Rape in India connected with Suppression of Sexuality – 22 Jun 11

Sex

You know that while I am in Germany I keep on reading Indian newspapers online and stay informed about what is going on in India. In the last days I have noticed that there are so many really bad news about one topic that I thought I would like to mention it here, too. Here are some of those headlines:

Father rapes minor Daughter and shares her with 100 Others

Minor Girl gang-raped four Times in one Month

Teenage Girl raped by Father and Brother

Brave Woman exposes Father as Rapist

Daughter kills Father while keeping him from raping her

Women pulled off street into Van and gang-raped inside

Eleven Police Officers rape and murder 14-year-old

Field Working Woman attacked and raped

Schoolgirl kidnapped and raped on Way Home

Woman gang-raped and burnt alive

After unsuccessful Rape Attempt, Woman’s Eyes gouged with Knives

You could keep on writing this list with more and more similar news. When I read all these, it pains me and makes me very sad. What is happening? We claim that this country has a great, ancient culture, that it is the most god-conscious country, that it has brought some of the greatest saints and philosophers of all times and that still today, it is the place on earth where you can find spirituality everywhere. We have great women in the history of our country. We praise the strong family relations where everybody takes care of each other and nobody is ever alone. But still, the safety of women and girls is obviously so little ensured that there is more than a full page of news of how they were raped and sexually abused – by relatives and complete strangers alike.

This happens everywhere and in every other country but in most countries not as much as in India. Obviously, India is a very big country and has a big population but if you take the average and just look at the ratio, India has a high rate of sexual crimes against women and girls.

We may hear of those cases in which women and girls are actually raped or murdered but the newspapers don’t write about the sexual harassment that is happening every day. Women are touched inappropriately in public places and at home. They walk on the street and men shout vulgar lines to them, insulting them or prompting them to have sex with them.

What happens in those cases? There is a man who sees a female being. What comes in his mind? He does not see her as a human, as a respectable person. He sees that she is a soft woman, an easy target to satisfy his sexual urge. If it is a child or teenager, it seems easier but in the end it does not matter whether it is a one- or two-year-old baby or an 80-year-old woman. Such a man’s inner attitude towards women is reduced to their own sexual urge and so they see women as an instrument which they can use.

How come they have such an attitude towards women that they actually only think of her genitals when they see her? They imagine how it would be to have sex with her. I believe that in India we have a great problem of suppression. The whole topic of sexual intercourse and any kind of sexual activity is so suppressed that there is nothing else that these men can think of. They don’t have any natural outlet for their thoughts, feelings and natural urge. It is so taboo that they are not even supposed to think of it. What happens is that they don’t think of anything else. You cover and you hide, you don’t talk about it. Men who don’t have strong willpower and have experienced this suppression of their natural feelings a lot can commit this kind of crime. And there is not the question whether that man was educated or not – rapists come from every background.

We call India an enourmously spiritual country and in this complete religiosity we hide that there are such issues that need to be addressed! If someone has sex with another person without being married, it is such a big issue, the worst sin that you can commit. If that person was from another caste, honour-killing can even be the consequence. Still today, there is not enough awareness about this topic, people are against sexual education, they don’t even want to mention to their teenage children that something like sex exists. They curse the open sexuality of the west and tell that there, everyone has sex with everyone else. They don’t see that this is not true and that there is more awareness about such crimes in western countries. There are not that many men who act like evil. Controlled and suppressed sexuality explodes in this way.

I don’t advocate adultery or having sex with the next-best person you can find but Indian people need to relax a bit when this topic is concerned. And religion plays a major role in this suppression. If you don’t allow sexuality to be suppressed, it will not explode in this way that much anymore.

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  1. Holger

    Yes, I know, India is not always the spiritual wonderworld that some people want to see there. Whenever they go to India, they are disappointed because it is not like Garden Eden. India has a lot to do to improve the role of women and how men in general see women.

  2. Aswani

    Very thoughtful post. Rape is a grave concern here in India. I think it is becoming a burning issue in today’s India. To me, it looks to be a problem of male mindset but anyways, as you said it in relation with male suppression…I strongly agree. Once one of my friends told me that our country needs to be more open towards anything like sex. Sex should be made free and open. This is highly likely to reduce such heinous crimes like Rape. I think his point made sense. We need to be broad minded now and stop seeing SEX as a Taboo, it is really not.

  3. Swami Balendu

    Dear Aswani,Thank you for your comment. Yes, it is true, it is the mindset but that has become what it is now through the suppression of the topic sex.
    Making it free and open does not mean to lose all limits and just be wild without any thought of the consequences but many people fear this when they hear such words.
    Much love

  4. Swami Balendu

    Dear Holger,I know what you mean and we have seen many disappointed people. Sometimes they stayed at our Ashram and discovered that there are some places in India where you can feel the love. Others were so shocked of everything they saw on the way, they left on the same day they arrived.
    India is still a country with many problems.
    Much love

  5. Carl Johan Rehbinder

    Very good article. Yes, sexual oppression is a subject that has to be addressed, also here in Europe, since we are experiencing a moralistic backlash, creating more shame, guit and fear, which in turn creates more abusive behavior.Thanks!

  6. Emily

    This was such a powerful post, Swami Ji. I think you are very accurate– suppressing sexual desires and thoughts leads to an explosive release at some point. And how are people expected to not think about sex or have sexual desires when it is our most important purpose as a species? It’s really frustrating that religions have made sex such a taboo topic. It is has become an area of crime, torture, and shame, rather than the natural, beautiful, and healthy thing that it is.

  7. Nicola

    As I am not from this country I feel that what I am able to say on the subject is slightly limited, but there is a couple of thoughts I’d like to share. In the UK, there is a slang term that refers to those who commit crimes against children, called a Nonce. These are considered not just among the general population, but amongst the criminal population in prison also, as the lowest type of degenerate. Rapists are considered at the same level of social worth as Nonces. Rape against children (under 16) almost indefinable. In prison, rapists and Nonces are treated about as worse as it can get in those cirumstances, not just by the guards, but the other prisoners as well. The point I’m making is that both of these crimes are considered so disgusting in society that even other criminals feel they have a moral high ground in comparison, even murderers. This collective attitude I can imagine must disuade some people from the idea of commiting these crimes despite the strength of their urge, that without such a profound social belief towards these crimes/criminals, might well have acted upon it. Now I’m not by any means proposing that in the UK there is no rape or child offences, for that is obviously not true, and this can be seen in recent exposure of some older celebrities, having commiting crimes of paedophilia in past decades. There are indeed still plenty of these cases, and probably more so than are reported to the authorities. However, offences against women and children (even down to domestic abuse and sexual harrassment) are frowned upon so highly, that the natural consequence of this is that they reduce in number, for the perpetrators fear of being caught, and facing absolute vilification.
    Now this situation may well be the same in India for all I know, but given the headlines mentioned in Swami Ji’s blog that read over a matter of days, I believe this may well not be the case. If other countries were to react as strongly to crimes against women and children as my own, this may well reduce the number, alternatively it may suppress victims from speaking out further for fear of a more severe punishment, who knows. I have to also acknowldge that sexual oppression is also more rife in India, and a stronger change in attitudes towards the crimes would not resolve this issue in any way, This therefore would also fail to resolve the problem of would-be criminals having the desire to commit the crimes in the first place, regardless of whether or not they act upon them.

    I agree with Swami-Ji that openness is the best cure for these things, as it obviously reduces oppression. I do however, believe that a tougher stance on these types of criminals would also serve to reduce the number of cases further, should this not already be the case.

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