Monday 29 November 2010
Some days back Dure asked me a question 'What is the difference between the man who rapes an 'indecently clad' woman and the man who doesn't, when both are in a position to do so and get away with it?'. I think that the difference consists of the following components:
1) The degree of lust that the two experience
2) Their capacities for aggression and violence
3) Their capacities for impersonal sex, and the ability or desire to have intercourse irrespective of the partner's emotional willingness.
4) Their sense of morality, and how much their morality can affect their conduct.
5) Do they live in a Rape Culture? A culture in which sexual violence is common and prevalent, especially against women.
6) What perception of women do they have in their mind? Do they consider them as equal to men, deserving equal rights? Do they consider them as sex objects?
The question is not about rape in general, but about rape with the specific motivation of sexual gratification. There are other motivations for rape (anger, power, sadism, revenge etc) which are perhaps more common but they are not relevant to the discussion at hand.
The question itself has a specific background. I guess most people people would remember the infamous Australian Muslim cleric who compared women who didn't wear the Islamic hijab to 'uncovered meat' and declared that they were to be blamed if they got raped, because it is they who possess the 'weapon of enticement'. The story provoked furious responses from all over the world, but the truth is that this mentality is extremely wide-spread among Muslims. Just a few days back I heard a Pakistani maulvi say the same thing on TV, and there was no uproar, only sympathetic nods from other guests in that talkshow.
I do not believe that a woman, no matter where and what she is wearing, can ever be "blamed" for getting raped, morally and legally; it is never her own "fault". Period. I cannot make that anymore clear. Sexual arousal in itself is never a sufficient cause for a rape to take place. Even if a woman is dressed provocatively, she is only affecting one factor, the component 1. A woman can make herself vulnerable to sexual assault, but it is always the man's fault, and the woman's vulnerability cannot be held against her.
Furthermore, 'indecently clad' is a vague term. Our Islamic clerics believe that a woman is 'indecently clad' if she is not wearing a hijab, but does that constitute a significant enough trigger for a man's lust? No, it doesn't. So then what does it do if it isn't in itself a sexual trigger? Well, let me tell you. The absence or presence of hijab is used by our man to "classify" the woman. It is the mentality of the man who believes: "If she is not wearing a Hijab, she is a whore, and she deserves to be used as a sex object." It is in the presence of SUCH men, SUCH mentality, that a woman not wearing a hijab risks being raped, because no one sane can declare uncovered hair to be so provocative as to lead to rape.
I have always believed that the prevalence of veil in a society is a reflection of the moral depravity of the men of that society. Now you can see why.