Friday January 11, 2013
Of rape and who gets the rap
WHY NOT? By DORAIRAJ NADASON
A victim of a crime is just that – a victim, whether it is a robbery, snatch theft or rape. So why are there people who dare insinuate that some victims ‘asked for it’. Is anyone working hard and making money asking to be robbed?
I’VE said this before and I will say it again. I am something of a male chauvinist. You know, the type who expects be waited on hand and foot.
At home, a woman does the dishes (the maid), another woman irons the clothes (the wife) and yet another woman – the sister-in-law – does the cooking. And boy, can she whip up a great meal!
So, there I have been all these years, wearing this “male chauvinist” badge on my sleeve with a misplaced sense of pride. Until male chauvinism – the real thing – slapped me across the face.
It started with the story of a 13-year-old boy who was alleged to have molested a woman in a petrol station toilet.
I was talking to some friends about it. How could a boy barely in his teens do such a thing? What kind of upbringing did he have? What made him do it?
A friend shot back: “She must have asked for it. No 13-year-old would do it unless she had given him a signal saying she was game.”
A signal? She was going to the toilet, for Pete’s sake!
The friend, though, did not have anything to say about another 13-year-old who had threatened to blow up a casino in Singapore.
So, if a boy commits a crime against the state, he’s a bad one. But if he commits a crime against a woman, she had it coming. Is that how it works?
Suddenly, male chauvinism didn’t seem to be all it’s been cracked up to be. It wasn’t just my friends (I’ve got some strange ones, let me tell you).
Even after Jyoti Singh Pandey had been brutally violated and murdered and a whole nation of more than one billion people were outraged – there were those who had, well, outrageous sentiments.
There was this holy man, a leader of the Adheenam in the temple city of Madurai, south India. He blamed rape on women wearing indecent clothes and suggested they wear a “purdah” of sorts. The women in Madurai, suffice to say, got their hackles up.
I can’t help but think the man may have had his thoughts on his sacked would-be successor and defrocked (literally) priest Nithyandandha, a supposed holy man who was caught frolicking with women.
Another “spiritual guru” – this one from Bihar in northern India – said the victim should have fallen to her feet and called the would-be rapists “brothers”. Yes, he believes the men would have then adopted her as a sister and protected her.
“She is as guilty as the men. Can one hand clap?” he went on.
I’m told some holy men in India smoke strange things ... this swamiji certainly lends credence to such talk.
What’s worse, there are women who think along the same lines. An Indian MP claimed “women instigate men to commit such crimes” and felt the girl should have submitted herself to the rape.
Does she actually believe women are asking to be raped?
If sex is what a woman wanted, I suppose she can have any amount of action she wants and get paid handsomely for it. Also, how can anyone in their right mind justify the rape of a girl who was with her soon-to-be husband?
It’s not just holy men with their head in the clouds and holier-than-thou women in India. There are many like that in our shores, too.
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin tweeted about some postings he had received.
One guy said: “It’s there for the taking. So just go and have it.”
He was talking about women – not sardine cans on a supermarket shelf.
Another even had an explanation for why even decently-attired women get raped.
“It seems the sexy women make the men get all hot but since they can’t get them, they go after decently-clad ones instead.”
What? Men in Malaysia jump out of their pants every time they see a woman in a short skirt? Maybe we should legalise prostitution after all. We could send these salivating men there and keep our women safe.
Then, there’s the apathy. In the case of Jyoti, it has been alleged that she was left lying there - bruised, broken and undressed – for close to half an hour, getting no aid as the boyfriend begged for help.
It has been known to have happened before. In India, a policeman who had his leg cut off by gangsters cried for help as a convoy carrying a couple of ministers stopped. The group watched as the policeman begged for help, his life-blood slowly seeping out from his leg. The ministers never stepped out of their cars.
It also happened in China when accident-victim girl Yue Yue almost became a spectator sport, with passers-by gawking after she had been run over by a van.
It also happens ever so often in Malaysia.
Snatch thieves get away with it, robbers pull off heists in broad daylight and in crowded restaurants and mamak stalls and nobody lifts a finger.
Almost everybody, however, stops for an accident – not to help the victims but to get the vehicle registration number for tomorrow’s 4D draw.
Just when will we start caring? > The writer’s wife was in a motor-cycle accident recently. Luckily, among the crowd, there were many who cared. She and her brother received a lot of help – but only just after the accident. Hours later, everyone at the scene decided they knew nothing of an accident there. That’s apathy for you.
D. Raj can be reached at email@example.com