Where do hate crimes come from?

Taslima has been writing about the Delhi rape since it happened.

She wrote about the patriarchal mindset.

About India, the land of eroticism, sexism and rapism.

She wrote about saying a woman who was brutally gangraped, tortured, mutilated and killed has “died peacefully.”

And she wrote about the fact that this kind of thing doesn’t just burst out of nowhere.

For the very first time, folks were angry. Or did it wake them up? Does wakefulness appear so easily? It is true that for the first time, thousands of men and women of all ages took to the streets demanding from their government the safety and security for the womenfolk. It has also been demanded that the perpetrators should be hanged by the neck till death. Capital punishment by hanging is not a major issue to this government – it is a rather easy, hassle-free solution. But it is a lot more difficult to take measures so that men cease to see women as sex objects, so that from a tender age, human beings learn to recognize and treat other human beings as human beings.

This is what I was saying yesterday, only to receive a barrage of stupid vicious comments shouting that I was making it all about me despite the fact that I said the precise opposite in the post.

Taslima is making the same basic point. What happened to the Delhi woman was a hate crime. Where do hate crimes come from? A culture that fosters hatred.

Married women bear various marks on their bodies to advertise their marital status. Just as lifeless photo-frames are sometimes marked with a red mark as ‘sold’, the application of the vermilion mark on the forehead and the parting of hair suffices as a veritable purchase notice for married women; for them, from the hair on the scalp to toenails are considered property of their husbands. Married men, however, are never properties of their wives. If protests against the rape of women carry on while leaving such patriarchal traditions intact, would rapes ever stop? On one hand, ninety-nine percent of Bollywood movies portray women as sex-objects, television carries the same message, newspapers splash images of barely-clad women; everywhere the women are merely bodies – smooth, soft skin; only breasts, only genitalia; their brains are not brains – women philosophers are not philosophers, scientists are not scientists, intellectuals are not intellectuals, professionals are not professionals. Once they are within reach, are men going to discuss science and philosophy, or are they going to be more inclined towards rape? I don’t think men don’t know that whatever a woman might wear, be it a short skirt or nothing, no one has the right to rape her. I think men know it well. At the same time, they also know that they are the decision makers! Men have more muscles, more brains, more courage; they can take greater risks, and they are beyond shame and fear; men are brave, fearless, powerful, stronger both physically and mentally – there is nothing they cannot do. This is what they have learnt, this is what they have been taught every moment of every day since their birth. The act of rape, to these men, is an evidence of their virility. The truth is, however patriarchy has raped women’s bodies, it has raped women’s minds even more; it has raped their vitality, their lives and liveliness, their limitless possibilities, dreams and freedoms. A physical injury often heals, an emotional injury doesn’t.

We’re allowed to say this.



  1. Sue says

    Bravo….. both of you…… Ophelia you have bought the voices of these women to us for a long time now and I have only ever heard your voice in support of and enabling these women to be heard. Thank you. Just that. Thank you. Taslima as ever. Superb

  2. Tim Harris says

    Yes, bravo – I waded though yesterday’s comments… well, it is the Year of the Snake, and doubtless the dawning of their year aroused the denizens of the Slymepit…

  3. Didaktylos says

    One thing that worries me is that nothing will actually change. I understand that the (alleged) perpetrators are now under arrest. I fear that all that will happen is that these particular individuals will be tried, convicted and hanged – and official India (and those with unofficial connections to it) will just say words to the effect of “Look – the system works, it’s not broken, so no need to fix it.”

  4. crowepps says

    The suggestion yesterday that the women should arm themselves fails to recognize the facts. The police in India won’t *allow* the potential victims to have guns.

    Delhi police sources say hundreds more had turned up at their office itself. “We had to patiently tell them that one needs to have a clear danger to one’s life to be given a licence. However, some of the parents were not happy with our replies. They said that with even public transport no longer safe in the city, they just cannot take chances. When we told them this could not be reason enough, we were told to give in writing that their daughters were indeed safe on Delhi’s roads,” said a source.


  5. yahweh says

    Much as I value this blog for its stance against the appalling treatment of women, I am continually disappointed by the lack of intellectual follow through on questions like this (where do hate crimes come from).

    It’s pretty feeble to leave it at Spartist phrases like “patriarchal mindset” in an atheist blog steeped, one is to assume, in knowledge of natural selection and adaptation, when the adaptive nature of males controlling female’s reproduction is so apparent and so worthy of research.

    A quick google seems to indicate that feminism can’t get past the canards of social darwinism and the fuckwit arguments of MRAs and alimony-begrudgers. Too many English professors and not enough scientists perhaps?

    Does anyone know any references to proper work on this or is the whole debate just hot air?

  6. says

    What research exactly would you do or suggest should be done on the adaptive nature of males controlling female’s reproduction? How would this research inform this issue?

    I’d be curious as to what your google search terms were. If you want papers on sexism and the cultural discrimination against women some better terms to use would be “Sexism social psychology”.

    You could maybe start where all undergraduates start in their research of a topic the reference section of wikipedia.


    Try those papers for instance as a starting point.

  7. yahweh says

    Research starts with a question and I think that your first para is excellent enough to repeat.

    “What research exactly would you do or suggest should be done on the adaptive nature of males controlling female’s reproduction? How would this research inform this issue [patriarchal social structures, gender related attitudes and beliefs]?”

  8. yahweh says


    Following this through I came across Sarah Hrdy and to my amazement a reference on an old Butterflies and Wheels post regarding the AAA which includes this statement non-ironically (I think):

    “Wait, I have an idea – they could split, and the fluff-heads could all move to Women’s Studies departments. Meanwhile the non-fluff head WS people could move to departments that actually value data collection, though that could include history as well as scientific fields.”

    And then there is Why Truth Matters, which would fit on my bookshelf nicely next to The Rise of Mumbo Jumbo.

    This goes a long way towards explaining the slightly baffling strap line “fighting fashionable nonsense” then the site is a temple to the same.

    Ophelia, do you still stand by your book or have you moved on?

  9. says

    “yahweh” – what are you talking about? Your rants lack precision.

    My question was about where the hate crime comes from. Shoving a pipe up a woman so that it punctures her uterus and shreds her intestines is hardly an example of “controlling female’s reproduction.” You could make an argument that would connect it to that, but it would take several steps, which might make it far-fetched. It’s not simply obviously a matter of policing female reproduction. Not even close.

    As for the strap line, I’ve never liked it. I keep forgetting to ask to have it removed. But no, this is not a temple to fashionable nonsense.

  10. yahweh says

    Ophelia, If I may say, I think sometimes in your postings you value verbal precision over the obvious. Maybe this is a side effect of the textual medium.

    A bunch of men shoving a pipe up a woman so that it punctures her uterus and shreds her intestines is very obviously to do with the sexual attitudes of men towards women. An overt attack on a woman’s reproductive organs after raping her is about the clearest and ugliest demonstration of this which one could ever see.

    Maybe badging it ‘hate crime’ advances the public argument (although I’m not sure) but the”why-oh-why” headline better suits a tabloid paper and, as it turns out, belies your own knowledge of these matters.

    BTW thanks for the link to Thunderf00t’s video. A bit toe curling but still really, really funny. I expect in the film he’ll be played by Sacha Baron Cohen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *