The accused in the Delhi rape case have not got a lawyer to defend them yet. It was reported that when a lawyer came forward, others objected saying that it was not moral to defend the accused because of what they had done. The case will not be taken up unless someone comes forward to represent the accused.
As we discuss the morality of rape, it has struck me so hard that our society has become a mass of people who keep passing the buck. The blame always has to be on someone. On the one hand there are several people who are openly asking for a death penalty, others who are asking for close to inhuman steps to be taken on the accused, and on the other there are political leaders, spiritual gurus and others who have the audacity to question the girl who was raped and killed. They continue the assault by putting forward suggestions that women should dress modestly, not go out after dark and beg for forgiveness if anyone tries to violate their body.
In the entire discourse one cannot notice the absence of self examination, the acceptance of one’s own blame and the crimes committed by one self. Instead everyone is happy to put the blame on and pass the buck on to someone else. This can be seen in all fields and by all institutions.
The police force says that teachers should teach the students well and conscientize them on gender equality and respecting women. The teachers say that children learn their initial lessons from home and are influenced by their parents and therefore they should be a better example. The parents blame religious leaders saying that they are not teaching moral education and religions are themselves very sexist. The media joins the chorus and picks on politicians, the politicians pick on the film industry and all of them have now got together to blame the six accused. But take a look at each of them.
The police force makes simple things like filing a complaint, a woman walking into a police station, and providing protection to women, a very difficult proposition. Teachers and educational institutions are guilty of not encouraging equal conditions for girls and boys, being insensitive to the feelings of girls, keeping girls and boys away from each other and being over protective and indirectly pushing through presuppositions about each other which are not even true in the first place. Parents bring up girls and boys in a different way and still hang on to age old clichés about what they should do and how they should grow up. They also think that time with children can be made up by buying them gadgets and not engaging in any serious talk. Religious leaders and institutions are totally oblivious and blind to how girls and women are totally ignored and are only a part of the system and are no where close to being joint leaders and functionaries. Religious spaces are not open and safe for women as well. The media has over the years ignored several rapes and has not reported several cases were Dalit women were raped. In a country were rapes happen everyday, the media has not reported enough. Advertisements which form a majority of the revenue for media houses portray women in a poor light. Many advertisements show women as mere objects of desire and attraction. This does not give any parity or confidence to them. Politicians in turn pick on the media, the film industry and even Western culture saying that all of these are the culprit. Instead of relooking at laws, making people aware and serving the people well they also look to blame. The film industry is also quick to join the band wagon to blame politicians. But seldom is any introspection done on the kind of movies made. If Indian movies have only moved from renaming the cabre dance as item number, what does this speak of how women are characterized in movies in India? Which Indian movie actress is being marketed as a strong actor rather than a size zero or a curvy bodied voluptuous woman? Why are love scenes and bikini clad women shown when it has nothing to do with the script? Are women portrayed as smart, suave or just plain dumb?
If we want to blame the list is endless. The main thing is that each one of us is responsible in our own way for the plight of women in our country. But we are not willing to accept this. The buck does not stop here, rather the buck is passed on…and on.