It's going to be a month since the crime. A fortnight since the death. 
Since then, I have learned the following...
  • Women should not wear makeup.
  • They should not be dented, whatever that means. 
  • No discotheques, of course.
  • Chowmein makes boys horny.
  • You should not board buses after night.
  • Girls should wear long overcoats. 
  • No coeducation.
  • Women should understand that marriage is a contract and they are allowed to be in it as long as they 'satisfy' the man. 
  • They should not cross the mythical 'Lakshman Rekha'. 
  • Western culture is to be blamed. 
  • India, not Bharat, is to be blamed. 
  • Biharis are to be blamed. 
  • If you are being assaulted, submit. 
  • Allow yourself to be assaulted so that you can still live, said one female 'scientist'. 
  • A Godman says she's to blame because no crime can take place without both parties being involved. That if she had called him Bhaiyya ( brother ), they would have stopped. 
  • One of his 5 crore posse comes on National TV and says proudly that if she had said Saraswati Mantra and boarded that bus, her inner conscience would have saved her. 
  • Another minister says she got raped because of the astrological stars.
  • Last but not least, even if you have no political influence and have admitted to the worst of crimes against women, there will be enough a$$holes ready to try to defend you by blaming the woman.

Realize what the words above mean.
It implies you are not supposed to study beyond a certain standard. It implies you should have no other occupation other than housewife while the man hunts and toils to bring home food for you to cook, caveman style. It implies that by your shameless act of walking out of your house, you are the initiator of your rape. 

I don't have a miniscule fraction of the following of the big guns behind all those quotes. I don't have their bank balance, their years or their pious nature.
But I can promise you one thing - if you allow them to continue, they will eventually make sure you are tied to the living room chair and only let out of the house on your wedding day - to be tied to the next living room chair. You tell me the girl was gang raped for two hours and 31 kms on a bus. I say you are wrong. Her character is still being raped today, long after she passed away, thanks to these idiotic people who are allowed near a mike.
Rape. In India, it happens to small children aged 2 months and it happens to elderly women aged 65 years. The infant is too young to cry out Bhaiiya, which is of course her fault. The old woman is of course dented and not chanting the Saraswati Mantra right.   
Stop looking at this as only one case. In the days since the Delhi rape case, another 15 females were gang raped across India. Can you remember even one of those instances ? Why not ? Are they not 'India's daughters and bravehearts' ? 

Please look beyond the crap.
Rape is never just about sex. It is about domination. It is about asserting one's power. It is about humiliation. The sooner you accept it, the sooner you can deal with it.

The saddest part of this experience has been the response from the political parties we elected. 
Neither the ruling party nor the main Opposition has been able to give a single reassuring statement. If one party chose to use tear gas and cannons before crying on national television, the other is forced to remain silent as their sex-starved bosses in shorts start preaching morality and sanskar.

Which sanskar allows to rape a 2 month old child ? Seriously. Stop giving such idiotic views like 'She's asking to get raped.' If you guys wear tighty-whitey Jockey shorts and sit on the busiest road in Delhi, do you imagine that you will get raped by women ? No ? Why not ? Because she has sanskaar ? You just said that if she's going to work, wearing skirts and wearing makeup, she's lacking in it, remember ?

Stop blaming women for rape. The problem isn't your penis, it's not even your fantasies... it's the need to act out on those fantasies. And that is the most disturbing aspect for me. 

The one thing that becomes abundantly clear while glossing over old texts is that contrary to popular belief, women are not treated like Goddesses in our culture -  abduction, rape, molesting, stripping... all this is also a part of our culture. If Ram and Arjun are part of our culture, so are the scheming Kaikeyi and the lustful Dushasana. So stop looking to the past for answers, women. There are none that will comfort you. 

Look to empower yourselves. 

First, accept the truth. 

  • It will be ages before you change the neanderthal mindsets of those in power - be it politicians, policemen or religious leaders. Above all else, that empowers those who seek to rape. 
  • Rapists may be of any faith, any religion, any age and more often sadly ( as statistics show ) someone you know.
  • That doesn't change the basic fact. No one has a right to your body without your permission.No dress you wear, no time of day and no state of inebriation changes that rule.

Second and most important - don't stay docile. 
  • They tell you to become Sita and Draupadi ? By all means, be one. But be a kickass Sita who pokes Ravan in the eyes (all 20 of them, if need be !!) and knees him in his balls. When Kunti says 'Share whatever you got with your brothers, Yudhisthra', be a Draupadi who laughs and says 'Not happening, Mrs K !'
  • Asura Baba told you to chant Saraswati Mantra. Do so if it pleases you... but I humbly request you to learn to 'SING' the Sandra Bullock Mantra as well. It certainly seems more effective and is applicable to all men.

  • Carry pocket knives. Carry pepper sprays. Make pepper sprays, if necessary.
  • Parents/ elders telling you not to go outside anymore ? Remind them of the watchman ( the guardian of the flat ) who raped the tenant in a fully occupied building. Or the woman who was raped inside a train while the other passengers watched. The old lady raped in her house. The burns patient raped in the hospital. If a person wants to rape, he will try, irrespective of the location. 
In an ideal world, I would have never imagined asking you to trade lip gloss for pepper spray and Victorinox knives. But this is no ideal world. And this is not a country whose leaders know how to look after it's own women. 

Thirdly, don't ostracize friends who have been manhandled/molested/raped. 
They are not to blame for the act of rape. Not 50%, not 5%, not 0.1%. They need you more than ever now. They don't need you to take a rifle and climb onto a horse seeking revenge. They need your kind words, your hands clutching theirs and your support to get them through it. 
Three of the sweetest, gentlest women I've known in my life were all victims of sexual crimes. They still wake up in cold sweats and nightmares, even decades later. Their stories were hushed up by them or their families, the assailants not even charged. They remain victims forever while their assailants are happily married and doting husbands and of course 'respected members of society'.

I don't want any girl to suffer the nightmares they live with, but sadly, not being raped is turning into a luxury in our country now.

So if you find yourself in danger, girls... break a nose and twist a ball. 
And remember your Sandra Bullock Mantras... Solar plexus, Instep, Nose, Groin   

Authors note : This note has been stuck in my draft box a long time now. It was originally a lot longer and perhaps a lot more vile. Like most of the public, I too wanted to vent out my anger at the system and the comments but then I decided - there's no point talking of what an imbecile Abhijit is or how no doctor who worked in an ICU can be convinced the girl was sent to Singapore for medical reasons. 
The fact is the system failed. The fact is the future doesn't look bright for women in general - both the ruling and Opposition party have their share of cavemen and even rapists. Waiting for them to make laws isn't going to change anything. It's time to make the change yourselves. Don't let people victimize you. Because given the chance, they will gleefully take it - whether they are 17 year old juveniles in a bus or neighbours left around an innocent 3 month old child. 

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