Mr Babulal Gaur, the home minister of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, does not know what it is like to always be on guard, to be alert towards strange men and to plan tediously for a simple commute across a city of swarming millions. Mr Gaur can afford himself the luxury of not having to worry about any sex crimes perpetrated against him since he does not belong to a gender which is scoffed at, punished, humiliated and whose body is construed as a source of casual merrymaking by many who deem rape to be ‘right in some cases’.
Since Mr Gaur is probably not aware of the haunting psychological pressure that comes with being constantly vulnerable to any and everyone who takes a fancy to him, he, most irresponsibly and callously, holds fierce anti-rape discourse in contempt and offhandedly suggests that rape is a mere ‘social crime’, which may be occasionally justified.
What those ‘cases’ are may well be a puzzle for all save for Mr Gaur and other rape apologists like Indian politician Mulayam Singh Yadav. Little do they know that the sickening rape incident of Uttar Pradesh has marred the sensibilities of the entire world. Their words are only lending more credence to the rape culture in a country where the incidence of sex crimes begets some hair-raising figures. In fact, the havoc wreaked by such senseless statements will know no borders: these words will continue to help strengthen the case of rape in an era where many are trying to stem the crime across the world. One is left to wonder: how dare these men publicly discount the gravity of a crime whose horrors they are clearly not aware of?
When these men relegate rape as a ‘social crime’, they inadvertently wash their hands off the responsibility of penalising it. But that is not the worst consequence of such statements since civil society activism and worldwide anger will do the needful to ensure that rapists are punished. That these statements help entrench the pro-rape arguments deeply into the hearts and minds of millions of men, spawning more criminals, is the most worrying factor. Those who abet crime should be punished along with the criminals.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2014.
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