Women are from Earth, Men are from Penis

Delhi-Meri-Hai

Delhi Meri Hai… ‘Delhi is mine’ ad campaign currently running on the radio.

The awful Delhi gang rape at the end of last year cast a thick cloud over city and its residents.  Regular Chatterboxes will remember I spend half the year in this crazy/amazing city.  When I arrived back in the first week of January the media and locals were soul searching and digesting the gravity of what happened.

It’s now the end of February and I have listened to various radio stations every morning whilst doing my yoga moves and I have read the daily broadsheets including the wonderful Indian news magazine, Tehelka.  Simultaneously, I have been reading the British broadsheets and the New York Times and I have noticed the regular pieces about rape, feminism, their views on the Delhi gang rape and reports about women in India.

What I find interesting and also depressing is that crimes against women are increasing regardless how developed a country/society is.  India has been described as sexually oppressed and backward, where the inequality of women is the norm.  However, this analysis does not help us understand why men in the West rape, abuse and assault women in about the same proportion if we are so sexually enlightened and a more equal society.  In proportion the conviction rates in rape cases are about the same in India and the UK.  In India women should be kept indoors and in the UK women are slags, are all of us asking to be raped?

The difference in India as of now, I don’t know if the momentum will be kept, is that men are also involved in reclaiming the rights of women.   The most popular Delhi radio stations are running campaigns to stop the harassment of women and to change the views of Delhiites.  Male RJs are opening the dialogue and the discussions as much as women.  After all, women that are raped are not living in parallel worlds; they also have fathers, brothers, lovers, male friends, sons, grandsons, uncles and nephews.   Why is rape a woman’s issue and not a man’s?  Does rape, and what counts as rape, need to be included in sex education in schools?  A friend recently told me that one of her male friends couldn’t get his head around the concept of a man raping his wife: he simply could not understand that it was possible.  I am not by any means, suggesting that all men rape – I think the vast majority of men do not, only that I’m glad that in Delhi they are being invited to participate in the change of attitudes towards women.

One of my most wonderful friends in Delhi is an 88 year old gynecologist.  She lived and worked through a World War, the partition of India and she has spent time studying abroad both in the UK and the US.  As we sit together drinking tea on her veranda watching the birds and admiring her garden, she often tells me that women are not safe from predatory men regardless of age.  She has told me stories of babies being raped by their fathers, that she once treated a very old woman with horrific STDs and vaginal damage caused by a gang rape on a train where some of the boys were teenagers.

This is a global problem and it doesn’t seem to be dying down, what is to be done?

Bubbly

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7 Comments to “Women are from Earth, Men are from Penis”

  1. The issue with rape is power, not sexual gratification which is why we are at risk of rape until we die.

    I realise your statement I not think all men are rapists – yes – but I think given the right circumstances all men can rape. Have you ever felt coerced into sex? Where is the line drawn?

  2. It frustrates me so much that we live in a society where women are said to be ‘up for it’ or ‘asking for it’ depending on how they are dressed. I studied violence against women when I was at university and I think it is appalling how the blame is so often placed on the victim. I’ve had countless arguments with people who have made offhand remarks and comments on a girls hemline. In an obviously extreme example, it suggests that for some reason if a girl was…I don’t know…was casually in her underwear (?) in public, it would be perfectly reasonable for every passerby to sexually assault her.

    • What an excellent analogy. Why can’t I go out in my knickers if I want to?

      At university, I studied sex crime and as part of it we covered the reporting of rape. The reporting of successful convictions was lower than the reporting of women who had lied about rape.

      Next time you pick up the Metro (or any tabloid) check it out for yourself. You will see half a page dedicated to a woman who lied about rape. And then think, when was the last time a rapist was named and shamed?

      Women are liars, most of them were asking for it and then after cry rape for attention.

      • Very true, in fact a British broadsheet The Telegraph ran exactly such a story all last week on a serial rape accuser found guilty of lying and who is being sent to prison. They are such a minority but get disproportionate attention.

  3. So what is the future – surely it’s encouraging that men are joining and sometimes leading the debate?

    One of my really good mates recently said “I am the only man that has never groped a woman” and we all cracked up. If you follow the recent press, it does seem like women are at risk of a groping everywhere. Am I the only woman who hasn’t been groped at work, tube or nightclub?

    Why do men rape? Isn’t sexual force glamourised in pop culture? In Indian films, no often means yes. I don’t know what the answer is but a lot of men are feminists and until they all become feminists, we are vulnerable.

    Most victims know their attacker. When they don’t they are usually intoxicated. It has nothing to do with what you are wearing. Nothing. The best way to stay safe is to be careful with whom you choose to spend time with and if you go out and get drunk, don’t wander off from your friends!

  4. Ana – I think given the right circumstances all men can rape??

    That is a really scary thought! And I have to say I don’t agree. You can’t paint all men with the same brush just as the press are wrong to with all women who cry rape.

    I do completely agree that it is an issue of power, especially in the west. But sexual gratification was definitely half the story with that case in India, and that does come from a society where sex is taboo.

  5. The more we have dialogue about such issues the better… I was speaking to a colleague yesterday who does incredible work in her local community in London…the centre she works at has started putting contact ‘tickets’ in the ladies bathrooms about domestic violence…sadly (yet positively), they have proved very popular…’silent’ women are bravely beginning to ask for help…no matter your culture, country or background – physical abuse exists and must be eradicated with courage and compassion. No matter how hard this struggle will continue to be, respect for humanity and life itself must be the basis for all our efforts. Trust through friendship, peace through trust. Women are always at the forefront of societal change..

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