The Dilemma of the Patan Rape Girl

It is not difficult to fathom the reason behind the refusal of the Patan rape victim to go back to her village with her parents.

Back there, the pressure of the higher-ups on her parents and brothers will ensure that she rescind her statements to let her rapists off the hook very effectively. After that she will be taken out of college and left to stagnate at home, an object of derision for friends and family alike. For a girl who was so bright that her elder brother gave up his lien on the family resources for his education, and the entire family, what a shameful waste!!

On the other hand, for her to return to the hostel would mean the continued support perhaps of her class mates and a chance to complete her course and forge a career.

If she accepts the government offer of 'rehabilitation', she will lay herself open to visitations wherever she is posted, from her erstwhile rapists and many others, with the Damocles' Sword of exposure as the Patan Rape Girl always hanging over her.

What then is the way out? For the entire group of girls who have been repeatedly raped by their college teachers in the seclusion of highly guarded college and hostel premises, threatened with loss of substantial internal marks and the order of their college principal to 'get used to it'?

Security of college and hostel premises etc will have little effect in preventing such rapes in the long run.

Let us reflect

Why do we tell our daughters to dress and behave decorously, within the prescriptions of our so-called 'society'? To avoid any public shame to ourselves, nuclear and extended families, to give them a chance to make a suitable marriage and settle down, etc.

Why not then a level playing field for our boys and girls? Why are boys not taught to behave within similar prescriptions for accepted social behavior? And when they cross the limits, as has happened in the case of these college teachers and their principal, why are they being shielded, by the police who would not release the details of their families and addresses, their seniors in the education department right upto the Paten MLA and former Gujarat Education Minister, Anandiben Patel? When the victim and her family have been completely exposed?

Is it not time that for once the same social prescription be made applicable to male and female? Splash the pictures of the culprits in the papers and TV, hunt through the records to trace and interview their families wherever they are hiding themselves, portraying them as the 'Families That Reared Rapists', talk to their teachers and school/college mates for an early signs of evil, their girl friends /wives, their paan galla walla who supplied them with cigarettes and masala'in short the whole media circus that usually accompanies female victims and culprits?

In the bargain, the mothers, sisters and wives of the Rapists will be affected. Undoubtedly so. But is it possible to make omelet's without breaking some eggs?

As women, we will sympathize with them. But when they raise and protect such evil minds, and then seek to excuse themselves saying 'boys will be boys' or that 'I will commit suicide'', should they not be reprimanded and shamed, the way that the parents of dowry or rape victims find their names and faces splashed in public. In this case, have the mother and sister of the victim not been similarly exposed in the media? Have questions not been raised on the integrity of the victim, whether she 'invited' rape etc. etc. In private, if not in public?

If girls cringe from male company for fear of bearing the ignominy of being a 'loose girl', such punishment of these teacher rapists, with the public shaming of their families will definitely go a long way in putting the fear, not of God, but perhaps of Public Shame of themselves and their families into the minds of not only the Patan rapists, but also many other would-be Rapists.

This may not be the solution to a problem in our society which is assuming crisis proportions. But it is definitely a solution which can be given a fair trial and its results assessed after a few years of implementation in this and other rape cases.

Otherwise the farce of a magisterial enquiry into the Patan rape case will go the way of other such enquiries'consuming public money for a few months, after which the Rapists will quietly be rehabilitated perhaps in Patan or elsewhere to carry on with their nefarious activities; only this time the pay off to their superiors will undoubtedly be much higher, in cash and perhaps in sexual kind also?   


More by :  Kusum Choppra

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