Saturday, May 23, 2009

Indian Male Libido Going Haywire?

Thursday morning’s Times of India had two news items on rapes of minors in Bombay on the front page. One was 7 years old and one was 13 years old. Oh, God, I think, is it sin to be born female in this country?

The first happened to be done inside a prominent politician’s car, outside his bungalow, and the second one happened to the daughter of a prominent Bollywood actor and director. (This rapist as it turned out was a serial offender who specialised [sort of] in raping 13-year-olds and had earlier raped another girl [yes, 13 year old] in a hotel in Madh, close to Mumbai.) I go huh again! How can the hotel staff have no control over whoever brings a minor into their premises? If this happens under the nose of such prominent and influential people what could happen to less prominent and ordinary folks?

Is it showing the frustration of Indian male, the unreality of what goes on in our media and the reality of having to suppress sexual urges in corporeal life? What turns the male to such heinous acts, what compels the animal in them? What makes it more repugnant is that after raping they resort to killing, seemingly expiating them from the guilt of the act.

Bombay was thought to be a safe city for girls. Does this general impression still hold? As usual I turn to my friend Anthonybhai for a quote: “You see, men, see all those girls in chaddies dancing in item numbers? They are turning women into a commodity, men, to be used, seen naked on posters, I think that only is to blame, hhhaaa!” Don’t know if he is right.

18 comments:

.ani said...

It is not just the Indian man's libido, it would seem in general men anywhere where sexuality is suppressed - then we begin to see problems.

When you get your hands on the Malaysian statistics of rapes especially incestuous you will wonder how you can be born in such horrible times where man and sometimes women are worse than animals - for even they protect their kind - ours seem guiltless in their atrocities.

I fear for my 2 girls, I know first hand the trauma survivors go through.

John said...

Hi Ani,

My God, is that so? I thought it was only an Indian phenomenon, something about Indian men's libido going haywire. But is it becoming a world-wide phenomenon? I think the media should be regulated in its portrayal of women, for they too are to blame, I am not saying they only are to blame!

I can understand your anxiety about Ashna and Kaasha. You should make them trust you about what's happening in their lives and also tell them to be vigilant.

best

J

mysticarni said...

I think we need to have public sensitization and awareness seminars/ courses/ training towards crime and violence targeted at the physically weaker gender and minor age group. These need to be organized across the entire spectrum of audiences spanning through schools, offices, colleges, hostels, residential colonies, public grounds, and slums. Social organizations and NGOs can take up the initiative of doing so through acts, plays, dramas, musicals etc. to keep the public interest as these are generally areas that see less public attendance. Film makers need to do their share on the issue by focusing on the message instead of commercializing the act. Rape is an act that gives a man a sense of power coupled with sexual power. Men and boys of all age irrespective of their level of responsibility or lack thereof, should be open to be sensitized to understand what it would be if they were less privileged children born to prostitutes or abused women. If a childhood issue or bad company is responsible for such crimes, then such men need counseling and rehabilitation. What if the punishment for rape was genital castration for a man. How helpless would he feel when his body was violated in a way that was not acceptable to him. That feeling of disgust, anger, hatred, helplessness and extreme depression is exactly what a rape victim undergoes.

.ani said...

mysticarni : some months back I remember hearing in the news I think it was in a former Eastern block country, that castration was the punishment to rapists ...

and guess what ??????

human rights activists were protesting saying it was to the degradation of the man to be so unjustly punished .... errrrrrrrr like was what he did to the victims not unjust???

I forget which country now but if I remember I will mention it - sometimes I wonder about the rational of activists ...

John said...

Arni,

Thanks for your comments. I know we need to involve all section because at the root of the evil is man's feeling of power over women and his boldness in using it. If a youth falls into bad company he should be advised as to what is wrong with what he is doing. I guess NGOs and film makers and media companies (the latter two are equally to blame) should make the effort.

Ani, I think castration would be a good punishment those convicted for the offense. I guess that would act as a good enough deterrent.


Thanks for your comments!

J

prasun said...

these heinous crimes has scaled to unprecedented proportions..some places have not remained safe for them..these perpetrators however manage to escape castigation..these furthers the resentment and indignance amongst the victim..i think the denial of justice to these helpless victims serves to boost theses criminals and hence furthering of crime headlong..
message should be propogated loud and clear to all the institution, and more importantly, not allowing these villian to elude punishment by making judiciary system more effective and transparent and also fast dealing of cases..
girls are equally accountable by being so sexually arousal..they are found arrayed with so meagre outfits..that u can;t help shunting ur eyes from her..

