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Rape is a Norm in India

And yet another 23-year-old girl was gang-raped in Bombay, India on August 22.

In 2010, Indian police recorded some 22172 cases of rape against women nationwide, compared with 84767 cases in the United States. While the US leads India in reported rape by a margin of 25 rapes per 100,000 reported cases, India is described as the rape capital of the world for the simple reason of under reporting.


India is a highly sexually perverted society as a child is exposed to sexual abuse from the very childhood. Boys, and girls, as young as five or even under, face constant sexual abuse at the hands of their immediate family members or friends of the family. Hardly anyone complains about them. Once they go to school, they face another round of sexual assault at the hands of their elders. In religious institutions and seminaries, regardless of their religious orientation, the situation is even worst. Not many children living in boarding houses may escape sexual assault sometime during their stay. Once they grow older and go to colleges, sexual assault increases and the victims exposed to it from their childhood feel ashamed to report it or talk about it. Gang rape, date rape, forced consent rape, deceptive rape, half rape, quarter rape are all common.


India is a misogynist society. Women, by and large, are often seemed to be hierarchically inferior to men. They are considered entirely subservient to men: a girl is governed by her father, a married woman by her husband, and a widow by her sons. Women are also depicted as being impure because they menstruate.


Women in classical religious texts are thus often perceived to be inferior beings, yet there are also images of women, for instance, in Hinduism, in the form of various goddesses, that is decidedly more positive. But it is the image of an inferior, submissive and a subservient woman that prevails the popular culture.


You just need to sit in a male-only gathering and listen to the discussion on women. Regardless of the background of the people in the gatherings, women and their sexuality are often subjects of usual vulgar discussions and no one is safe from the eyes of lecherous. No wonder, India strictly followed the practice of veiling women and still follows it in rural areas. Exposure of female flesh is an obvious reason for sexual arousal and masturbation in public is not uncommon even in buses and trains..


Strict laws are needed. But those who apply and implement these laws are men. Religious teachings focusing on the dignity of women are needed, but those claiming to be religious often violate that dignity first. It is a pathetic situation.


Seemingly, the age of the internet has taken the prevailing perversion to a new peak. Most seem to be influenced by the culture created by pornography. In this situation, women find them totally helpless and at the mercy of perverted men. Many feel intimidated to speak up of the abuses they experience in their daily life. Many are afraid of being blamed. Perhaps, in this situation, those who veil themselves might find safer. But how would anyone guarantee their safety in places like homes, schools or colleges, which are usually considered safe? Perhaps, we need to look at our educational system, at our religious teachings and at our male dominant ethos that prepares the ground for assault and abuses on women and children.

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© Aslam Abdullah