“Modern Women” and Rape

 

On the last day of 2011, Andhra Pradesh Chief of Police V. Dinesh Reddy said this:

“Now, wealth has increased, corporate styles have seeped into the villages bringing in liquor and other cosmopolitan cultures. These modern women are more vulnerable to rapes,”

For me personally, I was disgusted when I read this statement.  I was even more disgusted when some women’s advocacy groups defended his statement and felt he had no need to apologize.

I must wonder if any of them have ever heard of Victim Blaming.  Although, judging by their reactions, I must assume they have not.

From Wiki:

Victim blaming” is holding the victim of a crime to be in whole or in part responsible for the crime. In the context of rape, this concept refers to the Just World Theory and popular attitudes that certain victim behaviors (such as flirting, or wearing sexually-provocative clothing) may encourage rape. In extreme cases, victims are said to have “asked for it”, simply by not behaving demurely. In most Western countries, the defense of provocation is not accepted as mitigation for rape.  A global survey of attitudes toward sexual violence by the Global Forum for Health Research shows that victim-blaming concepts are at least partially accepted in many countries. In some countries, victim-blaming is more common, and women who have been raped are sometimes deemed to have behaved improperly. Often, these are countries where there is a significant social divide between the freedoms and status afforded to men and women.

Rape is a violent act.  It is a criminal act.  And it’s been around since before the advent of “Modern Women”.

If you have any question of that, you have only to read the Bible, Torah, Quran or Veda’s.  Rape was an issue even during those times and most likely before them.  Each culture has enacted laws against rape over the ages.

You can find laws on rape dating even back to the Roman era when Augustus Caesar enacted reforms for the crime of rape under the assault statute Lex Iulia de vi publica.

Rogerius, a monk who survived the Mongol invasion of Hungary, pointed out not only the genocidal element of War time occupation, but also that the Mongols especially “found pleasure” in humiliating women.

So why is there such a focus in India on the cause of rape being because of “Modern Women”?

There is no single theory that conclusively explains the motivation for rape; the motives of rapists can be multi-factorial and are subject to debate. Several factors have been proposed: anger, a desire for power, sadism, sexual gratification, and evolutionary pressures.

But there IS one single truth.  Rape is NOT the fault of “Modern Women”.  It is the fault of the person or persons who engage in this criminal and violent behavior and those who do not persecute them.

It’s time that India stop enabling rapists and start defending the victims.  The more that people in “power” say that this is due to something other than the actions of the people who commit these crimes, the more that these senseless acts will continue.

Reuters did an excellent piece on the topic of Inequality of Women within India, highlighting some of the other issues that women face including rape, spousal abuse and general health and well-being.  You can read it here.

So what do you think?  Is rape the fault of “Modern Women” or “Antiquated Patriarchal Society”?

© 2012 Gori Rajkumari.

The Serenity Prayer

 

Extended Version

 

 

God, grant us the…
Serenity to accept things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can, and the
Wisdom to know the difference
Patience for the things that take time
Appreciation for all that we have, and
Tolerance for those with different struggles
Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the
Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the
Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless.

 

 

 

Your Bovine Thought for the Day

CATS DO NOT HOLD THE EXCLUSIVITY RIGHTS TO CURIOSITY…

NOR ARE THEY THE ONLY ONES THAT FAIL AT IT!

We can all learn a lesson from that.  I’m not sure what it is yet but I’ll let you know when I do.  It might be not to stick your head in kids plastic toy cars but I’m still debating that.

On NOT being a Desi Girl

1935 American Girl

“The average American girl possesses the valuable qualities of naturalness, honesty, and inoffensive straightforwardness; she is nearly barren of troublesome conventions and artificialities; consequently, her presence and her ways are unembarrassing,”

We often see ourselves differently than other’s would see us……

I love going out on the weekends with my husband.  Especially now that he can’t drive his motorcycle and we are forced to hire a taxi (aka: a real car with doors and windows and none of that rickshaw business).

Side note:  He is still healing from his illness and while he can get out and about, driving the motorcycle is a no-no as per his doctor for at least another month.  Yay for me as its Monsoon season.

