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For the Lionheart Who Wanted to Live

December 31, 2012 08:45 IST

How can a group of men GANG-RAPE a woman?

How can a father rape his daughter? Or an uncle his niece? Or a brother his sister?

And, as it happens in most cases, how can a mother stand by and just allow it to happen?

Does it not rip their soul to shreds?

How are they able to sleep, or eat, or breathe, or live after committing such a heinous act?

She died.

The lionheart, who wanted to live, died.

She was a brave warrior -- for the last 13 days, she ferociously fought the grievous and callous wounds that had been inflicted on her; just as ferociously as she fought the gang of cowards who beat her up, abused her, forced themselves on her in a moving bus.

The only other human being there, a male friend, tried to shield her and paid the price -- he was beaten till he was unconscious, stripped and thrown off the moving bus along with the naked female victim after these animals were done with her.

The casualness of the deed was sickening; it reminded me of how most of us Indians casually chuck an empty packet of wafers or an empty chocolate wrapper out of a moving bus window.

Is that all a human being means to an another human being? Something you can so easily abuse and discard?

Two weeks ago, I asked women who had never been disrespected by a man to post on the message board below my column.

There are over a thousand posts on the message board as of now (this not include the many abusive posts which had to be deleted -- sadly, even on such a grim topic, people don't hesitate to abuse and blame women).

However, there is not one post by a woman who says she has not been disrespected by a man. NOT ONE!

And that simple 'non-act' says so much about the country we are living in today.

As does the fact that since then, there have been so more rapes including the little 11-year-old girl raped in Karnataka's Gulbarga district on December 22.

On December 26, a teenage rape victim committed suicide by swallowing poison. A little over a month ago, on November 13, she too had been gang-raped. This time, the crime took place in Patiala, Punjab, even as the rest of India happily celebrated the festival of Diwali.

On December 30, the newspapers reported that an 18-year-old Mumbai girl had been sexually abused for over two years by her 49-year-old father and 20-year-old brother.

Questions swarm my head constantly...

What makes a man feel it is okay to sexually assault a woman?

How can a group of men GANG-RAPE a woman?

Does a man feel nothing but satisfaction when he is raping an infant or a child or a girl?

How can a father rape his daughter? Or an uncle his niece? Or a brother his sister?

And, as it happens in most cases, how can a mother stand by and just allow it to happen? Repeatedly?

Does it not rip their soul to shreds?

How are they able to sleep, or eat, or breathe, or live after committing such a heinous act?

And there are people who do this repeatedly.

Psychologists and psychiatrists say that is something wrong in the mental make-up of such depraved people. But even if we accept that there is something wrong with some of them, are you saying that every man who sexually harasses or assaults a woman has something wrong with him?

Somehow, I just cannot believe that.

It is just a way of flaunting power -- I can do it to you, and you can't do anything about it, and that makes me feel powerful.

Or it about satisfying a base greed? I want something, so I will take it (in this case, sexual gratification) and to hell with what it does to you; that isn't even in the picture.

I am sure many of the men reading this will rear up in anger, but do pause for a minute to understand what I am saying.

Many of you will fill the message board below, saying that women are not blameless. Women, too, harass men. I accept your point.

But have you ever heard of a single woman doing this?

Are there men who worry, each time they step out of their homes, if they will have to deal with sexual harassment?

Do you see men being sexually harassed all around you?

Yes, women can nag. Women can be harridans. Women can lie. Women can misuse the law to get men into trouble.

But how many times have you read about women gang-raping a man?

Or, for that matter, of a woman raping a man?

How many times have you heard of a man dying from the wounds that had been inflicted on him during, and because, he had been gang-raped by women?

I haven't, not once.

A Woman in Today''s India