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- Mercy Chellappa
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NEW DELHI—The hours-long gang-rape and fatal beating of a 23-year-old student on a bus in New Delhi triggered outrage and anger across the country on Wednesday as Indians demanded action from authorities who have long ignored persistent violence and harassment against women.
In the streets and in Parliament, calls rose for stringent and swift punishment against those attacking women, including a proposal to make rapists eligible for the death penalty. As the calls for action grew louder, two more gang-rapes were reported, including one in which the 10-year-old victim was killed.
Dear friends, I am sending you this article written by my wife, Mercy, to shed some light about the tip-of-the-iceberg rape event that has shaken India.
It can help us shift our attention from the symptoms to the root and address the unspoken pain and often outright murderous setup many of the 600 Million Indian women find themselves in. Please note that this is written from an Indian mind to an Indian audience. Blessings, Wolfgang Simson
New-Delhi Gang Rape - Will the real murderer please stand up?
First of all; Damini, may your soul rest in peace and may your loved ones whom you left behind receive justice to their torment. Your horrifying death has awakened millions around the world to fight injustice. My prayer is that the true culprits be exposed and convicted. Shanthi!
A 23 year old lady student is trapped in a moving bus on December 16, 2012 and brutally raped by six drunken demonic beasts in the capital of India. After fighting for her life for 13 days, she gave up living. Grievous and furious the public wants justice. Would punishing the murderers with death penalty quench the fiery anger? Would blaming the government solve this problem?
Is there any political party in India that is ready to change the plight of the women in our Mother India? Let’s be realistic: a system that has made space for a terrible problem today will not be saving us from that very problem tomorrow. It is of no use to treat just the symptoms without curing this disease at its root.
Therefore, let’s diagnose the root problems:
The Dowry concept rapes and murders woman in her marriage and our society chooses to stay blind. Often, newly married women are harassed, raped, disfigured, burnt or even killed because of dowry-based disagreements. (Did you notice how many gas stoves “explode” in India burning a young wife – but hardly anywhere else in the world?)
Is there no better destiny for our Indian woman than to strive hard in her studies, in order to end up as a sex object to be sold to the best bidder in the marriage market? And our young brides have to endure (from being a daughter) to becoming a slave in the family of the bridegroom! Let men and women, old and young alike stand all together and bury this ‘straight-from-hell’ dowry concept and stop barking at the wrong trees of corrupt politics and law enforcements of the country. Let change begin in our own hearts first. Greed blinds us and we continue to live in eternal utter darkness. If men and women would say no to greed, we can even stop girl infants being murdered in the womb.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world”- Mahatma Gandhi
Religion, sex, money and power are in bed together. Some of our ancient idols and statues depict this picture. In our religious tradition, we adore Devi (goddesses) and we allow the practice of Devadasi – mostly involving religious prostitution. Many Indian men inherit a cultural, religious or superstitious respect towards such deities and at the same time, they feel threatened by them. They therefore try to keep the feminine citizens under their suppression and control by believing that women are demons themselves or even worse than that. Great Indian epics give us such foundations to our beliefs and traditions; Gods raping and murdering women. Women are not more than a mere sexual object for men to enjoy. Take a look at the calendar: we are in 2013 not in 1013! It is time to walk away from those ancient primitive perspective and image of women! These myths need to be replaced with a transformation towards a new mind-set, a reformed mentality that includes a decent image of women in the minds of men and women alike.
The filth of the Indian film industry: One of the prime ways the woman’s image is made indecent is the media, especially the films created in the Bollywood studios and other cinema industries. The filmmakers have understood one thing very clearly: sex sells well. The more skin they show, the more money they make. The true film director in such movies is Greed! The flimsy clothing that the actresses agree to wear in the movies, the sexual appeal that the cameras zoom in, the sensual lusts that are awakened through the song lyrics and the seducing dances, the sexual and coarse jokes that are knitted to the stories – all these awkwardness - just to possess a girl at the end to bed her? Have we become that cheap? If a man’s mission is to possess a woman, what is left of him after possessing her?
A man without a cause to live for, fight for and die for will remain a zombie. 99.9% of our cinemas industry produces men who lack dignity, confidence and self esteem.
