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Global Capitalist Culture of Rape and the Seismic Fault Line


Monday June 09, 2014

Violence against Women, Crime, Culture of Rape, India, World  
In India, simmering rage at the groping, the leering, the insults, the assaults—the rape that is excused or condoned and determined to be ‘the woman’s fault’ – exploded in righteous fury on the streets of Delhi and other cities, and reverberated throughout the world. A raw nerve had been touched.  
Revolution Newspaper  

The brutal rape in Delhi and the courageous mass protests across India against it have revealed a seismic fault line that exists not only in India, but throughout the entire world: The oppression of women that concentrates one of the most basic social divisions in a world dominated by the system of capitalism-imperialism.

This oppression takes many different forms. The horrors it inflicts are universal. And it affects every woman and girl. Half of humanity is subjected in some way or another to the threat and reality of assault, degradation, rape, murder, enforced prostitution, and daily, never-ending abuse. All of society is bombarded with a whole culture, social relations, and ideas that constantly demean the worth of half of humanity.


As we, in Revolution Newspaper, wrote about the state of women in 2012, “In today’s world, whether you live in the so-called ‘enlightened democratic’ West... where women are systematically discriminated against and turned into sexual commodities; where prostitution, pornography, and strip clubs are ‘just part of the culture,’ where the patriarchal relations of the family mean women are brutally beaten, even murdered by their husbands and boyfriends. Or whether you live in a country where feudal traditions and backward religious strictures mean women are required to cover themselves head to foot, not even allowed to be seen, where they can be given the death sentence for choosing whom they want to marry or deciding they want to get an education...”

“The capitalist system has engulfed the entire world... the system of imperialism turns everything and everyone into a commodity... this system has created a situation where all over the world, half of the population is systematically denied their humanity.” ("Women in 2012: The Horrible Fate of Half of Humanity Under Capitalism-Imperialism" Revolution #290, January 6, 2013)

And every single second, a woman somewhere in the world is raped—brutalized, degraded and denied her humanity in this way. And then, so many times, she is “raped again”—humiliated by the police who interrogate her, implying that “she asked for it”; told it was her fault because she wore the “wrong clothes,” was in “the wrong place”; accused in court of being a “loose woman” and so she deserved what she got.

Much of the fury of the protests in response to the rape in Mahipalpur has been directed at the inaction, indifference, and hostility from the Indian government, beginning with its top officials and extending through the government bureaucracy, the police, and the army. The massive and continuing protests have brought official participation, encouragement, and complicity in crimes against women into the light of day. For example, at least six Indian legislators are currently facing rape charges in different cases; and in the last five years India’s leading political parties have nominated 260 candidates facing charges for crimes against women. In Indian society, rape is used as a weapon of domination by the military, the police, and upper castes against lower castes and classes, and the rapists in such cases usually go unpunished. But it is also true in Indian society—as it is all over the world—that women of all economic and social standings are threatened by and subjected to the brutality of rape, whether it is in a dark alley at night, date rape, or rape within marriage.

All this and much more amounts to a permanent state of war on women and girls, driven by the chaotic dislocation and exploitation of global capitalism-imperialism, and fuelled by feudal, patriarchal ideologies and the proliferation of high-tech pornography. The infuriating prevalence of rape is one monstrous expression of the deadly environment in which females exist from before they are even born until their death. It is a crime embedded deep in the nature and workings of the capitalist-imperialist system—including in the ways that this system has incorporated feudal and semi-feudal social relations and traditions. And no amount of reforms, of getting rid of bad police or throwing out rapist politicians is going to “fix” this horrendous problem.

In India, simmering rage at the groping, the leering, the insults, the assaults—the rape that is excused or condoned and determined to be ‘the woman’s fault’ – exploded in righteous fury on the streets of Delhi and other cities, and reverberated throughout the world. A raw nerve had been touched.

Kavita Krishnan of the All India Progressive Women’s Association said on ‘Democracy Now!’ that “this incident was particularly graphic violence, but there have been other terrible incidents, as well, including incidents in Delhi. But I think it was a cumulative effect and a cumulative feeling of anger and outrage at the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of sexual violence and at the imposed insecurity, at the restrictions that insecurity imposes on women.

“And it all burst out in this, perhaps because this young woman was doing something so normal: She boarded a bus to go home after watching a film with her friend. And I think that somehow struck such a huge chord.”

[Revolution Newspaper is published by Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, edited by Bob Avakian.]


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