Assaulted - Provoked?

Ever since I've started blogging, I've developed an interest in reading what other bloggers write. Particularly on subjects which are of interest to me. So I wander from link to link, eagerly perusing what others have to offer. If the post moves me, I even leave a comment.

So yesterday, I chanced upon a blog written by a Mumbai based gentleman. He seems to be quite a prolific writer, poet, and what-have-you, having 7300 blog views to his credit. He's interactive and responds to each and every comment that readers leave behind. His responses are positive and respectful. Needless to say the blog is very popular.

A post by this blogger titled 'Indian Male Libido Going Haywire?' caught my eye. The blogger refers to an article in the Times of India about the rape of minor girls from affluent families. He then goes on to wonder why these crimes occur. Is it because the Indian male is frustrated?.

The post seemed harmless enough. Even socially relevant. Rape is after all a very serious crime that affects the lives of women. But the comments were another issue altogether. One comment in particular concerned me. I paste an extract here: "...girls are equally accountable by being so sexually arousal..they are found arrayed with so meagre outfits..that u can;t help shunting ur eyes from her...". (Pardon the poor english!)

I just had to retort to this. Here is what I said and also the response it elicited:

Deepa:

Hi John. You have raised a very important issue about violence against women. However, I am a little concerned about the last comment that Prasun made - that girls are equally accountable by dressing sexily. It is like saying that one should blame a woman for not taking sufficient precautions to prevent her rape. Ours is a democracy. Society and the State have a RESPONSIBILITY to ensure safety of women especially from violent crimes. Safety and protection are a RIGHT of women. Besides, as most feminists will tell you, rape is not about sexual arousal at all. If it was, how does one account for children being raped? Old women past 60 being raped? Young boys getting raped? Rape is about wielding power over the powerless.

Blogger John said...

Deepa,

Thanks for your comment, I respect your view that rape is about power, but disagree with that contention.

Rape may be about power, that I don't know, but rape is also about arousal. I read somewhere that a man can get aroused once every eight minutes. Unlike in the middle ages (with more women working and all) he lives in a society where women have right to work and earn a living he is surrounded by women everywhere he goes. Imagine a man being aroused every 8 minutes in the office and on the street by a sexy figure, a revealing dress, a show of undergarment (all of which openly happens in today's society), etc. and a man would become something of a sex fiend if he doesn't have a wife or cannot restrain himself.

In cities like Bombay around half the population consists of men living alone. That's all the more reason for women to exercise caution while dress, and not following the trend of wearing sexy clothes advertised to sell products. Because if a man is aroused he will exercise his libido over an innocent minor or someone who is not in a position to fight back.

I guess this fact of men's sexuality has not been understood (rather has been misunderstood) by women's libbers. Hope to put this aspect in the right perspective.

J


I am really at a loss how to deal with this mindset! This is from a man who, going by his writing, seems to be highly educated, erudite and well informed. He probably represents the mainstream thinking on this issue. That it is not the responsibility of the state to provide a protective environment for women. A man will do nothing to 'control his libido' but a woman must give up her freedom of choice and wear conservative clothing to prevent getting raped.

This opinion is just a polite and polished version of what girls at a Mangalore pub were subjected to at the hands of the Shri Ram Sene not long ago.

Oh! How will women ever throw off the shackles that enslave them if men do not partner with them in the endeavor?

I was so distressed by this exchange, that I just had to write a post about it. I would really like to know what my readers think about this. Or better still, please visit the blog: http://johnpmathew.blogspot.com/, read and leave a comment for the author.

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8 Responses to Assaulted - Provoked?

  1. Sudeshna says:

    Deepa,

    Bold enough, as u always r to start a discussion on such a relevant issue. But I think somewhere there is a mix up of several issues.
    Several observations:
    a)mental make up of men
    b)freedom of expression
    c)Protection: a responsibility of the state

    Taking the first issue, If it holds true that men get aroused so easily, or remain in 'high' always, why to put in the 8 min dimension, then there would be rapists swarming all over. Certain incidents may be singled out where rape might be trigerred by arousal but there is no such cause and effect relationship between the two. By shifting the blame on women being scantily dressed, the opinion holders are weilding power / displaying their powerless-ness? on controlling their libido??

    The second one is about freedom to express:everyone loves freedom but Freedom has to come with responsibility. And I think you will ackowledge that!
    But at the same time, freedom to dress up the way women want or to express ones' attitude should not be seen as a reason to justify the act. Rape has been systematically used a means in war and even in the genocide witnessed in Gujarat in 2002 to subjugate the minorities.

    The third is about protection of women and minors from rape...it is all about making structural reforms in the society. Dressing up of women, phsychological backdrop of men and so on are loose, irresponsible ways of shunning responsibility by the key decision makers. In spite of addressing the root causes of such exploitation, such baseless allegations are attemts to shrug off ones'responsibilities.

    Finally, Deepa, on a personal note, don't be irritated by Mr. J. Even he has the freedom to express!!:)!!

  2. Deepa says:

    Indeed he does! After all a blog is a democratic space. So I'm using my democratic space to make a noise about HIS democratic space. This is getting too complex. :)

  3. mccbala says:

    "..... quite a prolific writer, poet, and what-have-you, ......"

    Thought you are about to say something good about him in the text after the above mentioned line.. But it turns out that he is another kind of 'jerk' who in his own 'polite' way, seconds the other jerks who commit these crimes! Pardon me if I am harsh.

  4. Deepa says:

    @ mccbala - Good to hear your thoughts! Seems some of my influence is rubbing off on you eh? ;)

  5. @Deepa: Well, I've always been like this. I just support the right thing. :)

  6. Is that man for real? For ages the only excuse for rape and sexual harassment of women is 'men will be men' and this gentleman proves it. So if we all wear only burkhas and cover ourselves from head to toe there won't be any rapes? Or should we just stay at home all the time?

  7. Is that man for real? For ages the only excuse for rape and sexual harassment of women is 'men will be men' and this gentleman proves it. So if we all wear only burkhas and cover ourselves from head to toe there won't be any rapes? Or should we just stay at home all the time?

  8. a very bold post on a very sensitive article. And I totally agree with you. It is sad that we live in a world that may not change at a pace we want it to.....so it is us who need to get prepared to tackle situations that leave us helpless. By venting or ranting, judgments wont be delivered fast. Neither will the rabid elements of a demented society that we live in, will sober down. It is now left to the women. We women must learn self defense techniques to counter such dangers. Just watch that recent video, a small short film by Anurag Kashyap - That day after everyday. (Here is the link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQR6cB1DXzY)

    Our society is in dire need of a solution to this problem. And it is high time, women prove to the society that they are as good as men, when it comes to kickboxing!

    After all, women too need to understand that even God helps those who help themselves! One has to be the change to bring the change! Isn't it?

    And I read the article by John. Of course, the way he has written it, reflects the course of his thoughts, though he has taken extra care in camouflaging his actual opinion. And I feel such articles or posts for that matter only stir up more disgust and anger. It brings more heated debates and arguments. But are there solutions? Talk about them!

    And am a big fan of your posts! Keep your blog posts coming! You are indeed, one gifted writer!

    Cheers & God bless...!!

    - Narayani Karthik
    http://narayanikarthik.blogspot.com