Recently, an interview with Mukesh Singh, one of the accused of the notorious Delhi gangrape and murder of 'Nirbhaya', has been fervently doing the rounds on social media. Perhaps it has something to do with the remorseless and grave nature of the quotes by the rapist, currently awaiting his death sentence in jail.
Let's take a look at some quotes he gave in prison:
"You can't clap with one hand - it takes two hands."
"A decent girl won't roam around at 9 o'clock at night."
"A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy."
"Boy and girl are not equal. Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes. About 20 % of girls are good."
"When being raped, she shouldn't fight back."
"She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they'd have dropped her off after 'doing her', and only hit the boy."
"In our society, we never allow our girls to come out from the house after 6:30 or 7.30 or 8.30 in the evening with any unknown person."
"The death penalty will make things even more dangerous for girls," he says. "Before, they would rape and say, 'Leave her, she won't tell anyone.' Now when they rape, especially the criminal types, they will just kill the girl. Death."
"This is my stand. I still today stand on that reply."
What's more, the quotes by the lawyers defending Nirbhaya's accused are even more appalling:
"If my daughter or sister engaged in pre-marital activities and disgraced herself and allowed herself to lose face and character by doing such things, I would most certainly take this sort of sister or daughter to my farmhouse, and in front of my entire family, I would put petrol on her and set her alight."
Are we any different in our thinking than the rapist?
One of the key points that stand out as he speaks is the extent to which misogyny is 'normalised' in society. Often we blame a certain 'class' of people and say, those people think like that, not us. All at the same time propagating such views ourselves at homes, towards their female family members, in schools, among peers etc. We fail to see how we're not really that different in our thinking than even the most brutal and violent rapist. We fail to see how we're totally a part of the problem.
Sadly, such views and ideas are being propped up as "Indian culture and values" and are being used as "justifications" for violent crimes against women, and even children.
As this Indiaspend article shows:
* 44% of college students "agree" that women have no choice but to accept a certain degree of violence
* 51% college students believe women must mainly take care of the household and bring up children.
Unless we confront how misogynistic our daily attitudes are, we cannot curb crimes in India. This kind of regressive and patriarchal thinking is the cause of all crimes against women, of which several are vicious and extreme in nature. This kind of a gender bias manifests itself in assaults, sometimes severe, and at other times subtle forms of 'harassment' or control. Our culture, mindset and values have to go through a revolutionary transformation for us to start respecting women, from a young age. Only then, can we hope for a country free of such nasty and brutal crimes dotting every other lane in India.
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