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Open Letter to Rape Apologists


Dear Rape Apologists,

A girl in Delhi’s Gandhi Nagar was abducted and repeatedly sexually molested for a period of 48 hours by her neighbour. The neighbour had cut open her throat and mutilated her genitals. He also tried to strangle her. She is currently battling for her life at Swami Dayanad Hosiptal. Along with wounds on her lips, cheeks, chest, the doctors also found a candle and a bottle of oil inside her. Nobody knows if she will live.

She is five years old.

The nation is in shock, again. We are looking for solutions, again. But I see some of you have already started with your rants of “legalize prostitution to prevent rape”. You seem to hold the view that if men have more sex, they will commit less rape.

I don’t see how legalizing prostitution is going to help reduce cases of sexual assault because rape is NOT about sex. It is about power and dominance over another (smaller, weaker) human being.

Legalising prostitution to prevent rape is like saying that it is a women’s ‘duty’ to provide men with sex or men will try to get it by hook or by crook. In other news, we are currently in the year 2013.

Please change your calender.

The most common apology for sexual assault is that women provoke it. Pray tell how this little girl, provoked it. Oh, I’m sorry, was she wearing a frock that was a really small size? Well, maybe it is because she’s FIVE YEARS OLD! And no, I won’t ask what kind of a mentally sick person sexually abuses a five year old because I refuse to make excuses for him. He is not sick. He is sound of mind.

Abduction and rape do not occur in the heat of the moment. They are planned attacks; and this man obviously had the mental capabilities to turn his plan into action successfully.

When Jyoti Singh Pandey was murdered after a being brutalised with an iron rod and one of her attackers pulled out her intestines with his bare hands, you said that she should not have been out alone with a male friend at night. Then what is the fault five year old? Did she violate ‘maryada’ by playing hopscotch with other five year old boys past sun down? No, no, you’re right. She should’ve played in a girls’ only park; because, obviously, segregation is the solution.

Several of you have demanded separate banks, women-only buses/trains/taxis. The same set of you are often found complaining that women get the privilege of having seats reserved for them in public transport.

Don’t be fooled. Reserved seats are no privilege. They’re a necessity for women to avoid situations where men can grope their behinds or rather rub against them. Do you want us to stand or do you want us to sit and avoid ‘getting molested’? Please make up your mind, you’re starting to sound like an ever-dissatisfied mother-in-law from one of those Hindi daily soaps.

However, your ingenious solutions to ending sexual assault do not end there.

The more sophisticated ones of your kind have given so many women ‘polite’ suggestions that  girls should stay home after dark, girls shouldn’t be too friendly with men they don’t know, girls should compulsorily learn martial arts, etc.

That’s cute, Rape Apologists. No really, nice way of showing your concern and putting the responsibility of not ‘getting raped’ back on women.

Now don’t get me wrong: self defence is a good bragging skill and can help in several situations. However, do you honestly believe that had Jyoti Singh Pandey, Soni Sori or Priyadarshini Mattoo studied martial arts, they could have saved themselves? Do you think this five year old child could have karate chop-ed her way to safety?

When will you stop spreading these myths about sexual assault, Rape Apologists? Why do you reinforce rape culture every time you open your mouth? Why do you not utilize the energy you waste on schooling women, to school boys and men and teach them their responsibility in society, for once? Why is it, with a majority of you being male, that you do not feel enraged when men are portrayed as senseless beasts who cannot control their libidos?

Two days ago a five year old girl was forced to experience something that she shouldn’t even have had the slightest clue about. Her world was supposed to be filled with rainbows and butterflies; not this.

Do you still think, at the heart of your disgusting ideology, that women and girls are the one who instigate or even want rape?

If you do, which I hope you don’t, then I think most members of civil society would excuse me if I took off my four inch stilettos (yes, I’m an immoral woman) and stuck the heel deep into some place soft and important; because this time, YOU are the one asking for it.


18 Year Old Feminist.

2 years ago

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  1. Saurabh Pratap Singh says

    This, is what everyone should read and understand.

    It is quite rightly said, legalizing prostitution is as stupid an idea as making Rahul G the PM of the country. Legalizing prostitution, asking women to stay at home after dark / wearing traditional clothes / not to be friendly with men is not the answer. It can never be the answer if the men give up on acting like a real one.

    Given the state of affairs in our country and the overwhelming “leaders” with their comments & activities this society is likely to remain the same (blame women in this case and each other in the some other). No solid stand.

    Upsetting! Shameful!

  2. vinod kumar says

    I don’t have words to condemn such a crime against a five-year-old girl. It has got noting to do will dress and behaviour of wonen or girls. What I feel it is sickness and the medicine to this is exumpalry punishment. I am really in pain for the poor innocent girl.

  3. Aritra says

    I think it’s refreshing to see a young 18 year old woman, and I use the word woman knowingly, coming out and standing up forcefully on an issue that has been stretched to the point of breaking. Its important that our cartoons, I mean politicians, understand that as on most issues, they’re absolutely and stupidly wrong to claim that women get raped because of what they’re wearing. I absolutely love the brutal yet lucid style with which this is written, because its high time someone takes a stronger stance on it, we need more young women like yourself to stand up against the idiots who threaten to send the prospects of a women’s life back to the 17th century.

    • D says

      The funny thing is.. even back in 17th century, there was a limit to the age and extent of sexual aggression and violence against women/girls. We have lost even that decency.

  4. Jaishil says

    I understand the anguish in this post. And as a brother, son and having an amazing partner myself i know what you are talking of.
    However what also concerns me is that while we do make attempts to change the society, this in no means will be immediate or spontaneous. Let me assure you curbing such elements may in the short run lead to rise of incidents or attempts. This is a long term solution. But concerned about the women in my family i will ask them the following :
    1. Pepper spray is a must. If one can not find pepper spray make sure you carry a deo spray.
    2. Watch your company. Very often such people are people you know. People who are waiting for an opportunity to pounce on it. Do not be alone with anyone you do not trust completely, especially in a pub or bar.
    3. Kicking in the groin is something no man can bounce back from immediately. Learn this art. Its the most lethal tool of self defense.
    4. Do not pick dark streets especially if empty to walk alone. No this is not a curb on your rights but it is not worth the risk to life to exercise such freedom which can be lived without sometimes.
    5. Some really good applications available which alert or alarm your loved ones when you raise an alarm. Use them when you sense danger.

    I do understand the reservations girls have when their parents ask them not to do this that etc etc. But do understand that the poor chaps cant change the world by themselves. They cant help but care about their little girl who they love so much. Respect their feelings.

    • sashh says


      That’s rape apology, that is useless information.

      I’m in the UK, and one thing that is common in both the UK is that a woman will most likely be someone in her family. That she will be wearing ordinary clothes.

      ‘poor chaps can’t change’ yes they can, and they must.

      Why do we NEED to teach men not to rape?

      • Jaishil says

        Only if you had bothered to read properly you will realize neither have i said clothing is the problem.
        On top of it i have actually said be careful of people around you. I stated friends but it most certainly means family members too.
        Being careful is not being a rape apologist, i rather have my women safe rather than someone telling them hey all is ok and society is cured so dont be careful. We know thats junk. Anyways if being careful is being a rape apologist, how about driving rash and killing yourself. If i ask you to be careful while driving im curbing your rights no? Weird logic.

