By Shibika Suresh:

These days, there seem to be a lot of people saying that prostitution should be legalized to help curb the rising rapes. In the light of the sudden increasing rape cases in the capital, many have come forward with this belief that providing paid-sex (which is precisely what prostitution is) will help decrease cases of rape. But it is a very wrongly conceived notion that a rapist is sex-deprived. Rape is not about sex, but a means of violence where sex is a weapon. It is about power, control, degradation, punishment and humiliation.

prostitutionMost of the recent rape cases involved young men whom curiosity and the adrenaline-rushes got the best of. The pathetic, sickening demeanour of such men, using candles and iron rods, could not only be a result of sexual tension. To say that a rapist was sexually unsatisfied, and therefore he raped, is yet another way for society to excuse rape.

Legalising prostitution, especially in the country like India where polar-opposite beliefs exist together, is a matter of huge debate and discussion. While some are of the belief that since commerce is legal and sexual contact is legal, combining the two should be legal as well; many others feel that legalising prostitution goes against the very basis of our beliefs and culture. The real question here is, whether giving a legal status to prostitution (basically offering sexual gratification in return for cash or kind) will help in curbing such heinous crimes in a country like ours.

Saying that legalizing prostitution would curb rapes means that sex-workers and their profession address the problem that causes rape. It seems to imply that the rapist was a poor victim of circumstances, which lead him to rape. On the contrary there is proof to believe that countless men without access to prostitutes do not rape at all. The belief that sex is why rapists are led to rape can also be taken as an insult to men at large. Essentially it means that men need sex or they rape, and that sex should be provided by society to keep their girls safe. The whole thing comes down to this: In order to protect the ‘purity’ and ‘chastity’ of some women, its okay to inflict the worst of cruelty to others who don’t deserve the ‘protection’ that society has to offer.

The need to legalize prostitution should not come up because it has a remote possibility of curbing a social evil. It should arise because we as a society feel that the sex workers need their share of respect and rights. Because they should be guaranteed human rights and strict standards of health and cleanliness. Because there should be a check on human trafficking and the undesirable figure of middlemen should be abolished.

In a rapist’s mind a woman is not a person, but an object that is symbolic of whatever or whoever the rapist wants to humiliate – could be a relative, could be a caste. As long as that desire is there, as long as the view of women as possessions is there, we cannot hope to defeat rape by providing a greater variety of women. As long as stereotypes about women make rounds through generations, we cannot hope for establishing a rational society, with a broad-spectrum thinking. Society has to stop associating a woman’s ‘virtue’ with her worth as a human.

What we need for preventing rapes directly is strong law enforcement, consistent policing, reliable and prompt sentencing, and not more women being exploited. There should be stigma and social condemnation attached to the rapist. What we need is a more sensible society, which learns to logically reason situations, and not come up with such theories that exploit women as objects of sexual desire and propagate the view that if we keep sex easily available for men, we can prevent rapes.

Should prostitution be legalized? Yes. Should we hope that rapes will decrease because of it? Certainly not.

Comments
Harvey Specter
Posted at 12:58 am July 23, 2013
Social Scribblers
Reply
Author

Well written… Completely agree with you…

Harvey Specter
Posted at 11:46 pm May 13, 2013
Raj
Reply
Author

Sorry I don’t agree completely with this article :

1) In many cases, it is about sex. It is about some demented guy knowing that he isn’t gonna get sex because he’s poor, ugly and … demented. Think date rapes. What show of power does the rapist achieve, having his victim sedated?
However in many cases like marital rape , it is indeed about power. But many a times, it’s indeed about sex.

2) Prostitution is LEGAL in India. Yes you read that right. Check wikipedia :
“In India, prostitution (the exchange of sexual services for money) is legal,[1] but a number of related activities, including soliciting in a public place, kerb crawling, owning or managing a brothel, pimping and pandering, are crimes.” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_India

3) “The belief that sex is why rapists are led to rape can also be taken as an insult to men at large.” is absolutely devoid of logic. Yes, heterosexual men do desire sex. But not all of them violate women in order to get it . Many instead have girlfriends with whom they have sex, and most of them get married and then have sex.
Men desire money too, but not all of them kill and loot for it.

4)”In order to protect the ‘purity’ and ‘chastity’ of some women, its okay to inflict the worst of cruelty to others who don’t deserve the ‘protection’ that society has to offer.” What do you mean? Are you talking about prostitutes? Is consensual sex a crime being perpetuated on prostitutes? Is any type of heterosexual a crime against a woman?

5) “…. and not come up with such theories that exploit women as objects of sexual desire and propagate the view that if we keep sex easily available for men, we can prevent rapes.” Where are you getting this stuff from? Prostitutes voluntarily “sell” their bodies for sex, so do pornstars…and to a lesser extent item girls and actresses. They voluntarily and with full knowledge know that they are marketing lust. They aren’t that stupid , you know.
And who are you do tell the society not to come up with such theories? Freedom of expression out the window?

Harvey Specter
Posted at 10:14 pm May 12, 2013
shreya sarin
Reply
Author

very true…i totally agree
inorder to stop rapes, the mindset of india needs to change, and i think that is the governments responsibility.

Harvey Specter
Posted at 9:08 pm May 12, 2013
rishita19
Reply
Author

well written… though legalising prostitution is something that needs to be discussed at length separately from the issue of rape as well… but the point you are making through this article, i.e “rape is not about sex and prostitution will not serve the problem” is very well put…. (y)

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