07 June 2005

Have we not evolved yet?

At The Penn Summit on Global Issues in Women’s Health, “Safe Womanhood in an Unsafe World” in end-April this year, it was felt that “Although women often provide the foundation for societal stability, their ability to contribute productively to the environments where they reside is often compromised by violence, a lack of rights, low social status, marginal health and limited decision-making about their lives and those of their children.” Can this be true?

A friend and fellow-blogger reports in his 4 June blog, “under the Sharia (the code of Islamic laws… and their convenient interpretations) women rape victims can be put to death – for having slept with strangers. Mass rape carried out as ethnic cleansing in Sudan’s stricken Darfur region has largely gone unreported. Victims are afraid to testify and face the wrath of Sudan’s strict Shariat laws.”

Across the globe from Africa, Janice Asher, clinical director of women’s health at University of Pennsylvania’s Student Health Service, suggests that there is a tendency to think that rape or sexual assault only happens to “other people” or “uneducated people”. Yet, every year, she sees some of the best, brightest and richest students of an Ivy League university like uPenn walk into her clinic as rape victims. In her reality, Ms Asher says, before the year is through “at least one-quarter [of the female students] will have had sex against their will.”

Around the time delegates discussed “Safe Womanhood in an Unsafe World” in the ambient atmosphere of a conference hall at The Penn Summit, in Mumbai, a drunk police constable raped a teenage girl in the early hours of the evening close to a walking thoroughfare. In New Delhi, our capital, there are reports of rape everyday, in spite of the fact that most rapes are not reported.

Who gets raped? According to an article, New Delhi – the rape capital of India?, “Everyone from little girls to grandmothers. Age is no barrier… Rapes happen across the social strata in India.” Why do women get raped? Why do men rape? Why are women afraid to report being raped? The answers can be many… ranging from foolishness to frightening.

I guess there are sociological as well as psychological issues involved here. Even cultural predispositions. But, what about the “becoming human” aspect of our evolution I blogged about last Sunday? About intellect controlling instincts? About displaying behaviour disciplined by intellect… which is a hallmark of our civilisation. Have we not evolved to that extent yet?

1 comment:

pH said...

a pointer - but who's listening, anyway?