The Other Side of Pink

The Hindi movie Pink has opened to hugely favorable reviews. Interestingly, this film explores a grey area with respect to rape and successfully paints such scenarios with the widest possible brush to paint women as only victims, and men as only aggressors.

Let me begin with the most glaring conflation in the movie, one that sets the tone and tenor of the narrative. The men accused of rape are from the rich-class, with political connections. The women, on the contrary, are middle-class. Clearly, the men were able to misuse law, not because they’re men, but because of their class. Likewise, the women suffered not on account of being women, but because they’re not powerful enough to buy influence. This is a class divide, which the movie has cunningly collapsed into a gender divide.

Turn the tables, and a rich women can run down a middle-class man with more crushing finesse, given our current state of misandric laws. Even when both the men and women are on equal footing, our misandric laws that substitute allegation for proof ensure that a mere accusation from women, without any corroborative evidence, can land the accused men in jail immediately.

The meaning of consent

Feminists proudly exclaim that they’ve redefined rape laws, which to traditional users of English, translates to admission of falsely accusing men. Notice that the new rape scenarios do not involve a predator waiting for a woman in a dark lane, and forcing himself upon her. This is an open-and-shut case of rape, which nobody would contest.

The new-age rape laws involve not just casting the net of guilt as widely as possible on men, but effectively absolving women of all responsibility. Consent, as defined by feminists, means something entirely different from what is usually connotes. In this sense, rape, today,  is sex that women later regrets. In West, if a drunk man and woman have sex, which the woman later regrets, she can, by retrospective withdrawal of consent, turn the consensual sex into a rape. The feminist argument is that the woman, being intoxicated, was not in position to give consent; but in the same vein, isn’t the intoxicated man too incapable of processing consent? While on it, do note that we do not likewise absolve drunk men of the consequences of rash driving. Rather, we hold them responsible for endangering others’ lives by consuming alcohol and driving under its influence.

Back to “Pink”, if the men in question tried to force themselves on the women right in the very rock concert where they first met, this verily constitutes attempt to rape. But these women accept invitation from a rank stranger to an unknown place! One wonders why would any woman accept an invitation from strangers at all, that too, to an unknown, uninhabited place? Were they expecting a platonic, poetry-reciting session?

This is a recurring theme in feminist propaganda; in a short film “I Saw Him Again“, the female lead follows a stranger to the washroom in a rock concert (again), with the manifest intent of having consensual sex. But apparently she regrets the decision at the nick of moment and wants out. She stalks the man six years later and accuses him of rape while making a stunningly revealing comment that he never even contacted her again. The male lead, aptly confronts her, asking if the crux of her angst is that he didn’t date her later. See the video for yourself; notwithstanding the overt propagandist orientation, many will question if what occurred can be labeled rape at all!

Or sample this account of a woman who traveled to another city to meet a man she had never met on his offer to share his bed. She attempts to resist his advances initially, before giving in. Ironically, if she presses rape charges against the man whom she visited from another place and in whose home they had sex, they will stand. Whether or not she said “no” is of little consequence, because in this kind of typical “she said, he said” scenario our feminist laws enjoin that a woman’s word must always be accorded precedence. So, if the woman in question regrets sex or feels that she was coerced into it, she can withdraw her consent retrospectively, notwithstanding the fact she was the one who willingly walked into the situation. Since these laws interpret the consent on event-by-event, we can get tragic scenarios, where out of 10 acts, the women can claim that while the 4th and 6th act were consensual, the 5th was rape. What, however, does the man say? Forget it, didn’t you understand even thus far that a man’s testimony is barely relevant?

What feminists actually want is to make it safe for women to walk into a stranger’s house at an unknown place and feel protected should they regret it in the nick of moment. “Teach men not to rape”, paradoxically, ignores the fact that most law-abiding men neither have the intent nor the power to do so, since they can’t ignore the serious repercussions from such an act. If feminists, instead of absolving women of their responsibility, asked them not to send confusing signals to strangers and say “no” to any invitations from strangers, much anger and pain could have been avoided to the victims (and by victims I mean both the women and men). Such feminist laws will only encourage women to pursue strangers and walk into dangerous situations, all while giving them a false sense of security.

