The above image is a screengrab from the website of The Times of India. The news can be read here.
Our country has a lot of problems. Rapes aren’t one of them. You see, when a woman is raped, political leaders and learned gentlemen will tell you that she “brought it on herself.” In case you wonder how, a learned gentleman will go on to tell you that as she had skimpy attire, she got what she deserved.
Pretty neat, you think then. You deduce that in a similar vein, a person who’s driving a motorbike without helmet should have his head crushed. He was asking for it, wasn’t he? Stupid analogy, the learned gentleman said. He then goes on to explain what the real problems facing our country are. In no fixed order, he said, these are our burning issues :
- National/Anti-national Sloganeering (or the lack of it).
- What Bollywood actor has/had an affair with which actress?
- Which team is doing more match-fixing in the IPL?
- Who stole the minister’s cows and buffaloes?
- Anushka Sharma’s lip job.
- Why did Katappa kill Bahubali?
But, you ask, wasn’t the last one a fictional question? The learned gentleman, looking at you like you landed from some other planet just moments ago, says, “So are rapes. It’s all a myth. Those women just want to get their 15 minutes of fame.”
You are perplexed and angry. Why would anyone do so? “Such are the ways of the world, kid. You know, mannequins are a leading cause of rapes. That’s why they should be banned,”the learned gentleman says with an air of confidence.
Before you could say anything, the learned gentleman explains, “Mannequins, western dresses, women drinking in pubs, these are all western influences. These cause rapes. You see, earlier our women knew how to behave themselves. So there were no such issues. Western education and culture are degrading our great morals. In Indian culture, women wear full body dresses like the saree. This magical dress is so sanskaari (cultured) that it never lets rapes happen. If a girl is wearing a full-sleeved top and a jeans, that is criminal. She is the one who’s causing the rape. What can a poor guy do in such a condition but to overpower her and violate her with his animal lust,” then, after a pause, “of course with her consent.”
You think for a while and say, “But doesn’t the saree show the entire midriff of the woman wearing it? And shouldn’t the guy committing the rape behave himself too?”
The gentleman gives you a look that means he thinks you’re beyond redemption. Still, he perseveres. “Sonny, you know what? When a high-profile rape case comes into the limelight, we’ll go to public gatherings and light candles in the memory of the girl concerned. But, while you’d be lighting the candle, another one would be getting the brunt of some oversexed bully somewhere in the country.” He then enlightens with you with a statistic, “Did you know that according to the latest reports, a woman is raped every 16 or so minutes in India? And that’s only the ones that get reported.”
While you are looking at amazement, he adds, “Imagine the number of immoral females in this country! But you know what the good thing is? We have one of the lowest per capita rape rates in the whole world, only 2 per 100,000 people. Isn’t it great, mate?”
“But,” you say, “these are the reported ones. What about the unreported cases? The actual number would be much higher.”
“Oh yeah! NCRB says that reported cases of rape are only around 1% of the total cases.”
You get a bright question then. “You said skimpy clothes cause rapes. But even in countries where women almost always wear veils and loose, full-body clothes, rapes do happen. What about that?”
“What about that? Those people don’t know how to behave. I’m telling you, discothèques should ban short skirts.They are a western influence too. You see, boys will be boys. These so–called cases of rape are mistakes by boys. Is it possible that a woman can be raped by four men?”
You feel as though that line was a variation on the celebrated “men will be men.” Seeing that the gentleman is really something of a genius, you feel that such brilliant analytical minds in our midst are all we need to solve our problems of drought and riots. You ask him the question that’s been bothering you, “What do you think should be done for the rape problem in our country?”
“Rape problem, what rape problem?”