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Rampant sexual attacks on girls and women have become a national crisis now. And we have to deal with this issue fair and square here and now.

Diagnosis:

sexual assaultOn the one hand, we are permitting, commodifying, consuming and even enjoying soft porn in newspapers and magazines, print and other advertisements, TV shows, cinemas and music. It has become perfectly all right for us if scantily-clad women and men shake their body parts on our TV screens and we clearly cherish these perversions. Our youth and even children have easy and quick access to internet porn, anti-women messages and all types of sexual perversions. And listen to our daily language and discern the words and phrases that are sexual and sexist at best and outrightly women-hating at worst. If we continually feed the brains and hearts of people with these kinds of abhorrent images and messages accompanied by all sorts of unfavorable subtexts, we are bound to get what we are getting right now: rampant and recurrent sexual attacks on women, children and even the elderly!

Prognosis:

The malady will get much worse as our ruling class is throwing its hands up. Look at the ridiculous excuses some of our leaders are coming up with: “Women should not come out of homes in the evening;” “Even God cannot stop sexual violence;” “occurrence of sexual attacks in UP is minimal when compared to the population,” and so on. Sexual images and messages in our daily lives may become even more daring, aggressive and commonplace. With modern electronic gadgets becoming fancier and cheaper, and the traditional sexual taboos fast disappearing, sex will sell better. In all probability, sex may sexplode in our sexistence and we may sexperience more X-rated sex-related issues.

Therapy:

What do we do then? What is the way out? Since we have to reap what we sow, we should sow appropriate things. But in this day and age of globalization, liberalization, commercialization, sexual freedom, internet with modern accessories and so forth, we certainly cannot turn the clock back and become a sexually conservative society. Forget about restricting our women to the kitchens and bedrooms. We cannot and must not compromise on the hard-won freedoms and entitlements of girls and women. So the conservative option is out!

The other extreme option is becoming a completely liberal, open and permissive society with countless strip bars, clubs and porn shops all over, midnight porn shows on TV, promiscuity and recklessness. Luckily though, most Indians may not like this option.

What else can we do then? I think we should legalize prostitution and make provisions for the physical safety and occupational security of the sex workers and arrange for standard and hygienic work conditions, periodic health checks and disease control. I know this is a rather delicate issue. But believe me, there is a steady supply of and constant demand for this “service” all over the world. If there are regulated “red light” areas all over without any police harassment and legal entanglements, the sexually-deprived, sexually-challenged and perverts can find an outlet in these areas without worrying about possible arrests, court procedures, public shame and so forth.

If we do not like legalizing prostitution, we should at least facilitate opening shops with sex products such as sex toys and dolls and other adult products that may cater to the needs of the above-mentioned population and others. Since “Sex Shops” sounds rather un-Indian for us (we don’t do sex, right?), we may call it “Family Planning Stores” or with other such euphemistic names. The point is the sex-starved men must have some outlet. We’d better hurry up and do something!

- S.P.Udayakumar (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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