        Like the person below said, Precaution is a must and so is change. If someone is stupid enough to believe only change or only precaution will work it wont. We need both. And yes i mean both. I will keep re-iterating that precaution is not being a rape apologist but being a smart human and it helps to be more vigilant. No harm in that.

    • G says

      So, what are the rules for a 5-year old to protect herself? It is bullshit that we continue to say women need to protect themselves. We don’t live in the dark ages where women were seen as objects of desire and mere tools for the satisfaction of the male population. We have supposedly moved past the Dark ages, we need to start displaying that. By accepting that we need to take precautions against such forces, we only accept that things aren’t going to change in a long time. Precautions are a must, but so is change.


  5. Womenous Mahima says

    Such kind of act cannot be tolerated, how many times they will say that and it is happening again and again. Do we want to put the lives of our younger generation to such dangers. She is just a small baby, O My God. What happened to us. :”(

  6. Sabina says

    Very good to read this.
    It is very important that in order to see some significant change on this issue is that people realise rape and sex are two very different things. It is important to realize that victimizing women (i.e protecting them by seperating them from men, from the public domain and so on) will not keep women safe. Putting the changes solely on women, making them the agents of change, does not keep them safe.
    Only a change in the general attitude towards and about women, (and about men, and about the relation between women and men) can make their lives safer.
    Then on prostitution (as a solution to rape) one problem here: no woman in her right mind, no woman who has an alternative option, would voluntarily prostitute herself. Rape is not about sex, prostitution will not keep women safe. Prostitution will only increase the number of women around the world being commoditized.
    I hope sincerely the debate on this issue will go on. Because at least as long as people as discussing and talking about this, then at least there is recognition that there is a problem.

  7. Lakshmi Murthy says

    Dear Paloma Sharma
    What an article. I am so proud of young women like you. We need many women to speak up.
    Please ask Zaheer to get this article translated into Hindi and have it published in the Rajasthan Patrika.
    Your article has to reach the masses.
    From Lakshmi Murthy- A 52 year old feminist – who was groped, teased, stared at, while younger. There is no telling what may still happen. Even 80 year old women get raped.

    • Barnali Das says

      I am so glad you exist; an 18 year old feminist! And i loved reading every angst filled word of what you have written!! We have been screaming hoarse trying to say these words for generations. Yet it’s such a shame that your generation is still doing the same…And that the world is no better.

      Barnali, 40 year old feminist

  8. Rashmi says

    Dear Paloma
    Thank you for such a straight and hard hitting article. To me it looks like the males of this country are on a mission of not letting their dominance, over the other 50% of population, be questioned. How else will they get free labour and free sex.
    Some might be exception but majority treat the ladies in their lives and out side of it as objects. These learned, sophisticated and well mannered people will deny it vehemently, but these are the people who comment on TV presenters, actresses and on every passing female on her physical statistics, while they themselves be balding, with protruding out stomach and 50 yrs old, with grown up daughters. If this is not treating a human as an object of possession then what is.
    It is the mindset which is ugly and when in a group it is at its ugliest best – example – khaps and panchayats, who come out with all logic defying solutions for reducing this social menace, but in fact reinforce the same ugly mind set.
    The funniest and the most pathetic part is that the so called leaders of our society are quick to put the blame on the females, thus absolving themselves of any responsibility, action or thinking of a solution. For them it is not a problem but a passing incident.
    I only wish the people who commit such heinous crime are hanged immediately, thus at least deterring a few, if not all. Strictest action is very very necessary.
    Hope to see you more on UT.

    • D says

      the women of our society who protect such monsters as their sons, brothers, husbands etc., or who join in the the rumour mill and put victims and assault down are just as culpable for this culture!

  9. prerna says

    Hats off to you, for writing such an article and bringing light towards the safety of the girls.. i strongly believe this article should be viral to open of the eyes of every human being and to bring out the best solution for this problem.
    Above all, the most saddest part is the life of an 5 year girl. She is innocent and unaware of any such thing..

  10. M.K. Hajdin says

    About stilettos:
    Because Eastern men disapprove of something does not make you a rebel for doing or wearing it.
    If men don’t have to do or wear something, the only point of women having to do or wear it is to mark them as inferior.
    The trappings of Western-style femininity are not liberating. Western women are not free. Western media only pretends that they are: the same media that is supported by advertising that sells antifeminist products.

    • Paloma Sharma says

      I agree. Wearing stilettos does not make me a rebel. I’m not looking to be one either. Yes, Western-style femininity is not liberating. But choice is. Wearing stilettos is my own choice. I do it because it makes me feel good. That’s the power of feminism. Everyone is free to choose for themselves. :)

  11. Karan says

    I whole heartedly agree that rape apologists are blame-shifting and not helping solve the actual problem which is the inherent lower status granted to women in our society. However, there is a point I would like to bring up. As much as I realize that prostitution wont prevent rape, since as you rightly said, “rape is not about sex”, legalizing prostitution is still an important debate to have. In my opinion, it’s about giving control back to the women involved in that occupation. Legalizing prostitution will allow it to be managed better and will provide a safer environment, medically and otherwise, for the women. The only reason we don’t do it is due to the same societal norms which keep women down and victimized. So please don’t conflate the two issues of rape and prostitution. Hiding prostitution in the dark corners by keeping it illegal has the same effect as families hiding familial rapes. The victims suffer in silence.

    • B says

      Paloma – thank you for this article. Right on with the rape apologists!!! It is infuriating to no end!!!
      Karan – Great point on prostitution – if it was legalised, it would allow for workers rights to a safe working environment and access to the health and legal system when abused or raped without fear of repercussions.
      Jaishil – women already do those things! It doesn’t protect you for shit. And I’m especially concerned about the tip “watch your company” – um yes, we already do that, but too often rape occurs by someone who has already gained that person’s trust; a relative, a partner, a colleague, friend, professional doctor!! So we can’t trust anyone? Great! I’m all for exiling all men to Mars!! Yeah right, that’s just ridiculous. Go ahead and tell those things to your daughters but that shouldn’t stop your worry, because effectively you would have done nothing substantial towards the protection of your daughter, instead you’re pulling wool over your eyes and filling your ears with wax and covering your eyes to the real problem.. hoping it will go away by itself.. listen to what this article said! Go read more articles about rape culture 101, demand (and emulate) change in the culture of masculinity! demand support for programs that support this change, call out bull shit on rape apologists, challenge your peers! read survivor stories! question all those things that support a culture of rape! question how you support that culture on a daily basis!

      • Jaishil says

        So me teaching my daughter do’s and donts will not protect her, but i should be the superman who can control all 3.5 billion men on earth. Hey if i can keep her safe in her surroundings i have dont just fine.

        Even better, tell your daughter to not watch her company, not do any of the 5 i said and lets see who has more to worry ? Deal?

    • Esha says

      Legalizing prostitution would be welcome,also people must realise that it is just a profession and not judge a women’s character based just on that,police must understand a sexual assault is still the same when done on a prostitute or a banker.The set of people who condemn a woman for getting raped will still exist and they will prevent social acceptance of legalized prostitution.Overall,we need a total haul in the morals of people and for that there should be a change in the education system,make social services necessary for each person so that we learn to understand,appreciate and care. Then maybe their next generations will grow up better.

      • Paloma Sharma says


        I do support the legalization of prostitution which will provide agency and workers’ rights to prostitutes. However, I am vehemently against the mentality that legalizing prostitution will prevent rape or at least bring down the number of sexual assaults. It only promotes the myth that rape is related to sex, which it is not, it is related to power.

