Rape – how to put an to end it?

This is what some scientists, like Palmer and Thornhill, asks as well as politicians. Surprising, but sadly it is true. They call it “natural adaptation” or as an act of “biological temptation”. These biologists and so-called political leaders should ask the victims what they think about this definition.

This bothered me a lot,  and wanted to find out what do intellectuals have to say on this topic and its causes. Wikipedia has wealth of information, but no conclusive data. There are many views on the causes, the funniest, calling it as an evolutionary mating strategy [1, 2], to the most serious ones, the family background and cultural context like male dominance and use of aggression [2].

Personally, I wanted to see if there is any evidence that the happier societies, women safety and/or gender inequality have any relationship with the incidence rate of rape. I extracted the data from different sources, for the top 20 happiest countries in the world, and added the gender inequality and safety % to it. There is a study done which had also shown that higher gender equality helped creating more awareness in reporting such incidences [3]. The top 5 happiest countries rates higher in gender equality and awareness, and thus the data from these countries can be compared with the next 15 countries, which have stricter laws for gender inequality. I also tried to look at how India is ranked on Happiness scale but no such data is available, but it is known that the quality of life in India is not that great, and ranks #132 in Gender inequality index [4], but shows the safety % close to Israel, New Zealand and Australia (3% – 5% lower) but safer than Mexico.

Data review:

top 20 countries

As shown in the table above, Sweden which ranked #5 on happiness score reported highest number of rape incidences. This might be the result of the change, year 2005, in the definition and police procedures in recording the number of incidents with the same victim [3]. Norway, Iceland, Australia which was rated in top 10 also shows higher incidence rate of rapes.

Thus, it can be concluded that happiness has nothing to do with the way men treats women.

It can also be equally assumed that safer the people feel to walk at night, should have lower rate of rape incidences. Unfortunately, this also showed no correlation, as seen in the graph beside the table. Among top 20 “feel safe” countries, 15 have shown higher ( > 10 ) incidence rate of rape. But somehow India showed lowest incidence rate of rape next to U.A.E and Canada. It can be assumed that these countries have issues with the reporting procedure of such incidences. Based on the other countries from the list, it can be suggested that safety somewhat influences in reducing the incidence rate of rape by 9%, convicted by strangers [5]. I was looking into the common myths about rape, and found that 90% of the rapes are committed by known men (@ 60% minimum in other countries like USA & Canada) and most of them occurs at victim’s home or workplace [5, 6, 7]. Also, it has been found that 75% – 90% of the incidences are pre-planned [9].

On a lighter note:

I was just trying to see if women’s beauty or alcohol consumption has anything to do with the incidence of rape, even though research suggested no relation. Only two countries, USA and Sweden with beautiful women showed incidences of rapes.

There was a study done by Montana University which shows that 25% of the cases supports rape due to intoxication [9]. Unfortunately, what I found is that the countries with high per capita consumption of alcohol have lower incidences of rape. This points to an interesting fact that the countries with higher alcohol consumption somehow differs in the culture, in treating women, which should be studied further. One need to keep in mind that these countries have better GDP and human development, except Moldova and Ukraine.

top alcohol consumption

India:

India is viewed as one of the safer places as other top 20 happiest countries. But, since the news of the Delhi gang rape, of a med-student in 2012, the incidences have been doubled [8] in Delhi. It is also known that 90% of the cases goes unreported. This puzzled me a lot. What is going on in this country of Gods and spirits? Not to my surprise, women has been treated as a property since ages, whose account can be found in Ramayana and Mahabharata, which are still preached by the priests in India. By talking to friends, I came to know that in religious texts like Bible, Qur’an women are denigrated as well. I would be interested to see what other religious texts say.

The data, by Wall street Journal, as shown below, indicates that the rape cases in India are rising. Madhya Pradesh has reported highest number of incidences. The surprising fact is that Kerala, which is highly literate, peaceful and affluent state, reported 1000+ cases, similar to Chhattisgarh and Odisha. [Please] multiply these incidences by 3, as it is found that 90% of these cases doesn’t get reported. I was surprised to see that, Gujarat too has these incidences. Culturally, in Gujarat, it is customary to write or call a lady (name) with ‘ben’ (sister) as suffix.

rapes in 2012

Rape Map fo India

This leads me to believe that the social and cultural aspects of females and their roles in Indian society are dominant factors contributing to their victimization.

Cause:

I strongly believe that male dominance and use of aggression is the major cause of the rape.

According to the study done by Peggy Reeves Sanday [2], concludes that “Rape-prone societies are more likely to be characterized by male segregation in separate houses, an ideology of male toughness, emphasis on competition, low respect for women as citizens, and the absence of women in the public domain of economic and political affairs”.

If I put it in simple terms it depends largely on how well the men treat women.

In the current social structure women’s role is designed for nurturing family which pushes them to lead passive roles and not to challenge male’s aggression. Even mothers treat and favour their male child over female child. This is the root cause for reinforcing the male dominance and aggression in the society.

Prevention:

By reviewing my society and circle of friends during my teenage and university days, I noticed how we use to pass lewd or subtle underlying remarks at girls. In my society men were encouraged to behave like a “Macho” (tough) man. Male should show aggression, and can rightfully use it to get what they want. Softness was always discouraged, even by females. I remember during my childhood, when I declined to fight the girl who was harassing my cousin. I had to face humility and disgrace, even by my aunts. This is how society corrupts us and teaches us males not to bend in front of females, and reinforces our aggression in getting things done the way we want.

To be honest, my wife still corrects me whenever I strongly put forth my point during our conversation when it comes to family decision. She always tells me that I need to widen my space and encourage healthy family discussion. This actually helped me to create and maintain a positive, healthy atmosphere (a recipe of a successful marriage). She often reminds me that in her [Gujarati] culture women rules the home.

Peggy, in her research [2] found that “In more rape-free societies, there is an ethos of cooperation and consensus in human affairs. The social separation of the sexes is less marked and both sexes are more likely to hold exalted positions in public decision-making and to be integrated and equal in the affairs of everyday life”.

Males are usually stronger physically and thus always will overpower females, doesn’t matter how hard they resist.

Action Plan:

The roles of females should be redefined in our modern society. They should have equal say in day-to-day affairs. This idea should be reinforced through social engagements, schools, education and media.

On the other hand males should take equal role in nurturing and raising the kids.

Mother plays an important role in imparting education to their children and need to stop favoring male child over female child. 

Parents should start teaching, if not yet, their kids to treat both sexes with equal respect, and simultaneously encourage the society to do so.

References:

[1]      http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/features/why-men-want-to-rape/150003.article

[2]      http://www.upf.edu/estiu/_pdf/1363_info.pdf

[3]      http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-19592372

[4]      https://data.undp.org/dataset/Table-1-Human-Development-Index-and-its-components/wxub-qc5k

[5]      http://www.rapecrisis.org.uk/commonmyths2.php

[6]      http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/jhamlin/3925/myths.html

[7]      http://www.sarsonline.org/resources-stats/reports-laws-statics

[8]      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/10417749/Rape-cases-in-Delhi-double-after-gang-rape-of-student-on-bus.html

[9]          http://www.montana.edu/wwwai/imsd/alcohol/Vanessa/vwrapefactsheet.htm

[10]    http://www.ucityguides.com/cities/top-10-countries-with-the-most-beautiful-women.html

[11]    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_alcohol_consumption

Last update: 1 – Corrected table-2, for top 10 countries with rape cases, and alcohol consumption.

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