Conversations about sexual violence in India

Blogger Oindree Banerjee shares some thoughts about the gang-rape that has grabbed worldwide attention and spurred historical protests in New Delhi.  Read the full post at

My opinion

To spit it out, my point is that although not everyone is a rapist, rape is not an alien act coming from nowhere and shocking us to death. It is right here, around us and within us - in people's minds, in people's thoughts and in the culture we have created. In a culture where it is OK for movie-stars to straight up tease women on screen and that's supposed to be 'naughty and sweet', in a culture where it is OK for a guy to stay out late but not for a girl, in a culture where sex is a taboo topic - do not bring it up or think or talk about it as something positive, natural and biological (you'd think we would have figured that out by now) but as something perverse and dirty. In my opinion, a gender discriminatory and sexually repressed culture only fuels rapes. It only fuels acts that make women (and children) suffer, the suffering ranging from annoyance and discomfort to death, everyday, everywhere in our country.

Different people react differently to things. The question is how many people will stay committed to a cause even after the cause is not NEWS anymore? My suspicion is that there are no easy and fast solutions. Rapes are neither new nor scarce. This is an age-old and ubiquitous problem. This might need years of work and reformation. Here I want to make a little distinction. I think the SOLUTION will take much work and time because I believe many things need to be learned and/or unlearned by many for rapes to disappear. On the other hand, the JUSTICE, as far as law and order is concerned, NEED NOT take that long, and I hope that justice is given sooner rather than later, although, in my standards, there will only be TRUE justice when there is a solution. Does the following sound like a solution to you? 6 men raped and tortured a girl, so we promptly killed the rapists, and problem solved! Let us move on! Not to me. To me, that is just a continuation of a culture of which everyone, even the rapists, are victims. We are both victims and perpetrators of a culture or society that just perpetually ignores the central issue and does what it takes to temporarily and politically make people that matter at the moment happy. Maybe those rapists never got educated right, maybe we, as a society, have failed to educate them about things that are most basic to human beings. Besides, who are we kidding? We live in a society where the woman’s body is regularly objectified to sell almost anything - from cars to alcohol - and such objectification is the first step to violence against women, the intermediate steps being varying degrees of disrespect and trivialization of women. So, don't just be angry with the rapists, be angry with yourselves. We have ALL failed each other and ourselves.


My appeal

I am concerned for the physical and mental health and safety of our men, women and children, not just our urban women. I appeal to all to join me in my cause of making people around us educated about sexuality and violence. If it takes uncomfortable conversations with family and friends, let it be so. If it takes boycotting media that objectify women and their bodies, please, let it be so. If it takes mandatorily educating all citizens about sex and human rights, let it be so. If it takes rethinking of your own views from time to time, let it be so. If it takes confronting someone that is narrow-minded, let it be so. If it takes NOT laughing at a joke at the expense of someone's feelings, let it be so. If it takes educating your children early on about sexuality and violence, let it be so. If it takes calling someone out in public because they are misbehaving, let it be so. These are small tasks and responsibilities compared to the huge losses our country incurs everyday. I appeal to all to share these responsibilities and contribute towards building an evolved society that would no longer require the death penalty.