Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Gang rape in Delhi

Just after the news about the shooting of twenty children and six adults at a school in Newtown shocked the world, there came another news from Delhi: a gang rape had occured. The poetesss Rati Saxena was one of the first to respond:

Letter from Rati Saxena (18 Dec 2012)

Subject: how we educate our children in face of so much loss of life

I was shocked by the incidence that took place in USA, but more than shocked by a an incident in Delhi - the capital of the country, Delhi. A medical college student was gang raped in a bus and afterwards thrown out of the running bus. She is in coma and struggling for her life. The rapist were not children; they were grown up people. The girl was a student of medical science. and her mistake was that she saw a film with her friend in a mall and returned back homw by taken a bus which had been hijacked by a group of men.

This year in Delhi there are more than 500 rape case till now, which is highest until now. The court case about rape goes always in favor of the rapist. Most of the time, in such cases it is mentioned that the woman is a culprit, that she put on pants, uses Mobile phones, talks to boys etc. In most of the cases these rapist are from neighboring states, where the woman is kept in veil. You can try and give a solution to this by educating the whole country, a country with so many differences.

Yesterday, I was going to Otty, a tourist place on a hill in the South of India, and there I saw a huge building of a school which looked like a Palace. It must be very expensive.... I think children from very rich family used to come there. Just after that I saw a few half broken huts, with lots of mud on the ground. Yes, it was also a school, a governmental school. Do you think that both school can give the same type of atmosphere for education? No, I must say, as I studied in such a governmental school, with no facilities. I remember how much time I took to gain confidence in front of students of such big school. We were never taught much, had more free time, and less qualified teachers. But I feel that helped me... as in my whole family I am the only creative person, and this because the vacuum gave me scope for my imagination. I still feel that the best school is home, family and than society in which we live. So we cannot blame entirely the school system.

But do you not think that educated people are selfish? Or cruel? Yes, they are, only it is not so easily noticed because they have learned to hide their feeling, that’s all!

My grand daughter is still with me, and I am coimbatoor, with no light for 14 hours in a day, so I cannot write big letter. I will write when I am free from all these pressures.

Till then






Questions of Rati Saxena 18.1.2013

I have a few question in my mind:

1- the news of rape can destroy the feeling of love. I mean the divine emotion of love. If we keep only one thing in mind about such incidences as this gang rape, we will lose our faith in love. Is not love of such importance for the emotional growth of our young peopl

2- rape related to sex can be understood; sometimes it is an emotional mix-up, but rape with cruelty? If it goes against normal sex, then does it mean that we are losing faith in healthy sex even while claiming to emancipate ourselves from past traditions?

3- man is always called a strong personality compared to a woman, but gang rape means he is not for then he needs the help of others to control the victim?

4- it can also mean that man is interesting in cruel fun, as they were doing it at the Colosseum a long time ago; at the Colosseum, man was enjoying to see blood running of man defeated in fights, but can they enjoy women when raping them?
These are but a small number of questions, and we are still talking about love poetry and so many other things, but how to come to terms with this gang rape?

Rati Saxena


by Rati Saxena

My wail
does not find
a place
on earth
nor in the sky
but tries to seek shelter
in my chest,
in my abdomen and thighs,
in my womb.
They are afraid
of my wail
and try
to tear out my skin
with nails
while wishing to remove
my womb.
So I bury now my womb
in the earth
and stand there
till I turn into a tree
which grows with thousands cries
to remove
all the nails of artificial civilization.
For that
one wail is enough.


Response to continue the discussion (18.January 2013)

So let us speak about rape in terms of destroying love and with that the risk to lose a positive attitude towards sex.

What comes immediately to mind is that 'rape' is like a weapon with many functions and intentions behind it. For instance, whenever armies overran another, the first thing was that the men were killed and the women raped. Somehow these two aspects go together with the aim of
humiliation beyond recognition. The other is no longer a fellow human being.

