We all remember the story of the Little Red Riding Hood. A beautiful story of a little girl who goes to deliver a basket of food to her sick grandmother, with strict orders from her mother to stay on the path and not to wander. She gets stalked by a hungry wolf who wants eat her and the food in her basket. He tries to lure her into picking flowers and reaches the grandmothers house before her, eats the grandmother and then eats her too.
As a child, I loved this story and my parents would constantly remind me of the moral of the story that you should obey your elders and always stay on the right path no matter, how much someone or something lures you.
However, now I think this story was a mirror to the heinous crime of sexual abuse or RAPE. The wolf eats us all. Most of the times the victims are stalked and lured into friendship or companionship and are raped. A survey says that 8 out of 10 rapes are by a known person. They be-friend you and strike you at the least expected time.
Rapes by unknown are common as well but that is a matter of mind-set that cannot be changed unless we pursue it strongly. But, what bothers me is that, people in our close proximity who have an access to our lives and probably our homes are the ones who betray us. They can be anybody our friends, colleagues, neighbors etc…this takes way the very form of human life i.e. TRUST. Who do we trust? How do we prevent such things? I would like to add this with the part of a stranger committing the same crime. It is a mind-set. You cannot force yourself onto somebody just for sexual pleasure. A few minutes of pleasure scars the victim for life. Kills the soul of that person and the criminal in jail. Be it a man or a woman. Sex without consent is rape, even if you are married. Marriage does not give you a license to force yourself on your spouse.
In India, men are always given a higher place in society; they are responsible for taking forward the family name and inheritance. And they take this too seriously, I know a lot of households where men are considered superior and they are allowed to live a life of perverted- luxury i.e. they can sleep with any woman that they want. This is wrong just out-right wrong. We had one of our politicians say that “boys are boys; they tend to lose control and make mistakes.” This was on the heinous crime of rape and subsequent hanging of the victims on a tree in the rural village of Badaun. An excerpt from Wikipedia:
“According to reports, in the evening the girls had gone out into a field that was used as a toilet area and did not return. The police were notified, but initially took no action. Villagers searched for the girls throughout the night and they were found the following morning hanging from a tree.
According to a post-mortem examination conducted earlier, it was reported that the girls had been raped and died from strangulation due to being hanged while still alive. However, according to a CBI investigation, no evidence of rape was found, and the initial examination, conducted by physician who had never conducted rape investigations before, was flawed. The girl’s family and several activists rejected the CBI report as a cover-up “to avoid international shame and acceptance of the dismal law and order situation”
What our society needs at the moment is not bringing up our girls like men. But, bringing up our boys to be sensitive understanding and respectful of women.
I hope, someday, The Little Red Riding hood has a different ending, instead of stalking her; the wolf accompanies her to her grandmother’s house and says a respectful Goodbye!
But, that seems a far-fetched dream at the moment.