HANG THE RAPIST
Is violence the answer to sexual violence?
Anger over the brutal Delhi mass-rape has erupted in India and protestors are marching in the streets and demanding the rapists be hung. This is in the country where Gandhi Mahatma (great soul) tried to advocate non-violent resistance. "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" he had said. Violence breeds violence, we need to heal the underlying issues of sexual repression that lead to rape and incest with education. We need to break the silence about how widespread sexual abuse is so that society is forced to open it's eyes to the truth and begin to heal and make changes. This issue is not just in India, but the world is now watching this case under a magnifying glass.
Most societies turn a blind eye to the shadow of sexuality. When there is an incident of rape to incest that is forced into the public eye, society responds explosively by demanding "justice" for the victim and violent punishment for the perpetrator. This cycle is not new and has not brought lasting change because it is still a process of denial of the underlying root issue of sexual repression that leads to the violence and abuse.
I read a statistic that said 1 in 3 women had sexual violence or abuse. That is a staggering number but I think it is still less than the actual number. From years of teaching yoga and spiritual programs where people come to heal, I would say 2 out of 3 women have experienced sexual violence or abuse. I think the same is true of men, but they have an even greater taboo against speaking out about it since it damages the macho masculine ideal we have created. It is difficult enough for a woman to be vulnerable and break the silence to speak about her sexual abuse, it is much more difficult for men to do the same. If they were molested by another man, they will be labelled "homosexual" for the rest of their lives.
RELIGIOUS SEXUAL HYPOCRISY
It is ironic that in a country like India, where there are images of female Goddesses that are worshipped in the temples and small statues in people's homes, women are treated as second class citizens. The sex double standard affects women of all socio-economic classes. One of my Indian girl friends who drives a Porche told me she she had gotten urinary tract infections growing up because the women in her house were taught they could only use the bathroom early in the morning and late at night after the men had gone to sleep, so the men would not be "offended" by her bodily functions. This while the men relieve themselves by peeing openly in the streets. Holy men walk naked through the streets or with small cloths covering their genitalia while women are wrapped in the long fabric of the sari. Why is the man's body holy when it is naked but the woman's body is not? The shaming of female sexuality and genitalia is pervasive among all classes. Men are allowed to be sexually promiscuous while a woman may ruin her reputation for a lifetime if she dates, had sex or lives with a man out of wedlock.
How can you worship a statue in the Goddess in a temple and allow flesh and blood women to be abused? Sex is one of the biggest taboos in India. It is still one of the biggest religious taboos everywhere in the world. Wherever religions create sexual taboo, there is the hypocrisy of abuse. Think of all the cases of Catholic priests who are supposed to be celibate molesting choir boys?
Why have religions created so much taboo against sexuality when it has been proven again and again to be a breeding ground for rape, incest and molestation? Isn't it time to open our eyes and acknowledge that we need to change the root of the problem and stop the sexual repression?
FOR OUR OWN PROTECTION
I cannot think of one country or religion where men are forced to cover their bodies so that they will not cause women to sin or sexually attack them. Why the double standard? As a woman, I grew up religious and was taught if I dressed in a way that showed my body, it was sexually provocative and if a man sexually attacked or abused me, "I had asked for it". I think men should be offended that we think they are so weak that they cannot control their sexual urges. The sexual repression of the female bodies causes a brain washing of the men too, so that they are so sexually repressed they act out to sexual stimulation in violent ways.
DENIAL OF SEXUAL ABUSE
Things are really changing in India. I was at a friends house watching TV and they had a woman on the news who was telling a terrible story. She said her daughter had been molested by her own father and when the mother brought him to court the judge said, "It is not possible for a father to do such a thing." He then asked the husband what punishment he would want for his lying wife.
Aside from how horrible this kind of suppression is, it was astounding to me that they were talking openly about it on television now. Sex has been a taboo in India for a very long time. Now because of the Delhi rape case, stories like this are exploding and coming to public light.
"There is no stopping the truth now", my friend Vinay who I am watching the TV with says. "Students in Delhi are finally protesting and they are not stopping. The politicians are being forced to have answers. The students are bringing new life to the country."
SEXUAL EDUCATION AND HEALTHY ATTITUDES
I truly believe if there was less suppression of sexulaity and women (and men) were more empowered to understand their sexuality- there would be less sexual violence erupting from the repression. Step 1: EDUCATE! What if we actually educated children about sex instead of hiding it from them. I would like it to be truly an empowerment of understanding the power of sexual energy, not just how to put a condom on. My parents were Christian conservatives who pulled me out of public school the week they had sex ed. At the same time, I lived with a background of sexual abuse. I was too ashamed to speak openly and seek help. Repression does not yield the results we want, it creates a cycle of sexual abuse. We are the generation who can break the chain of repression and abuse for our children and heal for all our relations.
It is time for us as a human race to evolve around sexuality and sexual issues. It begins by breaking the silence around abuse so we can heal the root. The more people who stand up and speak the more we can bring light where there has been shadow. in the past, people have been afraid to speak up because they have been labeled and stigmatized for the rest of their lives. The only way to change this is to shift the perception that only a few have experienced this sexual violence and abuse. It takes a lot of courage, but we can support each other, we are not alone.
On March 16th, Courage to Rise is having a National Day of Action
Live events in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Kauai, Salt Lake City, DenverWomen+ Sex + Power"I promise you can be more powerful"Stop Sexual Violence and Abuse2013...We RiseConscious Activism and HealingWe will have movie screenings of real women's stories, yoga and circle discussions