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Seldom Considered As Violence!

After the Nirbhaya incident in New Delhi, it became painfully clear that many Indian men do not consider rape as a heinous offence, with the incident being the 2012 Delhi gang rape and murder case, involving rape and fatal assault that occurred on December 16, 2012 in the Indian Capital’s Munirka area. The incident had taken place when Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old female physiotherapy intern, was brutally beaten, gang-raped, and tortured in a private bus in which she was travelling with her male friend. Six people, including the driver, raped the lady and beat her friend up. Eleven days after the incident, she was transferred to a hospital in Singapore for emergency treatment. However, she passed away two days later. Her death triggered widespread national and international coverage and was widely condemned, both in India and abroad. As Indian Law does not allow the media to publish the name of a rape victim, the victim was widely known as Nirbhaya, meaning Fearless, with her struggle and death becoming a symbol of women’s resistance to rape across the Globe.

Even after assaulting a stranger thus, the rapists are often seen leading normal lives, as if nothing had happened. In her publication ‘Why Men Rape: An Indian Undercover Investigation‘, Tara Kaushal has made an attempt to analyse the psychology of rapists. It has been narrated in this book that a man said that he did not know what rape meant! The author had explained to the man, a rape accused, that to get involved in physical relation with a lady without her consent is called Rape. The man replied: “Women always give consent.” Later, the author mentioned that the man allegedly committed multiple gang-rapes.

Kaushal has narrated the psychology of nine such men, and all of them have been accused of rape. The author, hiding her identity, spent a long time with them, in the pretext of making a film. She also talked to the people around them in an attempt to understand the thought process of men who are prone to rape, irrespective of their class, caste and religion

Tara Kaushal is a journalist by profession. Hence, her research work follows a particular framework, although it is narrative in character. From the perspective of Sociology, the theoretical aspect of the book may seem weak. However, the author’s conversations with rapists make rape seem a normal phenomenon. Undoubtedly, the publication is valuable for researchers.

In the past, Madhumita Pandey had conducted a psychoanalysis of 100 convicted rapists. She, too, had come to a similar conclusion that men were not at all bothered by women’s consent in any issue. So, no one waits for it even in case of physical relationship. Pandey, a PhD in Criminology from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge and a Lecturer in Criminology at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, said: “I think convicted rapists are in a unique position to give us answers to understand sexual offending better.” Talking to the media, she stressed: “There is no one answer for ‘why men rape’ as rape is a complex crime. Every narrative is unique and highly subjective – some men in my sample were involved in a gang-rape, some knew their victims while some had raped a complete stranger.” Pandey added: “There are also different types of rapists, however, despite the differences in the nature of the crime, the underpinning commonality in everyone I spoke to was a sense of entitlement which further points towards male privilege in our society.” She further said: “There was acute victim – blaming which again is not unusual given the presence of widespread rape myths and other stereotypes in our society regarding women. Lastly, there was a severe lack of understanding of ‘consent’.

Madhumita Pandey

Of course, the Indian State has imposed a ban on Child Marriage. However, the State is not ready to call intercourse with a married minor girl Rape! A comprehensive definition of Rape is still, sadly, lacking in India… and even in other parts of the world.

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