After the recent massacre of the innocent at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, USA, comes this latest news about the brutal gang-rape, desecration of the female anatomy and consequent cremation of a beautiful 23-year-old Indian female medical student in New Delhi, capital of India, on Dec. 16.
What appears to be common to the two incidents is their brutality and senselessness. What sets them apart is that the first incident may be traced to temporary insanity caused by the use of illegal drugs, aggravated by alcohol use and/or the environmental influence of a culture of violence nurtured and inspired by some movies and Internet games. The second incident may have deeper subliminal cultural or environmental implications.
Some cultures, including India, have their own peculiar practices, traditions and religious rites that are, directly or indirectly, discriminatory and prejudicial to the well-being and dignity of women (like the practice of forcing women, including female children, into cohabitation or prearranged marriages at a very early age, as if they are mere sex objects or sexual instruments or household fixtures for the service of men.)
Some women even until today have to undergo the rite of circumcision through the removal of the clitoris in order to lessen the female sexual pleasure and desire, with their male partners enjoying the act, but not knowing or refusing to admit that they would in fact be enjoying the sexual consortium more intensely if their female partners are likewise enjoying the act. Mother nature has so designed it.
Even the Romans in ancient times discriminated women, who were not allowed to testify in court or to swear to tell the truth—solely because they have no testicles. At that time, when a Roman was asked to testify, he had to physically hold his balls or testicles as a warranty for his telling the truth and nothing but the truth under penalty of sterility by the gods. In fact, the English word “testify” comes from the Latin words “testis” (meaning testicle) and “facere” (meaning to do, to make or to hold). But it was a man’s world then.
Not anymore, except perhaps in some utterly uncivilized, uneducated, uninformed and impoverished parts of the world. We do have now many women “with balls” (pardon the expression!)— as professional, business, civic and religious leaders, even as heads of state, as was a woman in India.
Indeed, poverty, ignorance and cultural prejudices are the worst enemies of women liberation. It is our sincere hope and prayer that the gruesome and senseless gang-rape and murder of that young female medical student in New Delhi, India, will serve as a wake up call, particularly for women liberators or women power advocates.
It is also about time Indian women, beautiful as they are, heeded the call.
—AMAY P. ONG VAÑO,