Treat Rape as Rape
It’s not that I have high expectations from TOI. I usually expect the worst, barf and move on. But Anu in her feminist site pointed us to this article about the Shiney Ahuja rape case and it really made me gag. Is this an editorial? A news piece? Some type of insightful feature story? I don’t know. I’ve stopped expecting any semblance of journalistic rigour from these papers. Regardless the stance of the writer is deplorable – the last line says it all “A word of advice to all the women out there- choose your maid with care! “Not only is this article poorly researched (picks a few similar stories, creates a pattern, almost cultural and social phenomenon out of nothing – I haven’t ever seen any commentary in the Western media about the growing epidemic of men and maids cavorting), but the conclusion is so disconcerting, I am left speechless. Well, not quite speechless. No surprise, apparently our maids like all of us other women in short skirts are responsible for tempting poor unsuspecting men into rape.
The other angle of this story that flummoxes me is people wondering why he needed to go after a maid. I don’t pretend to be oblivious to the obvious class and superficial differences people are alluding to. It’s not a generalization to say that the maid community is probably not as attractive as Bollywood so maybe this reaction is justified. But this is rape. We’re not talking about Shiney’s girlfriend and why he chose a maid over a Bollywood star. We are talking about exerting violent power and sexual aggression. It could be a maid, a bombshell, a 10 year old boy. It’s rape. Maybe people are wondering why someone needs to resort to rape. Again, this is not how I tend to feel towards the situation because I feel like rape is so far removed from just the act of sexual intercourse that it’s hard for me to talk about it as though it was in lieu of a dry spell in the man’s life. Rape is not a last resort for lack of sex. It is a completely criminal and conscious act towards an unwilling victim which cannot be rationalized. The only thing that can save Shiney is if it’s proven that it was consensual. If so, then the above line of questioning can continue. But until then, this can only be treated as the heinous crime that it is. And that’s it. Questions leading with “Why would a man of his stature with access to hot women need to…” will only serve to divert the issue and create fodder for the public and media but do very little to address the very serious accusation of rape. I say we stop asking “Why maid” and start demanding investigation and justice for rape. Period.