I leave for law school tonight for the last time. I have some stuff to understand and I will try to do it as coherently as possible. Maybe it won’t suck.
The rape incident and the protests. I would love to live in a world where horrifying things did not happen to people. Personally, I would even settle for being of an age and disposition where I cried about this; because I have cried about things like rape, molestation, eve-teasing and all of the above in the past. There was a time when I felt that much. Now, I feel bad and I can’t seem to separate the bad feeling from this, from the bad feeling I get from every other crappy thing that happens in the world.
The way I seem to be looking at this is as a bucket (not a drop) of dreadfulness in an Olympic size swimming pool (not an ocean) of horrifying things. And that is not good, because it takes away from exactly how dreadful something like this is, no matter what scale you use or what you compare it against. Having admitted to my own limited emotional and mental limitations, I will try and overcome them when talking about this. If I don’t succeed, I apologize in advance.
I am not a big fan of most protests. I don’t understand what they want, especially when the participants live in a certain comfort. I’m not saying they don’t have a right to for better things. I mean that the way most protests go, it always ends up looking like a demand for near anarchy or an utter loss of democracy and due process. And while anarchy is an understandable goal for someone who doesn’t live in the cocoon of a well to do society, it is a puzzling one for those who do.
I personally don’t abhor the death penalty at a certain level. Some people deserve to die. Some people deserve to be killed by a cold, cruel hand dealt methodically by the over-reaching hand of what we call the state. And there are a lot of these people. Child molesters, certain murderers and people who speak in the theatre (I couldn’t resist slipping that in, browncoats). But the people who get the death penalty when its dealt forth by the hand of “public opinion” are often not those who deserve so utterly, to die. Make no mistake, if it were left to me and the world was in my control and I could oversee everything that happened in it, I would not hesitate to give a death sentence in this case. Fundamentally, I think they should be dead. But that is the kind of opinion I would stick with if I hadn’t gone to law school and if I was still eighteen.
Violence against women will not be contained by the death penalty; at least not enough to justify it. It would be if it was an unusual or unacceptable practice. But the problem is that when it comes to permissibility of violence against women, we need only look at the mirror to find the guilty. Here is the actual extent of dreadfulness, the whole picture – rape happens every day, more times than we want to think about, and I know others have said it before, but the reason is simply that we haven’t actually rejected it from society. We have allowed the sexuality of women to be the subject of our derision, our opinions and our property, and in doing so we have permitted it to be subject to our anger, our frustration and our sense of duty or honor.
The reason I can’t get behind death penalty for rape is because I know of families and friends and groups of young people who don’t think too much about honor killings in their vicinity. Everybody knows people who think its alright to eve tease. And you can say its just expressing yourself and at a certain level its harmless. But you don’t express yourself so honestly when a beefed up guy cuts in line or when you are so irritated with your boss you want to tell them what you think of them. You don’t express yourself because you know its not acceptable. You express yourself to a woman on the street because you and everyone around you have made it acceptable. And so when one of your casual acquaintance who has a slight temper problem sees a girl alone at night, he would be justified in his twisted logic of thinking its acceptable to rape her, because how many times have you guys joked about it to women in the streets? It must be mildly acceptable if people can suggest sexualizing an unwilling participant so openly, right?
So when six people seem to get it into their heads that it is not a horrible thing to rape and torture a woman, they do deserve punishment. They deserve everything they get. But then you consider all the people who ‘lost their heads’ with a woman in the ‘heat of the moment’. You will find the number of people you are subjecting to the possibility of a death sentence is very high. And you may not want it when you think about the casual acquaintances, friends of friends, family members, neighbors who could ‘lose their heads with a woman in the heat of the moment’. I may be okay with executing them, but you may not be.
An eye for an eye is an extreme form of justice, one that not many people agree with. In fact I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that I think its very unpopular. And even that doesn’t allow for death penalty for rapists. In a perverse, entirely perfunctory and knee-jerk kind of way, I must say I don’t mind an eye for an eye method for rapists. But again, once you open that can of worms, it’s a bit hard to control it.
As for the protests, I don’t have a problem with people protesting. I must say I don’t know how it would help given that any changes or even an overhaul of the justice system or the law will not change the fact that people think its okay. That even if you don’t think its okay, you have no idea about how and where you may have given someone an idea that it is. I know it’s a far-fetched thought, and I actually have no fundamental problem with comedy or jokes, believe you me, but its an unfortunate reality that we have to face up to. I do understand why people protest. I understand that it is a legitimate expression of sentiment and frustration and anger. But its not for me personally.
I don’t have solutions for policy or compromise in law, but I do have an admittedly simple idea about what would actually help, though it would only take effect in the long run. Something as fundamental as a proper understanding of who is responsible for the sex of a feotus can actually affect the treatment of women. I could postulate from there to saying that a simple and entrenched understanding of gender equality and human sex and sexuality would be effective as well as long as it is successfully introduced into a mind to compete with bullshitty ‘traditional’ notions.
So there. I don’t agree with the death penalty because it doesn’t address the problem and it is a logistical nightmare. I understand why people protest, but I will not because its not my way. That’s all.
I will try to write another blog this week because I think this one has been a bit low on the fun quotient and I don’t like not having a fun blog.