Monday, August 20, 2012

Sketch of a Rapist?

As a society, we are so hung up on the victims of rape alone. All the newspaper column inches and their graphic focus on the female in ‘shame’ mode. Her home, family, neighborhood, school are visited, so that it is easy for neighbors to figure out who the victim is. In one celebrated case, apart from the family home in the village, a married sister of the victim living in town was tracked down for a quote!!

What of the Rapists? Why are they never shown for everyone to recognize later “There goes that Rapist.” Why are their faces covered, their names given one minor court outing, their family background, extended families, friends, school and colleges never visited.

Let us take a look at this scenario: Young guy is tracked down by police. At the media meeting, he is paraded. Then media hunts out his school and college pals, office colleagues for quotes about him. His family, immediate and extended is visited for pictures of the spaces he grew up in, the people who brought him up. The notoriety extends beyond the one person to his entire network. With their pictures in the newspapers, they would be recognized and pointed at for quite a while.

Can you just imagine how the army of irate aunts and uncles and cousins etc would come down on him like a ton of bricks to berate him for a crime which brought ignominy to the entire family ‘teri bahen ka kya hoga?’ types; the mother/bhabhi weeping piteously on how they will face their families etc.

May be, just may be, that sort of pressure would serve to hold back not all, but at least some would-be rapists. Prevent that number of young men from down the slippery path and saving that many women from life long trauma.

There are those who will argue that the publicity to the rapist’s family would traumatize those lives. No doubt. But then, haven’t the lives of the victims and their families been traumatized by rape while the rapists live in impunity. Which ensures that few families ever see fit to warn off their young blood. Instead we have communities that believe that it is their birthright!

I would vote for an example being made of some of the hoodlums and their families, to warn off a whole lot more from playing with lives of others. Unfortunately, our society places heavy veils over rape, especially when most of it is within the family itself, never mind the trauma endured by the victims. And then makes a righteous hullabaloo, if a woman dares to meet another man who is not her husband or within that ‘charmed’ family circle. Or if the woman acknowledges that she is being ‘used’ by various males in her family, without the dignity of a Draupadi.

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