The terror and magnitude of rape seem to be frowning at the face of the nation. It has been taking place with ugliest of dimensions almost every day.
Hardened of criminals like Tufan Sarkers are threatening to tear apart the body politic.
Even a new born baby is not safe from the animals masqueraded as men having lost modicum of humanity. In fact, the men who are committing this horrendous crime even against the children cannot be equated even with the animals that are not supposed to have human instincts. In fact, the spate of rape has engulfed the society in recent times.
According to Ain O Salish Kendra, 280 women were raped in the first half of 2017. The number of attempt to rape was 39. The number of death after rape was 15 while 5 committed suicide after rape. According to Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, a total of 1,050 women were raped throughout the country in 2016. The statistics include that 44 women were murdered after rape and 166 were victims of gang-rape. Apart from this, 120 women faced sexual harassment in 2015.
Statistics of Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF) shows a total of 1,301 children were raped in between 2012 and September 2016. The number was highest in 2015 with 521 child rapes. The numbers were 199 in 2014, 170 in 2013 and 86 in 2012. Among them, a total of 169 children were victims of gang rape, 93 were murdered after rapes, 32 committed suicides after rapes and attempts were made to rape 165 children. The majority of them were raped between the ages of 5 to 12.
In most of the cases, the rapists tempted the children with chocolates, toys or fancy things and took them to a deserted place and raped. Children between 13 and 18 years of age were raped with offers of marriage or rapists forced them to go to a secluded place or they were raped when alone at home. Of the 325 children raped in 2016, 48 were victims of gang rape while 31 physically challenged children and five housemaids were raped and 15 were killed after rapes.
Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum is of the view that the first reason behind increase in rape is that rapists and criminals are not being brought to justice.
Secondly, there are loopholes in the law through which a perpetrator can easily escape justice. Thirdly, most of the victims are from poor families and the victims cannot get justice. As the criminals are above the status of the victims, they either settle the issue in exchange for money or frighten them away with their muscle power.
However, human rights activists hold the view that there are laws, but laws are not applied properly. Cases are filed but a section of police often do not investigate those in exchange for money. In fact, the number would not have gone so high if child abuse cases had been disposed of quicker and exemplary punishment had been meted out to the perpetrators.
In our cursed society, there are incidents of even male children being sexually harassed and persecuted. However, in recent time, the society seems to have appeared as a real threat for the women and girls of any age. Recent reports, from various corners of the country, of rape of children of very tender age by so-called men are more than appalling. Parents of girl children have thus every reason to be scared for their fond offspring, especially girl children.
The problem is all the more critical for disadvantageous sections of the society who cannot build up resistance against the potential offenders due to lack of means and resources. Yes, the heinous crime is killing humanity constantly. In India, the news of a medical student’s being gang raped in a bus started uproar in the whole country. Some more incidents of rape and gang rape in India hogged the headlines recently.
According to psychologists, rape is caused by some psychological illness within the offender. Sociologists, however, believe that rapists are relatively normal people and do not have psychological problems. Some sociologists believe that rape is due to an expression of gender inequality while some others believe that rape is attributed to permissiveness, sexually, within society.
Psychologists and others within the field of psychology, however, strongly believe that those who rape are either emotionally disturbed or have personality defects. They do not believe that rapists are ‘insane’, but believe that rapists have problems that impair them in relationships when under stress through sexual violence. Some other psychologists believe that rape is caused by a sexual addiction.
The average psychologists opine that a rapist is a man who had childhood experiences that were relatively difficult to deal with and now they cannot relate to women in a successful manner which ultimately is a defect called sexual inadequacy. According to some sociologists, it is sexual permissiveness that causes rape. In societies that are more sexually permissive, men take rejection from women personally which results in severe frustration which forces them to rape women.
Other sociologists refer to the feminist theory of gender inequality when discussing rape. Feminists believe that men rape women as an expression of male dominance over women, which is a result of society’s long time sexual inequality. Therefore, rape is used to intimidate women and to keep them in their ‘place’. Both psychological and sociological perspectives regarding rape can be proven correct depending upon the individual rapist.
Some rapists truly have psychological problems while other rapists feel a need to dominate women or feel sexually frustrated as a result of rejection.
Regardless of the cause of rape, there cannot be any excuse for invading another person’s body and individual space without proper consent. Another line of thinking points to the argument that men in general have more sexual urge than women and that is why so many rape cases are committed by men.
Men are generally more powerful physically, politically, economically than women. However, it does not imply that rape should be the expression of this dominance. Whatever might be the causes of rape, this menace has to be stemmed for the sake of humanity. The government should soon enact a tough law to urgently arrest this crime against humanity. However, mere enactment would not do. Timely execution would have to be ensured.
Special task force and tribunal may be formed. The offenders would have to be tried in a shortest possible time. Castration of the offenders may be legalised.
In 1971, the humanists raised the slogan ‘Stop genocide’. It is high time we now raised the slogan ‘Stop rape’. An all-out State policy of zero tolerance and social campaign against rape would have to be ensued to stem the onslaught of this heinous crime before it torments the nation’s conscience to death.
The writer is a Professor, Department of Public Administration, Chittagong
University. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org