Can men be raped? It’s the time to think about it.
The gory details which are coming out through various narratives related to Kathua rape case, compel us to think that there is no difference among the religious extremist groups of the world when it comes to execute the heinous crimes. Kathua rape case should not be seen with the lense of identity politics, is a very weak argument. The detail related to case suggests that it was planned by certain religious extremist group and the victim paid the price because she belongs to certain community.
This case should not be seen in isolation, this is the part of the ongoing violence against the minority communities in India and across the world.In the last couple of years,the entire world has witnessed the crime against the minority communities. All kind of religious radicalism is on the rise across the globe and it’s unfortunate to see that India could not protect its minority community. The land which has always accommodated people from across the globe, is not able to exercise the constitutional obligation of treating all its citizen equally.
Today, we all are making hue and cry about this Kathua rape incident. We may not be in Jammu, we might be located thousands of km away but we have to see the link between the disposition we possess and the heinous crime that took place in Jammu. Lets understand it better, have you come across the news that a male foreign tourist has raped a women in India. I haven’t heard of such news. So what I am trying to say is that, as a part of the larger society, our value system creates the context in which the perpetrator executes such crimes.
We all need to revisit our ontological values in terms of two specific issues, one that how do we see the issues of minority and two, that what is our idea of gender equality.
We need to understand the issues of minority in the Global context. Economy has largely become global and the mobility of the people has increased, both, inward mobility and outward mobility have increased. For example, one can be the part of the majority community in India but the moment one leaves the country for a job or for business and settle in other country, let’s say in the United States, the person becomes minority. Similar example can be quoted from within the country. The so called Hindu majority population of Bihar face the heat of violence by linguistic majority in Maharashtra. Our whole notion of minority is vague in current global context. We need to revisit it and the only option we are left with is to believe in peaceful coexistence.
The other notion we need to revisit that how do we see the issue of gender equality. I think, on this issue, we need structural changes. Our social institutions of marriage and our notion of family support patriarchy. Well, we have started tweaking the gender roles in our families by allowing our daughters to study, to do job, but do we allow them to do not get married, do we allow them to do not have child, answer to these questions would show that how serious we are about the issue of gender equality. How safe we make our daughters feel when they come to share the story of harassment? Most often,we ask them to be silent or we become protective by restricting the freedom of their movements. The reported case of violence against women are few. Millions of women are facing the issue of harassment in their daily lives, even the most educated women are facing it. Patriarchy allow women to be educated but not to be powerful. In the disguise of patriarchal society even the most sophisticated men are engaged in the act of harassment of women. And patriarchy protects them from even thinking that what they do is a crime. This is the reason, we see some of our politicians appropriating the case of rape as ordinary thing. But, we should not wonder, we as a society don’t hesitate to see the advertisement where it says ‘Men are Men’. In brief, patriarchy has made us become psychologically impotent.
In a conversation with my wife regarding Kathua rape issue, she asked that can’t there be a sense of fear in men about getting raped. I was silent for a while, later, I could think that rape is not the act of sexual intercourse, it’s the act of violence against women and that women can perfectly do it against men. Perhaps,this may be the solution. As there is a perfect peace between the two nuclear power states so there could be a better balance when men would also have equal threat of getting raped(in terms of violence) by women. Our daughters have to be trained to be equally dreadful when it comes to the security and dignity of their lives. We all need to revisit our notions of minority and gender equality otherwise, today it’s somebody else tomorrow it could be our turn to face this situation. It’s the time for us to think and transcend passivity.