Thursday, March 05, 2015

How to prevent rapes in India

India, as I have often held, is a mostly lawless region where the powerful or the cunning can get away with almost anything.  The police and the courts are dysfunctional.  While the police is busy brown-nosing their political masters, the judiciary is stymied with horrific inefficiencies and badly designed laws.

This lawlessness obviously extends into sexual criminality which expresses itself in trying to gain sexual gratification without the consent of the woman.

Sexual gratification is an important human need, and it is worth exploring if there are special circumstances in India which lead to a prevalence of sexual crimes.

I believe there are indeed special circumstances related to sexual relations in India, and based on my (possibly flawed) understanding of these causes, toward the end of this article I will offer some suggestions on how to improve the situation.
  1.  Dating and premarital relationships are looked down upon, except in the highest echelons of Indian society.  Indians believe that sex is permitted only between married couples.  People do have premarital or extra-marital or casual sex, but it is surreptitious, dangerous and hardly fulfilling.  There are no private spaces.  Not even rent-able ones.  All but the top hotels refuse to serve unmarried couples, and there is always the fear of police harassment and unwanted publicity in case the couple is "discovered".  To paraphrase a well-known aphorism: If casual sexual activity is criminalized, then only criminals will have casual sex.  Hence, rape.

  2. Along with urbanization and formal education, the average age of marriage has steadily increased in the last 30 years.  This means that for 15-20 years after attaining puberty, a young person in India has to suppress/sublimate his/her sexual desires.  If we accept the scientific consensus that male sexual desire is far more frequent and insistent than female sexual desire, then no wonder women, when they venture out, feel like they are walking around hungry, rabid dogs.  Hence, rape.

  3. Due to rapid urbanization in the last few decades, a lot of single men have migrated from villages and small towns to big cities.  They leer at the urban women, who won't give them the time of day, and wonder why.  They feel castrated, frustrated, helpless, insulted.  Hence, rape.
  4. Most Indian women (especially in villages and small towns) are poor, undernourished or unfit (or if middle class and above 30, overweight), with bad skin or hair, and do not understand how to look good.  Considering the relentless exposure during the last 20 years or so to beautiful models and starlets on mass media, and to internet pornography, there is a wide chasm between romantic/sexual fantasy and reality for a young man in India.  There are just not that many attractive women around.  The few good-looking women that exist get a disproportionate share of unwanted male attention, and leave a lot of men frustrated with their rejections.  Coupled with an already skewed male-female ratio, this leads to even more of a sexual scarcity for men.  Hence, rape.

  5. Just as Indian women have no clue about their (lack of) attractiveness and have zero lovemaking skills (not their fault, it has been drilled into them that sex is sin), an overwhelmingly large majority (my estimate is 99.99%) of Indian men have no clue how to talk/interact/flirt/court with a woman.  Even their own wife.  Indian men lack game and are, for lack of a better word, beta.  Even the well-educated ones.  They can't for the life of them figure out why even ugly women keep on rejecting them.  Moreover, like their female compatriots, most Indian men are slobs and unattractive and have poor hygiene.  Were it not for the institution of arranged marriage, most Indian men would be forced to remain involuntarily celibate.  No woman would want such a man, unless forced.  (The ugliness goes both ways, but men are less discerning when they feel the pressure of their hormones).  Hence, rape.

  6. There is a social/religious/cultural/spiritual cacophony of "sex is desire hence worldly hence evil" in India which makes Indians flagellate their own selves for wanting sexual release.  The mass media is blaring this holy message on one channel, and AIB Roast and scantily clad women hungry for sex on another.  For both Indian men and women, sexual desire is full of conflicting feelings.  They want it, but are told that this is bad.  Moreover, Gandhi and Buddha didn't do it (after a while, at least).  So there is a lot of inward suppression of this desire.  But such suppression can only lead to neuroses and, if the circumstances align, explosions.  Hence, rape.

