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.


Anonymous said...

Your analysis and solution come from the premise "A woman is a flower and the man a thorn". The premise itself is faulty and incomplete. Maximum rapes occur in India in the economically challenged class both the rapist and victim belonging to the same class. A rapist seeks to control not possess..he will look for a vulnerable victim from mostly a class either equal or lower than him. a few exceptions may be there but overall that is how it is.

Harmanjit Singh said...


"Maximum rapes occur in India in the economically challenged class both the rapist and victim belonging to the same class."

That may be correct, but how does that change my analysis about sexual starvation of Indian males?

Anonymous said...

The premise is the root cause. The frustration has always been there for centuries in a society which suppresses this drive. It is just that with sudden money,jobs and technological media devices flowing into India after Globalization the gap between haves and have-nots has increased. Also not as many girls were out working especially after sunset prior to Globalization. It does not matter to a rapist how the girl looks or how old she is because he does not want to possess her. A girl alone at odd hours is an opportunity for them to let off their frustration. Obviously the have-nots are more likely to be the frustrated ones. It is more common now to come across a girl alone now. Media is also reporting far more cases now. The media did not report every rape that occurred in a slum before.

Harmanjit Singh said...

The "premise" (as you put it) is prevalent, the root cause, ... so why is it faulty?

It must be rather that you refuse to accept this premise.

I urge you to read Baumeister's paper on sex as a female resource. Search google for baumeister sex resource.

It is less of a nurture issue than a nature issue, given the sexual economics of mammalians.

Anonymous said...

It is faulty because it is an incomplete view of a man and woman. One cannot solve a problem by reinforcing a faulty premise. I am familiar with the paper you mention however rape is not a case where the woman is selling it willingly. Nor is the man giving her anything for it. It is different when man wants to possess then the theories apply. But it does not fit in a forced one way model.

Sridhar said...

Excellent post. It is funny how the Indian media harps on and on about politicians, police, and other issues related to rape, but avoids talking about the elephant in the room - sexual repression in India (across all classes).

Indian people of course, find it much easier to organize dharnas and candle light vigils, versus looking in the mirror and confronting their sexual taboos.

Visitor said...

Absolutely incorrect that that the rapist targets someone of their class or below. On the contrary, with the rising inequity, often a woman from a higher class is targetted by lower class, out of bitterness, anger.

This is about control too. The aggressor wants to feel powerful.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with the recommendation regarding prostitution. But since both males and females in India are taught to uphold demoralising ideals about sex and prostitution then both genders and their offshoots patriarchy (hence feminism) will have to change their demoralising views to one of acceptance and respect for prostitutes as valid members of society offering important health conscious tax paying services to their communities.

To achieve respect for each other's comfort, health and safety regardless of gender, lessons must start in early infancy and go on through life until mutual respect for each other as individuals regardless of gender, is innate. But to achieve that patriarchy must end as it idealises biological abilities and basic drives into inferior/superior, submissive/authoritarian posturing. Biological differences are a fact, but they can be recognised and respected without promoting or devaluing either gender.

Also agree on cleanliness for attractiveness, hygiene and intimate comfort in relieving important sexual and romantic drives. But respect for each other as individuals comes first. Gender is but icing on the cake, not the other way around. Pumping up at the gym or getting makeup lessons doesn't hold a candle to the finest aphrodisiac of all, the quality of ones character and expressing it non invasively.

Anonymous said...

Harman, should you ever decide to research the origins of patriarchy then blog why it has no influence on rape in India, I'm sure it would be well read as there seems to be nothing on that perspective so far.

Anonymous said...

What the Baumeister-Vohs model of sexual economics fails to take into account is the social and biological costs incurred by females using sex as a resource (all resources have costs). It is because those ramifications are too high that males have resorted to rape and domination (of both genders) to procure females for their sexual gratification. What will end rape is the growth of human intelligence reflecting on the nature of it's primal sex drive (shared with the animals) and with that biofeedback consciously resist reacting to and thus reinforcing sexual enslavement and it's inherent violence.

Anonymous said...

and further

so to say "The environment is unhealthy not because of patriarchy ( "... males predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property")"

and see no connection between it and

"toxic attitudes toward physical beauty, sex and gender interaction held by both men and women"

is incomprehensible.

Harmanjit Singh said...


There is no contradiction.

The common understanding of "Patriarchy" is that women as a class are oppressed by men as a class.

Whereas the reality, in my opinion, is that the powerful oppress the weak, regardless of gender. When women are in power, they oppress weaker women and weaker men.

I will refer you to

Anonymous said...

The problem with your 'opinion' Harman, is that it makes no distinction between the patriarchal oppressive gender inequality that goes on night and day and the occasions when basic instinctual aggressions automatically rise up when either gender's survival is threatened. That is not the same as an oppressive patriarchal state being maintained 24/7.

And if women were abusing their matriarchal powers to the degree men abuse patriarchy then the human condition would be even more insane than it already is.

Yet we hear no calls to free children from matriarchal domination. This is because women are naturally and sensibly more benign than men. They instinctively nurture and protect those in their care until it's no longer possible and children leave the nursery to either tow the male dominant party line or kow tow to it, else remain in the care of their mothers for life.

And if you were a women in a modern western culture you would be delighted to find the average (nonpathological) woman completely free of any desire to weld power over you like males do. On the contrary you would find yourself amongst considerate and appreciative sisters supporting each other for none of the agendas men do. We could not survive otherwise.

Furthermore were it not for the oppressive violence of male domination, women and children would be free to walk and play in the streets day or night and travel fearlessly to every corner of our globe unescorted. But alas only men grant that freedom to themselves and call any woman who tries it a fool.

It is not because women are afraid of women that freedom is lost.

So I really don't know where you get the idea that oppressive patriarchy is a myth when it obviously exists in so many pathologically debilitating ways.

The first few lines of your link are enough to reveal they too avoid making the necessary distinctions, but this time between biological and socially invented roles which in this day and age need not 'control' either gender.

Patriarchy will only become a myth when the premises and social conditionings used to deny it in that link are well and truely extinct.