All of us know that this gigantic moneymaking entertainment industry is a way out to escape the injustice, violence and poverty that scream in our faces 24 hours a day. What we see in those films is a fantasy world; that isn’t the reality of an average Indian’s life. [Or have you seen anywhere an Indian woman, (other than in cinema scenes) change every 30 seconds her clothes and run from tree to tree, singing and hugging it?] Such entertainments are nothing else than a first-aid plaster to stick upon the never healing deep hurts and the vast gaps between the super rich and the extreme poor of our society, the literates and the illiterates. The more the injustice and violence increase in real life, the farther we long to escape into our dream world. But what if someone in the film industry like Bollywood would wake up and use the filmmaking industry for good? What if Bollywood would show our men that there is a mission, a cause to live for, fight for, and die for; an adventure waiting out there where you could even take your wife to partner with you?
Isn’t there life beyond sex? What if, the entertainment industry would start to portray women not as a sex object to possess, but would bring out her amazing potential in the area of healthy marriages, and in other aspects of life like sports, economics, business, politics, law, technology etc? What a different image of a woman would that create in the minds of people! Wouldn’t it uplift the women in our country to a positive direction? Wouldn’t it make our society whole? If we sow healthy seeds in the mind-fields of humans, we will harvest a healthy society. If we sow seeds of endless flirting, dating and courting, playing games with young lives, we will reap sexual harassment, rape and murder.
The six demonic beasts who assaulted brutally the young lady, are themselves victims of such a fantasy world that Bollywood creates. They know they can’t afford what they see in such films, the beauty, the romance, the riches, the music and the seductive dances in a fantasy world. In their hopelessness to life, they get drunk with such films; they tend to experience a dream world and its sexy appeal. Sensually and sexually, they are pumped up beyond limit with the lust of the eyes and the lust of flesh and look for a vent to let go their steam. As long as we choose to live a fantasy, a lie, a myth, a hypocrisy that the film industry promotes and supports, people will continue to believe the fake world to be the reality. Indian women deserve much more than just banning alcoholic consumption – Film makers, please stop feeding the cinemaholic masses of India with idiotic erotic fantasies at the cost of female dignity. Film story writers, film directors and film producers, you are capable (because of your massive influence) to change the world for women in India, but will you do it? Think about it please and act upon it swiftly!
Sexual immorality of the West: Our India has for many centuries been a fairly protected society where shame, virginity, decency and family honor etc have been longstanding values. With the dawn of the internet access, these values are rapidly fading from our norms of life. We stand third among the top listed porn consumers in the world. This lifestyle exhibits new types of crime in our society. Why do we succumb to the sexually decadent moral values of the West in our desire to be modern, cool and in? You may tell the Indian women to change their clothing style, to stay at home, to live under the oppression of gender discrimination - they may do so. However, why not have the courage to tell that shameless western women who boldly bare their nudity on our beaches to “dress up or leave” rather than stare at them with drool running in our mouths? In fact, today’s West has lost almost all of its moral foundational norms. In India, we have come to understand that globalization and technological modernization brings Westernization. It may be so, but beware of its harmful cultural values. We have our own cultural values and norms in our society. We need to preserve them, in spite of becoming modern.
Damini’s life only made headline news because someone actually stumbled across the scene and alerted the police. And, in this case, the police did intervene correctly and got hold of the gang rapists. Actually, this is not always the case; police often refuse to file a sexual assault case and so the sexual aggression continues to flourish. An Indian talk show moderator, asking the women in the audience who was ever sexually harassed while on public transport, saw absolutely all women raise their hands; only one had reported the incident to the police, the rest suffer silently.
Our politics and law enforcement may be corrupt. Nevertheless, ordinary men and women - citizens of India can protect their hearts from getting corrupt by myths, lies, lust and greed. Let’s start saying “NO” to the de-gradation of our ethics and morality, which is mainly, fuelled by Western internet porn and our Indian film industries. Real men of India, fathers, brothers and husbands what hinders you to be part of this? Take the stand and protect your women. Empower yourselves with dignity and self confidence and then help your woman to have her self-esteem. You can restore the image that our women deserve. You can stop women from suicide and honor killings.
The convicted criminals will be punished and the severity of their crime will slowly fade away in time. However there are still many more not yet convicted rapists, eve teasers, sexual harassers, molesters, sexual aggressors freely roaming the streets of India making sexual remarks, catcalls, brushing and groping women in public, making it unsafe for our daughters, sisters and wives. Let each one ask the person in the mirror what change he/she needs to make.
Indian women are a dignified asset to our nation; treasure her!
Mother of three sons aged 20, 18 and 15.
Coaching innovators together with her husband Mr. Simson