Say no to immoral policing: A guide to a rape-free India

Here we go again. First comes the sensational rape, then the media hand-wringing, followed by same old tired responses by the powers that be. RR Patil wants to issue police protection to women journalists -- because, duh, that's the lesson here, right? Go ahead, rape anyone you like, but keep your paws off the press. Eager to matching Patil's cluelessness, Raj Thackeray jumped in with a pink choodi campaign. What better way to send a tough message insisting on respect for women.

But this was mild stuff compared to the drivel we had to endure in the wake of the Delhi gang-rape. The Mumbai tragedy had thus far lacked the necessary medieval touch offered by the likes of Asaram Bapu who is  otherwise occupied. But we need wait no more. The always obliging Mumbai's police commissioner Satyapal Singh has rushed in to do the needful.

"That is why I'm asking whether on one hand couples should be allowed to kiss in public and on the road, should they be allowed to indulge in obscene things? We have to strike a balance. On the one hand you want to have a promiscuous culture and on the other hand you want a safe and secure environment for the people," Singh told NDTV.

Really now. Next we'll expect a police commissioner to know the difference between consensual sex and sexual assault. Between a violent crime and a wee bit of amorousness. Why don't we bay for the moon already!

"I don't understand the media and these so-called activists. They start criticising the police on moral policing. Should we do moral policing or immoral policing? I think choice is yours. If we are doing moral policing it is for the betterment of society," said the hapless, put-upon Mr Singh, "But after the hue and cry, on the one hand we want to increase and support this kind of culture and on the other hand we want to stop cases of sexual assault against women. I think we have to strike a balance as to what kind of culture and society we want. We ourselves are confused."

 Say no to immoral policing: A guide to a rape-free India

Raj Thackeray jumped in with a pink choodi campaign after the Mumbai gangrape. Reuters.

We are indeed confused, outright befuddled, in fact. Were the rag-pickers or the photo-journalist raped by these men in a dance bar? No? Perhaps they were making out with their boyfriends in plain view until the 5 sex-deprived suspects could bear it no more? Not that either? Then surely these hussies must have been prancing around in empty mills wearing skimpy mini skirts, beer bottle in hand.

Sigh! We want to understand, Mr Singh. We really do. We sadly don't possess the powerful intellect required to make that giant leap of logic (which you execute with  effortless grace) weighed down as we are by our 'elitist', 'westernised' assumptions. But  it's finally time we jettisoned these silly notions and embrace the sound principles of moral policing, which are as follows:

One, consensual sex is just cause for sexual assault. Any consensual sexual act (covering bases 1 through 4) committed outside the sanction of marriage -- aka "promiscuity" -- sends a clear message that it is A-okay for a man to violently assault a woman. Actually, scratch that. Any indication of any kind of consensual sexual activity -- for example, couples, married or otherwise, kissing in a park -- is an incitement to rape, and therefore should be immediately prosecuted.

Also note: this includes pregnancy as an indicator of sexual activity, as evidenced by the gang-rape in Gondia. Mothers-to-be are advised to stay indoors the moment that pesky bump becomes visible, lest it provoke sexually-deprived men into committing heinous crimes.

Two, skin is sin. This is not just about mini-skirts or those offending low rise jeans. As innumerable cases have shown, both the waist-baring sari or wrist-flaunting salwar kameez are sufficient to drive men into an uncontrollable frenzy of lust. Even the burkha is no guarantee since it cannot help but suggest the presence of a female body underneath. All men and women should now wear unisex garbage bags in order to keep potential rapists from detecting  a woman in their vicinity.

Three, a woman's place is at home. Since women can be raped morning, noon and night, since they can be kidnapped from bus stations, assaulted on trains or in a parking lot; since the presence of others, strangers or companions, is no protection, it's time to embrace the 24X7 curfew.  If you're raped at home -- by the pizza delivery guy, security guard or a relative -- blame it on the slutty clothes you were wearing around the house or when answering the door.

Four, alcohol is the mother of all rapes. Banning women from drinking is, of course, the first obvious step. The very sight of a woman with a beer or vodka in hand instantly suggests sexual availability to any right-thinking man.  And we all know where that can lead. Let's also get rid of the bars and nightclubs that loosen inhibitions and encourage "promiscuity" -- instead of pussyfooting around the problem with hockey sticks.

But to ensure our women are truly safe, we should embrace full-on prohibition. Alcohol, after all, is a dangerous aphrodisiac that unleashes every man's inner rapist. As one Delhi cop so elegantly put it, “Jaise hum log baithe hai, zyaada daaru pee li. Chalte peeli. Behnchodh, phekh saala, phir to aise hi hoga."

Aise hi hoga as long as we have immoral policing that tolerates immoral behaviour.  These rules may lack the "balance" Mr Singh so fondly urges, but in a society where men rape women with little or no excuse, we need a zero-tolerance policy -- as in zero tolerance for the freedom of victims and other innocents. We need to ensure a "safe and secure environment" for potential rapists so that they can be duly protected from their worst instincts.

Santosh Desai observes, "Currently, we live in a world between rules — those of an earlier era do not apply and new codes have not been framed or agreed to. The responsibility shifts to the enforcement of the law, but this is deeply compromised by the fact that the process is managed by those that cannot fully comprehend the meaning of the changes that we see around us."

If our police force cannot comprehend, or are "confused" like Satyapal Singh, they could opt for the other kind of moral policing. The kind which has only one rule: enforce the law, and ensure speedy justice. But nah, that's just silly.

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Updated Date: Aug 28, 2013 16:44:00 IST