Not only is it an opportunity to get out and about, but it’s also my time to enjoy being around a crowd of people I don’t know and don’t have to talk to.

Yes…I’m a people watcher.  And India has given me a plethora of people to observe.  It’s also made me come to terms with the plethora of looks I get as a non-Desi girl married to a Desi boy.

Ah the world-renowned Indian Stare.  How familiar I’ve become with it and all that goes behind it.  I’ve even come to label some of them.  Here are some examples:

Innocent: This is when someone looks at you out of interest and then while looking their mind starts off on a line of thinking and forgets to tell their eyes to look away.  Either that, or seriously dude, they’ve just never seen the likes of you before and probably won’t ever again and want to get a good look so they can tell their friends, family and neighbors.

Ignorant: These are the ones that just don’t know any better, don’t realize how uncomfortable they are making you or what it feels like to be a fish in a fish bowl.

Irritating: These are the ones that are 98% of the time going to come up to you and say “Hey Baby.  You are being so sweet I have the tooth ache.”  Avoid at all costs.

Irate: These are the stares you get from the Aunty’s and Uncles.  Also known as Angry Aunty’s and Upset Uncles, but I’ve meshed them together for easier use.  This is the death stare to end all death stares.  This is the stare that says, “Look at that!  That Gori is holding that poor sweet Desi boys hand!  She’s RUINING him!  I bet his parents don’t’ know!  Let’s go tell them what we think right now!”  Avoid these at all costs as well.

Side note:  I went shopping in D-Mart with my husband this weekend.  I wore a nice dark blue, long sleeve kurta with loose fit (and warm) jeans and sneakers.  It had been raining and we had to walk a ways….jeans were far warmer than a salwar.  There were three Angry Aunty’s in that store and only two Innocent Indians.  Those two were really sweet and actually stopped to talk to me and my husband.  The three Angry Aunties’ I avoided like the plague, but upon leaving we had to wait for the taxi to come and pick us up.  I sat on a long waiting bench inside.  Angry Aunty and her child came over.  The child didn’t want to sit next to me so sat at the end of the bench.  Angry Aunty didn’t even want to sit on the same side as me, so she promptly shoved her child over after arguing with him to move.  Then she sat as far away from me as possible.  Leaving her poor child to my evil clutches.  Siiiigh

That encounter got me to thinking about the perception of Non Desi girls here in India.

Really, I hadn’t thought too much on it previously.  I just figured you either liked me or you didn’t, and mostly if you take a moment to talk to me I’m fairly certain you’ll like me.

But now that I’ve started to take a look around me and see that quite frequently I am being looked down at or stared at in some form of hostile way, I’ve also started wondering why?  Am I not smiling enough?  Did I say Namaste wrong?  Is it because I’m married to my Desi husband?

Many Indians rarely get the chance or opportunity to travel abroad to the US, so they rely on what they read in the papers and see on the TV and Movie screen to tell them things about the US.  Perhaps though, part of the misconceptions about the west is due to the subliminal messages that are conveyed in Movies, TV Shows and even advertisements.

I read an interesting piece on subliminal messages in Indian advertisement while perusing the Pune Mirror.  In it, Prahlad Kakkar states that he believes that the messages are getting worse and more unsophisticated.  Not even bothering to hide most of their intent.  He also feels that India is still laboring under the inane belief that white equals might as far as money and power go.

No other third world country has their own ethos; they are driven by some white director. We have an original execution that is Indian in every way.

— Prahlad Kakkar

Why is it that India Network channels pick some of the worst of the worst to offer people for the English-speaking movies?  The good ones are mainly the dramas or the family situational comedy, but anything with action or horror or thrill almost always shows the extreme bad side to the American people.  Why is it that more often than not, the backup dancers (in even less clothes than the hero/heroine) is always the white guy or gal?

Even Nokia vilifies us in the following commercial.  This commercial used to be one of my favorites as it has Sharman Joshi in it.  However, now that I’ve seen it half a million times (here in India, there are 15 minutes of commercials and 10 minutes of show), I started realizing that the Platinum blonde was being seen as the naughty one instead of Sharman’s character.

