Monday, January 9, 2017

Jottings : Slice of life -85 ( Yet again .. a molestation, a violation)

Jottings : Slice of life -85 ( Yet again .. a molestation, a violation)
In 2012, it needed the tragic, horrendous rape and subsequent death of a young medical student in Delhi to awaken the Indian legal system to a real menace threatening the fabric of our fragile democratic structure. For the first time, it came to light for the world to see, that four young, uneducated men, including a minor, not only groped a defenseless girl, but violated her privacy, mutilated her physical integrity and shamed her in a manner using means and methods that far exceeds the imagination of a normal sexually inebriated male. The sheer violence and defamation of the female body displayed in this case shook a nation - that claims thousands of years of modesty and female worship - to it very roots. Cultural pundits, social anthropologists, legal luminaries very left pondering wherefrom did these boys inherit so much of violence and disregard for the opposite sex? How did they muster the courage to do something so dastardly and hope to get away with it? What disease is ailing our cultural and social body that can give rise to such virulent behavior? And lastly, how do we amend law defining rape and sexual offenses to deter males members from attempting anything even remotely close to what happened on the fateful night in suburbs of Delhi?
Four years later, we are no closer to an answer than we were in 2012. Yes, the definition of rape has been extended after numerous debates on something which is self evident and clear to all of us, the punishment has gone up a little, Women have been empowered to take action in self defense, and generally there seems to be greater awareness and acknowledgment of sexual deviation in Indian society than in the past. But , will all these tackle the root cause of this malady?
Sex is a fundamental human need, genetically wired into our system. Man is born polygamous, but reared for monogamy. Nothing wrong with that. By and large, a Human child grows the best in a monogamous relationship. But given Man’s voracious sexual appetite, it is not always possible to strictly remain monogamous. The most fastidious and law confirming husband will have intentions of mating with another woman in the privacy of his thoughts. None can prevent, dispute or argue against it. But if he can maintain and give vent to those aspirations without violating the rights, privacy and dignity of any other female member, he should be allowed to pursue that course without a sense of taboo or shame or embarrassment. You cannot restrict water on all sides. It will one day burst out through the faintest of crevices into potentially devastating course. However, If society need to bear semblance of sanity, rationality and progress in a democratic environment, what we cannot have is indiscriminate, ambivalent indeterminate sexual codes prevailing all around, especially for male members. He must know what he can legally and socially do, and what he cannot, no matter what his compulsion or drive may be. His testosterone levels needs to be channelized to move along certain pathways, with dire consequences if breached . In other words, we have to be very clear on what constitutes molestation and rape. And the definition has to be very simple and self evident even to a child. In Norway, for example, which has the lowest crime rate anywhere in the world, the definition of rape is “ any act done without the female partner’s consent” . Period. Now, there are no caveats or fine print to this. There are no categories and gradations of rape in Norway law. But it is also important to remember that Norway treats its violators with great care, and their sentences and prison terms are conducive to rehabilitate offenders and not shame and embarrass them for life. But the moment we simplify definitions, the argument would be that now it becomes easy for any female member to cast unsubstantiated aspersions, accuse undeserving men and abuse the system. Nope, thats a wrong way of reasoning. Any law will have its loop holes, and there will be always be misrepresentations. But the success of a judicial system lies in ensuring that such loop holes are only exceptions and not a norm. Why else is there need for such an elaborate system of law and judiciary?
Given his evolutionary urge to procreate, a male will be constantly on the prowl. It is genetically coded. And genes dont mutate as fast as thought systems do. While we have organized ourselves as a species based on verbal systems developed about 10,000 years ago, the human body lives its own life following its own rules. Most of our problems is this inevitable conflict between what the body wants, and what the intellect dictates. Ask any molester, if he knew what he was doing was inappropriate. He will nod. Then why did he brush himself against a girl in a crowd feeling her skin. He wouldn't be able to answer, because his body was aroused, and it temporarily won the battle. Here lies our dichotomy and our root problem.
India is now reaching a point of democratic maturity. Both sexes, at least in the middle and upper middle classes have now broken free of many restricting traditions, and look at life and opportunities on equal terms. But on the other hand, we are yet to free ourselves from some deep taboos, do's and don'ts which we have mechanically inherited from the past. Do we have enough safety valves to let out steam in private. Rape and molestation happen everywhere in the world. From the most advanced and mature societies to the most primitive, the question is, where do we see India now in that scale of measure. When I see those CCTV camera footages floating around in social media, I feel sad for those misguided youngsters. If all all they wanted was a sexual release, that could done it in the comfort of their homes , or bathrooms, instead of embarrassing themselves, violating the dignity of young girl and making a spectacle of themselves.
Here is the bottom line : We need our women to walk the streets alone without fear lurking behind their outwardly confident facades. We need our women to make the same choices as Men have traditionally made. And we need both the sexes to live in biologically harmony as we were intended to. This is underlying crux of democracy, its constitution and liberty.
( As I about to finish this article , my eyes fell upon a news item. A 40 year old Indian educated male aboard an IA flight from Mumbai to New jersey was found groping a female passenger in the economy class. He claimed innocence. When confronted, he broke down, and pleaded with the lady not to lodge a formal complaint. He broke down saying “ My family will disgraced, and chances of my immigration would be next to impossible..”)..
Now what do you do with such a Male member of society. Lock him him in a psychiatric facility for few years, I guess, and teach him how to vent his sexual urges without disturbing anybody else’s peace, dignity or privacy.
God bless…
yours in mortality,
Bala

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