John said...

Hi Prasun,

I understand your concern. Society itself is to blame for making womenhood into a abhorrent word, to be abused and taken advantage of. Emancipation has come with more women working, but also the abuse continues in them being portrayed negatively as "sex objects" in films and videos (Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, etc.) which has taken the level further down instead of up. Women who imitate these icons are following a stereotype instead of breaking away from it. So actually I also do not approve of sexily clad pop singers and their many imitators I see around me.

Thanks for commenting!

Deepa & said...

Hi John. I kind of wandered from link to link into your blog. You have raised a very important issue about violence against women. However, I am a little concerned about the last comment that Prasun made - that girls are equally accountable by dressing sexily. It is like saying that one should blame a woman for not taking sufficient precautions to prevent her rape. Ours is a democracy. Society and the State have a RESPONSIBILITY to ensure safety of women especially from violent crimes. Safety and protection are a RIGHT of women. Besides, as most feminists will tell you, rape is not about sexual arousal at all. If it was, how does one account for children being raped? Old women past 60 being raped? Young boys getting raped? Rape is about weilding power over the powerless.

John said...

Deepa,

Thanks for your comment, I respect your view that rape is about power, but disagree with that contention.

Rape may be about power, that I don't know, but rape is also about arousal. I read somewhere that a man can get aroused once every eight minutes. Unlike in the middle ages (with more women working and all) he lives in a society where women have right to work and earn a living he is surrounded by women everywhere he goes. Imagine a man being aroused every 8 minutes in the office and on the street by a sexy figure, a revealing dress, a show of undergarment (all of which openly happens in today's society), etc. and a man would become something of a sex fiend if he doesn't have a wife or cannot restrain himself.

In cities like Bombay around half the population consists of men living alone. That's all the more reason for women to exercise caution while dress, and not following the trend of wearing sexy clothes advertised to sell products. Because if a man is aroused he will exercise his libido over an innocent minor or someone who is not in a position to fight back.

I guess this fact of men's sexuality has not been understood (rather has been misunderstood) by women's libbers. Hope to put this aspect in the right perspective.

J

Ruta said...

Dear John,
I am totally with Deepa on why women should be made accountable for what happens to them? U say women shld be dressed conservatively to avoid getting raped....if thats the case then what wd u say abt rapes in muslim countries where women are dressed in burkhas? Or women being raped in villages where obviously they dont wear "Sexy" dresses? And regarding the so called "male libido" going haywire...well we women are also human beings with our libidos...how come that doenst go haywire when we see guys wearing "skin tight and low waist" jeans which is very common nowadays. I will say that as adults its our responsibility to "control" our libidos instead of blaming the innocent victims for "instigating" us. Coz other wise whats the difference between us and animals for whom immediate gratification of desires is the sole goal.

And regarding your talk abt men living alone...well mumbai also has a large population of women living alone...does that mean that tomorrow a woman abuses a male, she is justified? Would your logic hold true in this case the way it holds for single men?

By this logic, men who are married will never rape anyone...but experiences have proved to be otherwise.

I agree with Deepa that rape is not just about sexual gratification but its very much abt power. The incidents wherein women from lower social class are raped by males from upper class or women raped during wars is a proof of this.

.ani said...

I wrote some thoughts on the blame games - as I felt I should keep my comments on my own blog.

John said...

Ruta, Ani, Deepa,

Anyone who violates another person's body (be it a woman or a man) is guilty. a man or a woman (married or otherwise) is equally guilty, so let's not make this a gender/power/married/unmarried issue.

What I had mentioned above was a fact of a man's innate/instinctive sexual urge which is misunderstood by women because her sexual urge is so different. It's that urge that leads to a majority of rapes (of men thrusting themselves upon powerless women).

Demi Moore's character in "Basic Instinct" say, "I don't lock up my sexuality and throw away the keys," and in the movie she is the predator not the man (played by Michael Douglas). I mean, she is equally guilty and gets her comeuppance in the end. I mean the same about men because he also cannot lock up his sexuality and throw away the keys. So the blame goes both ways. No, no, I am not saying a woman asked for it, but, at least, understand a man's sexuality, and try to avoid the most obvious way of exciting his libidinous feelings.

