Today the news papers, magazines and all the T.V. Channels are beaming with news items of infinite varieties of crimes on women day in and day out. This happens despite the recent sensational judgment of death penalty for four young men who were found guilty of raping.
Even before the ink of the print in the news papers about the capital punishment got dried out , there comes the shocking news of a nine year old girl sexually assaulted by a man or a gang in Sengundram a town in the vicinity of Chennai. This incident dismisses all the conclusions, hopes and surmises of the optimists and the social psychologists and make a mockery of the great hopes with which the recent judgment was delivered.
Now let us have a glance at the panoramic view of the society in which we live today. Crimes of various hues and dimensions are reported every day. Such crimes are as old as the mountains, the seas, and the rivers of the world. Right from the stone age to the world of the so called civilized society of the modern era, all the institutions of social welfare have been busy curtailing the crimes in the ways found best by them.
Murders for gain, hatred, enmity, suspicion, wrath, prejudice of personal national cultural linguistic and religious differences, beastly sexual drives, jealousy are the commonest of all the crimes besides a host of crimes like bribery, robbery, corruption, betrayal, cheating, immorality, prostitution, stealing, fraudulent actions, personal and group violences of various nature and arrogance are the ones any society has to deal with for ever and ever.
There are courts of law in every country to inquire into them and award suitable penal measures. Unfortunately the spate of violence seems to have increased world wide. In India it has increased to alarming proportions. Under these circumstances, the most important question before us is, have these punitive measures had the desired effect? Have all the prisons in the world turned out the criminals having converted them and cured them of their criminal instincts? NOT AT ALL.
It is true , in every action done, the entire mankind is involved. Let us now recall what the English poet John Donne has said, “No man is an island, Entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the Continent, A part of the main. If a clod is washed away by the sea ,Europe is the less… Any man’s death diminishes me, Because I am involved in mankind, And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.” Who is a criminal who indulges in such a beastly violence ? Where does he hail from ? Where was he brought up ? Did he become, all on a sudden, such a brutal being ? Let us remember that he has been one among us living with us He has been a part of our society, our culture, our belief system, our values having been fully identified with all that we have been. A criminal does not burst into existence from nowhere.
He has lived along with his parents, friends, teachers, and colleagues. He has been formed, moulded, inspired, influenced and instigated by all those forces to which the entire society has been accustomed. These are the factors that have truly contributed to his despicable behavior. The question is, when most of us have not indulged in such devious deeds, how is it that he or a few alone behave like that?
A criminal in general operates under certain abnormal mental conditions. He becomes totally oblivious of everything about himself and the rest of the world in his saturated mental pressure. He now exists all by himself completely severed from his usual self, his value system and consciousness.
Fear of punishment is not anywhere near his consciousness. This abnormality of his mental status is the key in this issue. He has reached this abnormality because of several contributing factors like the practices around him, the real life patterns of his fellow beings which most often happen to be hypocritical and literally against all their professed values in public. They all get unconsciously imbibed by him and get stored in the recess of his consciousness.
He is the victim of the highly exaggerated and unnatural depiction of sexual behaviour of lovers in the big and small screens. He is the destination of several pervert notions spread across the society. His psycho – sexual development takes place in the unconscious of his mind. The Id in him is woken up by several such factors of which he is totally unaware.
His behavior is the immediate result of his osmotic absorption an unconscious assimilation of what really existed behind all the pretensions prevailing in his environment. The Freudian psycho analysis can help us to a very great extent to understand him properly. He is thus a direct product of the glaring contradictions and hypocritical practices of the society. His bestial instincts have thus been tempered without his knowledge.
Family: This unit of our social structure, namely, the family, plays the most crucial role in the formation of values in life. Let us remember, values cannot be taught but they can only be inculcated or imbibed by self efforts. Family bond is the most congenial atmosphere where an individual picks values rather instinctively and unconsciously. What is not generated in the family will surely be hard or even impossible to be acquired.
This is the reason why the family is the most basic factor that decides the social peace, harmony and security. Therefore a home of love, joy, harmony and peace is the most crucial solution and the most powerful deterrent agent for crimes. The paternal commitment and care , the maternal love, the filial devotion and the fraternal affections are the strongest foundations on which a peaceful society is constructed. Lack of care love and concern at the personal level may result in disastrous sequences.
Media, entertainment, literature, festivals and cultural activities should jointly take up the responsibility of creating a realistic helpful presentation of human dignity and a healthy social behavior towards sex. We should try to create a sense of reverence caution and responsibility towards sex. It should never be allowed to treat sex as a cheap and commonplace commodity.
Sex education with a proper attitude and maturity should be imparted at a very early age so that most of the superstitious ideas, perverted notions and unnatural perceptions can be eliminated and a healthy and responsible attitude towards sex is inculcated. It is highly regrettable to know that speaking about sex, even in most of the educated families is still a taboo. The mother and the father can be perhaps the most reliable and the safest guides in matters of sex to their children. Here I may be permitted to add a personal detail. I have been very successful in this attempt.
The traditional notions of sexual provocation
It is customary to hold immodest dressing, scanty clothing, moving in lonely helpless areas indecent postures and staying out of home for long, as very congenial for sexual assault on women What is intriguing in such notions is, it is all women-centered and sex biased. Are there no such stipulations and restrictions to men? Isolating men from moral codes and obligations is its inherent lapse.
Are these explanations and prescriptions fool proof?
We quite often hear these days, girl children of even one year old to the teen age are assaulted sexually. The traditional explanations are naturally dismissed with this, making all of them outdated and unrealistic. We go back only to the theory of abnormality and perversion which is realistic and plausible. Any discrimination on gender should surely make this issue more complex and complicated to find any tangible solution.
Men also should be brought into the gambit of responsibility. Periyar in his wisdom has made several recommendations in this regard. He has gone to the extent of demanding wearing clothes, hair cutting and manners to be the same for both the sexes so that even the external differences may be removed. He held that women by gender, are only the making of the society and not so much of the biological factors.
In our homes the sexual discriminations start at the very birth of the girl. Dress codes, ornaments, behavioural patterns, activities and all other restrictions imposed on gender discrimination are made mandatory for the girls in the society. There are even separate moral codes for women. Women thus grow as a separate human species bearing a man made classification on their person for ever.
The sum total of all such discriminatory restrictions have resulted in the treatment of women as a mere object of carnal pleasure for men and the total denial of human dignity and reverence to women. Added to this is the rule of the jungle that “might is right.” Men in inebriated state and pushed into animal instincts dare to use their physical might on helpless women.Therefore gender equality as prescribed by Periyar is very crucial in finding a permanent solution.
Conclusion: The crimes on women point to a complex reality which a comprehensive system alone can tackle. There is no one single solution which can be a panacea to cure it completely. Laws and punishments are only one of the many measures to curtail crimes on women.
We need serious efforts in various angles from social governmental and cultural agencies to jointly counter this menace. We need more and more organizations to study these problems with a scientific temper without any superstitious ideologies and psychological insights and discuss them in broader forums with the help and guidance of the qualified doctors, psychologists, sociologists, leaders and representatives of all human agencies. This problem surely needs such a concerted effort by a civilized society.