has been written and said about the safety of women, the rapidly rising crime rates and the incredibly lax government which allows criminals to go scot free. What is needed, said the outraged citizens of India, is a complete upheaval of society as we know it, only then can we start afresh. That, however, will take a mammoth effort on the part of the Indian people and if the following information is anything to go by, it will truly be a herculean – if not impossible – task.
After the horrifying incident, there were reports of many people in the so called ‘upper echelons’ of society who said the most distasteful and idiotic things about women and rape. They insinuated that the women are to blame – an age old response to anything pertaining to crimes against women – they also said that women misuse the law and scream rape to get men into trouble. Some said the victim should have asked for mercy, called the criminals her brother, others wondered why she was out so late ( at 9 pm) with her boyfriend and nodded their heads wisely about how ‘character-less’ women deserve such ‘punishment'.
It makes the blood boil. In this article we compile some of the most heinous things said by well known people and people in power- just for you to understand what a brutish and uneducated society we live in. It is possible that you will have heard or read these comments, but it is necessary to reiterate them, just to remind society that something needs to be done, and soon.
Let’s start with the worst of them all – in a very controversial scandal on the networking site Twitter, immediately after the brutal rape and death of the young physiotherapy student in Delhi, the infamous Sunny Leone, porn-star extraordinaire who has been given a gushing welcome by India and Bollywood apparently tweeted “Rape is not a crime, it’s just surprise sex”. After this was re-tweeted by many the star announced she had not said anything of the sort and deleted her tweet – of course. Such an imbecile comment is not expected of anyone – it smacks of illiteracy and a disregard for others.
While many will disregard this statement and dismiss Ms Leone as being someone not overburdened with brains, how does one explain the comments of Vibha Rao, the chairperson of the Chattisgarh State Women Commission? According to her, women these days are influenced by Western culture and send out ‘wrong’ signals to men by dressing inappropriately and being outdoors too late. Hence – and this is the classic line – they “ask” for it. “Women are responsible for the crimes against them” said this lady, holding a superior post of a women-centric enterprise. Coming from a woman, this is peculiar and disturbing.
Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azim has been heard saying things like women should not go out without male relatives – if they venture out with men who are not related then they should not blame them when rape takes place. Also, he feels rape is on the rise because women are wearing less clothing. Yes, he said such a thing. This goes hand in hand with West Bengal’s CM Mamata Banerjee opining that rape cases are on the rise because men and women interact too freely and too often these days.
Another famous instance of someone in a powerful position saying the stupidest things about women and crimes against them is undoubtedly our President Pranab Mukherjee’s son MP Abhijeet Mukherjee. He seems to be of the opinion that women accentuate their looks and that is why they get raped. When the nation was witnessing huge protests against the rape incident, Mukherjee said that “dented and painted women” are participating in the protests and they have no contact with reality – implying that they are going about in the hot sun, shouting their voices hoarse just for the sake of looking pretty for the cameras. In fact, Mr Mukherjee’s comment makes very, very little sense.
And who hasn’t heard of the great guru Asaram Bapu – who blamed the rape victim for the crime, saying she should have called the criminals ‘brothers’ and begged them to stop. Of course, she should have also chanted the Saraswati mantra and not gotten on a bus so late at night with a man who was not related to her anyway.
And if you thought only Indians are guilty of such a narrow minded view point you are wrong.
Former Texas Republican gubernatorial contender Clayton Williams purportedly said on the topic of rape –“As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.” Another political representative Henry Aldridge is said to have commented The facts show that people who are raped —who are truly raped—the juices don't flow, the body functions don't work and they don't get pregnant. Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever." (This is as reported by www.cosmopolitan.com). The same website reports how a former republican Arkansas governor said that there is an ‘upside’ of pregnancy after rape, citing the example of singer Ethel Walters being a result of forcible rape.
So what is the moral of the story here? There are actually a large number of politicians, celebs and spiritual gurus, the so called educated classes who believe that rape is not a major crime and that women are largely responsible for it because they have strayed out of the virtuous shelter of their native culture. They do not stop to think that the men of the same culture are guilty of such outrage and they should be brought to task. This is the reason why rapes and crimes against women continue unabated to this very day despite the protests from the common man. We can only raise our voices, but what use is it if they are quelled or silenced by the people in power – people who can actually DO something to change the way the country functions?