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Rape, rapist and raped — I

Rape, rapist and raped — I

By: Naeem Tahir

A question is: how one individual becomes a ‘rapist’ in a society where others stay normal?

The shattering molestation of the little innocent, five-year-old, baby girl Sumbul is known to the world. She is a ‘symbol’ of the agony caused by a cancer in the society. This innocent child was raped and left at the gate of the Ganga Ram Hospital. The tragedy was brought to the notice of public by the electronic and print media very forcefully. Media may even have overdone it and fallen prey to the temptation to beat each other and thus cause more agony to the child’s family and friends. The child is hopefully saved, physically, by the attention of doctors and the vigilance of a sensitive Chief Minister, Mr Shehbaz Sharif. The case of this particular child will gradually fade away from public memory but the agony of the victim and the family will continue for a very long time.

The tragedy brought to the public notice is only the tip of the iceberg. In an article by Mehr Tarar, (Daily Times, September 22, 2013), a long list of little girls violated during the year was published. Even these were among the few cases that were reported. Hundreds or thousands of such violations go unnoticed or remain hidden due to the feelings of shame in the family.

Almost completely un-noticed is the rape of thousands of boys. Most of these are the ones who are in the custody of some sick mullah for religious education. In some areas in the north the rape of a male kid is a preferred ‘sport’ and shamelessly tolerated by society. One of my friends, an attorney-at-law, categorically said that there are several cases of forced sodomy appearing in courts every day but the complainants do not want public attention. Such acts carry shame for the victim and his family.

Does society, on the whole, feel ashamed? Or even concerned? The malaise is deep-rooted. Rape is prevalent in almost all societies and as a child is an easier prey therefore, child molestation is more common. In most of societies rape is a heinous crime punishable by the maximum punishment including death. But punishments are deterrents not the cures. There may not be a complete solution to the problem but if society understands it and is supported by efficient legal action then it can be minimised.

Rape is considered a sex crime in general perception. True, the sex act by force is the method employed but the nature of crime is different. A sex act may not become a crime if it is between adults and with mutual consent or for sexual fulfilment only as a ‘deal’. Rape is in fact a hate crime. The element of pleasure or sexual fulfilment is completely absent. Rape is an expression of hate, insult and punishment accompanied by brutality. It is no sex-game; it is brutality intended to damage the psyche and physiology. It aims at hurting, damaging, and destroying the victim or to send a message to the victim’s family and associates. If the readers recall, the case of Mukhtaran Mai was a typical example that met the public eye. But the incident of ‘rape’ is not limited to our society, as it exists in almost every society. This does not mean that it should be taken as a justification by the Pakistanis. In fact, Pakistanis need to take it much more seriously as their prevalent attitude border at insensitivity.

A known psychologist Maryam Bachmeier has looked at the issue from a professional point of view: “After the recent incident in New Delhi, India, resulting in the death of a brutally gang raped female doctor, I was asked two sets of profound questions. One is “Why do societies face such violence and crimes and why are some societies more vulnerable than others?” The second question was “What is the psychology of the rapist?” What could make an ordinary human turn to be such a brutal person and commit such a horrendous crime?

I would like to respond to these two very important issues by talking about societies in transition first. Then I will address the psychopathology of a sociopath and what we know about perpetrators who commit brutal and horrendous crimes as well as the ‘group’ dynamic when a hate crime is engaged in by the instigator and those who participate. Note that I use the word ‘hate’ to describe rape. Rape is not a sexual activity. Rape is a hate crime. It is usually used to exert and establish power and dominance over the other, to take something away from the person (her honour, her virginity, her reputation, her life), or to get revenge against her family or clan.”

The purpose of rape is to hurt another human being while often making one feel superior as well. The rapist could very possibly intend to insult, hate and/or punish the subject, the family and community. The intent to ‘rape’ exists in the ‘abuse’. The abuses, very clearly, reflect the intent in vulgar conversation. The four-letter words uttered in a joke, or in anger, become rape if practically pursued on the object of hate. Most of such ‘jokes’ refer to ‘mother’, ‘sister’, ‘daughter’ or some other female. The most crude utterances describe in detail and make a verbal picture of the act of rape the person wishes to commit in a ‘joke’ or in verbal abuse. It is common and I do not need to repeat these abuses, I presume the readers know about these. The rape is the next step beyond the verbal expression. When the anger and extreme desire goes beyond control then the sick mind commits this hate crime.

A question is: how one individual becomes a ‘rapist’ in a society where others stay normal?

(To be continued)

The writer is the former CEO Pakistan National Council of the Arts; Chairman Fruit processing Industries; Chairman UNESCO Theatre Institute Pakistan and COO ICTV, USA. He is the author of Melluhas of the Indus Valley 8000 BC to 500 BC. He can be reached at [email protected]

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