We, the ‘social criminals’ of rape!

By Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)
28 December 2012 21:08 IST

Gang rape is not a new phenomenon in our country. And it has not always been ‘pervert fun’. Sometimes it’s a revenge, sometimes teaching a lesson, sometimes to show ‘power’ and sometimes even to spread terror by the ‘haves’ among the ‘have nots’. Because unlike other criminal attacks, rape is always perceived from the social angle. A social stigma in fact.

No doubt the outcry against the horrifying gang rape in Delhi is fully justified. In fact the civil society needs to be saluted for the spontaneous anger it has displayed either in the national capital or throughout the country. Just a replica of Anna Hazare’s India Against Corruption. Lots of debates – on TV channels, newspapers or other public debates – have brought to the fore several vital issues related to rapes. It has brought to the light non-implementation of Supreme Court order to appoint ‘Vishakha’ committees in government or private establishments, lethargic attitude of the police machinery and even whether death sentence is the right answer or improving the faulty procedures of investigation.

But more vital issue than this is the uncivilised outlook of the civil society towards rape. Actually, rape is just like any other criminal assault. In case of other criminal assaults, the accused is punished and the victim is provided justice. But in case of rape, the victim is also punished. The law punishes the rapist and the so called civil society punishes the rape victim. The civil society considers rape as a social stigma. And if it’s a girl, she is literally outcast from the society. People even don’t come forward to get married to her. Her living becomes more horrifying than getting assaulted sexually.

Why do we look at rape as a stigma? Is the victim at fault? Isn’t it a criminal assault like any other assault? Is losing virginity - not out of will but with a force - such a big crime? Is it right on our part to look at such victims as ‘untouchables’? And that too when the same civil society doesn’t mind pre-marital or post-marital sexual affairs? The so called civil society in fact sometimes ‘respects’ such people, but distances themselves from the rape victims. Is this a civilized outlook? Is it a humane approach?

If the present outcry against rape is to punish the pervert criminal rapists, then it is fully justified. But if it is condemned because it is an act of girl victim getting defamed, then it is fully unjustified. Then this outcry would mean nothing but ‘negative glorification’ of a criminal act. It would be a social crime. And we - the social criminals!

Are we? And will we?

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Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)

Sandesh Prabhudesai is the Editor of goanews.com. He has been earlier the Editor of Sunaparant (Konkani daily) and Editor-in-Chief of Pruden (TV channel). His collection of selective editorials of Sunaparant has been published as 'Goff'. He writes brief thoughts as EdiThought for goanews.com, but not on regular basis.

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