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April 1, 2012

R.I.P.

Rape In Progress


"I remember the tears rolling down the sides of my face and the complete 'numbness' I felt.There wasn't any pain then.I 'removed' myself mentally from that bed,from that monster..I just wanted to die.I kept holding my breath,hoping I would just stop breathing,but I kept waking up.
He fell asleep at one point and I thought about getting up and trying to get away;that was when I realized I could not move.I was in so much pain and my head was pounding so hard that I was sure it would explode.I lay there shaking uncontrollably.I don't know whether it was from cold or from shock.Probably a little of both.
I looked to the window and could see it was just starting to get light out.Morning had come after all,taking the darkness away.The sun was coming up.I couldn't believe after the night of horror I have been through,the sun had the audacity to shine again."


The above words were those of a woman who was brutally raped by her husband.Whether we like to accept it or not,rape in relationships happen fairly commonly and it damages its victims.A woman is humiliated and degraded.There are cases where a woman has been stabbed;she has been held in a bath with an electric blow heater over her for 10 hours;she has been punched numerous times. The husband would just keep hitting her,or pulling her ears or her nose.And he would drag her around the house by her ear.And the whole time,the wife just wants her husband to love her more and just stop doing those kind of despicable things to her.Slowly,her sense of self erodes.

"So you stop fighting it,because you just can't keep up with it.You adapt to it.Eventually,what was once strange becomes normal.You eventually stop thinking of yourself as a person.Your feelings are of no consequence."


The victim becomes increasingly isolated through secrecy and shame.Her perpetrator tells her that it is her fault that he has to beat her.There is no one to contradict him.No one to validate her reality.

The Problem
Often,the victim never stops functioning or discharging her social responsibilities even in the face of such atrocity.As a result,no one on the outside has a clue.But inside,her self-hatred grows.It grows like a malignancy and it explodes until she loses a part of herself in the process.
Problem is,these crimes,their danger and the psychological devastation they wreak are largely minimized or ignored by our society.There are strong social beliefs about what is 'real rape' i.e the stranger in the alleyway.Together with these beliefs,other social and historical forces have worked to keep partner rape from being recognized and addressed,and to keep victims from seeking help and redress.

The Causes

CULTURAL ETHOS
In Indian society,there are deeply entrenched beliefs that devalue women,and,directly or indirectly,condone violence towards them.In fact,unlike Western countries,the Indian Penal Code doesn't even regard rape of one's wife as a crime.Section 375, the provision of rape in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), is echoing very archaic sentiments, when it mentions as its exception clause- “Sexual intercourse by  man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape.” The idea of making one's wife one sexual property has very strong ideological backing.Perhaps,it is still assumed by husbands and is a matter of general public opinion that,a woman trades sexual choice for a wedding garland,a ring or a change in one's surname.

RAPE MYTHS
Rape myths are a fundamental part of the way rape victims are viewed and treated by society.There are common and extremely pervasive ideas that women 'ask' to be raped because of what they wear and how they behave.Myths are a way to blame rape victims,and to take responsibility off their rapists.Rape myths are often based in ideas about female sexuality versus male sexuality.Women 'enjoy' being coerced or persuaded to engage in sexual intercourse.Therefore,men have the 'right' to overcome any reservations on the part of the woman by virtue of their persistence.
A parallel belief is that rape is a consequence of a male libido that is uncontrollable if aroused.The man is driven by his desperate need to orgasm once his penis has been aroused by the woman's attire,manner,placement at a certain time;messages-often unknown to her-that her dress and behavior supposedly send.
Also,another widespread notion is that if a woman has had sex with a man before,then the rape possibly couldn't have been so traumatic for her.
Social acceptance of rape myths is very dangerous because it means that society aligns itself with the rapist's point of view rather than that of the victim.As a result of this,the hapless victim of marital rape finds that the statement made by her partner in raping her,"You are my property and I can do with you what I wish", is endorsed by religion,the law,and perhaps even her family,who tell her in numerous ways that she was having sex with him anyway,thereby undermining the destructive significance of the rape itself.