Rape in real-life scenarios

Except in remote, rural areas or where an exceptionally powerful backing prevails (as in this movie), the ground reality is vastly different in India. A mere allegation from a woman, even a live-in partner of years, can land the accused man in jail. Nowadays, even the police fear accusations of favoritism or apathy so much, that despite grasping the true situation (hell, even if they can sense it as blatantly false), they anyway go ahead the arrest the man. The accused man, without a shred of evidence against him, can find himself being treated as guilty and must seek bail from court i.e. after several days in jail. In a feminist reinterpretation of Khap panchayati tradition of forcing a couple having sexual relations to marry, modern woman uses the threat of rape to force an unwilling man into marriage.

The feminist shrill that most genuinely harassed women fear approaching police is a thing of past. Now, fempowered women, secure in the knowledge that their false accusations entail no disciplinary action, do not hesitate to bring rapist color to civil disputes. Notice that the feminist progress in law mostly pertains to the eliminating the need of evidence, by virtue of which any allegation automatically translates to men’s guilt – thus upturning the basic premise of “innocent until proven guilty” maxim.

If any feminist feels otherwise, do inform us what corresponding laws have been drafted in tandem with feminist ones that discourage misuse of the latter. The burden falls on the toothless, old laws that are barely sufficient to discourage misuse. Feminists claim that the misuse clause is overstated, and seek evidence to substantiate it. Notice the paradox: evidence is sought of misuse of laws whose very USP is removal of necessity of evidence. But on point, since the very case is based on claim-as-evidence foundation, it is extremely hard for the judges to ascertain if the allegation was made with a malafide motive (to initiate perjury charges) even if the man in question is eventually acquitted.

Contrary to the coinage of “rape culture” which gives an impression of a society condoning or even celebrating rape, we live in a culture where Supreme Court finds a man guilty based on the strength of a woman’s testimony alone, without corroborating evidence. While feminists frame this as the right of a woman to be heard and believed, what they’re obfuscating and suppressing is the right of man to be considered “innocent until proven guilty”.  In no other scenario is the accused burdened with proving himself innocent, it is always the accuser who must present the evidence to prove his allegations. However, in the bizarre feminist-legal ecosystem, once a man is accused, he’s deemed guilty and nothing proves him innocent (he’s just let go; even acquittal cannot mean he’s innocent).

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Are false rape & dowry cases overstated by MRAs

Seeing this hitjob by one Bhaskar Chawla at Vegabomb on MRAs, one wonders how “data” proves anything of what he claims and if this is because of author’s “.. woefully poor understanding of the world.”

Let’s go point by point:

A large chunk of the false rape cases are filed by family members of girls in consensual relationships.

Bhaskar admits here that false cases against men are being filed by converting consensual sex into rape cases later. Yet, he can’t find one ounce of sympathy for those men who were falsely implicated! Instead, what does bother him is that many tend to see “daughters as property”. So innocent men being jailed is of no concern to him.

A fair number of rape cases are never argued till the end because the complainant backs out.

Hasn’t Bhaskar read about Rohtak Sisters? Doesn’t he know that there is no need for presenting prima facie evidence for a rape case to be filed? And that upon receipt of a complaint, the accused is jailed (with bail denied often) for a long period of time. There really is no entry-barrier (in terms of evidence needed) to file a rape case, so how do we know if they all are real?

Hasn’t he read about the many instances of where women-gangs extort innocent men for money threatening to file rape cases?

There has been a rise in cases of violence against women related to dowry.

