At the time of writing, there’s no significant case of rape in the country that has created an upsurge in the number of social media posts about women’s safety or capital punishment for crimes against women. I guess it’s as good a time to be speaking about rape and the few real dynamics of it as a societal problem. As opposed to the social media trends that spike when a particular rape case is reported on national media, this article is not a poem about women’s safety, nor an emotional message on how we are failing as a society.
Demand for capital punishment has long since been perceived as the way to end rapes in the country. If the rapists are hung through fast track trials, the instillation of fear of punishment can play a part in reducing the number of crimes against women in the country. Yes, this is agreeable. But shouldn’t we also be talking about the cause and not just the effect? Is the fear of immediate punishment (which is far from reality anyways) the most effective means of ending rape?
The underlying fact is that rape is neither a legal problem nor a social one before it is a psychological one. The offender is almost every time motivated by behavioural issues more than social or educational influences. And most times, a rapist is a serial offender which means that even when caught, there will be more instances of his offence than he is held accountable for. The legal system or capital punishment can do very little in case of such offenders who lack the mental ability to comprehend their own monstrosity. So by demanding capital punishment, we’re ensuring that the offender who gets caught does not repeat his crimes, what about the innumerable others?
I went through a couple of reports quoting psychologists who state that in most rapists, unhealthy sexual attitudes are developed early on during early adolescence itself. Combined with social stimuli such as extensive patriarchy or provocative media content on a consistent basis, these attitudes turn into ‘entitlement’ which results in the offenders not even feeling guilty about forcing themselves upon a victim. The conditioning of the mind is such that infliction of violence on a hapless victim seems like a necessity to the perpetuator because his entitlement must be validated despite the absence of consent by the victim.
A study by criminal psychologist Rajat Mitra claims that rape is hardly a crime of passion. The rapist usually is a meticulous planner who is extremely smart at targeting a victim and finding an opportunity. The absence of even a hint of compassion combined with cognitive ability to carry out a sadistic crime is clearly the signs of a psychopath who only needs professional help and hands down, no poems of Facebook can prevent him from ‘disrespecting women’. Sheer hatred, hostility, dangerous levels of narcissism, repressive childhood trauma, sadism and such relevant personality disorders are the observed reasons behind rape; and none can be resolved with a fear of capital punishment and definitely never with surface level activism whose intent is popularity for the ‘activists’.
And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that majority of victims recognize their offenders and claim to have trusted them. This means that the rapist probably walks alongside you if you take out a candle light march and then pounces on you when they see an opportunity. It can also easily mean that such men are powerful enough to be immune to legal implications and are supported by patriarchal institutions that might facilitate their approach towards women. Clearly, we need better approaches to dealing with rape but the real problem that I see here is that the solutions are as generic and vague as they can get. There is no substantial study by any kind of experts that can lay out an agenda to work upon to deal with rape. Considering the psychological constructs behind rape, it is clear that the need is for an elaborate kind of social, educational and moral conditioning that can steadily help passive-aggressive men deal with their own issues rather than manifest it as rape. But yes, we cannot deny that little steps like sex education and firm stands against objectification/abuse of women can go a long way; though not long enough. Consistently, we must look for ways to recognize the personally impaired perpetuators and align them back on the well-being track. Lashing out on social media once a rape case happens and forgetting about it later is all we’ve been doing. A little more awareness and a lot more intent towards fighting it at the roots can perhaps be of help.