India’s sick interest in rape porn is dehumanising

Published: August 5, 2016
Email

In that big porn bazaar, everything is consumable. PHOTO: AFP

It’s a big porn bazaar out there in the rural Hindi heartland. A porn bazaar that offers virtual and voyeuristic sex experience to uninitiated, testosterone-driven youth.

College and school dropouts, after an education that makes them unemployable in a formal and structured job market have a new tool in their hands; cheap and affordable smartphones. It’s a weapon that equips them to consume pornography cheap, easy and at will.

Voyeurism has a new definition and dimension. The demographic dividend has a downside.

In that big porn bazaar, everything is consumable. From child and teen porn to extreme gangbang to sadistic, violent sex- the voyeuristic youth consume anything that is available. It incudes what Times of India reported in Thursday’s edition Dark trade: Rape Videos.

In rural areas, where the mixing of sexes are still taboos, where boys are taught to exhibit unabashed masculine traits that promote gender inequality, easy access to pornography through smartphones is a recipe for crime against women. Where khap panchayats and caste organisations go to the extent of killing young men and women entering into any liaison, availability of all sorts of porn holds a threat to women.

Now even porn is passé.

“The real life crime is the rage,” a shopkeeper at Agra who was talking about rape videos told a TOI reporter.

From violent and dehumanising porn to rape videos – it’s an unacceptable dehumanisation of society and youth.

There is no point delinking pornography from crime against women at this point and in this context. Rural youth, young men and even boys are consuming violent, brutal porn in increasing manner. They are eager to practice what they view as images and videos. Crime against women is becoming as brutal and cruel as the porn industry dishes out to young consumers in the hinterland.

Porn is no longer a benign titillation for young men who get exposed to most violent porn videos in their teens even before they might have had basic acquaintance with a female body. Policy advocates and policy makers must keep this in mind while defending people’s fundamental right to view what they like and rubbishing all talks to regulate pornography.

The rural youth who once spent evenings loitering around green fields and playing volleyball and kabaddi now spend time consuming sadistic sex and rape videos. The small town youth who spent evenings consuming Bollywood cinemas as their chief source of entertainment have child porn videos downloaded into their smartphones as source of voyeuristic pleasure.

When one saw a group of young men huddled around behind a teashop in a mofussil town some decades ago, one thought they were there to play cards to entertain themselves. A few years down the line, they might even have gathered there to consume alcohol and marijuana. Today one suspects them to be watching porn or rape videos on smartphones in evenings. Technology has made it so easy.

In small towns and rural areas, group psychology determines youth behaviour in significant way. Community lives still drive one’s character and behaviour. Young men live and move in groups. They eat, drink and watch pornography in groups. Jobless and idle, they are prone to developing group relationships to become partners in crime.

Clips of pornographic videos are available at corner pan (beetle nuts) and grocery shops. Cyber cafes still do brisk business helping people book train tickets, fill in college admission and job application forms. On side, the cyber cafes are also porn hubs. Earlier, the cafes’ cubicles were purveyors of pornography. Now the cafes download clips of pornography into smartphones of curious young men and boys.

Easy access to pornography and familiarity with porn sex doesn’t help them develop close and healthy relationships with women in a society that is hostile to normal men-women interactions. On the contrary, studies have proved that early exposure and frequent watching of pornography hamper men develop their sexuality and ability to have normal relationships in societies that don’t promote gender equality.

Studies have also proved that after watching violent and sadistic pornography men are more likely to develop aggressive sexual tendencies towards women. Such tendencies are more likely in societies, which have skewed men-women relationships and huge gender inequality, such as ours.

Often we make the mistake of classifying school going teens from small towns and rural areas with their urban counterparts. Shifts in technology have been a great leveller but still a lot of ground remains to be covered to bring small town and rural youth on a par with the metropolitan youth. Their orientation is different, their culture is different and they are different. The policy prescription for them has to be different.

Earlier, the incidents of rapes in rural societies were largely confined to landlords forcing them against will of the women as a form of feudal exploitation, expression of power and revenge. Rape was a form of punishment and subjugation. Outside that framework of feudal relationship, rape of women was not common.

There has been a sharp increase in incidences of rape of women in small town and villages too. Jobless youth with frustration over their inability to ape urban youth’s lifestyle use of alcohols and drugs and access to smartphones with cheap availability of clips of porn make them vulnerable to all sorts of crime.

Sex crimes against women, molestation and rape are fast becoming a fetish in such situations.

 This post originally appeared here.

Ashok K Singh

Ashok K Singh

The author is a journalist, writer and commentator. He tweets as @kashoksingh (twitter.com/kashoksingh)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.