        You are absolutely right when you say that society judges prostitutes because of their work and that sexual assault against them is not seen as assault at all. I agree with you completely that our moral system needs an overhaul. I would also like to add that society also needs to learn “NO MEANS NO”.

        Thanks for reading! :)

        • Esha says

          Absolutely,Legalizing prostitution is not a solution to rape.You can see that when you compare Thailand and Netherlands.In both the places prostitution is legalized,but how they see women differs and as a result prevalence of crime against woman differs by a wide margin too. Everything in the world is about sex,only sex is about power..rings true indeed.
          You wrote a beautiful article,I sincerely hope age does not take away your edge,and you shine sharper.

  12. Souvik says

    I condemn such activity.
    I want punishment of those tyrants (who gang raped the girl on delhi bus) and this land lord who forced a 5 years old child.
    Capital punishment wouldnt be the best…..because next time the rapist will kill the raped girls to delete all clue.
    so let them live just like talibani punishment……
    if The girls bear the punishment for 10 months let the boys bear the punishment for life time with no sexual power….
    cut off their penis…….

  13. Marie says

    This is, sad to say, nothing new to me. I am a Western woman living in UK and this is read about everyday – rapes and abuse of children and women. It has nothing to do at all with sex it is about power for those males who have none in their everyday lives, or, as with paedophiles, I believe they are t twisted in their minds. There is no excuse and once they have been proven to have committed these sickening attacks then I believe we should be able to wipe out their lives. They are only being given better lives than the average poor person or pensioner whilst in prison, and on release who knows if they will commit again. Chopping off their penis will only make them use other objects – as I say, its not the sex its the power. These ‘men’ are the dregs of society – feed them to the dogs…

  14. Osho Chhel says

    This is really well written and addresses the issue perfectly, but what shocked me was that you used the name of the victim of the 16th December incident. It might be a minor issue, but I hope in the media names of victims aren’t mentioned, just to avoid various complications related to it. It would be my request that this be taken care of, however small it may be. Thank you, and wish you well for the future.

  15. Sabina says

    I would like to react again, by first stating that I am happy to see how people are really involved and concerned zout this issue. It is true, this is not something that can be ‘fixed’ or ‘cured’ overnight. It will be a long and demanding proces for the people of India. But at least, as long as people are discussing about it it will not be overlooked or forgotten.
    Karan, I do agree that it might be well worth it to at least debate on legalizing prostitution. But prostitution itself it a very comlicated issue. I made my statements myself on it aout of fear that the debate will become a sort of ‘bandaid’ solution for the rape problem. Besides that, in many cases of prostitution, and this is not only the case in India, the degree of voluntary prostitution remains to be debated. When you are dealing with legalizing prostitution you are also dealing with human trafficking, pimping, blackmailing and so on. Legalizing prostitition does not give women power of their own sexuality or over their own bodies.
    Another thing that concerns me, that legalizing prostitution might even give strenght to arguments such as “the women want this” or “women are asking for it” Don’t be fooled, this is complex issue.
    Furthermore, I understand men want to keep their sisters, daughters, wife and so on safe. I hope these men will also help to build a better India for women. To teach their sons, brothers, fathers, friends to respect women, to treat as you would want your own female kin to be treated. (obviously I am skipping of sexual violence within a family here). Change, for the better, starts with the people themselves, men and women working together on a common goal.

    • Jaishil says

      Atleast someone here realizes that sometimes one is not looking to curb freedom but their concern stems out of love for their loved ones.
      Thanks :)
      And yes i do deal with people if they pass even comments in front of me. But i alone cant change everybody and until everybody has changed i will have to keep my wife, my daughter, my mother protected and i see nothing whatsoever wrong in caring for my loved ones.
      Im a proud son, partner and will be a proud father who knows well the responsibilities that come with these relations as much as i will respect ones freedom of life.

      • gina says

        Do you really think your wife/mother needs your advice on how to take care of themselves. They arent stupid and of course they will take the necessary precautions. What the article is trying to say is people should not waste their time trying to educate women to keep themselves safe (which they are already very very very well aware of thanks to whats going on) but rather working on the root of the problem which is the attitudes of men. .

        • Jaishil says

          We need to work on both not just one. Male chauvinists are wrong to keep teaching girls. Feminists are wrong in thinking we shouldn’t teach self protection and ways and means to avoid or deal with situations.
          I recommend both. I hate both extremes because neither offer practical solutions.
          O and yes my partner and my mom can live with my advice. No one is perfect and a useful advice is never going waste.

          • Apoorva says

            Here’s some advice for you, Jaishil. In good faith, when you make practical suggestions to women on how to protect themselves, please also remember to do the following
            -Also advice your male family members/friends/ acquaintances to reflect on their attitude towards women, identify where they are wrong. If possible, point it out to them. Not only when there is actual harassment, also where the underlying problems show up: domination, disrespect, aggression etc. In short, urge (and keep on urging, men to do nothing but right by women. In the spirit of equality, make sure every time you pass on well meaning advice to women, you do not forget about what men need to do.
            – When women tell you that they are no idiots and that your words are no news to them, step back and acknowledge that perhaps having heard the same advice for zillion times now, women must have it all memorized. They don’t want it anymore. LISTEN to what they want. Think of what you can do.
            – While a woman will take certain precautions to ensure her safety (much as she might hate those restrictions), remember she is still NOT SAFE. Until circumstances change, she will never be safe. In home, at school, at work…

          • Jaishil says

            Dear Apoorva,
            Firstly none of my commnts suggest not to urge men. And my subsequent poss will suggest that it is indeed an utmost priority to make sure our men are brought up in the right way.
            The reason i have not stepped back, and i understand your reasoning for it , is because i feel there is a growing sense of frustration among women who are increasingly suggesting that precaution and prevention must be dumped immediately which will be quite harmful as it is not a smart move as people are not going to change in a jiffy because we want them to.

            If one can understand this. Good. If not there is nothing more one can do. I will maybe be able to urge 9 men out of it, but what about the 10th one, why not tr to avoid him? Any crime in doing so?

            I dont know why suggestions made for ones own good as so despised and hated.

    • Karan says

      Point taken and accepted regarding prostitution being bandied about as a cure for rape. All your concerns regarding prostitution are also valid. Specially in it’s relation to human trafficking. Legalization of prostitution may not solve all the ills attached to prostitution, but it will go a long way in curbing them and reducing their impact on the people involved (not limited to women only). There are already many societies around the world which can be used as examples of what to do and what not to do when legalizing prostitution. The overall impact is almost always positive whenever something is legalized and controlled. However, I think I may have derailed the topic a bit here. This is not an article about prostitution, it is about rape apologists. The one take-home point from me is that there has never been shown any correlation between accessibility of easy sex and the number of rapes that occur. On a positive note, seeing the amount of indignation aroused in today’s youth on seeing such heinous acts, makes the optimist in me think that in a few generations time we might actually see a change in our society. One can hope.

  16. Sushil Datta says

    Each word u write is a step ahead in the right direction…. may you and million young candles light up the path which will lead us to a world where no TV channel, no newspaper, no blog will have to tell us that we are a country where women are the third rate… Nth rate citizens….. Blessings.

  17. Namrata R. says

    Great writing Paloma Sharma. ‘Rape Apologists’ needed to hear this!
    Keep such writing coming..

