sexual crimes can derive from any form of mental or psychological derangement. or it could derive from social attitudes towards women in some places in the world. more laws and stopcock measures like policing the streets, CCTVs on street corners or curfews aren’t going to lessen the occurrence of such crimes against women in societies where men are socialized to act out their manhood or exercise their privilege.
if statistics are true, this male socialization would explain why out of 600 rape cases in delhi alone in 2012, only one came to conviction. it would explain why also the 6 men who are accused of rape in delhi could think that they could rape, sodomize and brutalize a girl for hours on a moving bus without indemnity. incidentally, such crimes are not as common in cultures which are infused with feminism or feminist methods. while gender has been studied and deconstructed in the those cultures, india and other traditional patriarchal societies remain resistant to looking at gender-based oppression of/on women. if they can turn a blind eye on crimes against women, god forbid any variations of the two genders !
understanding then how men are socialized is the key to understanding why men can hate women to such an extent to not only ‘take’ sexual satisfaction from raping [as some may argue], but also inflict brutality on the object of their desire/hate.
masculinity is reinforced everywhere in india. the educational institution which has long prioritized educating a son rather than a daughter, and even if a female is educated, she’ll end up marrying and keeping house while contributing to the household among her many unpaid chores including bringing up children, a full-time job itself. customary laws & regulations, the family, religious norms, popular culture and the media which ensures that every indian know of all the above, all conspire to perpetuate a masculine privilege.
rapes go unnoticed or are discouraged in some societies because it is a male’s world to do what he pleases without accountability. women do not act ‘appropriately’ if they are raped or eve teased in india. even if women acquire an education to break the male mold of entitlement and find jobs, they still have to be ‘seen and not heard’. they have to always behave ‘properly’ by wearing decent clothes, returning home early, not fooling around with boys or drinking etc.
do such societies tell their boys to return home early or not tease girls? if they did, would a male police officer hesitate to convict another male [rapist]? and for these cultures which punish female adultery, is male adultery also punishable?
why does female infanticide still exists in such cultures? why not male infanticide? how will equality between the genders exist or the human race propagate itself if only male children are allowed to live? would it not become imbalanced at some point and breed homosexuality if women are killed out? [see Matrubhoomi: A Nation Without Women (2003) for an exploration of this subject].
for centuries women have accepted this gender bias. but now india has reached a tipping point where it has to address women’s worth with the recent rape of the dehli girl.
continuing to let religious manipulation block their vision of progress for women, indians have refused to turn a critical eye towards what is genuinely wrong and unacceptable within that culture. And that has kept them from examining the impact their masculine acculturation has had and still has on women or any other marginalized person or group.
tradition is important. it gives us a sense of who we are in a world ready to take away our specificity, but while it is important to keep tradition alive, it is important, now more than ever, to ask why such large nos of women celebrate karva chauth or raksha bandan for husbands’ and brothers’ longevity and manhood, and why there hasn’t been a significant public examination of such “male-only” rituals and worships.