We live in troubled times. While there have been tremendous advances in many other spheres, our approach towards women remains in the Dark Ages. Our mind-sets haven’t changed despite the free flow of modern technology and influences from across the globe. We still consider women as objects of sex. The gender inequality and male insecurity is turning us into a nation of potential rapists. This may be the right time to change mind-sets by legalising prostitution. Harry puts forth his arguments to change mind-sets.
Khush and Harry were buddies despite Harry being older by 15 years. After a hard game of tennis, they were cooling their heels at CCI. Harry ordered another round of coffee. This was his fourth cup since the morning.
Khush: Hey Harry, have you got addicted to coffee lately?
Harry: Have I? For that matter, Khush, you have been addicted to a woman lately. You have been with Natasha for over a month now.
Khush (smiling): I just want her to settle down after which she will be on her own. It’s a matter of another fortnight.
Harry: Cool! Likewise, I want just a day more with coffee, till I get over my sore throat. No harm in getting addicted to someone or something, but only till such time as we want to and not need to.
Stagnant mind-sets lead to a deteriorating situation
Khush: That’s neat! Now tell me, Harry, with all the media uproar, will women be able to move about freely and safely in this country?
Harry: I doubt it, the rape scene may worsen further.
Khush: Why do you say so?
Harry: We need to question the mind-set of the people who frame and practise law. The law says a man is entitled to rape his wife. This is ridiculous, how can we outrage their modesty? It makes us amongst the most backward nations in the world.
Khush: I believe so, but why do you connect this to the rapist at large?
Harry: Why don’t women have the same status and freedom that we men have? Why are they considered the weaker sex? Who are we to judge them and restrict them? Why do we hide our women and overly protect them?
Khush: Too many questions, Harry. Basically, you are saying that the answer to my question is quite deep-rooted.
Harry: That’s right. Because we are threatened by them, we label them as the weaker sex. Most men are potential rapists, as they are mentally and emotionally weaker.
Khush: Absolutely right, Harry. What about the men who go in groups to attack a young girl? They are the weakest of the lot, the gang rapists.
Harry (in disgust): The bloody male domination comes out of such inferiority complex. Do you know about Hawa Mahal?
Khush: Not much, I only know it’s a palace in Jaipur.
Harry: Women of the royal family who were under strict observance of purdah were allowed to witness royal processions and proceedings of the market place unseen by the outside world, through pigeon hole-like openings called jharokhas.
Khush: This is worse than slavery, Harry.
Harry: We have thus made them the objects of forbidden thoughts and unconscious desires. It is human nature to want what we cannot have or should not have. The more they are denied, the stronger is their desire. By making the laws more rigid, you might instigate a potential rapist.
Khush: Hmm, I see what you mean. Tell me, what you think of women who solicit?
Harry: Forcing women into sex is like making money out of their rape, a gang rape. This is only because prostitution is not legalised and women are not allowed to solicit. As long as it is mutual and between two adults for money or basic needs, it’s their business.
Khush: You nailed it Harry. Every city, big or small, has had illegal brothels from time immemorial, where underage – sometime even before they attain puberty – women kept in bondage are constantly raped for money. Why is this a norm?
Harry: However, this is considered immoral by a society of hypocrites who are supported by laws made by people with double standards. Because of such rules and regulations, a vast section of men across India are frustrated and desperate to prove their manhood. As a result, there are countless incidents of rape every day and only a fraction of them are reported. The most degrading of them are the ones involving doctors and patients, priests and disciples, teachers and students, lawmakers and law enforcers, politicians and the public, householders and maids and sexual harassment at the workplace.
A nation of potential rapists
Khush: This makes a lot of sense. The men here are so frustrated and desperate for sex that they all are potential rapists. Sex is such a taboo that it is confined to illegal, unhygienic brothels. Like in the state of Gujarat, a dry state, alcohol is sourced from bootleggers.
Harry: Yes, Khush, that’s a good analogy. It is simply a demand-and-supply issue. Legalising the trade would serve an entire community. Doctors in attendance will ensure the highest standards of hygiene and attract tourism. Taxation will boost the economy. It will eradicate illegal businesses run by corrupt politicians and the underworld.
Khush: This is a perfect plan to do away with disease, terrorism and funding for politicians and the underworld.
Legalising prostitution – the only way out
Harry: I am glad that these gruesome incidents have at least united people across the country. Gone are the days when love and sex were inextricably combined. The art of seduction was the poetry of life. But now, sex is only a bad word, thanks to our dirty minds. The basic need won’t go away, it will accumulate and inflate like a balloon till it bursts, and that’s rape. In most cases, of course, it’s their prostate that balloons up and if unattended, leads to prostate cancer.
Khush: Ha, ha, that’s a good one! You are so right, Harry. Unless we change our mind-set, there is no hope.
Harry: Yes. To change something so deep-rooted, we need to do something quite drastic. Remove restrictions and narrow-minded policies. Legalise prostitution.