  18. deepak says

    It is very sad that women have to experience such things. The best and the most logical way is only one – special dedicate police force and judicial system for rapes, assault etc. The new rape law is already in place and there is hardly a change. What is important is to quickly send these bastards to prison. Even if they get mere 2months prison for eve teasing but get it quick and ASAP say about in two days then there will be widespread reduction in all kind of atrocities. Now this is a repressive solution for these animals. To attack the overall problem, I believe the friendship of men and women needs to be looked on more openly. It should not be always that if you are sitting with a person of opposite sex then it has only romantic feelings. Things like “dont talk to women now, you will get married” and bajrang dal beating men and women sitting in park means we assume without exploring that sitting with opposite sex has only physical temptation. This is where the problem is. The only way is for both men and women of future, to work towards this problem. Enter into good relationship, enjoy each other company and create an environment where you talk to opposite sex as you talk to your like. For this everyone’s contribution is very much needed. All the best India!!! I am almost sure this problem will reduce in future. @Feminists, don’t loose hope on men, most of us are not bad. There are half a billion of us, these animals don’t count among us.

    – 22 year old male.

  19. yash malik says

    this article says a lot .. n its true that women dont need the directions of safety … because today no measures of safety can help ..
    @Jashil : You are right.Precaution is better than cure.
    However dont you think to change the attitude,we need to give our young boys the right upbringing.
    This situation has come up because we were ignorant.
    n remember the world cant be perfect,these kind of elements will always be there but its important for them to have that fear of consequences.
    And To all women :
    you are a symbol of strength n hope not weakness.
    If any of you face any issues in public stand for each other.
    If those so called MEN around you cant stand for you , just stand for yourself.
    Hats off to every women !! :)

    • Jaishil says

      I completely agree with you we have to change the way we bring up our boys. Actually oru society has been made such that they differentiate or try t separate girls and boys right from childhood making it more obvious to even young kids that they are different leading to anxiety frustration culminating into crimes.
      There is no denying the need for better police work. Stronger action. I have myself broken teeth of 2 guys who in front of me were talking rubbish about the character of the poor girl whose destiny was doomed on 16 December. However not everyone is same and we must acknowledge that as well. Not for being an apologist but to protect your own.

  20. andrew blackwood says

    I agree with everything you say, but I would like to add that there are methods of self defence which prove effective and don’t involve learning a martial art. LCPS, The London Centre for Personal Safety teaches ways of preventing violence and fear across age ranges . http://www.londoncentreforpersonalsafety.org.
    In no way does this put any blame on the victim for not knowing such skills; it is entirely the fault of the perpetrator for committing such a heinous and terrible assault. Just that when a person is in such a terrible and frightening situation there are options and responses that might be possible, if they can be shown and taught,

  21. Kalpesh patel says

    I totally agree with you. Unfortunately this works great in an ideal world, where there are no wars, there is no religion, no hunger and poverty and the biggest of them all… no rapists. Agreed on the fact that rape is a act of showing power or strength over the weaker but isn’t the whole freaking world just about that? Marriage in most Indian households is a license to rape, a lot of times the woman won’t even complain to her mother-in-law because she too has the same opinion that a woman should satisfy a man’s needs?
    I want to point out this incident that is on the rise in a lot of small towns across India. Time and again people have taken the law into their own hand and lynched robbers and thieves only because the law and the politicians actually protects them for procuring vote-banks. Its time people took this matter in their own hands and punished these criminals by themselves. agreed its not within the boundaries of law-and-order.. but then again, where is it anyways?

  22. Anirban Samanta says

    Well written article. But the problem is not insufficient punishment or women provoking the attacks. The real problem is the way human society and religion has downplayed women’s rights and their ownership of their own lives over thousands of years. I do believe that many men in India “believe” that women are inherently incapable of independent existence and it is their duty as women to be “taken care of” by men. The root of the problem is a lack of widespread outrage from women. The article also touched upon the topic of legalizing prostitution. Prostitution is believed to have been the world’s first profession, prostitution while not outright legal in India is not particularly difficult to come across in India. The problem of sexual frustration is very real however. I believe that that problem can be solved only by accepting that sex is part of life, and by that I mean to say to the elders of India – mind your own lives and let your children make their share of mistakes in life, its the only way for them to learn, you are not going to be there forever.

    In the end being a guy I can only express my shock and pledge my support to the women. Its the women who have to come forward and claim their RIGHT to live their lives and control their own fate, since Indian tradition and religion will not let you have it from free (even though its your right). Yes rape apologists will be there, but then there still exists nazi supporters. You cannot back off just because your father/uncle/brother/son feels that the women are to blame for all their troubles. Women have backed off for far too long. How much longer must you suffer.

    I would like to add though that I believe the biggest problem for Indian women to their right to live by their rules is not the menfolk but the elder women of the society. I do believe the mothers/aunts/sisters of women have to protect their daughters/niece/sisters against the abhorrent rules of Indian society.

  23. Dhawal says

    Thank you so much for this awesome post. We need more Indian women to speak up their minds. Bravo!

  24. Pallavi says

    As far as legalizing prostitution goes, there are several arguments for it outside of how it may or may not be connected to rape. It is subjective and a lot of prostitutes have things to say about it. Look up the Sex Workers Union in Sonagachi, West Bengal – the basic argument being that women can exercise their right on their bodies in many ways, prostitution being one of them. But yes, if the thought is that prostitution will displace rape, then it is a deeply flawed argument.

    I do take issue with the thing said about elf defense. There is no harm in taking the lessons, but it’d be more ideal if it was for fitness or fun. If the call is to cater to the needs of the day in real time, then knowing how to through a punch or crack a knee doesn’t seem half bad to me. But really the problem is the inequality or even different but equal argument, maybe schools etc need gender de-sensitivity training or something.

    • Paloma Sharma says

      Thank you, Mitchell! (I’m from Mumbai, but I’d love to see Brooklyn some day). :)

  25. Ashamed-to-be-an-Indian says

    We are a barbaric, abhorrent, loathsome, male chauvinistic, filthy civilization. I wish we become extinct by some magic.

    • In agreement says

      To Ashamed-To-Be-An-Indian
      You’ve voiced so correctly what Ive felt for a long time. I do wish all humans could become extinct by some magic, too. Human beings have reached real depths and the amount of cruelty & depravity we are capable of is really saddening, sickening,…i dont actually have words strong enough to describe the despair i feel when i consider this. Its just that – if we start over, we may land up in the same place again. I dont have the solution, I am as despairing as you are….rape is just one crime, there are so many other things we do to each other that reflect our real selves, and seem to highlight that human nature IS to be this way. I wish that rapists are given capital punishment…but deep inside i wonder if this will help at all. Given the way things are going, it looks like (certain) men are even more galvanised to go out there and rape defenceless women/children, as if to say to the world “oh you’re so affronted by the Delhi Bus incident, let me show you, Im not deterred at all. I am still alpha male, i still have the power, I can still do what i like and get away with it”. Its such a mockery of all the anger and rage that most of us have shown, such a slap in the face. And our politicians….dont let me start. The people that are supposed to govern us and set the tone for the new India believe either that the rape victim should surrender, or that she was raped because she didnt wear a dupatta. Is there anything to be said after this?