As a result of the above mentioned factors,rape laws and their implementation haven't been that stringent so far.According to Rae Kaspiew,an Australian socio-legal researcher,"Rape law reflects a construction of sexuality which discounts women's subjectivity and privileges the male perspective."Women,who report cases of rape in our county,experience frustration and insensitivity in their contact with law enforcement agencies.I guess it is not so surprising.The judges,lawyers,and police are drawn from a society which continues to adhere to the rape myths outlined above.

Truth be told,any woman can be sexually assaulted by her husband.If you saw the 2007 film Provoked,starring Aishwarya Rai,you will know that talented and intelligent women like Kiranjit Ahluwalia,experience severe and prolonged domestic violence,including rape.Frankly speaking,it should hardly come as a surprise that,domestic and sexual violence span all classes,races,economic and educational levels,and have little to do with the personal characteristics of the women who experience them.


Why does a man rape

Interestingly,the reasons a rapist gives for raping a stranger or a partner are strangely similar.


Reason Rapist's POV
Power It gives the rapist a certain sense of superiority that he can overcome a woman's protests and make her a tool to satisfy his desires
Anger/Retaliation The rapist want to get even with the woman for somehow rejecting him or his advances
Insecurity/Sense of inadequacy The self-assurance and relative strengths of a woman emphasize the rapist's own inherent insecurities and he resorts to rape as a means of 'restoring balance'
Sexually aroused by causing pain/fear Some rapists report being 'turned on' by their victim's fear
Preference for coercive sex over consensual sex Rapists get a satisfaction out of making women do what they don't want to do
Sense of entitlement Rapists feel they have the right to have sex with a woman if they choose to

It is important to realize however that,exploring the mindset of a rapist,shouldn't be used to offer excuses or justification for rape-there are none.

The Repercussions

I wonder what it is like for a women,to be not able to tell anyone.To not know that you have been raped.Just like she doesn't know what she is going through is domestic violence.She would know that she was miserable,she would know it was unpleasant,but she would probably have no recourse but to think that this is what she was doomed to live with and she would be scared to say anything because of the repercussions.
Approximations have quoted that every 6 hours; a young married woman is burnt or beaten to death, or driven to suicide from emotional abuse by her husband. The UN Population Fund states that more than 2/3rds of married women in India, aged between 15 to 49 have been beaten, raped or forced to provide sex. In 2005, 6787 cases were recorded of women murdered by their husbands or their husbands’ families. 56% of Indian women believed occasional wife-beating to be justified.
I think it is safe to say that getting recognition for the experiences of a marital rape victim and accessing help and healing would have been much easier without the expectation that doing so would lead to more hurt.Just a few examples to clarify my point here:

  • Women who don't have the awareness that the sexual assaults amount to rape will be re-assaulted time and again.
  • If women are getting advice from people who subscribe to and endorse the myth that what is happening is not real rape,then it could have frightening implications for the victim.
  • In a country like ours,scarcity in resources of understanding and compassion is hugely problematic.Deputy Commissioner of Gurgaon PC Meena (in response to the gang rape of a 25-year-old pub-employee on the night of 11 March) exhorted women working at commercial enterprises, malls and bars in Gurgaon to stop staying at work after 8 pm.One cannot help but identify with the sense of anger and frustration that women must feel when their freedom of movement is curtailed in this fashion.It is not only an admission of utter incompetence,but is,in every sense of the term,unconstitutional.An indignant lawyer,Rebecca John,has this to say-"Our laws are watertight, but how can this help when the ground reality in a court room, or a police station for that matter, is no different from the mentality of a khap panchayat? I look at women who choose to testify against rapists with wonder all the time, simply because we all know that once they admit to having been raped, they will be violated repeatedly by the police, the lawyers and the media."

