What can we do about rape?

I got sucked into the whole rape business that’s doing the rounds. But I think I’m a bit too insensitive to write about such issues. Rapes, sexual abuse, molests, happen every single day in every nook and corner of the city and no one can do anything about it. Yeah, well, you’re probably going to go all Rang-De-Basanti on me and say, ‘Koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota hai, use behtar banana padta hai. You make a change, Light candles. Protest. Strike. March. Stop eating, etc.” I honestly don’t think all this makes a difference at all.

There is absolutely no point blaming police officers or politicians or the city’s corporators for not installing enough street lights. Note that I’m not blaming the Bombay girl. I’m not even saying she invited it. (When it’s a case like this, seems like everyone is waiting to pounce on some fault that a writer commits). I’m not being a defeatist either. All I’m saying is there is no point in all this outrage after the incident has taken place.

Sure, you can probably create enough noise and make the government have the accused castrated and hanged, hoping to instill fear in future potential criminals. But if the rapists are drugged/drunk, they’re hardly going to think about laws and stop themselves. I am a photographer and a journalist myself. I know the country is unsafe as hell for girls in the dark I would never venture out into abandoned buildings in the dark without protection like pepper spray or my metal hair stick (the one Vidya Balan uses in Kahaani).  My alertness comes instinctively having lived in this country for 22 years. Of course I have been groped, molested, etc. I consider it as normal as tripping over a stone. But I make sure i crush the stone, however hard it is. It’s been a while since any guy dared to touch me and not because I dress like a man or something. I dress rather well, I think. I probably give them mean stares or just plain angry looks. I don’t know.

See, there is nothing wrong in women wanting to be able to feel free and roam around as they wish. But until the country is ready for such a thing you must do your bit to protect yourselves. Even if you have a guy with you, if five men come upon the two of you, the guy is useless. My friend, who used to walk with me on dark abandoned roads (my journalism school was situated in one such foresty, shady, location), used to tell me, “if more than three guys ever try and attack us, you just run.” He isn’t a wuss. He is big, strong and hungry to throw a few punches all the time. He was just being practical when he said that.

But having said that, it is a poor state of affairs that a woman has to wear a chastity belt to protect herself. My journalist friend, Fishy, who also happens to be a feminist says, “By all means we must take precautions, just like we would when we’re in danger, bu the point is, we must have strict laws. If, in spite of that, such criminals aren’t contained, then it’s because they know at the end of the day, the survivor will have to bear half the blame. They know the society will only tell girls to be more careful. Do I really need to put my career, my assignments and passion, all on hold because men can’t control their di***?”

Yeah, she’s one of those angry people. It’s annoying because now we have new rules in office. The editor has told the girls not to cover events that are too far away and to always travel with four or five people and not just the photographer. She said, “It’s foolish to try and be brave these days. I’m not risking it.” Well, she does have a point. No one wants to be held responsible for such issues. But I’m a loner and I don’t want to be with five other people during parties. Hmpf.

Another colleague said that they should legalise prostitution in the country. It’s like legalising marijuana right? Reduces the consumption of hard drugs like cocaine, heroin and whatever people are consuming these days. Legalise prostitution and there will be fewer rapes. But if sex is all these people want, I don’t think they’d gang up against a girl and commit such cruel acts. These men are like Prince Joffrey! They have a psychological disorder. It’s more than just sexual violence. In fact, it isn’t sex at all.

Well, I can’t really think of cruel things to do to punish these men. But if any man lays his hands on me against my will, trust me, I have watched enough Game of Thrones, to feel normal enough slitting someone’s throat and sticking their heads up on a spike and displaying it to the entire city.

Assholes.

You can buy pepper spray here. Or buy a pocket knife. Or a sword.  Or an axe.
I’d pick the last two. I can look good, like I’m from the Middle Earth or from Westeros and I can feel safe and protected.

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