Know what causes rape? Porn: Madhya Pradesh home minister's bizarre notion doesn't surprise us at all

While protests against rape incidents in Jammu's Kathua and Uttar Pradesh's Unnao continue to rage across the country and worldwide, one BJP leader thinks porn causes rape. "We think the reason for rising number of child rape and molestation cases is porn. We are contemplating banning porn in Madhya Pradesh," Home Minister of Madhya Pradesh Bhupendra Singh on Tuesday was quoted as saying.

The brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old in Kathua and the incident where a BJP MLA allegedly raped a teenager in Unnao continues to haunt everyone even as the Centre approved the introduction of the death penalty for those who rape children below 12 years of age. The BJP-led NDA government at the Centre came under immense criticism after it failed to act swiftly on the two cases. In the Unnao rape case, accused MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar belongs to the ruling Yogi Adityanath government.

President Ram Nath Kovind on 22 April promulgated the criminal law amendment ordinance, paving the way for providing stringent punishment, including death penalty, for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years. Kovind's nod to the ordinance came after the Union Cabinet's approval on 21 April for tightening the law against people involved in rape.

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh. Image courtesy: Twitter/@ANI

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh. Image courtesy: Twitter @ANI

The ordinance stipulates stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of minors below 16 and 12 years. The death sentence has been provided for rapists of minors under 12 years.  The minimum punishment in case of rape has been increased from rigorous imprisonment of seven years to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment. According to the ordinance, in case of rape of a girl under 16 years, the minimum punishment has been increased from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life, which means jail term for the extent of the convict's "natural life".

Bhupendra Singh's statement on sexual abuse, as bizarre as they sound, is not the first time an Indian politician or someone who is constantly in the public eye, has said before. Let's forget the fact that at times like these one would want their leaders to have the semblance of an idea to take crucial steps to ensure the women are safe in the country — we can't even expect these leaders to be sensitive. Here are some examples of Indian politicians/leaders justifying the sexual harassment with 'explanations' while some simply choose to blame the victim:

Advertising rape will cost us billions of dollars: Arun Jaitley

In 2014, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said, "One small incident of rape in Delhi advertised world over is enough to cost us billions of dollars in terms of global tourism." Many interpreted it as the minister's insensitive descriptor for the 2012 Delhi gangrape, that scarred India and was condemned worldwide.

Chowmein incites rape

"To my understanding, consumption of fast food contributes to such incidents. Chowmein leads to hormonal imbalance evoking an urge to indulge in such acts," a khap panchayat leader was quoted as saying in October 2012.

Zodiac signs can predict how women might get abused

Sachchidananda Babu, a Bengaluru-based astrologer, said on a TV show that zodiac signs predict how women might get sexually abused, and even suggested a mantra for self-protection. He said zodiac signs can also reveal the age of the victim and the place at which the sexual assault may happen: Aries women are likely to get assaulted in a bathroom while Capricorns would be victimised by their father, mother or a colleague. Babu lodged a complaint with the police after an activist launched a Facebook page condemning his predictions.

Mobile phones instigate rape

Binay Bihari, minister for art, culture and youth affairs in Bihar said that mobile phones and non-vegetarian food are reasons for a surge in rape cases. "Many students misuse mobile phones by watching blue films and hearing obscene songs which pollute their mind," he said. On food, he reportedly said that non-vegetarian food "contributed to hot temper… and cited sermons of sants that pure vegetarian food kept the body and mind pure and healthy."

Revenge rape is our politics

"If you insult the mothers and daughters of Trinamool workers, then I won’t spare you. I will let loose my boys in your homes and they will commit rape. I will teach each of you a lesson," Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Pal warned CPM workers in June 2014.

You remember when Mulayam Singh Yadav said, "boys will be boys"

In April 2014, while opposing death penalty to three men convicted in a gangrape case, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had said, "boys will be boys, they commit mistakes."
He had even blamed the girls for rape saying that girls get friendly with boys and when they fight and have differences, they term it as rape."

Tunch maal

In 2013, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh unwittingly made a crass remark by describing Rahul Gandhi's aide Meenakshi Natrajan, party MP from Mandsaur, as "sau tunch maal" — which loosely translates to a "desirable object".

Rape by two men, not gang rape

In 2015, Karnataka's the then home minister KJ George stoked a controversy with remarks suggesting that two men raping a woman cannot be termed as gang rape, drawing severe flak from parties and activists.

Take guru diksha, chant Saraswati Mantra and say bhaiyya

In January 2013 after the 2012 Delhi gangrape case, self-styled godman and rape accused Asaram Bapu had said that the girl was equally at fault for getting raped and could have avoided it had she taken guru diksha and chanted the Saraswati Mantra. Asaram Bapu made the following observations about the Delhi gang-rape.

“Jinone galti ki.. sharabi they. Agar us kanya ne saraswati mantra liya hota, guru diksha li hoti.. toh boy friend ke saath picture dekh kar jis kisi bas mein ghusti nahin. Agar ghus bhi gayi.. toh 6 sharabi the.. Bhagwan ka naam leti aur ek ka haath pakadti "Tere ko toh mai maanti hoon. Do ko bolti “Bhaiya! Main abla hoon. Tum mere bhai ho. Dharam ke bhai ho. Bhagwan ka naam lekar haath pakadti, pair pakadti.. itna durachar nahi hota. Galti ek taraf se nahi hoti.”

We can keep going on with this list — it's pretty exhaustive. We still couldn't add TMC chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee saying that restricting interaction between boys and girls will reduce incidents of rape and many other such instances. But, you get the idea.


Updated Date: Apr 24, 2018 09:57 AM

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