In our country,victims of sexual assault are often isolated and ignored.And this is doubly true for victims of marital rape and domestic violence.A strong negative stigma surrounds women who have been abused in relationships;the stigma that accompanies rape often means that survivors of marital rape face an ugly raw deal.Saying you were abused by anyone evokes ignorant inferences about your character,and if it is by your husband,society becomes even stingier with its cooperation and sympathy.It is hard to turn a blind eye to the fact that the sufferers have to cope with immense levels of insult and blame from family or friends or wider society,including the criminal justice system.


The need for change

Marriage does not thrive on sex.And it should not be used an excuse to subject wives to abusive traps, where they are denigrated to the status of a personal possession. While judicial awakening is very important, we primarily require generation of awareness regarding gender sensitivity. It is sad to belong to a gender which happens to be the perpetrators of these sort of crimes. ‘Educating boys and men to view women as valuable partners in life, in the development of society and the attainment of peace are just as important as taking legal steps to protect women’s human rights’, says the UN.
We are raping her to this very day and there is NO divine intervention.
In the world we live in,gods or angels who break the rules of time and space,to save the victims of rape and sexual abuse,exist only in myths and fantasies.I guess that would have been okay if rapists like Dushashana were make-believe too.But that is not the case.We might choose to turn a blind eye to whatever atrocities are being committed against women folk,but we should realize that one day the very same thing could happen to the women we cherish so much in our lives.We,men, have the social, economic, moral, political, religious and social responsibility to combat all forms of gender discrimination.And herein,is a remarkable thing about human nature.We simultaneously possess the contradictory potentials of ruining this world or making it a better place for us and our progeny.There is a blinding light which shines in each one of us,as well as an abyss of darkness.What it ultimately boils down to is a simple choice.You see,when I was young,someone drilled into me a very simple idea-to make the world a better place,one must always fight,even if it is not his own war.Whether we choose to fight or not,is up to us,but we should remember that with every choice there is a consequence.
And from down here,the consequences don't seem to justify staying put and doing nothing.
Six months back,when I was a fledgling blogger,I wrote this one poem.I think the current topic can be appropriately concluded with that poem.


Painfully,he digs his fingers into my arm
Fear seizes me,I know he'll cause me harm
His eyes are hellish,shining with cruel lust
I can feel tonight he'll turn my body to dust

Rudely like a beast,he throws me on the floor
My clothes,body and soul,he violently tore
Clawing and ripping away my tender parts,
He riddled my heart with poisonous darts.

He beats me up,terrorizing and horrifying me
Powerless before him,I helplessly fight to be free
He is using me and my body without permission
My shamed body hating itself for its submission

He leaves me,torn,dirty,corrupted and battered
I'll never be the same again,my life is shattered
He proved it,over my person I've no control
In insecurity, fear and stigma,my heart does roll.
We can all play a decisive role in bringing down her insecurity,her fear and stigma,people.It's time to change.


P.S.This post has been written for the Stayfree Time to change contest.Please do spare some time and visit their FB page here:http://facebook.com/sftimetochange.

Reactions:

47 comments:

  1. It is good to see a man write up these ...that too with all the understanding..Kudos...

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    1. I am glad you feel that way.Thank you.

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  2. This was a power-house of a post. I think it needs wider circulation. This was well researched and articulate to the point.

    One can't even begin to imagine the trauma a rape victim undergoes. Sadly, most often than not, it happens in close circles.

    In my opinion, it's a crime not just similar to murder, but even worse. High time we joined hands against it.

    Well written, my boy.

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    1. Thank you so much.:-) Although,judging by the number of comments and the lukewarm response,no one seems to give two hoots to what I have to say.

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  3. Whoa! Superb job,dude! Yes,the so called 'real rape' idea annoys me to no end! But it's because of men like you that I still dare to trust men at times. Well done. Keep it up.:-)

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    1. :-) Wow.That's a great compliment.Thanks so much!

