When the Nirbhaya rape-murder case happened in Delhi, the whole nation stood together for more than a month since that incident, strongly protesting in solidarity, against such happening in our Country, Society, an untoward happening to any women, girl or child. When the western media took advantage of this, as though time and again women are getting raped, but it was the newspaper THE GUARDIAN, which correctly reported that, what happened in India is definitely insignificant in percentage, with UK scoring with 80% more with rapes, crimes against women. We as a nation stood together and protested against the heinous acts of those men who definitely are not normal and the verdict of CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, has not been implemented to this effect.

Now the recent incidents one of them being, a 7-year-old raped and murdered by her neighbour, in Coimbatore, the victim being recognised and caught, Santosh Kumar aged about 32 years, estranged from his wife and staying with his grandmother where this 7-year-old kid was their neighbour. These past incidents led to an interview, with a psychiatrist who could throw us more light on such happenings and how to see these issues from grass root level for eradication.

She is Mrs. R. Padmavati MBBS, MD (psychiatry), DPM. She has been practising for the past thirty years in Chennai.  She is the Director at SCARF INDIA, Chennai. (Schizophrenia Research Foundation).

The interview started with, these current issues which are being meted out to women and children, be it sexual abuse, rape, how do we tackle these situations from the psychological angle, what change could be brought into the society towards this issue?  The whole interview unfolded as follows:

“Sexual activity, behaviour has been existing in our society from time immemorial, with the evolving change of time, it is now seen as a time-line and age related, as centuries ago the marriages happened at a very young age, where once a girl hit the menstruation cycle, she was eligible to get married for the cause of reproduction being the primary goal, for which it necessitated the sexual activity. This very sexual activity was not confined to only spouses, as polygamy was practised in mythology and in real life. But what led to this age being the criteria, is because of the legal systems, rights of women which has raised this issue of sexual abuse, rape etc., This does not mean that forced sex was not happening then, kings always had women other than their wives which was socially accepted normative thing”.

“The amendments in the POCSO ACT 2012, in some sections is welcomed but what the issue is how implementation of these acts would pose a challenge? This being the legal, from the psychological angle, “sexual activity is a bio-logical activity, the body needs this like hunger, thirst and it is completely hormone driven. For women and men, it is addressed at a different level, when a girl hits puberty she gets attracted to opposite sex, or falling in love, becomes aware of her sexuality, but for boys it always happens little later depending on their maturity level.

It was thought of since sexual education is not imparted to adolescents at school, or by parents, no one had a clue, it was also thought of to be an added taboo subject to even talk about sex. Even if they do come to know it was from some older friend, though parents never educated their children, from biological or good psychological angle. Utmost, said would be about good, bad, touches and words like take care. But now the times are changing, with schools giving insights into sexual education, where experts are also called and are made to talk to school children, so that the taboo attached to it gets mitigated in the process.

Adolescents, do indulge in adventure because of the taboo stigma attached to sex related topics, where they are not openly allowed to talk. Even young people carry misconceptions like hugging to be an act being sexual. She is also exploring the possibilities of misconceptions where from these stem from as these, can be thought of to be normal activity. Why would a 30 odd year old man would rape a 7 year old? This could be owing to experimentation, psychiatric evaluation, personality issues, how often and for how long has to done these kind of acts in the past? He should be a history sheeter with sexual endeavours with many people.

These kind of heinous acts, psychologically, do come under personality traits, one of it is, slap of guilt, in ANTI-SOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER, that is they do not feel or associate guilt over a particular activity, like lying, thieving, not being responsible, which would reflect on their overall behaviour when committing such gruesome acts.

The next thing why they target such young girls and not someone older is because of PERVERSE SEXUAL DESIRES, that is always to prefer young people as in PEDOPHILE, with animals like BEASTILITY and with inanimate objects.

Next these people when in custody they should be PSYCHIATRIC ASSESSMENT, which should be recommended by the judges, to the lawyers representing the culprits, which is not done much on the culprits, unless the situation warrants.

Next these culprits should have been sexually abused when they were young by the same sex, raped (it is not confined to women only), family environment which would have been difficult, like marital discord between the parents, alcoholic father, psychiatric conditions in the family, past history of mental health problems, these contribute to the behavioural problems in the person, which would manifest at any age. This trait would have manifested now because of the murder, (in the latest Coimbatore case) but person with these traits would have the tendency to start from early age as predators.

They usually know the person that they are going to attack. The victim knows the person, very rarely like nirbhaya case it is totally strangers involved. The assault is always a known person to the victim. The sexual advances, which a young person experiences are usually from a person known, like relatives, cousins. This cannot be shared to the parents, even if this is shared it won’t be taken in the right spirit. The matter would be suppressed and the victim will be asked to keep quiet.

Awareness is becoming more, thanks to the media. Sensualisation is towards description, towards the evens, with a lot of dramatization. But what is not being done is, we don’t get to know, what happens after the court sentencing the culprit? What has the legal system done, to make sure that there is proper profiling of the individual culprit done, which can be done by PYSCHIATRIC EVALUATION OR ASSESSMENT. When the convicted have this profiling done, more information about them would reach the public and the fear of suspecting everyone like an offender would be more trusting with understanding. There should be some element of trust in relationships to feel safe.

Strongly condemning the media’s attempts at replaying the details of any untoward incident again and again, instead going to the next step or find a solution to the problem projected. Media has perpetrated the issue by blowing it out of proportion. With media’s help more can be worked out as a solution finder by discussion and not by debates on such sensitive issues.

It is notable in this period of time that, Teen age pregnancy is rampant only because of less communication between children and parents, which is also a vicious circle, when open communication is there, these situations could be avoided to a larger extent”.

She can be reached at [email protected]