It was a terribly saddening moment yesterday when an artist whom we have known for years came home to have lunch with us, and shot his mouth off making the most unimaginably reprehensible comment. When the issue of rape came up in the course of the conversation he said that he thought that even rape was an enjoyable act! I immediately informed him that such a position was unacceptable in our home and that he would be obliged to tender an immediate apology for this dastardly remark. He continued to reiterate this horrendous sentiment five times no less that "rape would be enjoyable for the victim"! I was truly stunned and outraged. I admonished him on his insistence to hold his position, to which he patronisingly told me to "simmer down and not be childish"! This coming from a man who is married to an English woman and lives between India and Britain. My ethics and decency did not permit me to retort that in the event of his wife ever being subjected to such a heinous act of violation, he should remember to enquire of her if she had enjoyed it, as he advocates!
Such endorsements of criminality and condoning of violence is terribly tragic especially coming from someone who professes to be influenced by the teachings of Ramana Maharshi. What could he have understood if his megalomania and self importance shuts out the comprehension of sensitivity and decency. I am truly at a loss to understand how people with education and the privilege of travel and access to information can formulate such crude ideas, and then try to masquerade them as spiritual gyan. What a joke! Suffice to say he is not welcome in our home with such attitudes. Surendran and I were shell-shocked and appalled by the incident; and mutually decided that it is a waste of our personal time to entertain such associations, if the basic value systems of others do not match our standards.
The fight to make the issue of rape and violence against women matters of collective consequence, and which must be viewed as serious and meriting our outrage; would appear to be the logical mindset. However this isn't the case for everyone unfortunately, as I am fast recognising. At a friends home recently we all talked about the decline of discipline within the home environments for children. Today the goondagiri raja has parents coming into schools to punch and beat up teachers who are attempting to do their job effectively and uphold parameters of equality that are not dictated by affluence, but which are value based. The panga culture however seems here to stay. With the Biti-baba types indulging in date-rapes and being protected by their influential parents, why am I so surprised that an artist friend shows his ugly mindset to expose that he thinks a rape victim would have "enjoyed" being raped?!
Perhaps it saddened us the most that we had exposed our adopted grand-daughter Aditi to this putrid experience, and we spent time undoing the damage to bring back her space of safety and comprehension that such attitudes bear no place in the society of empowerment to which she belongs; and for which a multitude of like-minded people the world over stand united to fight for.