Rape on the Rise: sexual frustration and the Indian youth

by sophiyas

Being back in the country of my birth was exciting to say the least, but soon enough I felt uneasy and uncomfortable as I settled in my village in Punjab, India.

Indecent stares from males of all ages was just a start, then came the groping in bazaars and crowded areas. I have been here for a month now and I must say I’d rather stay in and read a book than go out and explore my country and its vibrant culture.

I’ve started staying in more and reading the daily papers hasn’t helped the situation at all. Everyday there are at least half a dozen reports of rape just in the local areas and that doesn’t include the hundreds that go unreported. I try to convince myself that I will be safe as long as I am accompanied by a male companion ( a friend or relative), but the recent case of a gang rape in New Delhi has proved that theory wrong as well. A young medical student was raped and assaulted on a moving bus and her male companion bashed in New Delhi.

The gang rape has created a huge uproar amongst the public and a petition has been created that is currently circulating all social networks requesting the death penalty for the rapists.

You can find the story and latest updates of the Delhi gang rape here.

Whilst this horrifying ordeal has mobilised the public into action with petitions and protests and the police have taken action and arrested the perpetrators, I am left wondering why such horrific cases of rape are emerging everyday? The following are just a few of the dozens reported by the “Times of India” on their website in December in the Delhi area alone:

A pregnant dalit woman was gang-raped by three persons in the old city area.

While the Delhi gang rape incident took the entire nation by storm, a 19-year-old local dancer underwent the similar ordeal in Saheed Nagar here on Wednesday night. The incident came to light only after police arrested four men on Friday.

Vasant Vihar gang rape update: Victim shifted to Safdarjung hospital. Boyfriend questioned by police. No other clues received yet.

This isn’t a matter of travelling alone in dangerous places, nor is it a case of being young and vulnerable. Girls as young as five are raped and sometimes over a period of weeks if not months.

There are two reasons why I believe these disgusting acts continue, leaving our girls helpless  at home and on the streets.

The first is the stigma attached to rape in our country. Girls and boys alike are often raped by family members and close relatives and do not tell their parents or guardians of their ordeal. This is often the case because sex is still not discussed openly in families and children are afraid that if they are involved in anything sexual, it must be wrong on their part as much as the other person involved. This means a lifetime of trauma for the child and a licence to continue for the rapists, who often grow more confident with every assault.

The second reason ( and often the reason with more violent cases such as the Delhi bus gang rape) is that our youths are sexually frustrated. I believe this to be true because I have witnessed it first hand. The stares that make me uncomfortable are often from such young men and the truth is that maybe its time for our culture to change. In a country where most cultures forbid any relationship ( sexual or otherwise) between a man and a woman unless they are related or married, perhaps we have created this problem for ourselves.

Youths are curious about the opposite sex at first and that curiosity often turns into sexual frustration and desperation and in some cases, rape. It may sound strange to those who have not travelled to or lived in India, but because healthy young relationships of having a boyfriend or girlfriend are strictly not allowed, these youths have no avenue to develop a positive attitude towards sex and the opposite gender.

These stares are the stares of hunger and desperation and what we are witnessing is this desperation unleashed, in the most horrifying way possible.

We need to educate our children and our young men and as long as sex is a taboo, we will not see a safe India for our women or our children.