The good part about the social networking via internet is , people have a forum to come together and ‘talk’ as soon as a rape happens. The ideas can be creative or destructive to the point of being silly. Sadly the notion that technology can be the greatest social leveller has been proved wrong. Either you’ll have to move in the ‘popular people’ camp or you will have to be heard for the wrong reasons. The ‘different’ voices fail to be noticed.
When we say the ‘rapists’ have to be taught a lesson through the lumbering giant of Indian criminal laws, then we may have to tread the much uncomfortable waters of defining the act of ‘rape’. Now it may not be as easy as what we see in the films- the middle aged balding guy pouncing on the young girl braving her kicks and bites. It can be forced or voluntary; painful or pleasurable; hetero or homo. Thus the definition of rape might spill into a much wider spectrum. Hence we might not be able to generalize the punishment too.
Unlike murder or robbery, rape is not needed for the sustenance of life. Rape is also not done for any material benefit nor it’s done for any ideological purpose. I believe we can safely say that it’s a very unnatural & deviant act and has to be treated that way. The belief that strict laws can deter a rapist is very childish conclusion of a snobbish community. Laws only act as deterrence to the minimum level. Laws aren’t for moral science lessons. Moral science has to come from somewhere else.
Same is the case when we raise hue and cry over hanging the juvenile. I ask a question in return if you mind jailing a kid for stealing a piece of rubber. When we say law has to be same for all, first try to picture how would it sound when it’s your family at the other end. Law isn’t solution for everything and it can turn a monster when you build a behemoth out of it.
The law should be to punish someone who hinders the positive growth and sustenance of the society by his own free will. But how free are we in making our choices? We are too influenced by the elements around us and most often regret the decisions we make. When I take a page out of the college life, there were a bunch of kids who fought each other for some political ideology. Many skulls were smashed and much blood was shed. But today I wonder, given a choice if they will make those choices again.
Meanwhile someone raked up another issue on the parallel lines. This time it was about an old ruling by the social crusader Justice Katju. In the case a village woman was raped by an influential guy in the village. He was punished and jailed. Later the woman withdrew her complaint. The reason being the rapist offered to settle the issue in lieu of some money. She told the court, ‘ I’m in need of money’. The rapist was let out. Now who’s the bad guy in the story- The rapist? the woman? Or is it our justice system?
Some decades ago our society was very protective of its women. But today they have to work like men, sit late at office, use the same facilities and compete on the same lines. As a society we have become more competitive and aggressive. The aggression has spilt into every walk of life and even to our sexuality. Today we dress ‘comfortably’ in lieu of attracting the people around you . Earlier when the kids were supposed to dress angelic, they are no longer so. The ‘comfortable’ outfit starts quite early in life. I doubt if the ‘comfort’ isn’t good enough to raise a primal aggression.
So here we have a whole load of people pushed daily to the fringes unable to reach out to the benchmarks they set in life. They don’t have race, creed, class or caste. They may be educated or otherwise. Rape happens when these people reach out to what is been denied to them- sexually, financially or socially.