There have been reports coming out of Syria that rape is occuring widely and that it is one reason why so many people flee into exile, into almost impossible conditions of survival, given winter, perhaps only tents offered as housing, inadequate food and water, and a lack of
hygenic conditions. What has overcome all the people in Syria that they no longer enjoy their enormous and rich diversity, but become victims of the victims who return to haunt those who had humiliated them.

Perhaps one answer to all of this is being trapped in a vicious cycle, and every attempt to alter the situation makes the situation worse.

Naturally there is this expression of 'railing' against impossible conditions. It is like a horse gone wild and wishing to free itself from the reins with which it is tied to the pole. To rail against an over dependency means also to victimize the one who does commit an act of rape. For it is crossing a threshold with irreversible consequences.

There have been so many types of abuse from childhood onwards with horrific consequences. For instance, it is said those who volunteer to become suicide bombers do it so often because they have lost their reputation in the community and hence they cling wrongly to the belief if they sacrifice themselves, they will redeem themselves and save perhaps not their own name, but the reputation of their family. Shame is here another powerful, often hidden force which drives people into the wrong direction. Blinded by the belief that the community is stronger than their ability to stand up for themselves, they overload themselves with self doubt and explode whenever the situation allows it, but then in a wrong way.

It means that we have to focus much more and seperately on those who victimize themselves by committing an act of rape and this apart of the women or even men who suffer often too much 'in silence' once they have been victims of rape and/or abuse.

If we do that, and trace the history and background of those who commit an act of rape, something else needs to be taken into consideration. For Rati makes here a distinction between various acts of rape by mentioning someone doing it or a group of men. Also when alone, there are situations which can mean a conflict of decision. While wishing to have sex with a woman, how will the man react once she changes her mind in the process of moving towards having sex together and then does not want to. Especially if she does it suddenly and without any real explanation, the two end up in a conflict and need to decide whether to stop or to go forward. He may want to assure her while she still hesitates, or else she realized something when coming close to opening up herself. Whatever the reason, most of the time the inability to talk about it will result in an act of definance and even violence. It underlines the saying by Habermas, 'there where no theory exists, there is violence'. Theory stands her for reflection based on how to perceive the other, in this case mainly the woman and to what extent she is respected even when reversing her original intention to have sex with that man.

Naturally gang rape is of another order -for it involves group violence and injustice towards the innocent person who cannot protect herself against the massive power of four or more men converging on her.

I believe that there is missing in almost all cases of rape a basic understanding of 'sex'. Too many children grow up without having ever heard from their parents an enlightened word. Add
to this the various value systems with a woman being used as a bargaining tool when it comes to 'arranged' marriages, and already it is inconceivable that she will link love and sex when she has to just obey the orders of the parents or else follow the rituals of her class society. In Rati's analysis is also mentioned certain cases in which women are punished for falling in love and if they do they suffer severe consequences e.g. put in a lower caste system.

Thus in a traditional society and not only, there are used often 'dirty tricks' to intimitate young people and especially women not to follow the call of a true love. It is like 'Romoe and Juliet' of Shakespeare which shows what happens if individuals dare to cross social borders.

What shocked us most was in the case of the war in Sarajevo the fact that a sniper wearing jeans shot and killed a love couple with him being Muslim and she Christian and who were wearing most likely as well jeans - often considered by Conservatives a most dismissive way to
dress. The action by the sniper despite wearing the same clothing as the ones he shoots from the roof top shows how society is prepared to draw its line in a very sharp way whenever love threatens to undermine the ideological forces which want to keep people like herds in ethnical defined compounds. Love would mean compassion and human self understanding regardless where the other comes from, but this would upset the drawing of sharp borders for the sake of just belonging to one ethnical group.

Ethnic assertiveness and the violence it produced in former Yugoslavia is unbelievable, but then this readiness to be violent was a potentiality nurtured all along even before Yugoslavia started to break up once newly reunited Germany gave recognition to Croatia as an independent state.

