By Shefali Deshpande
Rape. Men and women both seem to almost cringe a little when we say it. It’s like saying the words sex, condoms or vagina in India, but (maybe) worse. It holds all the awkwardness of sexuality within our society, its ugly, its violent, it’s the reason for eye rolls, its what can start debates and end them. It is the ultimate fear within a woman when she steps out of her home. Ogling, assault, eve teasing, uncomfortable staring, unwanted touching, these are all forms and variations of the mother problem, Rape. The real reason why we have women coaches in countries where rape is a crime committed more than theft, robbery, murder or fraud. It is the reason we cover up the cleavage we are secretly proud of.
It is one of the only crimes where the victim is blamed. If a woman is raped, it is her clothes, her being out at night because the night belongs to men and men will be men. If a man is raped, most don’t even believe that can happen. A man? Not wanting to have sex? Wait a minute, he didn’t want to have sex and she forced him? Spiked his drink? His body naturally reacted to stimuli but he didn’t want to do it? Wait wait wait, he’s a real man who’s not a dog and doesn’t want to have sex with every woman who touches him? What a fucking pussy. Next!
Lets see how rape is defined as a sexual activity between two or more people and if either involved in the act has not given conscious consent to be a part of the activity, well, that’s rape. A maybe is not a no, but a maybe is also not a yes. A maybe is back off at least for now, maybe for the night, maybe permanently, but definitely move away. The punishment for rape, if not death, should be life imprisonment for anyone who is a rapist at any age of any gender. There is no difference between adults and juveniles for rapists and they should both be punished the same.
Lets see what defines an adult or a juvenile. Anyone over the age of 18 in India is an adult according to the law and anyone below that is a juvenile, a dependent, supposedly a child. So why should it be different for rape when the laws maintain that your age determines how you’ll be punished for any crime? because theft only takes material and things, scams hurt your sentiments and betray you for your cash, murder is heinous but puts you out of your misery, suicide is a crime against yourself and your loved ones but you aren’t around to be told you were wrong, adultery tears families apart but hey man, so do a lot of other things. The problem with these is that while they certainly show us what people are capable of, they don’t make you question whether the criminal is human at all and this is not to justify these crimes or saying they are not disgusting or despicable and shouldn’t be punished for heavily, but the problem with rape is that it is one where the victims life is affected in everything they do for the rest of their lives. It is psychologically damaging beyond salvation of self worth. It makes you the walking dead and takes a lot of strength and pain to come out on top, a champion, to face the world that may even blame you or look at you like you are dirtied but not at the person who raped you as someone who is dirty themselves. It is one of the few crimes in the which the victim suffers longer than any punishment the rapist can ever get .Rape is generally associated as a beastly act. Something only an animal would do. Although, judging by history, that comparison is all sorts of wrong because it is the humans that cause all the drama and not the rest of the animal kingdom but that’s a story for another day.
When a crime like rape occurs, it shows us that the perpetrators perspective of the human experience is one of hunger for power, control and pleasure that together with a criminal mentality is nothing short of a nuclear disaster.Rape is the kind of evil in society for which you need to be insensitive to everything around you, and if you are wired with that kind of disregard for human sentiment and the human experience, if you are that void of respect, you are not to be distinguished between being a juvenile and an adult.
Why do we have juvenile laws? To protect innocent children who may have been mislead. It is to protect the innocence and future of someone so young who may still have a chance at becoming better, but what innocence are we trying to protect? And whose when it comes to rape? Someone who was okay with not having a single responsibility towards someone who in their very own selfish attempt to gain power, pleasure and for their own twisted needs, was ready to leave another human being aside like a used and abused commodity that no longer fulfilled the purpose and could be discarded? All in all we should question, if sexual intercourse is categorized and termed as adultery then why does the same act, without consent, a heinous criminal offense should be punished for any other age not termed as adult.
People mature at different paces. Just because a piece of paper says you’re a 35 year old woman or man, by no means, does that mean you will always have a broader perspective, better understanding of the human condition, or more exposure in life than someone who is 17. You may have different experiences, different perspectives, different backgrounds and even different upbringings, but if all these things are subjective then who is to decide that a rapist at 17 didn’t know what he was doing where as a rapist at 18, maybe a few months older than the one who’s 17, is fully aware of his actions and a beast?
They are both disgusting and not worthy of being allowed to exist in civil society.
We also have a responsibility towards justice. Justice for the families of the victims. Justice for the psyche of the victim. Justice for the world in general, and what message is channeled across for letting the juvenile get off with punishment that is so far from adequate in comparison to what he or she has done? How safe will the world feel if we know so called ‘reformed’ rapists roam amongst us? And as history repeats itself, how high is the number of juvenile rapists who are let back into the world only to repeat their actions? The juvenile punishment and reform remand system is not sufficient to suck out the devil from within people and someone who has raped is nothing short of the devil themselves. No woman or man deserves to roam the streets of their city wondering if the next person they meet is a rapist who, if not searching for their next victim but is capable of committing rape. No one should feel the need to cover themselves more than they want or have a panic attack on the way home in the backseat of any public transport. They should not have to feel danger is lurking in every corner when they are amongst others just like themselves, human beings, and if we are all one, then rapists and hardened criminals have no place to walk around disguised as regular everyday folk amongst us.No place at all.
Rapists of any age and all ages who failed to integrate basic human concern and respect at a young age, are a failure of the human experience. They are the rotten apples that dirty the bowl, the dirty fish that dirties the pond and they need to be kept far, far away from you, me and everyone we love. How safe would you feel knowing someone who has hollowed someones existence before is sitting across your daughter or son in the metro? How safe would you feel if he or she was somehow there, lurking, apparently reformed. Without sounding inhumane and ill, maybe one in a billion rapists might actually realize what they have done and repent and want to change but we do not live in a perfect world and one man or womans belief that he or she is changed is not worth putting an entire population of children at risk.Your actions have consequences, and you should have thought about who you want to be before you went and attempted to ruin someones life with no concern for them or their world, their loved ones.
Rapists are the failures of society and they are a story as old as time. They do the things that most of us can not even conjure up in our wildest most horrific imaginations and someone capable of that can not be defined as someone who needs to be protected by the law. The law should expose them. Protect the rest of us. They need to be punished collectively as the beasts that they are.There is no adult there is no juvenile. There is no grey area. There is no scope for debate. If proved of being guilty, they must all be treated the same. No mercy no saving grace. Regardless of what some of us might believe as positive change bringers and optimistic thinkers, some people are not worthy of another chance.
Some things are unforgiveable.There is no redemption from claiming someone else as nothing but a rag doll. So in conclusion, for the safety of our society, and for the justice of those victims, we need to make sure actions have their consequences. People cannot think they can do such heinous things only to get off after a few months of a stay in some remand home paid for by the hardworking tax -payers money. For sure the tax -payers would rather pay for his or her stay in jail permanently. Or to make sure the fear of god is knocked into them and such perpetrators in society, and make the world a safer place and also save the peoples hard earned money? Hang them.
No mercy for those who have none within.