  26. Rikimi says

    I often break in argument with co-passengers while travelling by train. I remember a good looking, well to do, foreign return engineer on a higher class compartment from Delhi he kept arguing that, forget about the man, since you cant stop them from rapping, you should protect the girls. Like you have to drop and pick them to school, colleges and offices. Atleast provide them a vehicle like a scooty or a car. When I asked if you cant afford to buy any of them, he said then you have to decide if you want them educated or un-raped!!! Most of the people would say, “How disgusting! why did you even had to talk to such a person(being an woman ofcourse)?” I dont know if he was convinced or anything has changed in him after that 4/5hours long discussion. But atleast that has created separate sets of discussions/arguments in the other passengers. The entire compartment was talking about the issue of Rape/ security and what not!!!

  27. Nikhil Malhotra says

    This is the wrong message to spread. The men and boys in this nation need to be educated in the right way. They need to be brought up in the right way. Blaming the woman is stupid more than unjustified. But one has to look at this country and the circumstances we live in and take measures accordingly – whether those measures are learning a martial art or carrying pepper spray.

    You cant say that these so called “Rape Apologists” are wrong for asking the woman to be more safe. “Is it safe to be a woman in this country?” – If the answer to that is “No!” then take the damn precautions. When India changes we will address this issues again. But for now, women, please be as safe as possible.

    • Paloma Sharma says

      Sir, with all due respect, women are not unaware or even stupid, as you seem to suggest since you obviously believe that we are not aware of our own circumstances.

      We know that we are unsafe. We know what all we need to do to not ‘get raped’. But does that help? I’m speaking from personal experience here – I’ve been carrying pepper spray for 2 years now and on one occasion, I have been disarmed and the spray has been used on *me* instead.

      I appreciate your concern for women. But kindly recognize that you, as a man, are in a place of privilege and thus, you have more power in society. You can either use this power to school women and tell them that the world is not a nice place (a fact you do not need to remind us of, trust me) *OR* you can clean up your act, acknowledge your privilege and use the additional power you have in society by virtue of being a man, to do some GOOD for a change. Speak to young men and boys about consent and respect. You have the power.

      I do understand your concern for women but this ‘when India changes’ attitude won’t work because WE have to change India. Waiting for it to change is useless. That way, it never will.

      So the next time you lecture a woman on how not to ‘get raped’, think about this – would you say the same to a Dalit person about caste violence? Would you ask them to put up with exploitation and murder just because India is not a “safe country”? Then why would you do the same to women? – Is it just because you can?

      • Jaishil says

        Question is not of when India changes. Question is we are trying and i sure as hell know i am, but to assume India will change overnight is as stupid as it can be. And i am sure you know it too given how deep rooted the problem is.
        Why India?
        Countries where women are apparently treated equally are still subject to sexual assaults. We know however hard we try this is not oging to be eradicated completely either.
        In the face of that reality, while we work towards educating men which we must as a first step, we must also empower our women in dealing with these issues. Not just preventing rape, but also how to deal with eve-teasing, grabbing, touching etc etc. These are things frankly our women are not openly told about as their counterparts in developed world are. To talk of sex is a taboo. Do you really think the number of cases happening will be the same if we empowered our women even if we assume we were not changing anything about men? Im sure the answer is clear.

        Hence my stand is we must inculcate morals into our men right from childhood. However there will always remain a few who do not follow the norm, for such men the world has no solution unfortunately. In that case precaution will be needed.

      • Jaishil says

        My suggestion to dalits always is and will be the following :
        Stop considering yourselves dalit.
        Believe me a lot of dalits are around you. You will not know they are dalits because they do not live in victimhood status always.
        However the same comparison cant be made for men-women biases because a women looks a women while a dalit looks no different.

  28. Gajendra Singh Chouhan says

    i would say just one thing as my confidence and trust in the indian political n govt system is totally screwed, so this is the thing i wanna say:

  29. Srikant Reddy says

    I go by what Jaishil said, such things are done by physco’s and u can’t teach them what is good or bad. And it’s not even easy to remove all of them from society. I don’t say that following all the precaution steps we are 100% safe, but that’s some safety steps that might help us escaping. We might not know but, there could be 100’s of cases where the girl might have escaped by spraying pepper or by punching him hard.

  30. Sarat Chandra says


    I could not agree with you more. However, I feel you are missing out on one important thing. While reckless men and obnoxious political fraternity is one thing, the society at large is another can of worms. Rape is a crime whether the victim ends up dead or not right? Then why are those victims of rape that are alive today wishing they were rather dead? Most women make it out of sexually violent situation alive, and then society ostracizes them. No matter how much any one preaches, there will be a few bad eggs, no matter how strict the laws there will be a few filthy minded scoundrels. Even on a 0.001% chance of someone being bad in a nation of about 70 million men, there would be 70000 offenders. I think in lashing out at this sample population you and all the kind supporters here should not forget to speak up for the 70000 victims who will make it out alive. Let there be some talk of restoring dignity so they can try to put these events behind them. Let us fight and speak up not just for those who are no more but those who deserve more than what our patriarchal society is willing to provide.

    End of the day, if 10 women gang up on some man, he can claim sexual harassment as per law but society is going to treat him just the same. (if not make him the next “AXE” man). Can the same be said for a female rape victim. This is where the change should come. I care less about ending the life of the rapist than restoring the life of the victim.

    #just my thoughts.

  31. Anudeep Kurudi says

    Whats just wrong with this entire scenario is that people forget it all when the heat goes down. Media will forget this soon and move on to other things till an incident happens somewhere else. May it be rape, may it be acid attacks in the name of love or may it be anything else things like this only live on screen for a short duration. Every channel or media medium should take up an aggressive assault on the issue. Have banners on websites saying “stop rape, promote freedom”. We need scrolling news everyday and ads that should say this.

    The younger generation should have this in their social studies how rape is a major problem all around the world. Humanity as species should fight against it. Frankly what happens to the person who rapes woman is not what our cure for the problem should be, it should be on how to prevent it in the first place. The more we speak about sex and rape in our society the more we know about it and are aware about it. Women get molested all around India which is such a shame and every time a girl gets molested she looks at herself to see if she has done something wrong that’s the pitiful state our country has made girls feel.

    I am more worried about the victims the fear and trauma they go through when all this happens. We need to condemn rape on every level. To do that we need to send a clear message that this behavior is intolerable. Only intolerance and an open mind will solve the issue.

  32. JP Sundharam says

    A well written article but the suggestion for teaching boys/ men respect for women is quite vague.

    Speaking of India, RAPE IS A SOCIAL DISEASE created by delusional Indian parents who in the formative years of a male child inculcate that he is a combination of Ram, Yudhishter, and Krishna. That he can be dismissive of his beloved whose chastity is in doubt (a la Ram), put her to stake in a game as if she is property (a la Yudhishter) and eve-tease woman like she is a yesteryear gopika (a la Krishna).

    I’m sure that as parents/ teachers/ religious gurus we can teach our boys to treat girls better than the way we were taught. What do we teach our children today:

    We also encourage our girls to remember to:
    • call rapists ‘bhaiya’ – in the hope that they acknowledge their dharma
    • wear Indian clothes – in the belief that saris and chaniya-cholis are not sexy
    • work, raise children and do housework after marriage – hoping it will desexualize the woman
    • that the izzat (honour & shame) of the family name is between their legs

    Our current cultural prescription for boys is so much simpler:
    • Boys will be boys, how else do we expect them to behave – in the belief that society is helpless against raging male hormones
    • Be a security guard (if a brother), a god and procreator (if a husband)
    • that the izzat (honour & pride) of the family resides in their masculinity

    Read more in my article published in Indian Exponent:

    • Rahul G says

      Hi JP,

      Good call. About time someone called the bluff on the problematic issue of patriarchy justified by a veil of “traditional values”.