By invoking images of war with soldiers raping helpless women I would venture to interpret that as a wish to silence their own weakness and inability to stand up to abuse of power. And since we live in systems filled with people who abuse power, I would say the problems begins with
abused children, in particular boys. For once they have been abused by elderly men they have lost all sensitivity towards women and are unable to open up themselves and the women to make love in a peaceful way.

Pleasure along with sensitivity is akin to knowing how good love can be when souls touch each other. Why so many are afraid of such love, this is because it can uproot everything and question above all power. That is why power is afraid of love. And since love cannot be controlled but merely suppressed, exiled, tortured etc. power resorts to all sorts of
tricks in order not to be challenged by the key element of love, namely its demand for truth and in simple terms for honesty. It means also a good love in the way you imply has also to do with not incurring a separation of body and mind, but the very opposite of finding this
touching of two souls as being both physical and mentally a way to find a new understanding of one's own identity.

Certainly being in love is something wonderful and goes a long way to explain why there are written so many songs about it. They remind people never to forget that a true love does exist.



Rati Saxena's reply

You have touched upon all the angles of the rape problem.

Yes, this is an important issue to talk about. Others should join in.

In India, still 50% of the men think that girls are inviting man to rape them. This is associated in their minds when girls put on Western dresses i.e. meaning pant shirts. They want girls to be dressed in the traditional way e.g. wearing Sarees.

In most villages, people have asked parents to marry off their daughters before 16, so that they will be free from this problem (risk of something happeining to the girls like rape). Some villagers have asked the parents not to provide their daughters with mobile phones.

So one rape case can take back so many girls along this time line to 40 years ago and more when tradition prevailed everywhere. Moreover, rape can destroy the faith in human beings.

So let us continue to talk. Have you read the poem?

Rati Saxena

Rosa Naparstek, artist in New York writes:

HI I am familiar with Fromm's book and refer to it a lot. A complimentary title to it is: Escape from Freedom, and Ernst Becker's " Denial of Death". Powerful books. I don't read much anymore, but did so a lot long ago. When people ask me what I read, I admit that I don't read much, and explain that I know more than I can integrate. "if only I could be the smallest part of what I know, then surely I will know a smallest part did grow". rosa rape is not about sex rape is not about pleasure rape is about power over another where one has none over one's self because one hates and is hated. the lame brute untamed, maimed strikes to gorge and disgorge venom, tearing skin, hearts and mind asunder to a blind force not of nature but hell made real when grown men don't cry.

Rosa touches upon the inability to show emotions. She believes that there are men (and women) brought up never to reveal their emotions. Also Rati mentions that the better educated in India have learned to hide (mask) their emotional self.

I knew once a family in Helsinki with three sons and one daughter by a German father and a Finnish mother. The father was of the old German school. It meant boys don't cry. The only daughter was caught up in this frenzy and denied herself to show emotions when it would matter the most, namely when it came to reveal if she really loved the person she was with or just in constant fear the father might be coming into the room at any given moment?

The ability to cry not just because of pain due to an inflicted wound, but due to a real human loss would mean a way to give the soul some relieve, some consolation, some reprieve from the heavy pressure of the loss. Without the ability to cry it would mean many things go by unnoticed as if it does not matter to be touched or not as to what is happening to other human beings.


 19 January 2013

To continue our old story, we taked about the situation of a girl in India.In today's news is reported that a bus conductor had raped a 4 year old girl while dropping her off from home to school. In this case what can be said?One more thing - this is not a new thing. It is there in society, but a child is mostly afraid of telling to his/her parents about such incidences because of fear. Sometimes he/she has been harassed in the family itself. The guilt about sex can make weak the child, not the culprit. I remember that in my childhood, my father never allowed us daughters to vist any relative without him being present himself.

Now people are more open to put the problem on the table and to complain i.e. they do go to the police.

So how we can talk about this situation. I don't think that making a new law is the only answer, for all this could be connected to some psychological problem in human beings themselves.


Rati Saxena

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