What is rape?
India averaged 88 rape cases per day in the year 2019, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. Rape is defined as forced sexual intercourse, poising harm, or threat to the victim’s life. In my own opinion, rape is a very heinous crime, even more, heinous than the offense of murder. The reason being- the victim of a murder would die, but the rape victim has a far distance yet to cover. The victim has to undergo internal struggles, family struggles, societal struggles, and whatnot. Rape is like leaving a big scar on a person’s brain.
It might never go; the person may even end up feeling suicidal. There is constant guilt embedded in the minds of the victims. Often, it is the victim that faces character assassination, not the person found guilty. Initially, the victim often feels rape to be their fault.
That is due to the old aged upbringing in India- women must stay at homes, all tied up in four walls, perform household chores, look after the family and children. They aren’t expected to go out, work, or even complete their education. This puts a lot of pressure on the victims, and hence many rape cases remain unreported.
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Rapist’s psychology- Why did they rape?
There is never one side of the story. Why did a man, or a group of men, rape a woman? The mind-set, mentioned in the opening paragraph, people suppose women to stay in. But this isn’t the only reason. Mary Koss, professor at the University of Arizona, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, through her research and interviews with convicted rapists, has drawn important conclusions.
The main inference is, men, do not feel remorse after raping. They are unaware or negligent to the whole concept of consent, eyeing them as mere sex objects. If compared to men convicted of murder, there is a sense of remorse, different than the case of rape. Usually, it is because the victim is still alive in case of rape. Rapists, when asked about the incident, often even deny the rape.
They believe that what they did was consensual, even if the woman kept denying it. This enraged their aggression even more. They do not have even a piece of remorse, and that the sexual drive has no limits, which often results in sexual offenses against minors. This has set horrible and rather terrifying imagery of rapists.
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No way back?
Whenever there is an issue of rape that gets media attention, there is a certain emotional flow throughout the general public. “Hang the rapists.” “They aren’t humans.” There is no denying that rape is a very heinous crime. It causes suffrage to a person for their entire life. But are these rapists’ monsters?
Dr. Madhumita Pandey interviewed 142 convicted rapists in the Tihar Jail. This happened right after the infamous Nirbhaya Case of 2013. The motive of this study was to find out whether these men were actual monsters? Whether they had a typical “inhuman” behavioral pattern? The results were contrasting as compared to the assumptions.
These were normal men, who although still did not accept that they had committed a crime. But they were only regretting the label of ‘rapist’, and how that label will impact their lives inside and outside of jail. The way that they kept across their incidents. The way that they were brought up, the traumas in their own lives, actually made Dr. Madhumita Pandey feel sorry for rapists. Despite the crime that they had committed.
What does this tell us? They are not monsters. They are not completely asocial elements. Capital Punishment for rape will not prevent rape cases in the country. Restoring these convicts into society as a human is now very important.
Who’s to blame?
Most certainly not the victims.
The whole problem lies in the social patterns of the rapist. The upbringing, the environment, the misguided sense of patriarchy, traumatic incidents in their lives. The fact that there have been so many rape cases, is because people ignored social patterns. It is not able that no person is born a criminal. But, through the given circumstances, they find no other choice than to commit the crime.
A country like ours, which has a problem of overpopulation, alongside illiteracy and unemployment, often finds crime rates at an all-time high. Hence, it is not the fault of rapists. They are not born demons but became so due to the poor circumstances and traumatic events in their lives.
The whole angle of the victim’s fault comes off almost every time. This is because of the traditional and old aged thinking as talked above. However, this thinking gives a sense of guilt to the victim itself. This also adds up to the “no remorse” mentality of rapists. Further, it causes a lot of rape cases to go unreported as this would taint the reputation of the family. It also ends up in questions raised to the victim’s character instead.
The victim not only has to fight the trauma of the incident but the frowns of family members. In some cases, failure of cooperation by the police, and even further harassment by the rapist. This is the result of all current measures (the primary focus has always been on punishing the rapists and teaching women self-defense on preventing rapes).
How will it ever end?
Rape, rather all crimes, will never have an overnight end. However, it is impossible, that there is no scope of improvement that these criminals will always remain this way. In my view, it is about time that the government counseled the youth against rapes via digital platforms. The government may take initiatives to introduce the moral issues that are involved in crimes against women- rapes, sexual assaults against minors, domestic violence, acid attacks, and even more.
Such small beginnings will help India, to stop this heinous element out of society. The government will also help in spreading awareness about the victims. People will be convinced that the victim will not be adjudged, that it is not the fault of the victim, and they should rather focus on further empowering the victim, than questioning them.
This will help the victim to fight with the shock of rape. Hence it will be easier for the victim to overcome their plight, and restore themselves. This also sends a message that women are equally respected as men and empowered. One very important aspect of the suggestions is to focus on the psychology of the rapists.
They must be provided with mental help, made aware of the extent of the crime that they had committed, and help them become better, more social persons. Perhaps, when these “monsters” get out of jail, they should rather become examples in society about how bad circumstances might get, how much trauma a person goes through, raping an innocent is not an option.
(Writer, The Legal State)