So last week was characterized by the hoo-hah and furore over Trump’s disgusting statements about how he believed he had the right to grab any woman by her genitals and other such trash talk in an equally lecherous, depraved vein. Result – a host of Republicans including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Utah Governor Gary Herbert, Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice right up to former California Governor, the Terminator himself Arnold Schwarzenegger, have all disowned, washed their hands off the Republican Presidential candidate, some even calling for him to withdraw.
Trump may have tried to save face with his ‘locker room talk’ defense but that only seems to be enraging people even more and with more accusations and videos coming out, it’s pretty clear that he’s just a wealthier, more famous (infamous?), way more orange coloured version of the scum who prowl Indian streets, corporate corridors, courts and legislatures, assuming that every woman is their baap ka maal.
The fact that Trump is a despo dick isn’t the point. Enough people hated him even before for his racism, his xenophobia, his warmongering, boorishness and generally being an asshole. But still willingly or by virtue of having been presented with Hobson’s choice, they were still rallying behind him. Till these tapes came out.
Somehow him dubbing Mexicans as rapists, wanting to boot out all Muslims, discriminating against African Americans right through his business life, all these were acceptable. But the minute he stood revealed as a molester, a lech, a pig who believed he had access to any woman’s private parts cause of his wealth and fame, it was a deal breaker. Which thankfully means that the GOP while willing to turn a blind eye to any kind of reprehensible behavior as regards Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims will not endure the same when it comes to women. Hallejuah, some saving grace at least.
But this piece is not about Trump or America or the Republican Party. It’s about no tolerance to any kind of talk or behavior or actions that disrespect women. And how we seem to completely lack that in our own country.
As opposed to a Trump whose Presidential dreams lie in tatters owing to his hawas ka darinda behaviour, I give you his Indian counterparts.
More than 260 candidates facing charges such as rape, assault and outraging the modesty of a woman, contested assembly elections on tickets of various parties in the last five years.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav feels that “Boys are boys. They commit mistakes but that does not mean they should be hanged” – the mistake in this case being rape.
This man who feels rape is just a ‘mistake’, since he’s the head honcho of the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh will have the biggest say in who their Chief Ministerial Candidate for 2017 will be. Little surprise then that Uttar Pradesh registered a whopping 38,467 incidences of crimes against women, and was among the top three states in the country with the highest incidence of rape. In fact there has been a 161% rise in rape cases and attempt to rape cases have seen a hike of 30%.
Ex Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala’s solution to rape is “Marry off girls before the age of 16.”
This is the state with the highest rate of gang rapes per lakh woman population and the rape conviction rate is not even 50%. And if the said gentleman was not serving a decade-long jail in a teachers’ recruitment scam case, well, who knows what echelon of power he would be occupying.
The Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Bannerjee’s pearl of wisdom – “Rapes happen because Men and Women are interacting more freely nowadays.”
When faced with all-round criticism over the rising instances of crime against women, her riposte – “Are all women in the state being raped?” And what’s her punishment for this kind of talk – she just came back into power with a whopping two thirds majority.
“90 per cent of the girls want to have sex intentionally but they don’t know that they would be gang raped further as they find some lusty and pervasive people in the way ahead.”
“Ninety percent rape cases are consensual”, says Dharambir Goyat, Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee MemberUnlike others of his ilk, his comments actually had a huge repercussion for him – he was issued a notice by his party seeking explanation for his remarks.
“One small incident of rape in Delhi advertised world over is enough to cost us billions of dollars in terms of global tourism” – courtesy Arun Jaitley.
He’s now the nation’s Finance Minister and Minister of Corporate Affairs. Which explains why he’s worried about the billions but wouldn’t just preventing crimes against women be a better strategy to promote India and Indian tourism?
The list can keep going on but the upshot is that for some reason, in India reprehensible statements about women invite no repercussions.
Sure as far as public knowledge goes, none of the above mentioned worthies and the rest of their comrades who have spewed such sexist, parochial, retrograde views about the fairer sex and assaults on the same, haven’t personally grabbed a woman by her genitals or used their power and position to see her in a state of undress. But the mentality revealed by their statements is one that wouldn’t chastise or revile Trump for the things he’s said or done. Who knows if anonymity prevailed, some of these blokes might even match him syllable for syllable in obnoxiousness and depravity. The difference is in India, they get to do this with impunity. They run no risk of being asked to quit their ministerial posts, of losing popular support or even of antagonizing their party mates. It’s all good.
Which makes me wonder – what’s wrong with us as a people that we don’t find all this appalling, that we’re willing to vote for these folks, let them run the law and order machinery that decides how secure or not we are. Don’t we care that more and more women are falling prey to rapacious assaults every day – some coming into the media eye, a lot being buried under corporate carpets or shoved into home cupboards.
Or is it that the women of this country have accepted it as their lot? And the men like the way things are cause it gives them a license to behave in this Trump-esque fashion? If that’s the case perhaps if Trump loses in November, he should migrate here and start prepping for the 2019 elections… Racist, communalist, sexist, corrupt, delusional, ignorant, offensive… phew – the man’s a shoo in.