Gurpreet Singh: Ujjal Dosanjh uses Twitter to shame traditionalists who blame women for rape
Former B.C. premier and ex-M.P. Ujjal Dosanjh has remarked on Twitter that if men cannot control their penises, they should have them removed.
It came in reaction to those suggesting that women should dress "appropriately" to avoid being raped.
Dosanjh's bold tweet has shamed traditionalists who are pinning the blame on women for rapes and sexual violence in India.
Ever since a 23-year-old female student was gang-raped in Delhi, there have been angry protests in India and other parts of the world, including Surrey and Ottawa.
Poor women in rural India continue to endure sexual violence.
Despite this, Mohan Bhagwat, leader of the RSS—an ultra-Hindu nationalist organization—has claimed that rapes are taking place in urban India and not in the rural areas.
According to him, that's because of the increasing influence of western culture in big cities.
Likewise, a legislator of the Hindu nationalist right-wing Bhartiya Janata Party, Banwari Lal Singhal, recently asked schools to ban girls from wearing skirts.
Not to be left behind, the head of the Akal Takhat, Giani Gurbachan Singh, asked women to wear traditional attire to avoid sexual violence. The Akal Takhat is the highest temporal seat of the Sikh religion.
These suggestions are totally absurd.
"Shabbily" dressed women in tribal and rural areas continue to be raped by those who enjoy political and social influence. Most of these victims are generally from the Dalit community, widely known as "untouchables'' in the caste-ridden Indian society.
Due to feelings of shame and guilt, many of these women avoid going to the police, who generally try to shield the rich and the powerful.
Prominent figures making statements like the ones above are not only indirectly shielding rapists, but these unscientific and irrational observations completely obscure the reality of life in rural India.
How can people, including elected officials and clergy in India, blame women's attire for rapes when even minor girls are being sexually exploited?
This goes on despite the fact that Indians, particularly Hindus, revere goddesses.
Those indulging in moral policing—including these dumb leaders—should be excommunicating or ostracizing rapists and sex offenders and working to provide space and comfort for victims.
Women have also been victims of numerous sexual crimes at religious places in India.
Even the insistence of giving capital punishment to rapists is rhetorical. This would only encourage rapists to murder victims to destroy evidence.
Victims of sexual violence in India only need assurance and support from their family, society, and authorities instead of hysterical responses.
Speaking from a Canadian perspective, this country does not execute rapists or killers, yet women can walk around freely even in so-called skimpy attire.
This is partially because women know that if anything goes wrong, society will stand behind them and not the sexual offender.
In India it is the rape victim, and not the perpetrator, who get stigmatized.
Suppression of desire in the orthodox and sexually starved Indian society also contributes to sexual violence.
Instead of being hypocritical about sex, Indian society should learn to recognize it as a reality and talk more openly about it.
Gurpreet Singh is a Georgia Straight contributor, and the host of a program on Radio India. He's working on a book tentatively titled Canada's 9/11: Lessons from the Air India Bombings.