It's a Dress Not 'Yes' : Madhuja Sen Roy

Few days earlier the readers' correspondence section of a daily newspaper had a piece that portrayed a little boy asking the meaning of 'rape' to her mother. She facing the unwanted question tried to distract the boy by saying something else, but the boy was sure of what he was asking to her mother. The word 'Rape' has now become a well-known word to the children of this country even. In India, a woman gets raped in every 25 minutes, sometimes at Park Street; Kolkata, sometimes at Bangalore or sometimes at Delhi even and then they claim their shameful existence at the newspapers on the next day.

The paramedic student of Delhi (sometimes called as Damini or Nirvaya) who rode a bus from Mubarka with her friend was uncertain about what was waiting for them. With a little interval six people who were there at the bus unleashed inhuman torture on the girl. Her friend had no other way but to watch his friend being raped again and again as his trials to rescue the girl were all in vein as the miscreants were in greater number. Rape was not the last thing they did to the girl, they issued brutal attack on the girl along with her friend and then they threw off the girl and her friend from the bus. Nobody in the vicinity was aware of their anguish.

Protests surfaced at Delhi. And then it was a whole nation on the streets protesting, condemning the brutal rape. Protestors rejected the Delhi police administration for their failure in providing security to the women of the state. Police administration issued attacks to control the protest movements. People were at war with the Police as they got resisted to voice their protest against the rape catastrophe. The Delhi CM, the Prime Minister of India and the President shown their official concern over the situation and as expected they delivered condolence message after the tragic death of the gang-rape victim. The Delhi CM said that the incident has ashamed her and she was critical to the fact that her administration was unable to provide necessary security to the girl. Now with the Delhi CM ashamed with the gang-rape incident, on the other hand we have the West Bengal CM who regularly advocates the issues of rapes by saying 'staged events' or 'nothing happened' or 'victim's mistake' and so on and so forth. In West Bengal, from Park Street to Katwa, from Barasat to Diamondharbor the list continues to be lengthy day by day. The miscreants of Delhi incidents are now facing judicial probe in a fast track court where in West Bengal it seems to be a far cry. The Park Street rape case is now a year old, the people have observed nothing but force transfer of lady I.P.S. officer in a disrespectful manner. The Police administration in Bengal had failed to issue even a single charge sheet in any of the rape cases. The situation got even worse with the repeated false comments of the elected representatives of the ruling party. CM's words of wisdom seemed to have an effect on the MLA Chiranjit Chakraborty when he said commenting on the Barasat rape case, that the contemporary skinny and less-lengthy wearable of the new generation female issues provocation, so they themselves are the reason to get raped. Going further, another TMC MP Kakali Ghosh Dastidar commented on the Park Street rape case that no incident of rape took place, that event was mere unfortunate outcome of a bargain with her customers. Simply the victim got posed as a sex-worker. An inevitable question surfaces here, is it justified if a sex-worker gets raped?

Few months earlier a Bengali film (produced by a cheat fund based business house) named 'Teen Kanya' (Three Girls) came up in the news flash of every Bengali news channel with the acquisition that some scenes in the film bared the footsteps of the Park Street rape case so the government is in haste to stop screening of the film in theatres. Taken by the attraction many headed to the theatre to watch the film. Then the outcome was that the throughout the film we witnessed bare justifications that support rapes of the sex-workers, advocate the conservatism towards contemporary outfits and clear rule out to the late night parties for the women. With the disaster of culture in front of my own eyes I heard a man whispering from the back that the film was conveying the truth. More on, a girl who was accompanying him neither supported nor protested to his comment. Both of them were of 20 to 24 years of age. But it was not only them; coming out from the theatre I heard the same from many viewers. Taken aback by the experience I realized that the only inexperience was this very face of the city of joy. And then, after three months the same statement from the MP Kakali Ghosh Dastidar we heard.

