I was looking for something else as the title of this post; this was a little too blunt for my taste. But I realized that this thing has already been swept under the carpet too much, about time we started talking about it in a matter-of fact way.
In India there are 270 rapes every day, only 20% of these cases are reported, and in only 20 % of these cases the accused is convicted.
1 out of every 6 woman in India has been a victim of some form of sexual crime or molestation. So if you know 60 women most likely 10 of them will be either raped (attempted or otherwise) or at least some other type of sexual crime committed towards them. And if I start including indecent suggestions (not counting the normal eve-teasing that virtually every girl undergoes), groping, boyfriends forcing themselves over their girlfriends, date rapes or at least something more than a request for a sex on a date then I think everybody must know someone that has undergone this ordeal.
In case you are thinking that you only know of a certain social strata that are above this, then think again. I think are rapists are the most liberal of all people, they don’t discriminate among class, age, colour, urban/rural or even looks for that matter. Though of course the most risky group is 18-30 but women from 6 months to 60 years have been raped and are being raped.
And don’t think that women above a certain class are immune. I can off hand tell about Hollywood celebrities like Tori Amos, Kelly McGillis (female lead in Top Gun) who have been brutally raped. But I think what they are most vulnerable are other forms of sexual crimes such as date rapes, boyfriend forcing themselves over them, molestation or attempted molestation when drunk/doped, physical assault for refusing sex. Though most reasons for them not reporting it to anyone is the common with all women across social strata but two other reason also come into play with them, first the boys they hang out or go out have powerful dads themselves who will save their hide, secondly they are worried about their family’s name which commands some respect, add to this social taboo about women drinking/doping, going out alone with guys, or any other type of non-socially acceptable behaviour and it makes reporting for them virtually impossible. They are even afraid to tell it to their parents.
So as I said you must know someone who underwent this and someone who committed this. I sure as hell do.
In my long 4 years in Bangalore I have seen a lot of ugly things. And I mean it when I say it, really ugly. I have seen glimpse of the dark underbelly of the city, and when you see it once, you can never Unsee it. But the things that made me the most sick in the stomach are things done to girls.
A girl I knew was brutally beaten on the eve of her birthday when she refused the demand for sex by one of my senior. And I am not talking one or two slaps or manhandling, she was beaten so mercilessly that her face bled from 4 different places. And Why? Because she had a reputation that she sleeps around. Yes she was drunk, she does drink a lot. Yes she came in the house of her friends to ask for grass. But no, she was not looking to get raped, or beaten or even have sex with anyone, and you know what was the response of my senior? “Saali sabko deti hai Sir, bus humi se bakchodi kar rahee thee”. And what was the response of his friends when they came in and saw this, they shouted at the guy, sent him home and took the girl back to her hostel.
One girl who came to my friend’s house after meeting him in a disc. The girl was from North-East or as we say she was a Chinky, and the common perception is that chinkys are easy. When she refused to go further than kissing she was beaten, stripped and was ejaculated on her face by the guy. The guy’s statement to her was “Behan kee lodi jab chudana nahi tha to mere saath aayi kyun?” His junior who tried to intervene was beaten by the guy. When others came in and saw what happened they sent the girl home. And the junior who tried to intervene was told “Abey tu Sunny Deol hai jo har ladki ko bachaaega? Agli baar kisi senior ke kaam mae taang mat adana!”
This same guy used to beat his girlfriend, when I saw this the first time I ran to my brother and said that this guy was hitting his girlfriend, he replied “Tu chor na, inka to roz ka kaam hai”. And when I was talking to his girlfriend she once said”Haan A****** ka gussa bada kharaab hai, par wo mujhse bahut pyaar karta hai”. I felt sick in the stomach.
And yes that guy I talked about before this; he used to hit his girlfriend too. And she used to hit him back. How much she felt that was fair I will never know. Once they started slapping each other in full public view outside a famous discotheque in Bangalore. When other people tried to intervene her friend said “They are going around, please mind your own business”. And yes they are about to marry each other in a few months. Why some girls accept this is a matter of a whole another post.
And this one girl I knew was taken to taken to a secluded area in the campus and was asked to give a blowjob by her ‘friend’. Though she ran away but she didn’t bother to complain about him or at least confront him. Her exact words were "He had too much weed to smoke last night, he did not know what he was doing, otherwise he is a very sweet guy”.
