It is said that the way the women of a particular region, or country, are kept and treated tells a lot about the men of that place. Take your mind off to all those places of our country or the world where atrocities on women are common and then think about their men. This is true everywhere. Although, in the same breath, I would add that we cannot make any sweeping generalizations about these gender roles or functions in a society. But, in a broad way, the education, the health state and over all personality development of women folk depends a lot on the men in their life – be it the father, the brother, the husband, the employer etc. Also, in this blogosphere, where often you are taken by your words with the spirit behind the words taking a back seat, let me clarify here that I am, in no way, undermining the capabilities and potential of women and I’m not saying that women cannot do anything without their men.
Having said that, let me share with you an incident, which gave me a glimpse of how men, some men, a big proportion of men of our society see women.
It was a perfect winter evening, me and my spouse were invited to a small party of friends. We were the new couple there, as we were just introduced to this wealthy punjabi business class family and their three more family friends through our common close friends. The occasion was was an eve before the host’s son’s engagement (called “Roka” in Punjabi). The engagement was to follow the next morning, and here we were sitting in their large drawing room, which had a well stocked bar at one corner and drinks were flowing and kebabs were being served.
I was sitting on the corner of the huge sofa, almost sunk in it, sipping from my glass of juice. The setting was exactly the way it is in Punju families – women cluster together discussing sarees and jewellery and the beauty packages available in the leading beauty clinics…. in between the mother of the would-be groom would tell how the girl looks like. And on the other side of the hall, almost covering half of it, were the men… spread like kings….. and discussing everything from stock market to scams to even religion and politics.
I, like a good guest, smiled and sat pretty, nicely clad in my choodidar and kurta. I was attentive towards the women’s chit chat and I especially liked the way the lady described her would-be daughter-in-law – “she is a doctor….. knows how to cook…. and can drive a car too……and is so fair…. so beautiful….. it’s a combination of traditional and modern”. I was impressed too, listening to it. And, there the men went on taking a dig on the self styled spiritual Gurus! “Ah, that was of my interest really!” I thought, shifting slightly to participate in that topic. I was a new entrant, so I just wanted to hear them out… I was quiet… but enjoying it. The discussion took a turn, as they began talking about the law and order situation of Delhi…..and how life is not to safe now a days in the Capital.
I got distracted by the women’s talks as the to be mother-in-law (MIL) told that she is going to wear a red coloured saree for the Engagement ceremony. Now-a-days, when even brides are looking for more sophisticated colours for their bridal wear, a Mom-in-law wearing a red, blood red coloured saree was a big, but pleasant surprise for me. The lady, of course was pretty and quite young to be a MIL! And, my attention got shifted to the other side of the hall, where the host (would-be FIL) stood up to fill his glass of drink and said “Rape? what rape? Eh, are you talking about that Dhaula Kuan case? come on!”
(Just to apprise you that in December 2010, a 30 year old call centre employee who was just dropped to her place near Dhaula Kuan in New Delhi at mid night by her company van was a little later abducted by 2-3 men, she was gang raped and abandoned at another place. The girl belonged to one of the North Eastern State of India. The whole city was under shock due to this incident. And, later certain guidelines have been made for the Call Centre employers to safeguard the women employees who work at night shift and also, the police officers have been sensitized to deal with rape cases)
The host continued – ” What rape? oh that is not rape….these women are like that only…. they keep going around with men…… they sleep around with men…….. and now when someone has done it… they say he raped me… what rape? is it rape for them? cheh! ” Half of the men present there rhymed…. “oh that is not rape…. they ask for it….. these girls”….. and the rest half were quiet…. as if they didn’t want to argue, but somewhere did not agree much, but chose to be quiet.
The man continued, “and that Jessica case…. who was she to refuse a drink? she….selling liquor to men in a party at night… and then says ‘no’ to give a drink….. so what if the boy got angry?…. so what… after all…he was a man….. he got angry….. so what?…”. this time the topic was changed quickly…… My attention was completely on it….. I wanted to intervene…. I so wanted to…. but I kept quiet….. I was a guest…. a new comer and a guest…. I kept quiet.
The women were busy talking about when is the best time to get a facial, ie., a day before the ceremony…..”ah, it gives a lot of glow the next day!”, the lady exclaimed.
I was observing the contrast….. i was seeing the irony of the situation….. so unaware was the lady of how her husband thought about women in general and she goes on talking about beautifying herself and preparing the home to welcome the new bride….. and here I sat quite aware of what my spouse thinks about the issue and I am sitting over the issue, gulping down those last few traces of liquid in my glass, as if swallowing the insult to my womanhood poured in the form of that drink…. i swallowed it all.
Don’t you think, dear reader, that we live with such ignorance and with such a big facade??
And I was thinking about the would be Daughter-in-law (DIL) too… what if something goes wrong with her some time? or with the pretty MIL?
But, the one thing really disturbed me was that, there is a big chunk of our society which feels that a girl invites rape by her dress up and conduct…. there is a section of the society which feels a man should not be blamed, if it’s the girl who has titillated his senses… and aroused him….. by wearing deep necklines or short dresses…… then he is only a man…. an testosterone pumping man….. and it’s not his fault if the woman is so tempting. To add to the list of provocation, let me say, that even a woman’s smile or laughter is taken as an invitation.
Another aspect, which was even criticized by the Apex court of the country was that the personal life…. the personal relationships of a victim should not be used against her. If I remember correctly, in another rape case (or may be this one) the Police said that the girl was in a relationship (sexual ie.) and was not a virgin… so….. (God knows what was meant by this)…. but this was disgusting for me. I mean, losing virginity – forget about marriage or no marriage – is no license for another person to go trespassing your body. Being a non-virgin and single does not mean it’s an open to all territory…. how disgusting is the thought even. Thankfully, the court noticed it and spoke categorically against this point… that the personal life of the victim should not be brought in the case of a heinous crime like a gang rape or rape for that matter.
One more thing, if inviting rape is like seduction for these men, then the scene of rape would be real hot stuff, right?! I wish it was wrong…. but the hard fact is that there are a plenty of men who find even rape as sexually pleasurable act. Rape, which is a forceful act, which only brings out the cruelty of one gender over another, brings pleasure to many. Rape, which means use of physical force on the opposite gender to gratify one’s lust , an act which recognizes a woman even as a human being is seen with those wanting lusty eyes. It’s painful to think that to many, the helpless cries of a woman only mean pleasure. And watching rape scenes or clips uploaded by a jilted lover a sheer turn on. (in this case, it’s not the cries of the girl but the broken trust that should be hated). My blogger pal Blognostic wrote about it in his post.(will be linking it soon)
Every man must know that rape is a weapon which distorts a woman’s sexuality and violates her human rights. It leaves her feel exposed, humiliated and traumatised. Rape not just affects the victim physically but emotionally and psychologically too. Yet, a victim sometimes has to hear such insensitive comments like – “Don’t try to tell us that you didn’t enjoy it”. It’s barbaric to think that a forced act can bring any pleasure to any human being. I think, this saying must be made by a man – If rape is inevitable, better enjoy it.
Think about it…..