By Muhammed Fazl –
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” – Martin Luther King
Having met with a barrage of flak for my article”Are Women To Be Blamed For Rape?” from a section of the online readers, as much as I take it all on a positive stride for the awareness created, I believe the burning issue of rape is yet to be taken seriously… let alone be addressed.
Unfortunately, more than the plight of victims itself, the absence of a practical solution coupled with the lack of will makes the situation look even more poignant. To make matters worse, the moment sensible suggestions are put forward, the supposedly ‘learned’ ones tend to blow a fuse when they realize of a possible requirement to make ‘lifestyle’ adjustments for the greater good of the not-so-fortunate living amongst us.
Clarifying any misconceptions one might have based on my last article, AT NO STAGE have I justified rape, blamed the rape victim or made an indication of being an apologist for the perpetrator. Readers need to understand the difference between blaming a victim and blaming probable and/or negative external influences behind such crimes. Readers also need to understand the fact that this is not about a struggle between them women and us males. Belonging to a right-thinking humane society, we as a nation should be united against a common enemy… an unknown enemy at that who does not even have an established profile.
It is also unfortunate that to date, there exist not an effective judicial system nor a pilot plan to contain the menace. Having read comments on my Facebook page by ill-informed feminist voices about the need to teach boys not to rape, about the need to teach sex-education at schools and for insisting on being oblivious to possible indecent behavior of the very same creature that rapists gets attracted to, I was quite surprised by their limited knowledge of ground realities. Also of their failure to understand the minority status of the abnormal minds living amongst us men.
Interestingly, as per this site, the highest case of rape seems to occur mostly in highly developed countries with equally high literate populations. So in essence, the age-old myth of focusing on uneducated characters when identifying rapists seems to be far-fetched.
Furthermore, with prostitution being legal in most of the countries in the list above, discount one must to a certain extent the possibility of sexual frustration being a factor. Paradoxically, forced sex can take place when there is a need for sexual gratifications as well. In this context, though I cannot be certain of rapists experiencing a feeling of pleasure while at it, it is possible for the act to be some sort of a fulfilment of a sick craving, if not purely a physical one… or even a combination of both.
While I reiterate the fact that rapists have NO EXCUSES WHATSOEVER for their actions, however bitter it may be, for the sake of containing this menace, it becomes important for us to acknowledge truths that are clear and cut. When discussing my previous article on social media, it was indeed amusing when hell broke loose the moment I touched the subject of suggestive and sexually arousing dress codes of women. I could have lived with that. But what irked me most was when the focus of discussion was shifted in a flash from the plight of rape victims to in defense of the need to wear tiny bits and pieces of clothing (obviously to attract the opposite sex) by the Senoritas of Colombo. Saddened I was indeed.
As much as wisdom dictates that there cannot be a correlation between the act of rape and dress codes of women in general, I am forced to think otherwise considering the lowest number of rape cases in countries where strict laws are enforced as against rape figures in countries having extremely liberal policies. While the security of women may come at the expense of reduced freedom of movement should there be a higher emphasis on modesty (in behavior & in dress codes), I believe further research needs to be made in favor of striking a balance for the greater good.
They say it takes two to tango and having lived in the USA where women get drunk and end up with strangers for ‘one night stands’, occurrences are so regular that even though it can be considered technically as rape, seldom complaints are lodged. Based on my analysis, while promiscuous women rarely find themselves in positions of distress soon after being sexually victimized, I find a stark contrast when victims belong to conservative societies. Interestingly, both types are contributory factors for unreported cases to outnumber reported ones. Hence, the need to discuss the subject of rape more openly and to set up a conducive backdrop for victims to come forward with their cases. Silence on the part of the victim may encourage the rapist to repeat his crimes and probably take an innocent life while at it.
Yes, it is true that some of the Arabs rape our maids. But what about maids working within our own shores? Do they escape the radar since the employers are not exclusively Muslim? Instead of blaming the Arabs on whom we have no jurisdictions, let us plead with our Sinhalese/Buddhist leadership to put a stop to the ‘flesh trade’ that we rely so much on.
Women are NEVER equal to men. Both are unique and have different strengths and weaknesses. Had women been equals, I believe the need for women to be protected by men does not arise. Women are weak in physical strength, they are creations of beauty, they bring so much joy to this world and they can be extremely intelligent. But with all due respect to their personal freedom and their politically correct notions, if women do not wish to make compromises when dealing with an unknown enemy, apart from the delayed justice of the law enforcement types, I guess we can only pray for God’s direct intervention when in search of justice. Feminist activist and critics may insist for a change of attitude on the part of men, but what they fail to understand is that while women in general are vulnerable, it is impossible to identify possible perpetrators who are extremely small in numbers. Besides, education and capital punishments are never assurances for a sick mind not to strike. Hence, the need to avoid possible situations among others. I hope the following factors may draw the attention of the concerned officials;
- Separate seating arrangements in buses and trains. The left or right aisle being reserved exclusively for women.
- Total ban of pornography, including proxy sites. (Now I understand why there were so many male critics for my previous article).
- Introduction of the death penalty for murderers and life sentences for rapists.
- Establishment of DNA labs in each district and the compilation of a data base (with photos, DNA samples, thumb-prints) of convicted and suspected criminals. Usually there is a tendency for criminals to repeat their crimes.
- Punishment for individuals for actions of but not limited to ‘cat calling’, teasing, groping and improper touching etc. Public flogging is my personal choice (as in Singapore).
- Segregation of sexes in schools where it is possible. Failing which, to make arrangements to seat students separately.
- Outright bans on ragging at universities. Once again public flogging based on information received from informants.
- Encouragement for locals to wear knee length swimming attire when in public places of bathing and modest dress codes when around men who are not related by blood.
- Reduction of the number of outlets selling liquor nationwide.
- The raising of the minimum age of drinking to 21. (I consider older as maturity)
- Encouragement of parents or male family members to accompany as much their female siblings/offspring when there is a need for them to travel on lonely stretches… especially after the sun sets in.
- Encouragement of school going girls in remote parts of the country to travel in groups (especially in the North).
- Establishment of a system where a male who moves into a village or to locality for the purpose of residence or work to be registered with the local police.
- Setting up of a system where construction workers, plumbers, electricians etc. should be allowed inside houses only if they are registered with a respective regulatory body (as in developed countries). If there is no mechanism in existence at present, it may be about time the authorities looked in to the matter of entering details of manual laborers in to a streamlined system.
- Establishment of a system where important details of every citizen (including criminal history) can be obtained by the police in seconds by entering the identity card number on a portable machine (as in Malaysia)
- Closure of brothels, Karaoke pubs with female hostesses and massage parlors that doubles as brothels. Let men appreciate and live by making adjustments with the women in their lives (of course there exist a last resort, but let it be the very last resort). Closure of places of ill fame may also prevent men from considering women as objects.
- Establishment of counselling centers with staff making regular house visits.
- Enforcement of laws criminalizing the employment of household help below the age of 16 and laws concerning the need to register details of maids.
- Regular house visits by employees from the Department of social services and the need to empower them to make enquiries individually on all female residents.
- Enactment of laws making it compulsory to have counsellors in all schools attended by girls
The list goes on, but in a country where at least eight girls/women are raped on a daily basis as per official reports, instead of the ‘high society’ and the ‘half-learned’ of Colombo playing Russian Roulette just by criticizing messengers on social media, I hope they put their resources together and start analyzing practical and preventive measures while lobbying for stricter punishments at the same time.
*The writer is an independent social/political activist and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and through FB (Fazl Muhammed Nizar).
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