December 16, 2012 shook the world when an innocent girl succumbed to the vicious brutalities of six men whose obstinacy shook the collective conscience of our country. But in spite of all the protests and changes made, has the society really changed its mindset? Are there no more rape victimizations?

Well, unfortunately, the answer is no. The society has not changed. Somewhere a woman is being molested as you are reading this. People talk of stopping this menace. People talk about reforms to protect women. But we need to understand and analyze the root of a problem before searching for solutions to curb the problem. So let’s ask this – where did rape come from and why are people so desperate that they do not think twice before shutting off an innocent girl’s life?

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According to the 2005 National Crime Victimization Survey, it was observed that 73% of the rape victims knew their rapist. Around 38% of victims are raped by a friend or an acquaintance. Intimate partners are also the culprits in around 28% cases. 26% cases are because of strangers which surprisingly is lower than those by people we know. This might sound ridiculous but the truth is we are in danger from our own people, from people we would have never suspected.

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You must have heard in news several times that most rape cases go unnoticed. Ever wondered why that is? Because the people we are told to trust the most are sometimes the people who perform this barbaric act. The culprit in most cases is someone whom the parents and every relative would vouch for, and may even be related by kin to the victim.  So even if the victim raises a hue and cry, nobody believes the victim and the story goes uncovered. These kinds of rapes may be invisible but the damage they concur on the victim is inevitable. Even though it might sound terrible, we are safer by being aware and accepting the truth then denying it.

Where did this brutal act even come from? Well, we cannot pinpoint it to one single area. It has its roots even in Greek mythology. The supreme deity Zeus has committed such crimes himself. Most researchers believe that rape has been made more acceptable and popular during war times among soldiers – men enacting a system of power, violence and masculine hierarchy. During the Nanking massacre, thousands of women were raped. It is called the “Rape of Nanking” for a reason. The Japanese troops committed this heinous act of mass murder and rape against Nanking.

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When the soldiers were questioned about their behavior, they replied that they were proving their masculinity, solidarity and strength by committing rapes.  But all they were doing was follow some other men’s orders and cause someone else harm. They obviously had a choice in that. But it requires more than masculine strength to challenge a status quo and to refuse to follow orders of rape and massacre. This inability to refuse is a show of profound weakness, not masculine strength as they believed it to be.

Many ancient societies have the prevalent custom of bride capture – where in order to obtain a wife, the man had to kidnap her, rape her and marry her. To sound more ridiculous, this custom was not only socially accepted but it was considered as an act of heroism and machismo on the man’s part.

Each and every individual on this planet knows that rape is a vicious crime. But then what motivates them to commit it? Education and lack of awareness can be considered as factors for promoting rapes but black and white truth is that even educated people many times have lost their grips on themselves.

Successful men gain high status, power and women – sometimes multiple women. Their sex life is indisputable. On the other side we have unemployed and unsuccessful often-young males who face reproductive failure constantly in their lives. There’s always a line between the women they desire and them. Well, they are not keen on changing themselves or they may have failed multiple times which pushes them off-limit.

Men no longer fear from crossing the line. And in a country like India, where such cases go unnoticed, they think of it as an opportunity. They think that they would escape unscratched. Reports show that more than 1 in 10 men force a woman (apart from his partner) to have sex with him and 1 in 4 men perpetrate violence on their partner.

A recent study by various world renowned organizations has tried to pinpoint the reasons that make a man to rape. The studies have revealed that a man growing up in an unhappy family is twice more likely to assist in sexual violence and assault. The society is also to blame as it imbibes the belief in men that they are entitles to control women and their bodies. Most men committing rapes have given their statement that they have the right to have sex regardless of the women’s consent. Plus, it is a sign for them of being tough.

So how can we prevent this? For starters, imbibe only correct values in your child. Promote non-violent masculinity that is respectful and at the same time causes no harm. Promote healthy childhood by ending violence against children and being the perfect family your child craves for. Work with young people to nurture healthy sexual practices and promote respectful and equal relationships. Inspire the young to do something good in their life.

Violence against women can be prevented. Let us join hands and pledge to curb this menace.

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