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  4. well researched, deeply thought and powerful post. Well what u said abt wedding that it should not thrive on sex is so damn true. Its much more than that. I feel not only men but women also should be educated not to submit themselves just coz she is wife to somebody in cases where violence is involved and life is hell.,....


    Well written. Good luck fr contest

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    1. Ahh yes.Everyone should be made aware of one's rights and what constitutes wrongdoing against them.:-) Thanks.

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  5. Absolutely wonderful!!! And I am so glad that this has been written by a man! You are 100% right when you say that marriage does not nullify rape. Just as there are so many women undergoing domestic violence there are probably an equal number ( if not more) who are undergoing sexual violence! We see sometimes in movies, women being made to marry the rapist and that is supposed to have solved the problem!!! The solution here being worse than the problem!!! Rape as you say is all about power- no man rapes a woman because he is sexually attracted to her. It is his way of exerting his power over her. Unfortunately no one reports rape for the stigma that it carries with it!! I also don't like words like " rape victim" i think we should use a more positive word like " rape survivor" !!

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    1. He he.Why can't such a piece be written by a man?I mean even for a guy it is not too hard to imagine what it would feel like if someone stronger than you uses his force to make you do things you don't want to do.And regarding women being asked to marry their rapist,I came across a recent news where a Moroccan girl committed suicide because the court ruled she should marry her rapist.This is the state of human affairs existing today.Rape is a violation of everything a person can possibly consider good in himself.

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  6. I can only say thank you. Rape is.... beyond simple torture. It's pain, hurt. Thank you for supporting us victims. Sexual abuse sucks!

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    1. You are a victim?Oh dear!I never knew.:-(

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  7. Your blog has turned into a very informative site! :) Keep up the good work.. :)

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  8. what a title of post, and real research put into it. great show of pen.

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  9. The saddest part is that many women who go through it don't even realize that they are getting raped. Kudos to you for writing on such a sensitive topic and doing justice to it. All the best for the contest.

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  10. Great Work.. Deserve to win:)

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    1. He he,win???I doubt that.Look at the discouraging number of comments.:-P But thanks anyways...:-) Your words meant a lot.

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  11. It takes a lot of courage to pick up a topic like this, and to talk about it in such clear terms. One major problem with this democracy is hushing up. Every wrong instead of being dealt with, is hushed up. And the society refrains to talk about things under the garb of conservatism. My hats off to you for such a powerful write. I'd declare you a winner hands down.
    Regards
    Pixie of Lunatica :)

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    1. :-) Thank you so much Rohu.You are most kind and generous with your praise.Thank you.

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  12. This is one of the best write ups I have come across on this topic in the recent past. It's something that has been bothering me too much. All those reports in the news and stuff. Quite sad. I really hope things change soon though.

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    1. Hope.:-) Yes.We can all hope.And heal too.

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  13. Your post gave me goosebumps from the beginning..wit that narration.. I can feel for these women and you are right.. It's high time the basic violation of a human body ended.

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    1. The violation of human body should never ever have occurred in the first place.But we live in a cruel world with imperfect people.Hope the cruelty recedes someday.

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  14. You have a really strong point of view and you have finely researched all the pros and cons of the topic. Kudos to your narration and all the very best for the contest. Of all the changes that is needed to be brought about in this society I think victimizing to rape is one field where a change has to be brought about soon.

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    1. Yes.Rape has to stop.It is sick.Has no justification at all.

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  15. A very well researched article, Rahul. Hope many people read it. You are right. The police make every effort to blame the victim and not register a rape case which abuses the victim all over again.

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    1. Even I wrote this with the intention that it gets read by a lot of people and they start realizing a bit of the pain a rape victim goes through.But well,things don't always work out the way we want them to.:-) Thanks.