If there has been a stupendous increase in number of cases filed, while the conviction-rates remain same, as Bhaskar admits, what inference does one make? No, no, guys! You expect an anti-MRA to get logic? How bad. Its obviously not because many of those cases are false, but because today’s liberated, urban, financially-strong, law-aware women are somehow more prosecuted than naive, illiterate women of yester-decades! As to the “woefully poor understanding of the world”, I now know that it applies to Bhaskar beyond doubt. How? Anybody who has ever seen the inside of police station on these women-harassment laws knows that chargesheet is more or a norm than exception. As to the chargesheet, as many court orders testify, they are word-to-word copy of the FIR and no investigation is ever done as mandated. Police themselves state that they are constrained to do so, for they can be accused of favouritism to husband’s side.

The reason conviction is hard to get is also because most of the charges are false.  If it can be attributed to “difficulty in proving something that happened inside somebody’s home” as Bhaskar claims, can’t the husband’s harassment be assigned to”difficulty in disproving something that has allegedly happened inside somebody’s home”?

Only around 10 percent of dowry complaints are false.

Bhaskar still doesn’t get it. Let me explain again: because there is no entry-barrier in form of evidence to file a case, and since accused man is presumed guilty (heard of maxim “innocent until proven guilty”, Bhaskar?) there is little evidence with man to prove that the case is false. He may be acquitted due to inability of wife’s side to establish their case, but for husband to prove that wife launched a motivated legal assault needs concrete proof. This obviously is mostly unavailable with man due to “difficulty in disproving something that has allegedly happened inside somebody’s home”.

Courts impose penalties for those making false case, true. Yet, to prove that they are false is next to impossible because while the field has been unevenly levelled in favour of women by instituting new claims-as-proof laws, the men have to fall back on toothless laws to fight back.

Any law can be misused, indeed. But state one other law that substitutes claims as proof and jails the accused without even a prima facie evidence against them? One law, please, Bhaskar? Just one.

Before finishing, I would like to pick up a telling sign of Bhaskar’s outlook, he writes: MRAs are a tiny section of society that has hitherto benefited from its laws at the expense of others, and is terrified now that the people it oppressed are getting some rights, because that means that its power is being diluted.

I am yet to see one MRA who wasn’t a victim of ill-crafted, biased laws and endured suffering on account of false cases against him. Far from possessing any “power” as Bhaskar imagines, they were victimized because they were stripped of their basic rights (such as presumption of innocence) due to feminist laws.

Bhaskar, once, just once, go to any police station and find out the grim reality of the husbands for once. It may repair your “.. woefully poor understanding of the world.”

Marital rape debate needs more nuance

This is my response to Dushyant Arora’s article “Rape And The Law In India”.

He begins with:

“How common is marital rape? One third of men interviewed by International Centre for Women (ICRW) and United Nations Population Fund’s (UNPFA) across seven states in India admitted to having forced a sexual act on their wives.”

Was a similar survey conducted on women? What do they say? Why do these surveys deem it beneath their importance to think of man’s sufferings?

You know what else has been presumed to be sacred, derived from religious belief and existed in a time of severe illiteracy? Sati.

Sati – for sure – wasn’t mandatory per Hindu religious scriptures. In Mahabharata, when King Pandu died, one wife committed Sati (not forced, but volunteered out of guilt of being responsible for his death); while Kunti, the other wife, not only lived on to see her great-grandson but was also accorded the highest respect by people. Wives of Ravana, Duryodhana etc. are not known to have committed Sati.

This was decision taken by the wives themselves and not enforced through state. As late as in 1839 (10 years after Sati Regulation Act was passed by British, Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s wives committed sati upon his death on their own will.

A senior advocate recently wrote that ‘If at any stage in a marriage, the wife seeks to withdraw the presumed consent that accompanies a marriage, it is open to her to live separately.’ If that’s so, the argument presumes that the husband will jump away the moment his wife screams ‘I separate’ as she is being raped.

But this very argument presumes that in any marital dispute, wife’s testimony should automatically overrule husband’s. In these instances of “he said, she said” (which is always the case with marital rape), the author presumes that man’s testimony shouldn’t matter anyway, because it’s only the wife who should be heard.