The question goes, if there is anyone who would argue to this opinion that this very society, its own economic policies have caused a number of its female citizen to turn into sex-workers! By no means supporting prostitution, would it be very wrong to ask one again, is it rightful to rape a sex-worker? Legislation has its clear stand on this but a large share of the people who are psychologically enriched with the feudal and neoliberal prejudices are not in the mood to accept that. The truth is that, from the 'Manu' of the Hindu puran to renowned philosopher Nitze and from contemporary Mamata to Kakali everyone nurtured the same mentality, as in Manusanghita Manu says that women are as evil as lie. Myths have repeatedly depicted women as a commodity. As per Russoe women are 'necessary evil' and furthermore Nitze described women as infectious substances. Starting from the age of mythology to the theories of the philosophers in most of the cases women are described as subordinate to the male beings. Conservative prescriptions stated aloud that women are never complete without men where men are self dependent. Slavery, subordination and discrimination were all what the mythical or social theories in most of the times advocated.

In fact the idea of slavery of women has not come out of her physiological structure; it lies deep rooted in our social relationships. In the age of primitive accumulation when the individual property was alien of a concept; then the society used to be female controlled. New born bared the name of their mother. Females used to look upon the agricultural jobs. Females participated at par with males in social production. Paradigm shift from this gave birth to female oppressions and gender discriminations. With the bourgeoisie control on civilization the idea of oppression and the faces of the oppressors started to be more inhumane day by day. So in the age of neo-liberalism this idea still governs the mindset of both the male and females.

If we have a close into the statistics, we would found that the type of crime which is growing in largest number in India is 'rape'. From 2007 to 2011 the rape incidents have grown 9.7 percent more. Few days earlier the daily Guardian wrote that among the G 20 countries India is most hostile to the women in case of social security. In every 22 minutes a woman gets abducted and raped in this country. Rape incidents are largely growing in the metropolitan cities with Delhi on top of the lists. When taken state wise, West Bengal comes first now with most numbers of crimes against women and on the basis of the numbers of rapes it comes second, just after Madhya Pradesh. From May 2011 with the TMC government in action social insecurity of women in West Bengal is gradually looming large. Punishment is a last resort, no representatives of the ruling party and even the lady CM have ever used some tough words to criticize and condemn the rapists. The state had announced compensation money to the rape victims based on their age. 'Rate' of female citizens is being decided by the West Bengal government. Being humble and modest a question the CM of West Bengal, is it (rape) a damage that can be compensated by money or some other means?

There are few joy heads who are saying that the CM had done this abiding the prescription of the National Women's Commission. It is to remind them that the NWC announced a scheme called 'Scheme for Relief and Rehabilitation of Victims of Rape' on 15th April, 2010 and it has nothing similar with what the state government has done. In fact these very mentalities of people like Mamata Bannerjee and Manmohan Singh in delaying the judicial probes against the rapists; come out of the feudal prejudices they have. It gets compounded when neo liberal mercantilist idea acts alongside. Women are in the same queue of commodity with cars, bikes, apartments and else. From shaving lotion to deodorants the exhibition of female nudity is now upholding the flag of 'unity in diversity' in contemporary India. Advertisements take us back to time when women were treated as medium to vitalize sexual instincts.

Girls involved with common social jobs, practices i.e. hanging out, are in manner to be treated as less moral creatures. In some cases girls are being too inhumane towards others even. The new generation of India busy with MTVs and item dances are unknowingly treating females as mere sex objects. Compounding this psychological distress, the frustration of not being able to enjoy luxurious commodities are playing at full stretch in young minds what in some way or other acting as the breeding principle for anger, depression what at its final stage surfacing as various forms of attacks and crimes like rapes against women.

To stop domestic violence acting upon the women, to stop rapes and teasing being committed a stern legislation and fast judicial probes are not enough. It seeks change in socio-economical structure of the society, the end of 'market economy' can only act to stop these crimes as change in psychological mindset is the only medium to solve this distress. It is clear that protesting on the issues of teasing or disobeying women, some additional regulations on her as the being is a 'she', brutal violence on women must be condemned by the women first, but it is needed that the male citizens do play their humane part in this regard. The paternalist psychology needs to be uprooted first. Lets together we take oath to construct a society where the women would be spared from their traditional destined places, where they would not be treated as sex objects. Lets join hand in hand, no matter it's his or hers.