      • JP Sundharam says

        Thanx Rahul. Do share more inputs where warped traditional moral values are taught using religious texts and suggest improved values instead.

  33. Meghna Khanna says

    Dear Paloma,
    I have no words to praise you.
    Even after so much rage and protests we have no solution to this problem and now is the time to take things in our own hands. I have daughter too and believe me I have stopped nagging her when she is angry, I have stopped controlling her when she takes up fight even for small thing as.negotiating for auto fare. The more we supress our daughters at home the more challenging the world becomes for her. Its important for us to make our girl aware of the thin line between good and bad.
    We talk bout indian culture, bull shit, its all about not discussing sensitive issues openly and remain hush hush on sex education. Its just this hypocracy that causes thiese incidents. Sex education is a must for all, pros and cons should be made crystal clear irrespective of caste, color, religion and age.
    And this time dear government, pls don’t do it the sarkari style and let the best knowledgable handel it and take it to every nook and corner of the country.

  34. Anupam Bhargava says

    Post 16/12, there has been a spate of write-ups all over on ‘Rape’, with a strong underlying commonality of stating facts that raise sympathies, without delving into the etiology of the malaise or prescribing any endurable solutions. This blog falls in the same category.
    The issue warrants a bigger and long term perspective to be addressed and understood properly. Lets start of with some basic principles.
    “All women attract all men” – Law of Nature
    “But, all women are not meant for all men” – Law of Culture
    “When Law of Nature is not subdued by the Law of Culture, punishment follows” – Law of the Land
    Rape is an extreme manifestation of despise, disrespect and dishonour a man has towards women, which arises simply because Law of Culture fails in curbing the Law of Nature. Therefore, its eradication gets directly linked to a strong and widespread following of the Law of Culture. It is here that it becomes very incumbent upon the perpetrators of Culture – teachers, elders, parents and leaders – to inculcate respect for girls and women in boys. Police, law and administration enter the scene only when these carriers of Culture fail in their duty.
    The obvious questions that come to mind are:
    – How many teachers tell their boy students to respect girls, or at least treat them with equality?
    – How many parents ensure that their homes do not just have a gender-equal atmosphere, but induce respect for women as well?
    – How many elders and leaders in the society ensure that all they do and speak carries no iota of discrimination and despise against women?
    Rapes happen not because police and law are lax, but because these people are irresponsible. How can they teach respect for women when they themselves do not do so? They will not change their ways and rapes will continue in the society. Why blame the police or administration?

  35. Srikant Reddy says

    Hi Anupam,
    You can’t say that. All those points you have mentioned are correct, but having a strict punishment for such crimes would definitely make a difference. Punish few such people in public and give it enough publicity that everyone in the country knows, then it will make people think a moment before committing any such crime.
    Coming to administration and police, I wonder what they are realy doing. All the 5 suspects of Nirbhaya case are leading a good life. Sometime back I read a news article stating that one of the suspect was preparing for some exam BA exam and was unhappy with IGNOU university, isn’t it silly. If police have enough proofs to say that they are the ones who committed the crime, then what are they waiting for. Are they trying to convert them into good citizens and set them free so that they commit the same crime again?

    • Vajrasar Goswami says

      I agree that we have to find out a way to set example out of these rapists by giving punishment in a way, which can force another creepy mind to think 1000 times before committing such act.

      Secondly, we cannot solely blame police and administration for such acts. Yes, there maybe 85% percent cases where administration or police failed to act or react but we also have 15% cases where they succeeded in bringing justice to such cases. What we need to think is what good such actions by police or administration can make, as they cannot revert the act of rape and the lifelong mental suffering that the victim has to face.

      The need is to uproot the main cause of these acts which lies in the mental state of the criminal and which can only be done, when every boy is raised in such an environment where they were told and taught that ‘you should respect women’.

      I know this is a blind call from my side but this is the only logical thing that can be done from our end, and along with this if the administration and police can also update their standard and modus-operandi on such incidents then we can still have a better place to live and raise our children.

      PS. We still need to set examples out of these rapists. That is number ONE.

  36. ketan bhagat says

    Hi Paloma,

    Just wanted to convey my support and congratulations for the healthy debate your article has triggered. It has gone viral and helped people vocalize their angst and frustration over such inhumane incidents. superb!!
    While I personally do not agree with some of your views, I fully relate to the fuming emotions erupting within you. my personal views in any case shouldn’t matter. What matters is that you have a spark which I hope will transform into a revolution someday. A revolution that will benefit India.

    its very reassuring to see people like you in India.

    All the best!!

    Ketan bhagat

    • Paloma Sharma says


      Thank you for the encouragement! It means a lot.

      However, I believe that your views, just as those of any other citizen of India, do matter; and I’d love to know what they are.

      Thanks once again for the support.

      Best Wishes,
      Paloma Sharma.

  37. Cef says

    You are using this girl’s pain and torment as an excuse to spread your feminism extremist ways.

    You’re pathetic.

    • G says

      Pray tell, how is it extreme to suggest that violence against women is unacceptable in any form?

  38. nistin says

    The writer asks ” Why is
    it, with a majority of you being male, that
    you do not feel enraged when men are
    portrayed as senseless beasts who cannot
    control their libidos?”

    99.999% of the males contol their libidos with utmost ease. And there’s this 0.001% who can’t. They do brutal acts like these. And I’m enraged that the 18 year old takes refuge in the acts of this 0.001% to glorify her stilleto (the wearing of which would make a woman’s gait more pleasing to craving male eyes).

  39. D says

    Dear Paloma,

    Thank you for verbalizing my thoughts. I would like to add, that molestation of any kind should be unacceptable. It is because we as a society have tolerated the unwanted comments, brushes, touches, domestic abuse, that this is the current degree of “acceptability”. And let’s not ignore the little boys that this sort of things happen to, which was also captured aptly in your statement: “rape is NOT about sex. It is about power and dominance over another (smaller, weaker) human being.”

    I would love if this piece could be translated into all the official languages of India, and reproduced across all media – SMS, Email Chains, Social Networks, and Hoardings, Street/Wall Art (not too keen about pamphlets, since people throw them away and more importantly it’s an utter waste of paper). Every time someone takes it down, replace it and add a baby picture of their family member they cherish so much.

  40. Anupam Bhargava says

    The aggressive sexual drive in MAN is genetic and instinctive. It is in his hormones since Adam’s time (beginning of the phylogenetic scale) and will continue till eternity. Basically, every MAN is a born rapist. It is only good learning, culture and values that discipline and tame him down. Wisdom lies in understanding this phenomenon with all the seriousness it deserves, because the solution of ‘rape’ lies only here, and nowhere else. Addressing it in any other way is waste of thoughts and words.
    Rape is a crime, absolutely different from others like theft or murder. It has a biological, rather psycho-physiological, base, which no other crime has. So, foolish are those who think that its incidence can be curbed by imposing punishments, as done in the case of other crimes. (Mind, I’m not professing non-imposition of punishment; simply asserting that do not commit the folly of treating punishment as an effective and final solution). Lets strike at the root of the malaise, and not indulge in superficial inanity.
    Interestingly, all that I have said is supported by empirical statistics. After the imposition of the Anti-Rape Act (containing more severe forms of punishment), the crime rate of rapes has been on the rise, and with much more brutality than 16/12. Had only the focus on good learning, good culture and good values been more, the paradigm shift would have lead to the desired reduction in the rate of the incidence, and that too with sustainability.