Women through ages have done it. Why do women wear a pallu over the saree? Why is there the need for a chunri, because women in their wisdom knew men's sexuality (at least, they used to). If freedom for a woman means roaming in the streets wearing micro-minis (because JLo did it in a movie), then I guess the outcome is going to be a lot of catcalls and lewd comments in Bombay, where I live.

Men and women will never agree on one thing that's most important in their lives, which is "sex." I am glad we are discussing this here a bit openly for a change.

Your views please,

J

illewminator said...

John,

I happened upon this blog and have read the lively discussion between you and commenters, two of whom -- Deepa and Ruta -- have made some excellent points. In your replies to these commenters, I am horrified by your not-so-thinly veiled Neanderthal thinking. You original post was about the rapes of a 7- and 13-year old minors. How can you equate the horrifying abuses done to these *children* with the rapes of women (including the murder of women following rape) -- and then explain away these violent crime as nothing more than a manifestation of the Indian male's "innate/instinctive sexual urge"???

Further, you go on to cite the movie "Basic Instinct" (starring Sharon Stone, not Demi Moore, btw), which is a totally *fictionalized* portrayal of a male fantasy, both written and directors by (guess who?) MALES and casting Stone, who up until this role was a B-movie actress best known for playing the blonde bimbo -- hardly the pro-female protagonist/role model that you give her credit for. Citing this movie and saying "the blame goes both ways" is both ignorant and false, since the statistics on male rape (where the female is the instigator) are practically non-existent. 99% of rape offenders are male (and these statistics include male-on-male rape, as well, which is a growing phenomenon. Are you going to tell me next that these men are dressing scantily and are thus "asking for it?").

I am thoroughly disgusted and repulsed by the seemingly ubiquitous male attitude of "blame the victim." When will seemingly well-educated men like yourself admit that rape is a MEN'S issue that has unfortunately become a societal problem, and that more proactive measures need to take place to ensure the safety of its citizens by preventing rapes from occurring in the first place?

Check out this link to the UCSC's Rape Prevention Education site (http://www2.ucsc.edu/rape-prevention/men.html). In addition to being loaded with facts and statistics on rape, there's also a page on "How Men Can Help." If you really want to do something to help change the male mindset about rape, read this article, blog about it, and invite your readers (males, especially) to comment.

John said...

Illeuminator,

Your probably didn't read my opening para which is as follows:

Quote

Anyone who violates another person's body (be it a woman or a man) is guilty. a man or a woman (married or otherwise) is equally guilty, so let's not make this a gender/power/married/unmarried issue.

Unquote

You then go on to state (mistakenly) that I follow the Neanderthal attitude of blaming the rape on the women, which clearly was not my intention taking the above quote into consideration.

Actually the movie wasn't "Basic Instinct" but "Disclosures" (starring Michael Douglas and Demi Moore) which I wrongly cited in my reply. Now tell me if these movies were crafted by men what about the designers who display women in the near-nude to sell their products? eh? Isn't it more downgrading? The whole fashion industry exploits women to sell their products and its the women's brigade who supports them with their so called "modern women myth" tom-toming freedom of choice, and expression of their selves. This myth works for the exploiters behind these women (the men themselves) and I, in my above replies, was trying to defend women against such sort of exploitative creatures. If I got through a message to the contrary, I guess, I should re-examine my writing skills, which has always been under a soft nebulous cloud.

Problem with women's libbers is that they have bundled all men into one stereotype and pushed them into a corner and bristle at the very mention of "sex" without discussing it with some objectivity. How can anything progress in such a vitiated atmosphere of distrust?

I have done some reading on the subject of male hormones (testosterone) and female hormones (estrogen, progesterone) which may be the reason men tend to act the way they do in situations involving sex:

Quote

There is evidence to suggest that a great deal of the sensitivity that exists within men and women has a physiological basis. It has been observed that is many cases, women have an enhanced physical alarm response to danger or threat [it's always a woman who screams when something untoward happens]. Their autonomic and sympathetic systems have a lower threshold of arousal and greater reactivity than men [men dumb creatures will only realize later what really happened]. In both men and women, higher levels of testosterone [men have high testosterones] directly affect the aggressive response and behavior centers of the brain. Increasing estrogen and progesterone [which are hormones present more in women] in men has a "feminizing" effect. Sexually aggressive males become less focused on sexual aggressive behavior and content when they are given female hormones. On the other hand, changing estrogen and progesterone levels in women during menstrual cycles can produce a "flood" of memories as well as strong emotions. Increasing or high levels of testosterone can produce an emotional insensitivity [leading to sex crimes, stalking, beating, etc], empathic block and increased indifference to the distress others.

