Let’s stop saying that half the human race is inherently aggressive, predatory and incapable of transformation.
BY Mallika Dutt
Yet again global outrage and attention are focused on India. In the most recent rape-murder in Uttar Pradesh, a story of “boys will be boys” unfolded in a chilling and familiar pattern. Two teenage girls belonging to the Dalit caste went out to the fields because there are not enough toilet facilities for women in India. They never returned.
The shocked reaction to their rape and murder was ignited in part by the devastating image of these two young girls left hanging from a tree. This image–with the local villagers holding vigil beneath them–hit me in the solar plexus despite my three decades of working to end violence against women. It’s all so hauntingly familiar–and yet the rage at the inhumanity of men and the pain at the loss of yet more female lives remain visceral. But the rage and pain are not, and should not be, focused only on the most spectacular rape-murders or misogynist massacres. (For one thing, according to India’s National Crime Records Bureau, three to five rapes of women and girls, mostly Dalit, occur daily in Uttar Pradesh alone.) We need to pay attention to–and do something about–what happens in between, and what lies beneath.