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Increasing rape case - a cancer that needs to be eradicated

Rape - A Cancer That Needs to be Eradicated
I really feel disheartened when I hear about Rape all over the world. But the saddest part is that such inhuman acts are also taking place in my home town, and the instances of such incidents are increasing at that. How is it that a girl in not safe in her own house? How is it that a girl is raped by her own father? How is it that people of the same race, who follow same culture cannot even respect each other? How is it that we are unable to prevent this from happening?

The saddest part of it all is that - what is reported constitutes only 10% of the rape cases. Imagine for every 10 rape cases you hear about, 90 rape survivors suffer in silence.

Growing up in Darjeeling, I always felt that we were the safest region in the whole world when it came to respect and equality for girl child and women, but as has been proven of late, we are no less than the rest of India. In fact if we go by population and area vs. incidences of rape, perhaps we even surpass the rest of India in terms of per-capita instances of rape.

Shocking? But sadly true!

What hurts the most is that the instances of rape have not increased over the past one year alone, it’s just that, and thanks to social media, gradually more people are becoming aware of this heinous crime and criminals amongst us.

If you think about rape, as a girl I feel that it starts very early. Every girl is raped by boys, may not be literally but every girl no matter what the age has to endure “rape by looks” and "verbal rape". Trust me this is also no less than Rape for us – girls and women, we cannot move to any authority to get punishment for these kind of rape that we have to endure on a daily basis.

 
PSYCHOLOGY OF A RAPIST

Some human beings do not care about their own self-respect. Neither can they respect others. A man who does not value himself can never value others. Writing on the topic in one of the most seminal books every written on surviving rape – ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ the Late. Maya Angealou wrote “Then there was the pain. A breaking and entering when even the senses are torn apart. The act of rape on an eight-year-old body is a matter of the needle giving because the camel can't. The child gives, because the body can, and the mind of the violator cannot.”

She was raped when she was Eight, and every women and child who is raped, feels the same way, though majority of the survivors never express their pain, forget about expressing so eloquently.
For the RAPISTS, rape becomes a way to compensate for their underlying feeling of inadequacy, dominance, strength n control "The male chauvinist." The rapist mainly relies upon verbal threats, intimidation with a weapon, and only uses the amount of force necessary to subdue the victim.

 
LAW AGAINST RAPE in INDIA

Legally speaking, rape is a type of sexual assault initiated by one or more persons against another person without that persons Consent. Physical force is used.

Rape under Section 375 I.P.C. has been described as "A man is said to commit Rape who, except in the case hereafter expected, has sexual inter course with a women under circumstances falling under :-
• Against her will
• Without her consent,
• With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person whom she is interested in fear of death or of hurt.
• With misrepresentation or fraud or at a time when she has been intoxicated or duped,
• She is of unsound mental health and
• In any case if she is under 16 years of age

If you look at the definition of rape in India, the law itself is flawed, what happens when the victim is a male child, or even a male? Is it not rape then?

In general, 16-24 yrs old woman are typical rape victims, but shockingly the rape cases that have been reported in the media from the Darjeeling region so far, have mostly been that about rape of a child. This is really shameful and heartbreaking.

 
PUNISHMENT for RAPE - SECTION 376 :-

The Indian Penal Code asserts that whoever commits rape shall be punished with imprisonment which shall not be less than 7 yrs but which may be for life or for a term which may be extended to 10 yrs and shall be liable to fine. But such is the situation that in a recent judgement passed by the Darjeeling Court, Judge Swadesh Ranjan Roy only punished the rapist of a 7 year old child with 2 years in Jail and a fine of Rs 5000 [Detils here: http://bit.ly/1kmOzJs ]

But because of increasing rape cases in India and mainly because of gang rape of a student in Delhi, the Parliament of India recently passed a new RAPE law, which allows for -

Death penalty to be imposed for repeat offenders or attacks that lead to victims death. Victims of rape be physically injured, they can be traumatized.

But is that adequate? I don’t think so.

 
THE WAY AHEAD

To stop rape completely it will surely take 2-3 generations because serious or capital punishment is not effective to stop rape and other crimes against woman will stop or at least tend to stop when each and every individual with the "Y -Chromosome" are taught from their very home, to respect women.

So the first step towards combating rape is to teach everyone, male-female, child-adult, young-old about respecting the other sex as equal and not as an object, or a lesser being. For that to happen, we need to provide every girl child with the same level of equality, that a male child gets. If you make your chorees do the dishes, make sure your choras are doing it too. If your choree is expected to help in the kitchen, make sure your chora is helping too. If you give your chora a chance to learn driving or biking, give your choree the same opportunity too. If your chora goes to the best school, make sure your choree is doing the same. Never treat your son and daughter as different in any way, don’t show favouritism, even in favour of your daughter. Be a true parent, treat all your children equally.

The second and critically important thing to do is provide for a safe environment to your child. Make your home a place where your child can share everything with you, without the fear of negative repercussions. Don’t just hear to your child, LISTEN to your child - pay attention to what he or she is saying. If ever s/he complains about being wrongly touched by someone you know, DON’T EVER try to HUSH the matter. Support your child. Your child needs your support, love, understanding and compassion the most. Make your child’s welfare a priority and not the bitthako notion of your “family’s name and honour.”

What also needs to change is the mentality. In our society a rape survivor is seen as a “victim” and is treated as a pariah for either “sullying the family name,” or at best treated with pity for the rest of her/his life. Rape survivors are heroes, who have endured the pain and choose to rise above their trauma and not a victim. Respect that individual, and accept the individual as an equal. The people who need to be shamed and need to be put on the spot are the rapists, not survivors. As a society we should accept the survivors, and reject the perpetrators and not the other way around.

When I hear about Rape in Darjeeling, I really think that there should be a change in law. Severe punishment should be meted out on the accused – instead of making a mockery of the justice system by handing a two year sentence on charges of raping a 7 year old. Speedy disposal of case should be made, in order to give relief to the victim.

But most important of all, we need to change the way we think and feel about rape. Rape is like cancer, and the earlier we eradicate it from the society, the better it is.

Authors
Alisha Eli Pradhan - is a Lawyer in Training at the University College of Law, North Bengal
and  TheDC Editorial team(Co-Written by: Alisha Eli Pradhan and TheDC Editorial Team)

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