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I know this has nothing to do with books but I had to talk about it.

A week ago a woman was raped brutally in Kerala. Her intestines were pulled out and she was assaulted with sharp foreign objects. She was alone in her house when she was attacked by an unknown number of men (one of whom is said to be absconding and the other is suspected to be her neighbour) and raped repeatedly, sharp objected inserted into her private parts and her intestines pulled out; in a shockingly similar manner to the infamous Nirbhaya case from Delhi.

Five days later, the media is in a tizzy about this. The problem here is, while people are finally starting to care, they only seem to care long enough to find something else to blame. Usually it is, “What was she wearing?” “She was out at night, girls from good families don’t roam around at night.” “She was wearing jeans, jeans attract rape.” “She uses a mobile. Mobiles spoil woman and make them rape victims.” “Ladke aise hi hothe hai.” (This is how boys are.) And in Jisha’s case, since she didn’t do anything “wrong” her brutalisation is being blamed on free flowing alcohol in Kerala.

I was watching the news on TV and there was a panel with three powerful woman; Kiran Bedi being one of them. She said, “In India you see women standing in long queues to collect drinking water for their parched families and you see men standing in long queues to buy alcohol because they can’t function without them.” It sounds like an exaggeration but it is true. You will know how bad the situation in India is if you’ve seen the memes about Bihar turning into a dry state. Men downing cough syrups. Trying to make alcohol and spending lots of money in trying to smuggle some in. All for the need. Yes, this needs to be addressed but by blaming alcohol, India is, once again, taking the focus off the actual problem.

Is the average Indian criminal so deprived that he has to dig out a woman’s intestines in the middle of rape? Rape is bad enough a crime but this? Destroying a life and destroying another life because can you imagine how the mother felt when she walked in and found her dead daughter in a pool of blood with her innards outside? Two lives destroyed. All because we always say, “Ladke aise hi hothe hai”.

Well if ladke aise hi hothe hai what about the men standing up, holding banners and screaming for the criminals to be brought to justice? What about the boys who fight to save their female companions when they get attacked? What about Nirbhaya’s friend?

Ladke aise nahi hothe. Stop blaming the women and excusing the men. Instead pull up the system; our culture, or lack thereof. Blame the male chauvinistic, patriarchal system where women are nothing but sexual pleasures to be hand, baby making machines to produce more boys and maids who cook and clean the house for you. These are the same women who raise their sons to think that they are gods walking on earth because that is what they were taught “You are worth nothing since you’re a girl” “Sorry that you had a daughter, maybe the next one will be a son.” Mothers in law, fathers in law and husbands who condemn their daughters in law for having a girl child are to be blamed. As is the justice system that cares more about the financial status of the accused than the severity of the crime. The media that cares more if the victim is a dalit than if she actually gets justice. The cops who molest women who come to complain instead of fighting for the rights they vowed to uphold. We are a diseased country and someone has to cut off the gangrened limb that is Rape-Culture.

I cry for Jisha. As I cried for Nirbhaya. As I cried when my friend told me she was molested on her way to school. As I almost cried when I realised I had to carry a protractor in my hands while travelling in the bus back home from school in case someone decides to get handsy. We cry for every woman who is ever assaulted and brutalised in a manner that isn’t befitting our “civilised” status. We speak of how this isn’t Indian culture (let us not even get into that bit) and yet, we show films where the man stalks, molests and kidnaps the woman to get her to love him. Our dear country, where movie topics trend for longer than #JusticeForJisha

Our people are doing the same thing aren’t they?

They see a superstar like Shak Rukh or some other Indian actor and believe that if they stalk her long enough, she will love them. And when she doesn’t? The answer is obvious isn’t it? Acid attack or rape.

And we still blame the woman. Or her clothes. Or the alcohol. Anything, except our rapists and our culture. The way India is going, it looks like our rapists are becoming our international identity.

Parvathy brought up another topic when asked Why Kerala men are so bad. First, Bad Kerala men are bad, as are the bad men of other states. Don’t bring it down to just one state. It’s the country that is wrong. The world that is wrong. But she spoke about how men and women are separated at a young age, “Do not talk to the opposite sex, you’ll get spoiled.” Students sitting apart based on their genders, students yelled at, beaten or otherwise punished if they are caught talking to the opposite sex. Girls more so than boys. “She’s talking to the boys, she must be a desperate whore.” “Look how she runs after them, how much do you think she goes for” are sentences I’ve overheard when I was just 13.

Yes. 13 year olds, accusing their classmates of prostitution. “Hey India, see. They didn’t speak to the opposite sex and they still got spoiled.”

My mum talked to me about how, at the age of ten, the punishment in her school for doing anything bad was being made to sit with the boys. “It’s a shame” the teacher used to say. Yes, it’s a shame. A shame that India thinks that intermingling among opposite sexes is the greatest sin there is. Yet, we oppose homosexuality. It’s a shame that we have alienated men and women so much that men no longer see women as human. We are toys to them, to be had, played with and then destroyed like you destroy a Barbie when you’re angry with something or someone else.

Shame India. Shame.