Skip to main content


I recently found this post on G+, about marriageability and rape sentencing in India.

I understood 2 important things from that post:

1. There are no rules on sentencing rapists in India
2. Rapists get lighter sentences if their victim is married, not a virgin, or gets married before the trial.

I know some of you would be shocked on reading this. Unfortunately I also know that the majority will not. Proof? The fact that the above continues to happen to this day.

Whenever there is a new rape case reported in the paper, the media explodes. Including blogs. There are reactions everywhere, discussions about how to reduce such incidents and almost invariably, accompanied by advice to women everywhere on how to avoid getting raped.

Some of the random advice in media, which are supposed to help me avoid being raped:

1. Do not wear ponytails because the rapist can use that to hold me.
2. Do not wear short skirts or tight jeans because it will be used to question my morals in the trial later, not to mention I might just provoke a random man to rape me, because he can't control himself.
3. Do not go out at night, even with other people, unless I'm in a large enough group that can't just be assaulted and bumped off.
4. Do not use my cell phone or rifle through my purse or do anything else that might distract you. Always be on the alert.
5. Do not go jogging/running/walking with my ipod. Music distracts me from being on the alert from would-be rapists.
6. Always let someone know what time I'll be reaching home or my destination, so they can call the police if I'm late.
7. If I feel someone is following me, pretend to talk to someone on my phone, implying that he/she will be joining me in a minute. That should scare him away.

And the list goes on. Ad nauseam. (Let's ignore the fact that most rapists are known to the victim, in which case most of the above would be useless)

To all the people who think this is a perfectly reasonable response, I pose 2 questions:

1. In spite of all my precautions, if I get raped, will you argue that it was my fault or that the rape couldn't have happened? If a man forgot to be alert for a second and had his pocket picked, do you argue the police shouldn't recover his money or arrest the thief because, after all, it was the his fault? He was asking for it right?

2. How long do I have to follow these made-up, ineffective rules? Is there any concrete plan by the authorities for reducing the number of rapes in India? Or as I suspect, you're all secretly hoping that if all women everywhere followed these rules at all times, the number of rapes would automatically decrease and we can finally forget about such things?

Why should a woman be concerned about preventing rape rather than a man thinking he shouldn't rape? Since when did it become ok to lock up the victims and not the criminals who commit a crime? Why should only my mother be worried about me coming home late at night? Why is it that no father in this country worries if his son is out late? No family thinks 'Oh no! What if he's out there raping someone!' Why? 

The majority of rapes are committed by men on women. So why?


Stop telling me what to wear or how to look. Do not tell me if I should laugh or yell or drink or eat. Do not tell me I should carry a knife or pepper spray or a gun to keep myself safe. Stop telling me to behave like a soldier in a war.

Tell men to stop raping women. Teach your sons/brothers that women are PEOPLE. Not objects that they can use and throw. Teach men to respect women.

Maybe then, finally, women can stop dreaming about a future where every man has experienced what it feels like to be knifed, pepper sprayed or shot at. Because, I can assure you, every woman has experienced being ogled/touched/groped/assaulted by a man. 


  1. You can't expect much from authorities only. It should come from the society itself. Authorities can implement strong laws and all but still society is the one who should follow it.

  2. That's one of the things I'm trying to say in this post. Death penalty or more punishment for rapists is all fine, but how to help the victim when everyone involved, from the judge to the police to the doctor/lawyers still have a chauvinistic and misogynist attitude?

    Also sometimes I wonder why this whole 'society should change' excuse is brought out only for gender violence. I'm sure stealing will also go down if society reformed itself, but no one says we should wait for society to change for that crime. Everyone wants the thief to be punished in that case!

    Call me cynical, but I believe when even 50% of all rapists are caught and sentenced to 25 yrs in jail or some such punishment, society will start behaving itself. The moment people feel that committing a crime will have a better than 50-50 chance of landing them in jail, they'll behave on their own.