Troublingly, the statement assumes an equality between genders.

What’s more troubling is your inability to see women as capable of being aggressors.

Is separation always possible for women who face abuse? We live in a patriarchal society where prejudice, discrimination, lack of access to education and work, makes many women financially dependent on their husbands. A woman living separately from her husband is stigmatised. She is often urged to ‘adjust’ or ‘save her family’ or ‘settle matters’ – even by her own family.

The truth is other way round. In reality, men are the ones who find it impossible to separate from abusive women. We live in a society where asking wife to adjust reasonably can invite threats of false cases. A wife can – with effectively zero evidence – throw husband, parents, siblings (and anyone she names) into jail just on the strength of her statement alone (498a).

This isn’t women empowerment, this is men deprotection – name any other criminal case where a man can be put into jail without even prima-facie evidence on a mere complaint. If the ‘counseling’ centres at Women’s Police Station are any indication, it’s the man who’s asked to surrender to wife’s demands to avoid being charged with false cases and rather “settle matters” (translates to huge amount of money).

In many cases it is the man who has no option but to reconcile with an abusive wife, because she threatens to send his entire family behind bars if he dares to make any effort to separate.

If abused women found it so easy to separate, then we might as well do away with laws criminalising domestic violence too—tell women to walk out instead of putting up with it. And even if they are able to walk away, that first instance of violence- which necessitates the exit from a marital home – is still a cognisable offence and should be punished

Does the author realize that Indian DV Act doesn’t even recognize man as a victim? A man at the receiving end of domestic violence has absolutely no where to go, no helpful legal provisions, and instead mocked upon. The female-initiated domestic abuse is as severe and has come to light even in Western nations.

Just two articles that prove the issue is more nuanced and its time women-only-victim, men-only-aggressor stereotype must go:

It is easier for women to separate – she can arm-twist husband into signing divorce papers and give her an amount she demands on the threat of 498a. No sane husband would refuse divorce or the demanded money, as certain disaster awaits him in the form of false cases otherwise; he will lose his job and run behind courts for years without respite and the courts anyhow will pass orders for interim maintenance.

If however it’s the husband who desires separation, it’s a the different story.

 Every. Law. Is. Susceptible. To. Abuse. False allegations are possible within a marriage and without. That thankfully has not led us to decriminalise an act of rape outside of marriage. Secondly, and I cannot emphasise this enough: it is extremely difficult for a woman to prove absence of consent especially in a bond of matrimony. Thirdly, for context, the crisis our society faces is one of under- or un-reported sexual violence, categorically not an epidemic of false cases.

Give us an example of any other law in which a mere complaint can throw the accused behind bars without prima facie evidence? Unless influence or bribery is involved, under normal circumstances no person be put in jail with bail denied.

Isn’t it even more difficult for a man to prove the presence of consent, especially in a private bedroom? What the author suggests is to give blanket power to women to ruin their husbands, while depriving husband of his basic right of due process.

Tell us of one instance where you would like to believe that the husband was truly innocent, once he’s accused? Given author’s line of logic, there’s no possibility of such a scenario at all – once accused the husband is guilty, due process be damned.

All that differentiates an allegation of rape within marriage from one beyond it is the unstated presumption that marriage entails perpetual consent on the part of the wife, a presumption one would like to believe that no law would support in the 21st century.

But the presumption that marriage entails perpetual consent on the part of husband to maintain her not only exists, but is legally-enforceable. Once married, the wife has to be maintained, even if the couple separates. If marriage doesn’t entail perpetual consent for sex, why should it include perpetual consent to maintenance?

Here’s the reality which author tries so hard to obfuscate:  a wife who longer wishes to stick to her marital vows, can readily misuse laws to get what she wants (divorce and money). But a man is perpetually a bonded labour who must be in wife’s good books – because once she decides to harm him, law far from protecting him, in fact enables her to torture him more viciously.

Once accused, a man’s innocence is of no consequence, he’ll be treated as guilty and punished accordingly.