Only a few weeks ago I penned an article about rapes in rural India, only to read about another gruesome rape that just happened in New Delhi. Delhiites are outraged, understandably so. Women are more frightened than ever to go to work or to even venture out shopping on their own, let alone use public
Only a few weeks ago I penned an article about rapes in rural India, only to read about another gruesome rape that just happened in New Delhi. Delhiites are outraged, understandably so. Women are more frightened than ever to go to work or to even venture out shopping on their own, let alone use public transport. In this last most brutal case, a 23 year-old physiotherapy student boarded the bus with a male companion who was unable to defend her against six vicious men already on the prowl. The moment he tried to intervene, he was gagged and knocked unconscious with an iron rod. After the young woman had been raped over and over again on the moving bus (also with said iron rod), she and her companion were thrown from the bus onto the street and left there.
Widespread public protests and outrage have called for the death penalty for the six accused, which is however, not permitted by the Indian Penal Code. What we do see though is a certain helplessness by the lawmakers. I was stunned to read that Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is reported to have said she did not have the courage to meet the victim. This shows cowardice and total indifference towards this young woman’s suffering. But at least she didn’t make inane comments such as were made after several similar heinous rapes happened in Jakarta, Indonesia, recently. The then incumbent Governor Fauzi Bowo said in response to rapes that had taken place in public transport: “Imagine if someone on board of a mikrolet (minivan) sits wearing a mini-skirt, you would get a bit turned on.” Women, he said, “must adjust to their surrounding environment so that they don’t provoke people to commit unwanted acts.” Activists say the case reveals long-standing shortcomings in how authorities respond to violence against women.
A 14-year-old girl living on the outskirts of Jakarta was alleged to have been abducted, held captive and repeatedly raped by several men for an entire week. She was subsequently expelled for bringing shame upon her school. But the girl’s nightmare did not end there. Indonesia’s Education Minister Mohammad Nuh drew more attention to the case after having the gall telling reporters that rape is sometimes the fault of the victim. He said sometimes rape participants “do it for fun… then the girl alleges it is rape.”
And so it goes. The blame is squarely put on the woman’s head, government officials try to wiggle out of the responsibility, the perpetrators are eventually punished and nobody even thinks about the victim who must try to rebuild her life after the ordeal.
Whatever punishment is given will not deter other men to go about such dastardly deeds. We must look at the root cause of these actions and address the problem of widespread sexual repression that turns into violent acts against women. We need change, not revenge. Although knowing that one’s perpetrator has been punished for years in prison might bring some mental relief to the victim, we see across the globe that a woman raped is ultimately being punished for it.
Last year there was an outcry over the case of Hena, a 14 year-old Bangladeshi girl, who was murdered for having been raped. An older relative was raping the girl in her town when the rapist’s wife discovered them. The wife reported the girl to her local mosque and the local imam found her guilty of adultery and the town’s religious court sentenced her to 100 lashings for ‘adultery’. Hena collapsed after 70 lashings and was taken to the hospital where she died a week later.
All these cases are just the tip of the iceberg – and don’t think this is only happening in Asia. It is happening everywhere 24/7 on this planet in various contexts.
Man lives in unconsciousness. It is out of utter unawareness that violence erupts. It is society that needs to change.
The Indian mind is full of sexuality, full of anger, full of hatred – and it talks about love, talks about compassion, talks about non-violence. But don’t be deceived by their talk – their talk simply shows that just the opposite is inside them. And now they are free; there is no pressure on them to go on repressing. So everywhere in the country every day… I think nothing like this is happening anywhere else in the world. People are burnt alive! Women are raped everywhere – mass rape! Many women die just because so many people rape them that they fall dead. And the mahatmas of the country go on talking about celibacy, but the same mahatmas are being caught doing all kinds of criminal acts…
All kinds of things go on happening in India for the simple reason that the country lacks character – character in my sense, character that arises as a by-product of consciousness. India is absolutely characterless, but what they think is character, they go on bragging about all around the world: that they are very religious, very moral. And that is sheer nonsense!
I have seen their morality, I have seen their character – it is bogus, it is just painted. And when you have a painted face your face can be exposed. Just any opportunity… “
Osho, Zen: Zest, Zip, Zap and Zing, Ch 9
Related discourse Osho on Rape
Previously published in Osho World