  3. Death is easy.It always is.Giving capital punishment especially for rapes is like, fine you got caught in this one, you can continue in next.Punishment should be such which dissuades not which frees you from all earthly bonds.
    Also, I don't know if the society should change line of thought should be pursued every time a rape happens or not but I do think that with all the focus on the girl child for the past ten years we have somehow forgotten our boys and how we are bringing them up.
    We live in a society where a girls consent for anything has never been a major consideration even if it is marital sex.And this is what needs to change.

    It needs to drilled into every boy from puberty that you are simply not allowed to touch without consent and the victim also should not have to be on the death's door to ask for justice.

    Till then I'll always have to listen to some moron on TV tell me to dress in a certain way or not to use cell phone or not to eat chowmein if I wish to live, breathe and not be raped.

    1. Exactly my thoughts. This point struck me most forcibly when I used to meet potential grooms. Guys' expectations from girls doesn't seem to have changed from the early 1900s, they still want a girl to do the same things for them that they saw their mothers doing for their dads! While some of them can and do accept female colleagues/friends (that is the fact that they are individuals in their own right etc) they just cannot seem to accept that their wife would also be like that. It's like a blind spot, when it comes to their wife, she has to be their mother - just younger & prettier.

      Which is why you have confident, out-going modern young women but the male equivalent is still a rare, precious thing in our Indian society. For atleast one generation, we've been telling our daughters that they can be anything they want but failed to tell our sons the same thing.

      So while girls have stepped into the 21st century, boys are still firmly stuck to the 60s where they think stalking a girl is how to get her to fall in love with them. Where raping a woman is seen as 'punishing' her for imaginary crimes. Where a raped woman is permanently damaged goods. Where sentencing of rapists depends on the marital status/morals & the extent of violence inflicted on the woman. :(


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why Don’t We Raise Our Sons like We Do Our Daughters?

This post originally appeard in Women's Web: Why Don’t We Raise Our Sons like We Do Our Daughters? One of the hot button topics right now in Indian media is the safety of women – or rather how our country doesn't really care about half its population. From rape, sexual assault, harassment (in streets, public transport, nearly every public place) to violence perpetrated on women, Indians are finally getting around to discussing taboo topics. One refrain that caught my eye throughout these debates – both online and off – is the fact that the reaction of the majority of Indians is the same: girls should stay at home, not go out after dark, dress appropriately and so on if they want to stay safe. No one seems to bat an eyelid when laying down these precautions for women. Except that the reality is women would be far safer if all the men simply DID NOT RAPE or HARASS any person that looks remotely female. No one has to stay at home and become a hermit! That got me th

Education and Learning

Fourteen years of school. Three - four years of undergraduate college. Two years for a graduate degree. Start working or making babies. Sound familiar? It should, it’s what the majority of lives in this country look like. Ten years ago, I was headed down the same street. Engineering, MBA and then on to a fat pay check, like countless other teenagers, products of a system seemingly obsessed with stability and an extreme aversion to risk and failure. While I did end up getting 2 degrees and the pay check (with a stable, GOI company no less!) I also realized I hated it. Going to work from 9 to 7, doing the same endless, mind numbing, repetitive tasks, sitting in the same chair for ten odd years before getting promoted and dodging responsibility in order to retire with a pension suddenly seemed a lot less attractive when I was looking at it from the wrong end of 35 years! And history shall say I quit. But now what? I did what any sane person without a job and all the time in the w

Arranged Versus Love Marriage

This post originally appeared in Women's Web:  Arranged Versus Love Marriage: Here's Why Things Are Changing In 21st-century India, change is so rapid that we barely have time to get used to something before some new trend is on the horizon. And I'm not just talking about technology here. Whether it is human behavior, relationships, societal or cultural norms, Indian society – along with the rest of the world – today is hardly recognizable to my parents or their parents. It's not a surprise that the institution of marriage and the process of finding a life partner is also undergoing a metamorphosis. Perhaps this is one of the areas where the gap between generations is the most obvious. Almost every day, there is a TV show or media report or blog post talking about arranged vs. love marriages. So I figured I would present my take on it as well! Whenever anyone talks about arranged versus love marriages - I don't know why they are always portrayed as opposing