Trigger Warning: This article mentions rape, and sexual violence.
When nearly a 100,000 women were raped and abducted during the 1947 Partition of India, when women of all ages are/have been brutalized in the most sadistic manner during communal riots at various times in the country, when Dalit women are raped, murdered and tossed aside or hung from trees on a regular basis in remote interiors of the country, when Nirbhaya had to die in the most horrific manner imaginable to set in motion the country’s movement against the crimes against women, when an 8-year-old was viciously violated and killed, when women are raped on a daily basis by people close to them, even their own husbands, fathers or grandfathers—well, all of these times, what happens is not merely distorted minds seeking a rush of pleasure by stooping to the lowest depths of humanity, but it’s a power-play of a much more frightening nature.
Sexual violence is more a case of establishing dominance than it is a need for sex. The perpetrators of sexual crimes have been brought up with the deeply twisted notion that the woman needs to be tamed; they have been conditioned to think that women are nothing more than baby-making machines and objects that are meant to afford physical and voyeuristic pleasure. Perhaps they have grown up seeing their own mothers being beaten up and raped by their fathers. Perhaps, they have been jilted in love (or THINK they have been). Perhaps, there has been trauma in their own past or failures and insecurities in their present. Or perhaps, they have had a perfectly good life but are simply sadistic.
Either way, there can be no justification for the unthinkable acts against humanity that keep getting committed across the country. And at the end of the day, it is the deep-rooted insecurities arising from a warped sense of masculinity, the need to make the woman toe the line, that drives these people to commit such horrific crimes. Of course, this is aided by the firm belief that perpetrators of such crimes often go scot-free in India, and even if they do get caught, the law takes its own sweet time before anything of consequence actually happens. Unfortunately, in our country, such sad precedents have been set time and again that turns this belief into something akin to knowledge.
Sexual violence as a means to subjugate and colonize women has been going on for centuries all over the world, from the very dawn of civilization. Women have been that second-class citizen, the seductress and the sex slave, whether in the history of African American slavery, during the Jewish genocide at the hands of the Nazis, or through the ages whenever one group of people has attacked another, mostly due to racial or religious bigotry. Wartime rape and brutality has been an unwritten rule since time immemorial. Rape and sexual assault have been used time and again as a weapon to incite fear in the hearts of women, to threaten and punish them. Each such transgression of humanity is possibly a subconscious act against the entire female sex rather than necessarily against one specific woman.
The fact remains, then, that it is the society that has created these monsters, ensuring them that their phalluses have power and if nothing else works, then this surely will. Every time a parent assures a son that he could have anything he wants, and abuses a daughter for wanting the same thing, a monster is created.
Now—why is it that no one seems to care? What has the spate of legal amendments following the 2012 Delhi crime come to? What exactly has been achieved? Why should we prepare ourselves to read in the morning paper about yet another bunch of inhuman rapists with no regret or remorse for what they have done?
Mindless exertion of power is thus one of the primary reasons behind the psychology of rape or any sexual violence because this is seen as one surefire way to feel good about yourself, however much of some wretched vermin you otherwise are. Pin down a helpless woman, violate her in the worst possible ways, insert things inside her, smother her and then burn her dead body—only then she will learn her ‘lesson’, won’t she?