What is the Reason for Rape?

During a Youth and Truth conversation, a student asks Sadhguru what drives a person to commit the inhuman act of rape. Sadhguru discusses the generational and cultural shifts which have robbed youth of solutions which normally satisfied physical and emotional needs. The time has come to debate and address the issue, says Sadhguru, rather than focusing on punishment alone.
Black and white silhouette image of a woman | What is the Reason for Rape?
 

Q: Sir, we portray our India as a woman and call her “Mother India”. Yet we see many rape cases, even in which we see a man raping his own mother, daughter or sister. What drives a man with such madness of pleasure to do such an inhuman act?

Sadhguru: We call this “Mother Earth.” Does that mean all crime on this planet will stop? No. There is a variety of crime. Sexual assault on women is very much there. There are many aspects to this. We can get angry and say, “Okay, hang them.” Well, if you bring hanging as a punishment for rape, you must understand that in a rape case, the only witness is almost always the victim. If you guarantee to a rapist that, if you rape and get caught, you will hang for sure, what do you think he will do? He will eliminate that only witness. So, before we say something, we must be careful what we are saying. This does not mean we are supporting them. It is just a question of whether you are looking for a solution or a Kangaroo court: “Hang everybody!”

A Generational Shift

We must look at why this is happening. One thing is that, for India as a culture, this is the first generation that women are actually coming out on the street, walking and working with men in close proximity. People are not used to this. Also, millions of young people are moving from villages to cities. In their village, their idea of a woman was their mother, their mausi, their attey or patti [aunt or grandmother]. Now they come and see young girls walking on the street. It is very new for them. Let us not simply discount things and act like we have dropped from somewhere. 

Human beings have sexuality in them. Between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five the hormonal influence may be in maximum force.

Human beings have sexuality in them. Between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five the hormonal influence may be in maximum force. If one is disciplined with a certain cultivation of intellect and other avenues of expressions in their life like sports, art, music, education, then so many things are there to engage you. If nothing is there to engage you, just your hormones bursting within you, then from your village you came to a city and suddenly you see young girls. The kind of people that you saw in the movies are walking on the street. The guy goes crazy. And above all, you have been encouraging alcohol everywhere. The moment two drops of alcohol fall into him, he goes absolutely crazy in the evenings. If he thinks nobody is watching, he will pounce on somebody.

 

An Inhuman Atmosphere

There is also a sociological issue in this. If he was in the village, his mother, his aunt or somebody would be saying, “You know that girl, we are going to get you married to that girl.” Whether he marries that girl or not, in his mind there is a solution for his needs. 

When somebody commits a crime, you have to punish them – that is another matter. I am not going to get into that. But sociologically, what is the solution?

Now he comes to the city alone. He just sleeps in one room with ten boys, working through the day and night in a rubbish and inhuman atmosphere. It is like a concentration camp. Most of them are living in those kinds of conditions. And there is no solution for him – for his hormones, for his body, for his emotions, for his life. There is not one person who is going there asking, “What are you going to do? Who are you going to marry? How are you going to settle your life?” Is there any one human being looking at him? No. In the evening with friends, if he drinks, the guy goes wild. Of course, people are also selling all kinds of wild pornographic videos. He sees those things and he thinks that is the thing to do.

 

When somebody commits a crime, you have to punish them – that is another matter. I am not going to get into that. But sociologically, what is the solution? Are you teaching them to become ascetics? Are you teaching them yoga or sadhana so that they will become brahmacharis and walk free of these things? No, you have not taught them anything like that. Are you going to give them a solution? If he was in the village, then by eighteen, nineteen he would be married to somebody. Now he has no hope. He is simply there, and he will do wild things. This is the nature of a human being, we must understand. 

A Need for Debate

Just fifty years ago, almost every girl was married by the time she was sixteen or seventeen. A boy was married before he was twenty. Before he was going out of control, his things were settled. As a generation and a culture, this situation has changed. Now, there is no settlement for his life. We must at least be willing to debate, “What are we going to do with our youth?” Just being puritanical is not going to work. 

Youth means there are many aspects. One aspect is the influence of hormones in them – are you going to address it, or are you going to just close your eyes.

Youth means there are many aspects. One aspect is the influence of hormones in them – are you going to address it, or are you going to just close your eyes and say, “Nothing like that, just hang a few people and everything will be okay.” It is not going to be okay. A time has come we must address it. Rather than linking this to Bharat Mata, please address it.  

Editor's Note: Whether you're struggling with a controversial query, feeling puzzled about a taboo topic, or just burning with a question that no one else is willing to answer, now is your chance to ask! Ask Sadhguru your questions at UnplugWithSadhguru.org.

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