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    2. You sound discouraged. Do you have an email address that I could write to, Rahul? Mine is km at nevermindyaar dot com

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    3. I dropped you a mail.In case,you didn't receive it-my id is monumentalcrankiness@gmail.com

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  16. Sexual abuse is the worst thing that could ever happen to anyone. not voicing this crime is worse. it leaves behind a person you'd fail to recognize as yourself.
    superbly written Rahul. I have no words.
    Don't go by the number of comments. not on this one, seriously.

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    1. :-) Ok.I am not going to go by the no. of comments on this one.:-)Deal.

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  17. well, that was absolutely fabulous piece !! something so well articulated.... I think this deserves winning title and much more circulation, all the best :)

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  18. I cant imagine the pain the pain the woman would go through..
    In a society where women are supposed to be "worshiped" and we talk about "girl-power"...there may be so many martial rapes inside 4 walls...horrifying

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  19. First of all, RESPECTS! For writing on such a topic. I agree with each and every line of yours.
    I really like the way you have proceeded with the post, step-by-step, and giving an insightful detail on the topic. Brilliant!
    I surely agree, there should be a change in mentality of the people, and the way they see it. We surely have been a male chauvinistic society, but we need to change, for the better. Although, there are many who welcome and support this change in the times of today, but the sad reality is that rape cases are still increasing.
    I'll give you an example. Here is a video, when Raghu Ram (of Roadies) is debating with i-guess-a-politician, on a similar topic.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLju_EHQ5Mo
    As you clearly saw, some people are just not ready to change their mentality and listen to others.
    I feel very sad when people make such comments, of not allowing women to travel alone at night. I mean, the women is not at fault, so why she has to suffer. Is weird, how restrictions are being put up to an innocent person, while the criminal is enjoying their freedom. Police and lawmakers are just finding an easy way out, which is totally wrong.
    But the ray of hope is that, more and more people are standing up for such a cause (even men), people are getting educated, women know what is wrong, and we are currently in a state of "change", where some of them support this, while some don't. I am sure, as time passes by, things would surely improve.

    This was a powerful post, and now I can understand what you mean when you said you "lost". This is a winner in my eyes. I'm surely gonna dig more into your blog. I'm loving this!

    First time here,
    Ritvik
    http://www.casacio.blogspot.in/

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    1. Hello RG.Welcome aboard.:-) Ahh well,thanks so much for this beautiful comment.Really means a lot.I am frankly overwhelmed.But as you can see,I think I have a right to feel dejected about 'losing' out in this contest.Stuff like this just makes me too demoralized and demotivated to try further.But anyway,thanks so much again.:-) You made my day.

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    2. Don't feel that way. As I said, this is a winner to me. (Though I won't give you an iPad for that :P)
      I think keep trying and maybe one day that moment will come. What would give you more happiness? Winning a contest, then another and then another? or Losing a lot of them, trying hard, every single time, hoping to win... Lost, Worked harder, Lost, worked more harder, lost, put in your everything.. lost, and then just when you were about to give up, Voila! You won!! I'm sure you're a winner, and you'll soon win something big, and I'm sure about it!!
      Just keep writing!! That's all I can say!!
      Never lose hope!! :-)

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    3. Well thanks mate.:-) So let's just keep trying, shall we?Increase the no. of trials to increase the chance of success and that sorta thing.:-)

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    4. Yeah, surely! :-)
      You got it!! :-)
      By the way, Don't forget to participate in Lakme, you won't be disappointed there.. :-P

      PS: I hope you participated in Castrol.. :P

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    5. Why what about them?I didn't participate in Castrol.Not too sure about Lakme.Might give Vodafone a try.

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  20. Well written post.

    Refreshing to see a guy talk about rape. Not many guys have the guts to talk about such a sensitive subjective even though they may feel strongly about it. I know many guys who support equal rights for woman, movements against violence against woman, rape victoms; but all this is in theory; they never seem to talk about it. And here you have a whole post about rape. Kudos!
    P.S I am sharing your post on fb :)

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  21. Powerful article, very well written. It's a shame the way women are "objectified" and abused by sick minded people.

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