What Do Rapists Want?
The group of drunken men who waved them onto their private bus actually wanted a “joy ride” (???!!!) so they spent the trip beating the pair with an iron rod and gang raping the woman with that same tool. Afterward the two were thrown off the bus and left to die. The woman survived but her intestines were destroyed. After three abdominal surgeries she suffered major brain injury, cardiac arrest, an infected abdomen and infected lungs. After fighting for two weeks to live, her body finally gave out and she died.
All so a few guys could have a little fun.
Six men have been arrested. And that may be the most surprising part of this story. Indian women are constantly harassed and raped and then blamed for the crimes. What were they wearing? What were they doing? Attacks are pooh-poohed.
Recently, an 18-year-old from another Indian province was kidnapped from a place of worship, drugged and repeatedly assaulted. The police had her describe the attack — in detail — several times, and then pressured her family to take money as compensation. Or, have her marry one of the rapists to make things right. The young woman continued to be threatened and stalked by the men who raped her until she finally committed suicide.
When Indian women aren’t being raped they are being sexually harassed on a regular basis.
Neha Kaul Mehra was only 7 years old when it started. A man began masturbating in front of her as she walked to dance class. She went on to face much more.
Sonia Faleiro says this sort of thing is pervasive:
I LIVED for 24 years in New Delhi, a city where sexual harassment is as regular as mealtime… As a teenager, I learned to protect myself. I never stood alone if I could help it, and I walked quickly, crossing my arms over my chest, refusing to make eye contact or smile. I cleaved through crowds shoulder-first, and avoided leaving the house after dark except in a private car…
The steady thrum of whistles, catcalls, hisses, sexual innuendos and open threats continued. Packs of men dawdled on the street… To make their demands clear, they would thrust their pelvises at female passers-by.
Sexual harassment and rape are increasing in India. Between 2006 and 2011 rape was up 25%. Last year only one attack resulted in a conviction.
What’s behind the assaults? Provocative clothing? Women asking for it? Sonia tried covering up. It didn’t work. Surely the young woman on the bus hadn’t asked to be mutilated so badly that her intestines would need to be removed. Surely she did not ask to be thrown from a bus and left for dead
Instead we must ask what these rapists are trying to do.
The rise in assault comes as women gain greater freedom and empowerment. Clearly, someone wants to stop them.
Rape lets women know who is free and who is not. Assault leaves them feeling disempowered, intimidated, in fear of men. Rape lets them know who’s boss.
It’s working. Many women limit themselves. Politicians tell them to stay inside and stop using cell phones. Brothers tell sisters the same thing. Some mean well. But the effect is to keep women penned in. And because the real problem is not clothing or being out at night the rapes continue, anyway.
Between blaming victims, marrying them off to their rapists, and failing to arrest or prosecute the crimes, rapists are not held accountable. That keeps them going. It all stems from a culture of misogyny.
Instead of focusing on the women, transform the culture. Stop believing that being raped is a worse crime than raping. And consider that the victim-blaming of India is not so different from what often happens here – sometimes in comments on my blog.
At long last a rape in Delhi has created such outrage that the people are rising up in protest to demand a more humane world. I hope for their success.
Related Posts on BroadBlogs
Mind of a Rapist: Trying to Bridge a Gap between a Small Self and a Big Man
Raping, Shaming Girls to Impress Guys
Yale Fraternity Chants “No Means Yes.” Men? Or Scaredy Cats?
Posted on January 4, 2013, in feminism, psychology, rape, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged feminism, India, psychology, rape, sexism, violence against women, women. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.