I watched the documentary, India’s Daughter 2 weeks ago. It is one of the most horrifying documentary that I ever watched, bone chilling and hair raising. I sobbed and was infuriated at the same time as I watched the horrendous film. I am deeply affected by the details in the documentary, the pulling of the entrails out of Jyoti Singh Pandey, the doctors’ account on her injuries, ‘she was repeatedly slapped, kicked in the abdomen, multiple bite marks all over her body, we don’t know which parts to join, the worst case they’ve seen in their medicine practice’. Mostly, I am deeply affected by the rapist and the lawyers’ mindset that blamed Jyoti and ultimately all women for rape and sexual assault. As a person who’ve been sexually harassed and assaulted myself, it brought back the nightmares I had so hard, tried to forget..
The documentary has been banned by the Indian govt due to political motivated reasons revolving around apathy towards rape and since, had been removed from YouTube as well but I can recall the details vividly because I can relate to them. The below is a short film sourced by my friend from India, Yogesh Reddy Airala that encapsulates the rape reality in India. He studies in VIT, Vellore and VIT holds a world record for forming the biggest hand, dedicated to the 2012 Delhi gang rape victim, Jyoti Singh Pandey.
I now know that victim blaming for rape is just a convenient scapegoat to escape blame and punishment and it revolves around patriarchy which is also detrimental to male rape victims, which is orientated around ‘shame’.
Rape victim blaming for sexual assault
A sexual assault victim, irrespective of gender is not at fault for the sexual assault meted out on him or her. In fact, male rape happens but it doesn’t get publicised much because maybe comparatively, such cases are low. Perhaps the most famous male rape/sodomy case we ever heard involves Anwar Ibrahim, that too in sequels, Sodomy 1, Sodomy 2 and Sodomy 3. But, that’s another story and the lamest conviction ever made, being politically motivated.
Okay, what Mukesh Singh, one of Jyoti’s rapist said is totally outrageous and contemptible because he was trying to justify his crime by pinning blame on Jyoti, that she’s not a moralistic girl. He also ‘defined’ how girls should behave and what their reservation jobs are, cooking and cleaning and staying at home.
Mukesh Singh and his confederates should be slapped by each of the Indian women scientists who made India’s MOM feasible, boxed by Mary Kom, wrestled to the ground by wrestling sisters Geeta Kumari Phogat and Babita Kumari and batted by Saina Nehwal. That would be the perfect punishment contained in crushing their male ego and perception on women. That impenitent Mukesh did not bat an eyelid when Jyoti’s injuries were described to him and when recounting how he reached into Jyoti’s underside and pulled her intestines out and then disposed it.
We all know that education broadens one’s worldview. But the rapists’ defence attorneys made appalling statements that exonerate the rapists off their heinous crime and incriminate Jyoti for going out at night, to be in a strange male’s company and likened her to ‘food’ on the road which the ‘dog’ would take out. The logic behind this is, you can’t blame the dog for taking the food because it’s the nature of dog. My hypothesis is, after losing out to all the physical and forensic evidence that proved the rapists culpable of their crime, the defence lawyers turned to Indian culture to vindicate the rapists. Fine, you want to cite Indian culture intertwined with Hinduism, I’ll go by your cue. Who are Radha and Krishna? Husband and wife? Brother and sister? Nope, they are friends and they are worshiped. So, screw your skewed Indian culture justification. If that kind of mindset is prevalent among the educated group, imagine how the mindset of the illiterate people would be.
This girl spoke my mind but if I was to talk on this, I’d sputter in fury but she’s incredibly composed and poised.
The other day, I was tagged in a status on Facebook which was on the incident in India where the bride walked out of her wedding because the groom could not do a simple math calculation that my 5 year old nephew can. One of the men tagged on the thread, a social activist and years older than me, placed the blame and suspicion completely on the bride, citing, “What, she wants a genius like Abdul Kalam ah?” “I’m sure she planned this, she’s having someone at the side and she used this opportunity to spurn the groom.” My ex schoolmate girlfriend and I gave the guy hell for saying, “If grooms nowadays ask girls whether they know how to sing, dance and cook well, no girl will get married.” It took me quite awhile to wear off the shock that an elderly Malaysian Indian man has such a redundant mentality towards Indian women making a choice and making a statement of disapproval, ” I DON’T WANT THIS. PERIOD.”