Unquote

Also women have a better grasp of relationships and have an intuitive knowledge of men's behavior. So she has the power to withdraw from a relationship if it is not to her liking, but a man with more testosterones and aggressive behavior will blame the woman for having initiated the situation.

More reading here:http://www.crisiscounseling.com/Relationships/DifferencesMenWomen.htm

So, to sum it up, yes, we are different, but, no, all's not yet lost if we understand each other like civilised human beings and are more attuned to the needs, backgrounds and innate physiology of each other.


J

Deepa & said...

John,

I am taking a slight diversion from this discussion and would like to draw your attention to the use of the term 'women's lib'. You have used it twice in this discussion. And both times they were in a derogatory context.

I would like to inform you of two things. Contemporary references to people who advocate for women's rights, do not use the term 'women's libber' any more. It is passe. We prefer to be termed as feminists. A badge we wear very proudly.

Second, women's lib is derived from 'Women's Liberation' a reference to the Suffrage Movement in America. You can wiki it and you will get to know a lot about it.

Women all over the world owe a debt of gratitude to these 'women's libbers'. They are the ones who brought into public domain crucial issues affecting women's lives - like the right to vote, the right to education, good health care and a life free from all forms of violence. The many freedoms that I enjoy today are on account of the sacrifices made by these countless, nameless and selfless women, over a 100 years ago. The struggle still continues.

I will end here. Beating my head on a wall gives me a headache.

John said...

Deepa,

Sorry, apologies if I am wrong. I may have confused "women's libbers" with "feminists" being the neanderthal and the peasant that I am.

:)

I have been called as much for espousing a cause which I thought was being fair to women.

Last month I completed 25 years of marriage and I feel (as a sensitive and concerned male totally in agreement with the emancipation of women) that women need a better deal in this world. I talk to my wife to understand the way she feels about things.

Despite the name calling and what may have been circulating behind my back (I hear there are some canards, which I hope to deal with in a book) I still support the cause of women, and, no, lady, I am not a misogynist, in fact, I love women (don't construe this as lechery, but as coming from a man genuinely in awe and admiration of women, and who can count hundreds of genuine, talented and beautiful women who are the furthering the cause of women's rights) and their zeitgeist.

Hope I haven't given you a headache.

:)

J

My Voices said...

Why do we never write handsome when talking about genuine and talented MAN? simple use of language with no intention, that reflects a sub conscious text of defining women with their body.
You are using scientific explanation, now the social side of science research is science is controlled by MAN.All discoveries start with a hypothesis(premise) , And if the premise (mindset)is let's find out why women invite rape or why man loose control, what do you think the outcome of such research will be?
Exactly what you have said.

When will man take responsibility? It is simplistic to blame fashion designers, the bigger truth is it is man who control the business. It is they who decide How women should be seen on screen, on ramp.

Also your whole argument puts the onus on women?Ironic. It is like saying people who are rich invite decoity/murder.It is saying women are to be blamed for prostitution because they do not take a stand. it is blaming a child for making a mistake for being abused by a teacher/parent.
Don't you see How your basic premise itself is "A man's view".
AS long as we have man in this world finding some reason to blame it on women it will continue to happen.
people in RSS use this argument.I will urge you to research where does this kind of mentality comes from. I am saying this because I can sense you are feeling angry or frustrated as you meant no harm. And there is a lot of literature available and NGO's who work in these areas that will make you understand the other side of this argument. It is not about man and women not agreeing, I am a man and I know a lot of man who think on the lines of what Deepa and Ruta have said.
IN Peace
Agyatmitra

Rain said...

That's ridiculous, but I can say that it is not just Indian like Ani said. Many men in any part of the world having that same situation. Libido is anywhere , we cannot deny the fact that even a old still have a very high libido. And that's very weird..Haha.. He's lucky enough..