Saturday, December 29, 2012

India, the RAPE-ublic of hypocrisy

Over the last week or so, I have been following the news of the horrific rape & murder of the physiotherapy student in New Delhi. Reading the headlines everyday has been absolutely maddening.
Earlier this year, Delhi was named the rape capitol of India. Now they are saying that India is just as dangerous as Afghanistan or Somalia, for women.

Anyone that knows anything about the real meaning of rape, knows that it is an act of power and violence against women, in the most sadistic way. It is not about sex. It is about anger towards women.

You worship Mahalakshmi and Saraswati, yet you essentially buy women like property with a dowry?

This is the land where the Kama Sutra came from, yet sex is before marriage is taboo & you expect a woman to be a virgin before marriage (although men are not)?

You elect female politicians like Sonia Gandhi, yet a girl cannot go out after dark without fear of being attacked?

Why are their six elected state legislators who are currently in office, who have been accused of rape? Who is investigating this? Or are they too busy being paid off?

Welcome to India....feudal... patriarchal....hypocritical...morally corrupt...
India....the world's fastest growing economy....and can't even protect their daughters!!!!!!!

Through the years of visiting India, and being an firangi looking from the outside in, it has come to my attention that women are not equal to men. A lot of times, a woman can't even give a handshake to a man, or look him in the eye, without being considered "forward". They eat after men, sometimes not even at the same table. In many families, no matter how smart a girl is, the parents only think of her as a piece of property to be married off. Hence, they will save for her dowry/marriage, rather than education. 
Why is it that a wife has to touch the feet of her husband?
Or that she has no hope of getting married after a divorce, or as a widow?
 Women are praised for being simple, hard-working homemakers.
First of all, there is not a single woman that I have ever met in my entire life who is simple-minded.
And to the men, why would you want someone who is simple? If you are that insecure about your masculinity then you are not a man.
The thing that is most angering is the perception that women are slaves.
Women are considered to be household slaves and sexual slaves. In some cases of arranged marriages, the mother-in-law does the picking of the bride because she is essentially picking out a subservient lifelong slave for herself and her family.
It's the woman's fault for everything. It's what she wore, who she was with, how she was perceived  So much judgement and blame, but never against, the"perfect" man/son, who can do no wrong. And even when he does wrong, there are no lifelong consequences.
The most important thing is that it all starts in the home. How the father treats the mother. Children grow into adults that replicate this, subconsciously. They grow up, go out into the world, get jobs (some as teachers!), teach their children...etc.

I asked my mother-in-law about all this, and she said that over the years she has known many women who were abused, mostly by their husbands. I asked her "What would have happened to this 23 year old girl, had she survived the attack? Would she have been able to get married or move on with her life?" She said that more modern men are accepting of a women who have been raped in the past, mature enough to know it was not the woman's fault. But she said usually, many families feel so shamed that their daughter's honor/virginity was taken, so they would move far away, somewhere very remote, and you'd never hear from them again.

So, how do you change all this?
I was sent an interesting article a while back, about what India can learn from the West. One of the main points was the sense of community. How in India, the cultural mentality is more of "me/my family" vs. society as a whole (west). People need to treat this poor girl as if that was their sister or cousin. Stand up and protest. Demand a change. Don't stop. And with rape being so common, I'm sure there is someone in your family who this has happened to. Turning a blind eye to this, enables this kind of behavior.
Men are not superior to women. Start teaching your sons and daughters. Treat them equally. Don't let the boys be dominant and the girls be subservient. Learn this in school. Learn about respect. Learn about consensual sex in school.
Be open. India is a land of secrets. No matter how much you keep something secret, it's still there. It won't go away. Encourage kids to communicate their fears and doubts. Tell them what is right and wrong. Be direct with them.
There needs to be swift arrests and priorities to protect women against violence. Have resources for them, a place for them to go for help. Shame those responsible, not the victim. Hold the attackers accountable for their crime. Punishments for these people should be widely reported throughout the media. There needs to be consequences.

Women are equal to men. 
Women should be respected and protected, as they are independent creatures. 
That is not a privilege, it is a right as a human being.

I truly love India, but I do not love the way India treats it's women.
Any society that does not protect & respect women is really going to hell!

I come from a family where my mother is the breadwinner. She went from living in the back of a restaurant in a tiny town in Ontario, to owning and operating a successful business for 30 years, with no help from anyone.
 My grandmother was one of the first women to earn her Masters degree from Clark University and went on to work for the Prime Minister of Canada. My other grandmother fought along Russian soldiers during WWII at age 13.
My husband was attracted to me because I speak my mind and am so open with him.
I was absolutely thrilled to learn that we were having a daughter. She is my princess, and she will be a strong, nurtured, empowered female, like her ancestors.
A force to be reckoned with.

Needless to say, I'm not sure there would be a place for her in Indian society, as it is now.
Get it together, India.


1 comment

  1. Thanks for your logical as well as emotional reaction to the horrible news of rapes in India; while they occur in other countries too, it is imperative that Indians wake up to the dangers posed by this threat to the safety of women.
    Governments can only do so much; even if there were Draconian laws, brutality towards women will end when parents treat their sons and daughters in the same manner.
    Mothers must start teaching their sons from childhood how to act morally and respectfully towards females. Generally sons in India are pampered and they grow up to think they are demi gods. For some reason. This may also be a wake up call for religious leaders to remind their followers to adhere to the principles of their faith - live in peace.


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