Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Blog #1: In Case That Transfixed a Nation, Court in India Convicts Four Men of Rape

This article is about the conviction of four men responsible for the rape and murder of a 23-year old woman. The victim caught a private bus with a group of men with her male friend after a movie. The men “knocked the woman’s friend unconscious” then preceded to take the woman to the back of the bus and raped her. They then left the two victims naked and bleeding on the side of the road. The article states that the woman died two weeks later due to her injuries.

It is important to note that this crime isn't simply rape. This crime it is form of rape known as gang rape and one of the characteristics that sociologists have found in gang rapes is the following: they occur in places with lower class families, and according to the police, these men were mainly “working-class migrants”. Sociologists have also found that gang rape fulfills a social need rather than sexual desire. The social need mentioned here is the need for social acceptance. It can be possible that one of the 4 men came up with the idea to rape the victim and the other  3 men went along with the idea because they did not want their masculinity questioned by the others. Or perhaps the pressure to prove that they're not 'chicken' had more influence.

The theory of rape culture is another concept one must take into consideration. Rape culture states that societies have a hidden rape culture that encourages men to sexually assault women and that those who are immature, irresponsible and lacking in social conscience are more influenced by this rape culture. There are four main ways society creates rape culture. 1) Treating women like property. If you think about it, women are seen as the property of fathers before marriage and to husbands after marriage. A raped woman is seen as a piece of damaged property. 2) The use of women in masculinity contests. Men are pressured by society to take part in masculinity contests to prove their manliness to other men. Language used to refer to sex like "score", make sex a manly game of conquest. Society also tells men that being aggressive in carrying out those sexual conquests is the right thing to do. How much more aggressive can you get in achieving sexual conquest than rape? 3) Women ask for it. This myth that women ask for it causes many people to hold the victim, not the offender, responsible for the crime. 4) Society socializes girls to be victims. From a very young age, girls are taught to play the stereotypical feminine role that girls are passive, gentle, weak and dependent. These feminine roles make women more prone to becoming a potential victim since passive and submissive women are the ideal targets.

When articles like this come up on the news, one's initial reaction is one of anger, horror and disgust towards the crime. However, one must not simply feel these emotions towards the crime and the offenders. Crimes like this will continue to happen unless we read these articles and try to understand that yes, it is the offenders that carried out the crime but also understand that society has a great impact as well. 

Catherine Choi

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