On top of that, the Desi girl got to try on pretty and modest clothes while the Platinum blonde with the newest hairstyle, was trying on tight, short outfit after tight, short outfit.

And finally, the music, while innocent in a way for the Desi girl, was hard rock and sexy for the Platinum girl.

I’m wondering if, in the simplest terms, this commercial is a 67 second commentary on how the east views the west.

What are your thoughts?

Confessions of a unknowing Isolationist….and how India changed all that.

Beautifully Diverse India

If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India.
Max Mueller (German scholar)

Once upon a time I was your everyday American.  I grew up in a small town, upon growing up and being single moved to a larger town in a more progressive state…namely California.  I had a job.  I had a gas guzzling car.  I paid my taxes.  I voted predominately Democrat although occasionally Republican depending on what my gut told me.  I believed what the news told me about what was going on with the rest of the world or ‘tsk tsked’ over the violence and poverty we were always shown.  I ate apple pie and celebrated the Fourth of July with as much pizzazz as every other ‘red blooded’ American.  I thought our country totally ruled.

And then I met my soul mate and I was no longer your everyday American.

Now I’m an American married to an Indian living in India.

Now I’m an American, viewing her home country from afar and with the new exposure of living in another country.

Now I’m an American who is starting to wake up from the isolationist views I once had (without even realizing that they were isolationist) and recognizing that they were not all my fault, that some fault falls upon the shoulders of our News Reporting Agencies and Government.

What started to wake me up was witnessing firsthand the corruption and red tape bureaucracy that you face when living in India.  I was disgusted that the information online for where to go for certain things, what documents to bring, what to do in advance…was hardly up to date or factual.  Instead, I would run pillar to post to get something as simple as my residency done.

“Ma’am, you did not bring form C with you.  You must have that to continue”.

“What is form C?  That wasn’t a document listed on the website.”

“Ma’am, Sir should have known about form C for foreigners residency and told you to bring it.”

“Why would my husband ‘just know’ this if it’s not even listed on your site or in the booklet you gave us when we first arrived???”

“Ma’am, please come back with form C, …….NEXT.”

Siiiiiiiiiigh.

So I started comparing India with America, how in America all our laws and legal documents and anything you could want to know about living by the rules in America, was either posted on official government sites or available for free at local libraries, post offices or government offices.

Then I stopped and realized that India is still very young compared to America, that she has had to contend with hostile border countries and her own internal fighting.  America was lucky, Canada never fights with anyone except over Hockey teams and scores and Mexican citizens loved the idea of the ‘American Dream’….why would they start a fight with us?

And yes, all America’s rules are posted and available for everyone to see.  Heck, you can even read any proposed Bill online that you want so that you know exactly what is being passed in the Senate and Congress.  How lucky is that?

But then the Health Care Issues started.  I too was concerned at first.  I mean, forced Health Care?  Fines that you have to pay for being uninsured?  Possibility of no private sector?  Federal funds for elective birth control measures?  Comparison’s to Universal Healthcare in Canada and Britain and how HORRIBLE it was there.  How people were waiting for a whole day to see a doctor or being denied procedures due to age.  I was hearing all sorts of mixed reviews and horrible scenario’s.

And then I realized that most of the sources of “information” were coming from FOX News or Glenn Beck or the GOP.

Being an educated, progressive Democrat….I naturally became skeptical.  Then I started doing my OWN research.  I went and read the Health Care Bill.  All 2,409 pages of it.  And I realized that I had believed propaganda that was inflammatory….rhetoric that was dangerous.  Conservative Republican lies.  Party line lies.  And I had started to believe some of it.  Without even exercising the rights provided to me by my own Country to view any and all new Bills or Addendums, to view any old Bills or to view any US Law online….I believed a giant wad of Bullpookey.