And then, the other day, I had the opportunity to watch Satyamev Jayate, hosted by Aamir Khan which shed light on this issue. The root cause for rape and violence against both women and men is an upbringing patriarchal style that focuses on the suppression of emotions that are considered feminine hence should not be exposed by boys as it denotes weakness rather than power. Boys shouldn’t cry. Boys shouldn’t show fear. Boys are told to be strong not weak and they have a lifetime to prove that they are strong. – all the restrictions to show emotion is corked up like a well shaken champagne bottle and violence erupts when the bottled up emotions explode. Ever wondered why Indian guys here are predisposed to gangsterism and violence? This is the causal factor.
The root of rape and sexual violence at women
I know why both the mentality of the rapist and his defence lawyers is the same. It’s their upbringing – they were accustomed to scenes of women being subjugated, treated like trash, no respect given to women whatsoever and mostly, the thought process that women are inferior beings has been ingrained into their subconscious coming out as cognitive dissonance that’s very, very hard to break. As in the words of the ex Delhi CM, Sheila Dixit, “When boys see, from young, their mothers being beaten, their sisters be given half a glass of milk while they are given a full glass of milk, they develop the mindset that they are more superior than girls, hence they can do anything to them, rape, kill them and not feel guilty about it.” That’s a deep, deep statement.
Don’t think it doesn’t happen in Malaysia. A relative of mine blames his daughter for his misfortune and she cleans up after her brothers’ mess. The boys don’t even wash their own plates – their sister washes their dirty plates for them. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. My eldest sister never says anything to her 2 sons for keeping the house and their rooms like a pig sty. She only nags and berates her 2 daughters for not keeping the house and their brothers’ room spick and span. Their sisters are their maids or what?
Mukesh said that Jyoti was deserving of rape and that he was teaching her a lesson and that she should have allowed the rape because it’s a punishment for the wrong things she did. This is the root we need to address. Women have their own free will like men and some men and women should not come up with their own laws and punishment under the tenure of culture and patriarchy. Individual rights is common for both men and women; anything women do or men do, as long it doesn’t affect others adversely and not against the law is OKAY. Many Indian men here lead perpetual inebriated lives, lying drunk on streets but a few Indian girls drinking within four walls made it to the headlines of a local Tamil daily. Newsworthy for those who have the mentality like the rapists and their lawyers. It is this type of news that Indians here covet and it is absolutely PATHETIC.
Culture does not appoint anyone as its guardian – these self designated gate keepers of culture can evolve culture into doing pooja for airplanes but won’t accept short skirts on stewardesses. See the self suiting hypocrisy.
Rape didn’t happen to me but let me tell you, guys following me, making lewd comments on my physique, cat calling me and getting hostile when I don’t respond are not only petrifying but also mortifying. It’s like being subjected to rape repeatedly by their words and deeds. It’s terrible and scary and mostly traumatising. When I told my mother of the harassment, she told me to stop going to the library to study. See how she never said anything against my tormentors and instead told me not to go out. This is the realism on rape and sexual harassment that we need to break but with JAIS and Ridhuan Tee coming up with victim blaming statements for rape, saying that women who don’t cover up is the cause of rape and the bodies of women invite rape, the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be lightyears away. The only cause for rape is rapists. PERIOD.
If Jyoti was alive today, she’d be a doctor. A bright light, bursting with potential was just snuffed out under the name of Indian culture. If rape can be justified by culture, particularly Indian intertwined with Hinduism tenets, reflect on why the Kauravas were decimated. It was because Duryodhana and Dushashan humiliated Draupadi by disrobing her. But, Lord Krishna was there to save Draupadi. No one was there to save Jyoti and many people don’t follow the cornerstones of Hinduism that demand for women to be respected. Hinduism nowadays only applies if it’s to keep women in line with its culture – it doesn’t apply to men in today’s world especially if they are the culprits, you name it, rape, harassment, intemperate living, premarital sex, dressing, etc. In an encapsulation, Jyoti Singh is not resting in peace.
I’d like to quote Amitabh Bachchan on how he realised how girls who are harassed would feel. “We, college going boys, used to tease the girls going in and out of Miranda House which is an all girls college. Three of my collegemates and I were chosen to take part in the annual play in Miranda House. We were very happy initially. We got into the hostel and there were all girls. And the girls started teasing us, ‘hey, nice walking gait you have there, hey man, what does your pants say..’ and it hit me, this is exactly how girls would feel when boys tease them.”
WORD AMITABH BACHCHAN SIR.