I have even worse stories than this; like about a girl who was stripped, groped and kissed forcibly and then turned out of the house. When the cops saw her on the road like that with clothes torn, and missing footwear what they did was to take the girl back to the house of the guy who did this to her, verbally reprimanded him and asked him to drop the girl back to her hostel in the morning.
Or about this girl who I chatted with on a internet chat board where we used to Discuss about Goth/Emo subculture and Music. She after sometime revealed that she was gang raped by 3 guys who she used to ‘hang out’ with. And she was convinced that it was her fault, that she provoked them by dressing like that. She no longer dressed in a Goth/Emo fashion and had cut her hair short. She no longer wanted to start a gothic rock band and had stopped writing songs. But this was not what made me sick. It was her conviction that she had provoked those three guys, which I assume other people had convinced her about. They would have said “Well, if you dress like a punk, wear heavy eye liner, wear revealing clothes and drink then you deserve to get raped. You had it coming.”
I am sure there are more unnerving stories out there but why I mentioned them was because in most cases the perpetrator was no criminal who jumped on them from the shadows but someone they knew and trusted at some level. And in nearly all cases everyone was convinced that the girl had it coming or she provoked it at least. And in one case she believed it herself.
A few months I was having a conversation with my friend and he said "Boss if a girl was wearing revealing clothes and going on a street then something will happen to her, it’s her fault." When I objected he said “Saale koi sexy ladki sadak pe chote kapde pehan ke ja rahi hogi to use tu dekhega nahi?” Yes I will, I might even ogle at her but that doesn’t mean I am instigated to rape her. Ask any girl and she will tell you that clothes, looks etc doesn’t matter. Eve teasers don’t discriminate. In fact I have the view that if you are walking confidently with a spaghetti top and a short skirt clothes and have a determined look then you are safer than walking in a full sleeved Salwar Kurta if you look timid, lost and afraid. Eve teasers are bullies. And the basic fact of bullying applies; if you look afraid then you will be bullied even more.
But all things withstanding rape/ molestation/eve teasing is a crime. And like all crimes you can take some precautions to be safer. There is no surety; people were raped when they were sleeping in their homes with their family in very safe neighbourhoods. But at least you can try.
And No, I am not saying that girls shouldn’t drink, never go out with boys, always wear a burka, should be martial arts expert or anything like what most people preach. And mind you, this mindset is not only of guys but girls as well.
But still as I said to someone if I am walking alone on a deserted road at 3 o clock in the night, drunk and wearing a flashy watch then I will get mugged sooner or later. And If I have to be stupid if I said why did it happen to me? Yes I did not ask to get mugged, it’s not fair to me. But then it’s not a fair world.
Firstly don’t get drunk/stoned out of your head in a place where there is no one to take care of you. And when I say that I mean your girl friends, a huge group of close friends, your boy friend whom you have been going out with for some time etc.
Leave when the crowd in getting rowdy or people are getting very drunk. It’s not a good idea to drink alone in a guys’ house even if you know them or no matter how harmless you think they will be. People change when they are high.
Be wary of how will you travel? Don’t be on a mercy of someone to drop you or under the impression that you will get some conveyance.
Walk confidently on the road, don’t look lost even if you are, don’t keep your eyes down and walk
like a frightened kitten. Girls walk out of clubs and discs wearing far more revealing clothing and nobody dares to touch them because they are confident and people get aware of the consequences.
And lastly yes. Reputation matters. I hate to say it. But if you are seen as loose or easy then you are more vulnerable to advances and sometime those can turn ugly. It is big trade off between free spiritedness and safety, but it is a bitter truth.
But whatever may happen always remember that the girl did not deserve it. And there is no excuse for it. I have been out of my mind drunk on many occasions but that doesn’t mean I am not responsible for whatever I say or do when I am drunk.
Though I console myself as that only thing I am guilty is shouting at a girl only once or twice that too when I am drunk and apologizing the next day but still I am again part of the crowd that saw or heard what was happening and still did nothing. I am no social worker, women’s rights activist or a messiah. But I still hope that maybe somebody will be a bit better off after reading this. But as they said in Schindler’s List “Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire”.
P.S. – By the time you finish reading this approx two women will be sexually assaulted somewhere in India. One of them will know the attacker but most probably neither of the attackers will face prison.
P.P.S – If you bothered to read through 2000 odd words please also bother to leave a comment. I would appreciate it.
To read about the Heart Wrenching story of Kelly McGillis go to this address. The most sickening part is the not the rape but the aftermath of it.