And then I went on a social networking site and found that a lot of my friends believed it too.  So I set out to publish the truth about the Bill.  I gave details about where one could read it for themselves and provided fact checking sites to ascertain which was FACT and which was FALSE.  Anything that would help people make informed decisions instead of one based of the lies that were being spewed….lies like ‘Death Panels for Seniors’ and ‘Forced Contraceptives in the water for population control’.  People were buying into these outrageous stories because it was being proclaimed by a TV News Show, Life Commentators and Politicians.  And it was all fabrication intended to incite a public outrage in order to win back control of the House, Senate, and Congress.  In essence, it was a bid for power.  Nothing else.  And when that didn’t work, they threatened to shut down the Government by refusing to allow the funds needed to pay for the passed Healthcare Bill.

Forget the millions of American’s that didn’t have Healthcare.  Forget the elderly who struggle to pay their raising healthcare costs and who generally have to choose between their medication and food.  Forget the youth with no healthcare coverage and no means to pay for it themselves.  Forget the people who have no choice but to work for company’s who only give a 32 hour work week so that they do not have to provide Health Insurance to their workers.  Forget that the private sector is so rich that even a theft of medicine amounting to $72 million was a drop in the buck to them in comparison to their $300 BILLION worth.

And right there….right there I realized that America is not the greatest country on earth.  She is rife with her own evils, political agendas and faults.  America is just a Country like all the others.  And they are all beautiful in their own right.  They are all faulty when it comes to politics and religion.

And then it hit me.  I am seeing this from afar.  I am seeing this through the eyes of a foreign news source while living in a foreign land surrounded by people with different views of America than my own.  And I understood why so many were disgusted with America.  If THIS is what they see of us, I couldn’t blame them.

Living in India, I have become more isolated physically than I ever was in America because I came here from an Isolationist country without even realizing that we could be so.  America might accept all people, all people might be free and equal there, but that does not change that she still carries some of her fears with her and has allowed her own physically isolated character to bleed into a way of being rather than an obstacle to overcome.

In India, I may be more physically isolated but this is something that I can change and am changing by learning the language and learning how to drive.

In India, I am already learning how to become a more worldly individual, understanding of the issues faced by human beings at large instead of people of certain country’s or nationalities.

In India I am learning lesson’s I should have learnt long ago.  Patience and Acceptance which are preached in America and sometimes followed, but almost always over-ruled by a faster private sector making our lives ‘better’ with the quick fix and absolute accessibility.

In India, life is sometimes hard.  You learn hard lessons and then never forget them.  You take nothing for granted.  You become resourceful again.  You wake up and live life instead of sleep walking through it.

In India, I am becoming free.

‘Internal Terror’

During the Shiv Sena-SRK controversy, the security forces were dispersed to protect theatres and the establishment’s full attention was on law and order. The terrorists used this opportunity to trigger the blast.”

—Intelligence Agencies

To all Shiv Sena supporters:  It is one thing to ASK people not to see a movie based on one’s own feeling, beliefs, or morals.  It’s quite another to threaten people to the extent that police have to be called away from worthwhile duties to protect us (the erstwhile every day, law abiding public) while we go about our daily lives.  Unfortunately, terrorists take advantage of the ‘internal terror’ unleashed by forces like Shiv Sena. While I’m sure that the Sena realises this, I’m doubtful over whether or not they care. Violating law and order and fanning communal passions invite external forces to disrupt our entire system. Nobody denies their right to hold peaceful agitation within the framework of the Constitution, but to do so in a manner that violates everyone’s right to LIVE is another thing entirely.

Whether you like it or not, Shiv Sena ALSO contributed to the death and destruction at German Bakery.  While our police forces were busy protecting us from the very real threat of attacks from Shiv Sena, others took full advantage and attacked.

If you do not believe that there was any real threat by the Shiv Sena, then I urge you to do the research yourself.

I find this an excellent place to start.

Shiv Sainiks protest against My Name… in Pune, Nagpur

PTI

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 23:01 IST

Four days later we see them completely ignoring their part or responsibility for ANY of this tragedy with the following article.

Chavan’s ignorant politics responsible for Pune blast: Uddhav Thackeray

PTI

Sunday, February 14, 2010 17:33 IST

On behalf of Puneites, the Dhars, all those dead and suffering and us left to pick up the pieces, I call for Shiv Sena’s apology and respectfully request that they start being a part of the solution rather than part of the problem.