Addressing the Comments on Crimes Against Women
Trigger Warning – Rape, Sexual and other Crimes Against Women
In the city of Kochi, Kerala, a couple was living together. The man, Martin Joseph Pulikottil had allegedly borrowed some money from her and had promised to return it in installments. Cut to later, he had some private pictures of hers and he was allegedly raping her, beating her up with a broom and belt, making her drink urine and pouring boiling water on her. She was subjected to this violence on the pretext of him exposing her private pictures if she uttered a word about this to the outside world. One day when he went out to get food, she escaped and filed a complaint with the Police. Martin Joseph was caught by the Kerala Police a couple of days ago.
Just before this news caught our attention, I was talking to my friend about some old cases of violence against women from different parts of the world. I was traumatized by one from Japan where 17 year old Junko Furuta was picked off the street by four 18-20 year old boys, was abused, tortured and raped for 44 days until she died. The violence is absolutely unimaginable.
Just when I was aghast about something that happened somewhere far and a long time ago, I came across something similar close to home (Martin Joseph). I am horrified. But why should my hometown be an exception to men like these? Yes, we as Indians hear of lots of rapes mostly in UP and Delhi among other places, but why am I shocked to hear of it in Kerala? How are we as a State above any of the others? Because of literacy? Literacy has NOTHING to do with rapes and violence. It’s a whole new level of education that people need for this. One that schools and homes in India aren’t equipped with to give!
Below the article on the incident in Kochi, I found a few comments that made me write this post and I wanted to address those comments.
- “He must have been a Psycho.”
NO! I mean of course that’s something for the medics to decide. But all who commit crimes of an extreme nature aren’t psychos. These are varying degrees of violences and they all START SMALL. With time, their appetite for violences increase because they don’t see any repercussions. Which means, you and I are capable of becoming him if we aren’t surrounded by the right people.
When you call someone Psycho, you’re calling him mentally unstable. You’re shifting the burden of crime from him, to his mind that he is incapable of controlling. In many cases, violent people are fully aware of what they are doing. They want to inflict harm upon the victim, they believe the victim deserves it, and they enjoy the victim’s pain. It starts with them getting away with small crimes and enjoying small pains. He is fully responsible for his crime.
- “This is what happens if you go against the Indian Culture and Live together instead of Marrying”
Firstly, do you think that the man who committed the crime would have turned a new leaf had he tied the knot? There is a false belief that marriage is an institution for the rehabilitation of drunkards and criminals. Especially in India, if you want to change the man, you get him married. But violence doesn’t work like that. He would still be triggered by the same things. He would still choose violence. How does marriage change a person’s character?
Secondly, are you implying that rapes and violences don’t happen within marriages? It is common knowledge that domestic violence is very much prevalent in marriages. If violence in live-in relationships happen because living together is against Indian culture, does that mean violence in marriages is acceptable in Indian culture?
Excuses like these, again, shift the responsibility from the perpetrator to other aspects. The perpetrator is fully and completely responsible for his crime.
- “New Gen! New Gen!”
This comment indicated that the problem is with the current generation. But this generation is the product of the earlier generation. If your Son decides to choose violence, whose fault is that? I am someone who believes that after a certain age, you are your own person. No one else can be blamed for how you turned out. But if you’re about to blame BOTH the man and woman for choosing to live together when the problem at hand is the man’s violent nature, let’s start at the roots. If you believe the new generation is beyond help, the new generation can as well blame the older generation for the patriarchy, misogyny and violence you’ve so religiously sown in each of us. So let us not go there.
We Are All Part of the Problem
I personally know victims of domestic violence. The man who slapped, punched and kicked his wife either has a history of slapping, punching and kicking someone else before that, without repercussions. Perhaps he was brought up believing that he could slap, punch and kick people who are beneath him. And that the woman he would marry would be beneath him. Ergo, he could slap, punch and kick his wife. Had he been stopped when he physically abused someone else, had he been told that a woman isn’t beneath him, had he been exposed to the right things repeatedly, he might have not become the abuser he is now. This correction could have been done by his family or friends.
You hear many a times, middle aged people say, ‘I am not that person now.’ I hear people say about celebrities. ‘He was a womanizer. But he isn’t anymore. So stop talking ill about him!’ If he stopped being a womanizer now, he could have stopped 10 years back. Something happened during the last few years that made him stop. Someone or something knocked sense into him. Are you telling me, this change couldn’t have happened 10 years ago? You and I can probably help someone stop being misogynistic 10 years earlier by just confronting and educating them. Instead of blaming the victim, point your fingers at the perpetrator even while he begins to exhibit behaviour of violence.
Consider this scenario. Your friend passes a sexist comment, jokes about rape or violence and you laugh, dismissing it off as harmless. But if he strongly believes that a woman is beneath him, that he can slap a woman if he wants to, and that leads to a lot of violence and suffering for a woman, whose fault is that? It is yours. You are part of his environment and you didn’t tell him he was wrong, even though YOU knew it.
Whenever you hear a news about crimes against women, if your automatic response is to judge the victim, I want you to take the effort to stop doing that. If a person raped, molested or attacked someone, THAT is wrong. What she was doing there, at what time, what she was wearing, why weren’t they married, her choice of men etc aren’t your concern once the crime is proved. He attacked, he raped; he is wrong, he needs to be punished.
Finally, this is for everyone who believes in their own causes. If you feel strongly about something, speak up. If you see a disturbing news, share it and let people around you know about it. Write blog posts, share on stories, statuses and posts. Don’t shy away thinking it’s negative and it will make people uncomfortable. It should make people uncomfortable. Only then will they try to make a difference like you do. Keep communicating in so many words, so many times that crimes against women aren’t okay. Because you never know whom you will educate, inspire or save through your posts and thoughts. If you look closely, you’ll find harrowing crimes against women in your hometown. Start with making people around you aware about those.
This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon wherein I’ll be writing 10 posts in 15 days in June 2021