    • deepak says

      Every man is a rapist. Really!!!! I think you are talking about yourself cause every man is not. Okay! The same could also be said for women then, they are all taught to curb their drive and maintain their modesty. Don’t spread your inane thinking probably based on your generalization of your neighbours or yourself to all men. Most men will find it impossible to maintain a sexual urge if someone is crying and pleading infront of them.

      • Anupam Bhargava says

        Its all academic. No need to get personal. Perhaps, it may have ignited a latent guilt, but there are better ways to camouflage it. Need no mentioning, aggressiveness stems from guilt and complex.

        • deepak says

          Hi Anupam. Sorry if you took my comments as personal. I have always had and stood for equal rights and had many healthy relations with people of all sex. So you are wrong this time buddy. Anyhow the bottom line is that I will not just stand by and watch you degrading men by calling all of them rapist just in order to please certain ‘radical’ feminist authors here. Just imagine this for a moment – if someone says “all women are sluts” then everybody starts shouting and you sir just said “all men are rapist” and rapist is a worse title than slut and you expect to get away with it. If you stand for equal right then stand for equal right. Agreed that some males and females are wrong. Wrong males do terribly wrong thing like rape, murder etc. and wrong female do terribly wrong things like – false dowry allegation, extorting money via blackmail etc. So just think over the global picture. Not personal, no hidden sarcasm just naturally aggressive.

          • Anupam Bhargava says

            When I said ‘born rapist’, I meant no aspersion on anybody’s demeanour or intentions, it was simply to describe the natural propensities, on a scientific basis. Nothing more.
            Also, this had to be read in conjunction with the sentence, following it. One can never derive complete and meaningful sense by picking only parts and missing out on holism.
            ‘Sorry’ is always nice, graceful and welcome with realisation.

        • deepak says

          So Anupam you are the one who never stops arguing. So be it. Firstly my sorry was only if you felt
          that I hurt you on a personal level and not that I had a realization or revelation reading your post.
          Reading what you just wrote after my last comment which was meant to be “Okay thank you. Nice
          meeting you and lets agree to disagree.” You wrote some jargon like natural propensity. Now I am
          an academician so lets argue in that mood. Judging by your comment, either you are an anthropologist
          or a sociologist or atleast a macro-psychologist since you seem to make a very big claim implying you
          have collected lot of statistics, predicted trend, wrote some journal paper and finally made your big
          discovery. So my advice is you may want to send it to some conference and see what reviews you get.
          Till I hear from you again.

          • Anupam Bhargava says

            One cannot be ‘personal’ as well as academic. Incidentally, who I am, who you are, “you are talking about yourself” and all such talk of yours smack of nothing, but a strong ‘personal’ flavour all over. Your going over board on this front makes it apparent that you have covered yourself with ‘Deepak’ in trying to settle score on some buried vendetta. My full name is Dr Anupam Bhargava and cell No 9214979955. Do you have the courage to disclose yours?

          • Anupam Bhargava says

            So, two days of oblivion and the cat is out of the bag, Mr S.S. (shameless sissy). Hope you did not commit the folly of using the same IP address in shooting from your ‘fake’ identity, as from your ‘real’ one. You will easily be apprehended. And, look at your predicament. What if someone passes a derogatory remark on you, “Are you the same moral-less character, with a slut mother, a slut sister and a slut (would-be) wife?” Legally, you can’t even sue him for slander, but will have to live with it the rest of your life. Worst will be when your true, hollow, superficial and surreptitious identity gets revealed. Actually, not your fault – people of some profession and community are absolutely devoid of brains and good values. Don’t worry, your real identity will be divulged, with evidence, in the near future on UT site, facebook, and, maybe, the Press. Just wait and watch.

      • Meghna Khanna says

        I totally agree with you Deepak that every man is not a rapist. Unfortunately our society is such that untill unless a child grows upto a certain age we think that there is nothing like a personal space for him/her.
        If we go in our flash back there are so many incidences where in we as a child were forced to hug relatives, let them kiss us even if we didn’t liked it just because they should not feel bad we were made to do it. I dont say that everyone of them had a bad instinct but yet there might be some of our aunts and uncle who didnt realized the proper manner to greet a child. In reality this is where the roots of the problem are. As a parent or if there is a child in the family, it is very important for us to make the child understand that they have a personal space and right to say no. Just to keep the people arround us happy it is not important that we make a child to physically show affection to any and everyone and make them aware about good and bad touch the moment they start goin to kindergarten,

        • deepak says

          Meghna that is a great point. Fortunately my family never made me do it but I have seen many of my friends do it even now. They do certain things to please people who are forced into their lives and they may not want it. Extending the argument I guess same thing happens with women specially. They are made to marry men they don’t like and it is a terrible thing for both of them. Imagine being married to a person who don’t like you. So I guess its time we relinquish our conservative thinking and think of our children as separate humans who know their good or bad. Lets not force our religion, thinking, beliefs, friendship on them. Moreover the same thinking is used when people say the our male child will feed us in olden age. Now while this creates a desire to abort female child, it places male child under unnecessary trouble of financial burden. A happier picture will be than people plan for their olden age, save money instead of spending on dowry and allow all children to contribute to their help. World is not difficult that you need special rules for all gender, age etc.
          Good Luck World !!!

  41. ShwetaD says

    I just want to say that equal anger and frustration should be displayed for ALL atrocities against women. Not just for the extreme cases publicized by media (which barely gives due attention to the incidents lacking gory details). Such cases have happened before, and happened world over. It is just now that such things have come to light. ALL of them need to be highlighted, if it costs our country our reputation, so be it. Having faced similar situations, and having been advised to keep quiet about it, I feel quite strongly about this. People need to be aware of how any form of sexual harassment affect women, and I mean EVERY strata of society, not just the ones with access to well worded letters like yours. I request you to make this post public in every way possible.

  42. Rahul G says

    You could not have been more right in your views. Rape is about power and dominance, and are calculated exercises in domination—in jails, in schools, in parks, and families alike.

    Patriarchy has become a monster in Indian society that needs to be dealt with on with urgency. A whole generation of men (and women) have been born and raised to objectify women, and pass of masculine brutality as the norm. Anything beyond this is viewed with aggression. More significantly, Feminism, equal rights (or any countercurrents to the status quo) is reviled as assault on notions of culture, history, and heritage.

    Patriarchy is a disease that goes deep into your psyche, and before you know it, you’re nodding in agreement to notions such as “men will be men”. Unless kids and adults, men and women become gender sensitive, there is very little we can offer to society in the years to come.

    As a man, I am thoroughly ashamed.

  43. Srikant says

    Hi All, I keep hearing legalising of prostitution. dont you think isint a bigger crime than rape. I dont think any one would be happy to get into that business. Its like encouraging a organized crime to stop the other one.

  44. Paloma Sharma says

    Hi Srikant,

    Thanks so much for reading and dropping a comment. However, I’m absolutely shocked (and somewhat disturbed) that you would think that prostitution is a worse crime than rape. While prostitution does involve bartering sexual services for money, it is not *always* forced. Rape is forced, otherwise it wouldn’t be rape, would it? How is a woman selling her body for money worse than a man who forces himself upon another woman (or even another man or child) for nothing but his sickening greed to control someone and feel powerful?

