Features Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | February 9, 2015 | 1.21 pm IST Proud Rapist is well-intentioned, trying to talk about sexual violence and build unacceptability for it, but it seems to suggest that sexual violence begins and ends with the penis. Not true. Produced by Purani Dili Talkies and uploaded on YouTube, the short film has been viewed over 14,000 times in three days. The short film shows a man accused of rape lying in a hospital bed, and the doctor asking him whether it was true that he has raped a school girl. Towards the end when the man says: “They can’t do anything to me,” the doctor asks him to see for himself, what injuries he had. The suggestion is that he had been bobbitized. The “moral” of the story is that the best way to deal with rape is “cutting it off”, complete with recorded background laughter and Bollywood-style triumphant background music when the hero wins (in this case, when the man is feeling himself looking for his penis). Sounds like an eye for an eye, or its equivalent. That’s revenge, not justice. It is also in no way effective, and not just because a person can be sexually assaulted even without a penis. There are numerous cases, but the first that comes to mind is the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case in which the young woman was not just raped, but was also assaulted with a rod and a broken beer bottle in her genitals. Blades were found in the genitals of another sexually assaulted woman. Even men are sexually assaulted, homosexuals too. The film suggests that sexual violence happens because a penis exists. But it is precisely this importance to the penis and all its connotations such as the idea of being “macho” and “manly”, that lies at the core of gender violence (including that against sexual minorities). But listening to the man talk, it is very clear where the problem lies: in the attitude and mindset. It is in this aspect that the film is very, very insightful.  Watch the video: In the five-and-a-half-minutes that the film runs, the director has built a partial profile of a person who simply thinks sex is his entitlement. He says he has had fun and he will continue to have like this when he wants to. But his views also speak of the alienation that many people have with the trappings of modernity. A mindset that already thinks of sex on demand as his entitlement, makes excuses for rape by saying women wear skimpy clothes, and even school girls are always keeping four boys around at the same time, “so why should she have a problem with me?” The character of the rapist is what we need to engage with, because there is a bit of him in all of us who want to blame the victim for being assaulted. If we are to hope to have a society free from sexual violence and violence of all kinds, we will have to get rid of the glorification of the penis and stop extending that admiration for brute force as well. Nijo Johnson, who made the video along with his team says, "We don't want to promote violence, but this an attempt to ask for better laws." Perhaps the worst thing on earth for someone like the Proud Rapist would be make him forcefully sit and engage with women. But such a course would probably have had more of an influence on him when he was younger. Watch another video by Purani Dili Talkies here Tweet
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