  7. Divorce is very hard in India.  Bad marriages are notoriously hard to get out of.  The marriage laws are heavily skewed in favor of the wife.  All kinds of false accusations are made in contested divorce cases.  Two people who hate each other in a marital relationship become even more bitter after going through the involved legal process.  And since they cannot legally marry someone else (bigamy is illegal, obviously) while being unhappy in their present relationship, their frustration mounts.  Hence, rape (marital, or otherwise).
And now I present my recommendations.  I sincerely believe that these, if implemented, will lead to a dramatic decrease in sexual crimes in India.
  1. Legalize and regulate prostitution in India.  Give all these sex-starved men an outlet.  Let them gain some experience.  Prostitution is already legal in India, but pimping and running a brothel or soliciting is not.  The police regularly harass both the prostitutes and their clients.  Human trafficking must remain illegal, but voluntary prostitution must be given special protection by the state, since it fulfills such an important social need in modern-day India.  There should be SPZs (Special Permissive Zones) with hourly love-hotel-rentals etc (like in Tokyo) and a safe atmosphere where privacy is guaranteed.

    Feminists, if they are truly against rape, must support legal ways for men to sexually gratify themselves.  The state cannot legislate away male sexual desire, which is what the feminists are trying to do.  Unless we want to fill our jails with millions of men.

  2. Implement a strict no-discrimination policy for housing rentals and hotels.  Hotels and PG hostels and landlords must not be allowed to refuse admission or rentals to anybody.  University and College hostels must get rid of their curfew and segregation policies, and slowly transition their hostels to be necessarily gender-neutral.  Obviously, parents will protest and there will be a stigma for those girls who "choose" to live in co-ed hostels or PG accommodations.  That is why sooner or later publicly funded educational institutes should simply outlaw segregation.

  3. Decriminalize "rape" based on promise of marriage.  More here.  Most rapes reported in urban India fall in this category.  This is not rape, not even cheating.

  4. Introduce the subject of grooming and hygiene and basic make-up as part of school education.  Build and operate inexpensive bath houses (with free soap and shampoo etc.), and inexpensive or free gyms with lots of stationary bikes and free weights.  Involve the religious charlatans, who have boatloads of money, to help.  And as S A Aiyar has repeatedly recommended, make available protein-and iron-fortified-flour for the poor.

  5. De-congest public transport and public spaces.  India needs better capacity planning.  People are willing to pay for train and bus tickets.  But there are just not enough trains or buses.  Overcrowding naturally encourages the bad elements to take advantage of the situation.  Reserved seating or compartments for women is a very short-sighted solution (and should be considered a stop-gap arrangement) to the problem of better planning so that overcrowding is avoided.  When it comes to public spaces, the situation cannot be improved without drastic measures since too much of illegal badly planned construction has taken place, but I believe better and efficient public transport facilities will lessen crowding within the cities, and also allow people to live in the nearby towns or villages and commute to work.

  6. Expedite police reforms.  Separate VIP security from police.  In fact, do away with VIP security in general.  Make it a fundamental right for a citizen to approach the police and for the police to register his/her complaint.  Unfortunately, this is still far from a reality in India.  Introduce stiff penalties for false complaints and for perjury.  Make criminal trials time-bound.  Punish prosecutors and investigators (like in other countries) for handling a trial badly.

  7. Make no-contest divorce easy in India and equitable for both husbands and wives.  If you are unhappy in your marriage, and the state forces you to stay married, all kinds of unwanted consequences ensue.
I am concerned that women and men do not feel sexually safe and free in India.  For the situation to improve, sociologists need to be involved, not man-hating feminists who scream "Patriarchy" whenever they hear of a woman's rape.  They must realize that before the rape occurred, the man (unless he's a deranged criminal, in which case patriarchy obviously is not relevant at all) was a victim too.  He must have been starved or otherwise prevented from experiencing a healthy sexual life.

Yes, punish him since he committed a crime. 

But unless you want more criminals, we must also address the unhealthy social environment.  The environment is unhealthy not because of patriarchy ( "... males predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property") but because of toxic attitudes toward physical beauty, sex and gender interaction held by both men and women.