Amidst the wide-spread call for “death penalty” and “chemical castration” for rapists in India, following the brutal rape and torture of a 23-year old medical student in a bus in New Delhi, i wanted to make a point against this popular sentiment.
I wish to propose a movement to liberalise sex, and the sex industry.
“Shameless bastard!” Is that what you just hurled at me? Well, please be patient and stay with me. Here are some points for you to ponder over.
A case for encouraging prostitution and pornography
Over the years, many scientists have investigated the link between pornography (considered legal under the First Amendment in the United States unless judged “obscene”) and sex crimes and attitudes towards women. And in every region investigated, researchers have found that as pornography has increased in availability, sex crimes have either decreased or not increased. ~ http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/28803/title/Porn–Good-for-us-/
“A study conducted in Queensland… show[ed] a 149% increase in the rate of rape when legal brothels were closed in 1959, while other offenses against the person by males increased only 49%.” Source: http://prostitution.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000122
“In this paper I examine the hypothesis that the frequency of rape is increased when another source of sex (prostitution) is limited or unavailable. To test this theory I regressed the rape rate in available OECD countries against a proxy for the availability of prostitution. The relationship was found to be anti-correlated at about the 90% confidence level. Using this model, it is estimated that if prostitution were legalized in the United States, the rape rate would decrease by roughly 25% for a decrease of approximately 25,000 rapes per year.” ~ Prostitution and Sex Crimes by Kirby R. Cundiff
Liberalizing consensual sex!
We’ve become a hypocritical society. We were a society which openly celebrated sex on temple walls such as those of Khajuraho and even on some Jain temples around the country (i specifically mention Jain temples because followers of the Jain religion, in our times, seem to be known to have a much stricter approach to life). We wrote the world most popular treatise on sexuality – the “Kama Sutra”; we created an entire stream of religious thought of merging with the Divine using sex and sexuality as a tool.
We celebrate sexuality and union of the male and female through the “Shivalinga” (which by the way, in non-Hindu context remains extremely misinterpreted and misrepresented).
Radha was Krishna’s consort (out-of-marriage), and they celebrated their sexual union (unfortunately, this is spoken of in hushed tones now; and an element of divinity is often added to Radha, which is reminiscent of outdated Catholic morals).
The BJP represents “hindutva” in some puritan Bhramnical (and may i say Catholic) version. To be true to Hindutva or Hinduism is to be unable to bind it down to any definition. The moment you try to define it, you screw-up the essence of this religion. This religion is liberating, not binding.
I am consciously bringing up Hinduism in the context of “we” becoming a hypocritical society. Yes, we are a diversified group of religions, belief systems, races and so on, but what defines what we call our culture, largely emanates from this historical background of over 7000 years of known civilizational continuity.
Sorry for digressing.
For thousands of years sex has been encouraged among children hitting puberty in many Indian and African tribes. There are stories about how these tribes have never seen sexual crimes.
Come to think of it. If for all of us, sex was not made out to be a taboo, and if we had “gotten over it” at an early age, and if we all had access to freely express sexual desires in a healthy manner with our mates (within, or outside of marriage) would there be any rapes or sexual crimes.
You don’t need to Khushwant Singh’s wisdom to reach a conclusion on this:
“…[A] necessary step [to prevent rape] is to legalise prostitution — carried out in brothels or by call-girls — provided the sex workers are adults and have not been forced into the trade. The more you try to put down prostitution, the higher will be the incidence of crime against innocent women. You may find the idea repulsive but ponder over it and you will realise there is substance in the argument.” ~ Sep 28, 2002 The Tribune (India) article enititled “How A Rapist Should Be Punished” by Khushwant Singh
Blame the Creator
And yet we will refuse to see our own cultural context. We will refuse to accept truth even it instinctively holds true for us. And we do this because “God said so”.
The easiest way for us to shrug responsibility of the state of our society is to look towards God’s commandments in multiple world religions, and claim our digression from “His” (may i say “Her”?) dictat. It is also the most absurd.
God, or whoever the creator of this Universe is, has made our bodies to respond to sexual stimuli. What kind of a sadistic God it would be who first gives us bodies and desires to celebrate our sexuality, and then punishes us for engaging with it.
Yet it is Him who our religionists claim has laid out rules for moral engagement, communicated to us through Prophets and Avatars. It is this moral engagement and list of rules, of dos and don’ts that this insane (version of) God appreciates — which is the cause of, i believe, all of the world’s problems. From sexual crime, to Wall Street forgery, to war and invasions — everything.
Redefining the relationship with God
Since there is no God that anyone has seen in our living world, i choose the version of a God who does not judge us; who gives us free choice and then simply watches us (as an observer) evolve through the choices we have made — even if they are morally correct according to the societies we live in or no; who does not have either a hell or a heaven (or worse, a “purgatory” for permanent damnation for the ones involved in the most heinous crimes) in his armoury to instill Gods-fear us.
This is the more empowering version of God. The New Age God. This was also the hindus’ God until a few millennia ago.
To redefine the society we want to create, it is imperative that we redefine our relationship with God, and free ourselves from the morals She has dictated upon us. This is imperative to to break the stranglehold of our moralistic parental and school educational system on us.
Let us re-ignite our “ability to respond” (response-ability), by taking responsibility and accountability of the society we live in, instead of shoving it down God’s throat.