REGULATION OF SEXUALITY AND LAW OF CRIMES
Regulation of Sexuality
This thought-provoking term stands as the reason behind my choice of this topic. So far, among other things, Law School has taught me the importance of perceptual lenses through which people view events and issues. If you look at the world through feminist lenses, it will look one way. Through economist lenses, another. Though all perceptions, in my perception, hold a portion of truth and reasonability, I still see myself wearing feminist glasses today. ‘Sex’. There’s no denying that our country has had prolonged issues with it. But why? Doesn’t it happen in India, the fastest growing population? What is it that makes sex a taboo in a country that put erotica on the temple walls of Khajuraho and Konarak? I think, it is the society, and its perception(s). It is pitiful to witness the sarcasm of the society which, in spite of being known for worshiping them, plays with the dignity of a woman in ways more than one. Sati, female foeticide, female trafficking, are just some examples of major gender discrimination India continues to live through. But to talk of more recently,the last couple of years have seen khap panchayats, kidnappings and killings over intercaste marriages, crimes of passion and a sharp increase in rape cases. This scenario drives me to wonder what glasses are those, which make us Indians perceive the woman to be a commodity to fling around. What follows is an analysis, of the Indian mind-set towards women and issues concerning them. Particularly of how their sexuality and its expression is forever scrutinised. How and when does the ‘protector’ become the ‘destructor’? And do women even need ‘protectors’?
The case of Rape. (Asabhya Betiyaan?)
The importance of a woman’s sexuality and its alliance with her honour is an idea deeply rooted in the Indian culture. A woman is considered to be the bearer of a family’s honour, and her actions are subject to continuous catechism. Women, if allowed to be give birth to, do not still possess the right to education in rural cultures. No matter what the ‘law’ is, ‘rules’ have always been different for the two sexes in India and also other few neighbouring countries. For instance, in offences like rape (which can only happen to a woman, legally) the general public mind-set makes the victim appear to be the offender. Rape victims are looked upon with utter disgust, while the offender enjoys a life of boastfulness, mainly because the cases are never reported. Statistics show that even in metros like Delhi, a good amount of rape cases go unreported. According to an independent survey by Chandigarh's Institute for Development and Communication, metropolises like London and New York, annually report around 5 times the rape cases, as opposed to New Delhi. Figures may seem pleasing, but the truth be told, this difference brings forth the bitter realityof how the victim itself is traumatised by the idea of reporting a crime. I wonder how far do we still have to go in order to change this scenario. The following example of a woman in rural Maharashtra shows how complex can the ideologies of the society make one’s life. A life so complex, that it appears better to end it. After not being able to conceive even after several years of marriage, the village categorized her ‘baanj’ (barren). Living a life of disgrace and embarrassment, by the virtue of not being able to endure the ‘eternal blessing’ of motherhood, she was outraged. One day, she was raped by one of the village men, following life threats if she tried to reveal. Weeks later, she realised she was pregnant. Next? What could a woman, part of a civilization for which the sole purpose of females is to reproduce, do in a paradox like this? Terms like ‘baanj’ being used to address a living being, can we get any worse than that? Moving further, suffering in silence, juggling between the want of being a mother, and bearing a child resulting from...
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