    As you may already know, prostitution is the oldest profession in the world, however it is not recognized as work. Sex work is a profession and yes, I do agree that there are a majority of women and children who are trafficked into prostitution, but shunning these people from mainstream society is NOT a solution. Legalizing prostitution would give these women and children rights that other workers get, they would have identities, it would be easier to keep track of them and prevent even more trafficking. Legalizing prostitution means giving agency to prostitutes. It does not mean that more sex for men will stop rape (because rape isn’t about sex in the first place, as mentioned above).

    Prostitution is an organized crime, yes. But why do we treat prostitutes as criminals and do not deal as harshly with pimps or even the ‘respectable men’ who visit brothels? Have you ever seen a man being excluded from society just because he (despite whatever his age or marital status may be) paid for sex? So, prostitutes are bad but pimps and customers are not because boys will be boys? I don’t think so. Boys need to grow up. It is high time now.

    Also, you’re partially right that no one would willingly be a prostitute, but what other option is available to these women? Due to the ongoing drought in Maharashtra, educated, English-speaking girls and women are being forced into prostitution to survive. What do you wish to achieve by criminalizing prostitution? I’m sure you don’t want them and their families to die of starvation.

    Instead of judging these women, it is better to provide an alternate source of employment so that they can choose what is best for them. In 2005, dance bars (which are NOT the same as brothels) were banned in Mumbai. However, not one member of the moral police came forward and offered dancers an alternative to gain meaningful and sustainable employment. Is that how you want it to be?

    I think patriarchy (and all of us, since we live in a patriarchal society) see prostitution and prostitutes themselves as ‘bad things’ because we are ingrained with this absurd yet terrifying belief that a woman cannot be in control of her own body, that a man must be in charge of her. Hence, perhaps, legalizing prostitution and giving women control of themselves seems outrageous to people.

    I’m still really disturbed that you would think that prostitution is worse than rape (can anything really be?) but I do hope I have been able to change your mind even a little bit.

    Thanks, once again, for reading. :)

    Best Wishes,
    Paloma Sharma.

  45. Miqdad says

    The brain of a man is less empathic, more aggressive and impulsive than that of a woman. The impact of recreational substances and alcohol makes it worse. As an add on to all the angst and lessons mentioned in all the posts above, I would also suggest that society, law makers and people in general realise the effect of these substances on the human mind and the fact that alcohol/drugs are involved in most such gruesome and in humane acts.

    My post is not to find an excuse for those who commit such crimes or for minimising the impact. I will request that readers of this message don’t take it in that way. It is just a message to others that we do not forget the impact of mind altering substances that make the slightly disinhibited, slightly psychopathic people more psychpathic and dangerous. Be aware of this and take action against it. Those who beat their wives and children, those who abuse their children and partners, those who rape little girls or grown up women are often under the influence of alcohol or recreational substances. This is not an excuse as ultimately they are responsible for choosing to get drunk etc and commit the act. However it is a reminder and message to add to all the above information where even once is has not been mentioned.

    • Gajendra Singh Chouhan says

      MIqdad, i can understand your view about the aggression of an influenced and impulsive mind of a man, but tell you what and to every single man out there, “All these alcohol n drug influenced men doesn’t eat their own SHIT for food, what i mean is no man’s mind is that much influenced of alcohol or drugs or recreational substances that he should RAPE to satisfy his inner aggression or whatever it is, there is no excuse as such that he was drug abused or alcohol abused so he raped, i never heard that he was drug abused or alcohol abused so he ate his own shit for food, than why rape huhhh, any person be it anyone even underage too who doesn’t treat the opposite gender with respect and dignity has no right to live in society……. apologies for the words i used above, but thats how it is, no excuse for Rape. When in the influence of drugs or alcohol or anything one doesn’t eat his shit for food than one should’nt rape even, because no man’s mind goes out of order and urge him to rape after being influenced by alcohol or drugs, M/

      • miqdad says

        Gajendra ji, you have chosen to ignore the first few lines of my last paragraph before giving a response to my post. Either you have overlooked it or missed it.

    • Gajendra says

      I read the whole comment sir g, the point i want to make is that no mind is that much insecure or aggressive or influenced that it would end up sexually exploiting someone, its the rage within, of proving its dominance and satisfying its physical need by hook or by crook…..
      Period !!!

  46. Miqdad says

    Gajendraji … you have i think otherwise you would have not responded to my email saying that I was making excuses. I work with criminals and psychopaths in my day to day work as a forensic psychiatrist. My message insisted (as pasted below) that alcohol or drugs are not an excuse but we should not forget other evils that may have a role to play in it. What I also suggested was that this too be looked at. But it seems, as I mentioned earlier, that either you did not read the whole message or perhaps I did not explicitly state that. Hopefully your response would then not have included a period !!!

    “My post is not to find an excuse for those who commit such crimes or for minimising the impact. I will request that readers of this message don’t take it in that way. It is just a message to others that we do not forget the impact of mind altering substances that make the slightly disinhibited, slightly psychopathic people more psychpathic and dangerous. Be aware of this and take action against it. Those who beat their wives and children, those who abuse their children and partners, those who rape little girls or grown up women are often under the influence of alcohol or recreational substances. This is not an excuse as ultimately they are responsible for choosing to get drunk etc and commit the act. However it is a reminder and message to add to all the above information where even once is has not been mentioned.”

  47. Pradeep Jain says

    I read your article and after reading ir, I feel that some day I’ll have answer to my questions and your quries… If this will go where want it.
    I also wanted to write to something over the contemporary issues…more broadly..scandals.. I am sorry for using this kind of words on a public forum but I get MAD over such issues.. And, this initiative of your s gonna be great help…
    I have one suggestion which may not apply to everyone but to some and that also would be a huge number in the country like India.
    We need emotionally strong youth, specifically Girls.
    I am not saying it just for the sake of saying, but I have seen many a times on televisions and sometime in the real life situations around.
    I fear that I might get quoted wrong but please meri baat pe ek baar soch k dekhna ….. Kyunki… Haamare Desh me Jaha RaniLakshniBai of Jhansi h, Kiran Bedi Hai, and many more waha we are having Malika sherewat and Sunny leone also and you know very well which one is proving its more influence. And again its not only for the Girls or Women, for boys also we have Swami Vivekanand and Honey Singh at the same time so its totally upon us that what we choose for ourselves.
    That’s all
    And once again all the best and thank you so much for bring your views.


    • Anupam Bhargava says

      The talk pivots on an irrelevant and insignificant aspect. Who is bothered whether its a Men’s issue or a Women’s issue? The point is Man is the culprit, and Woman the victim. No more no less. Basically, it is the Society’s problem, with both, Men and Women, equal parts of it. Has it to be told, “It takes two to tango”?
      The speaker did raise the question, “Why do acts like domestic violence and rape take place?” But, nowhere did he answer it. A very superficial treatment to a subject that deserves much more seriousness and depth. To cure such malaise, what is imperative is its etiology and diagnosis, in which, the psychological, physiological and socio-cultural behaviour patterns of both, Men and Women, are equally important.

  48. a k gurtoo says


    • ashes007 says

      totally agree with you, the punishment too should be as ruthless as the heinousness of the crime has been….



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