Politics of Rape

Now we know her name. I won’t go on to say whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. All I know is that in India, nothing is as it seems.

While so many gathered to protest the rape and eventual death of the 23-year old, it was obvious that the powers that be were hoping the problem would just go away. They refused to acknowledge the anger of the protestors or the widespread call for them to address the issues they raised. There is good reason for it. The protestors are a minority. Composed mostly of urbane, urban middle-class men and women, they do not form the majority of the votebank. While they are vocal and have clout with the media, they do not translate to numbers when election time comes around.

And in the days in the lead up to the trial, this becomes obvious. Increasingly, we are hearing the voice of the majority.  The majority that is questioning the ethics of a girl who is out late at night with a male friend, a girl who failed to beg the rapists to stop by calling them “brother” and “praying” to them… a girl who asked for it.

As the defence lawyers prepare their case, we will finally get the answers that are being asked. Why did this happen? Why are there so many rapes? Why don’t more women come forward to report it?

First is the attitude to women. This is going to become clear as the lawyers will say that the woman was not respectable as she was out late. They will bring up details about her relationship with her male friend. They will show how she is a ” loose woman”. This is why rapes happen. Because this kind of post mortem, in this case literally, is allowed. And as the case progresses, we will find out why the strongest woman would find it difficult to face this over the ordeal that she has had to go through.

I hear from friends that there is a finger test to check if you have been raped. In other words, if you are sexually active, you cannot be “raped”. I shudder to even think about a woman having to go through such a test but more so to even contemplate the fact that this may be true. Somehow, I would not be surprised if  it were.

Soon, this case will be sunk. Fast track is a band aid response to most problems in India. Soon fast track is also going to be bogged down. And this girl will become another case study in how bad things are  in India.

The only way that things can change is if there is a concerted effort to hurt the votebank of one party or another. I don’t have a plan of action for that because I don’t know the finer points of votebank politics in India but as it stands, there is more to lose by supporting the victim. More to be gained by pandering to a few malevolent misogynists.


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