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Making of a Demon: Rape and the Rapist

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By Priyata Khushbu:

Every day some unfortunate woman or girl child is left with bitter memories and physical anguish by brutal beasts who call themselves ‘humans’. These criminals are sometimes brought to book but mostly they go scot free. These criminals are called ‘rapists’ who do not deserve to be a part of the society as they are involved in some of the worst sex offences. ‘Rapists’ are akin to wild animals that are always on the prowl for innocent victims. It is not simply a matter of getting sexual satisfaction by forceful intercourse, but ‘rapists’ are sadists who enjoy inflicting pain on women.

The ever increasing rape cases only points to the fact that women are becoming unsafe every day. These wild animals with a human face just need a female body be it a 6 year old child or a 60 year old woman for sexual gratification. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) of home ministry has revealed some shocking figures pertaining to rape cases. In 2010, 489 rape cases were reported as against 459 in 2009. The number of rape case reported in Mumbai and Bhopal were 189 and 117 respectively. Abduction and molestation of women is also rising in Delhi. 1379 out of total 3544 cases of abduction took place in the capital. New figures given by Delhi Police reveal that a woman is raped every 18 hours or molested every 14 hours in the capital. A staggering 56 percent accused in rape cases were below the age of 25. Researchers have estimated that 67% to 84% of the rape cases are not reported. This brings us to the conclusion that the situation is worse than what we imagine it to be and the rape statistics may be five times more than what is in front of us.

This is a shocking revelation indeed. The most banal and preposterous reason given for the rape of a woman is that she must have been provocatively dressed which must have in turn invited sexual advances from the man or men. Does this statement justify the rape of a 6 year old child or a woman clad in a sari as it is viewed to be decent attire? The problem is much more complex than linking a woman’s clothing to her rape.

I was startled to read the recent report of a 14 year old boy raping a minor in a Delhi orphanage. Many a times the ‘rapist’ may be involved in some molestation case or some form of sexual abuse in the past but owing to his juvenile status or money power, he escapes the punishment that he deserves. It raises a very serious question, whether a ‘rapist’ is born with an inherent beast or is this beast a social construct? The beast is a social construct when the ‘rapists’ denigrate women as sex toys and not humans. This is the reason why ‘gender equality’ needs to be promoted. Masculinity is often linked to violence and rape can be seen as an assertion of power and authority. Rapists are imbued with a sense of power after robbing a woman of her dignity and honour, which is believed to be her greatest asset.

The skewed sex ratio can also be seen as the reason behind this predator theory where the ‘rapist’ is the predator and the ‘victim’ is the prey. History bears testimony to the fact that minority is always targeted and in this case, women as ‘inferior sex’ are doubly oppressed. A ‘rapist’ is not born overnight but different social factors like gender inequality, lack of respect for women, perception of women as trophy rather than humans play an inevitable role in the ‘making of the demon’. The ‘rapist’ may be an alienated soul looking for someone to mate with or have a family of his own. He may be a son, husband or a father but if he is a ‘rapist’ then he is firstly a criminal. The family particularly the mother and the wife should take the first step in disowning him and not get swept away by the tide of emotions.

The problem can be addressed by trying to comprehend the psychology or the mindset of a ‘rapist’. He may be a sexist, misogynist, rejected lover, predator who enjoys such violence or a psychopath.

Misogynists may view rape as a means to disempowering women by shattering her confidence after subjecting her to physical and emotional agony. A rejected lover may see it as the only way to possess the woman he wants because in our society a rape victim is very often married to the ‘rapists’ as she is no longer ‘pure’ to get married to any decent guy in the society. Justice is therefore served to her by getting her married to her perpetrator. In other cases, the ‘rapists’ often target women belonging to inferior class or caste, which is exemplified by the soaring cases of rape of Dalit women. Actors like Shiny Ahuja or pervert politicians who again rape women because of their inferior social status. An opportunist ‘rapist’ uses the vulnerability of a woman to his advantage like a woman standing on a deserted road or walking alone at night. This category also includes ‘rapists’ who rape women during communal riots to humiliate the ‘other’ and also because they know that nobody will hold them accountable. The last category of ‘rapists’ are those people who are known to the victim like relatives or friends. All the above categories of ‘rapists’ delineate the ‘making of a demon’.

Displaced aggression or frustration is the most common factor behind coercive sex or rape. In the Indian context ‘rapists’ are encouraged by the treatment meted out to the rape victims by the society. It is always the rape victim who has to bear humiliation and is isolated by the society as it is always believed that the woman is at fault. This is a primary reason why many rape cases are not reported. As a result the ‘rapists’ is not punished and this boosts his confidence which in turn makes him a predator. The ‘demon’ can be killed by the collective efforts of the society and women should be made to feel more like humans and less like objects.

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  1. Puberun Dutta

    you guys need to check your fact, the girl who was considered a victim in shiney ahuja case, later confessed to having plotted against him…

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
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