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Challenging Youth Violence and Rapes in India

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Table of contents

  1. 1. Youth Violence: a concern
  2. 2. Bible and Violence
  3. 2.1. The First Testament
    2.2. The New Testament
  4. 3. Factors causing Youth Violence
  5. 3.1. Societal influence
    3.2. Domestic violence
  6. 4. Rapes against Youth
  7. 4.1. Causes of Rapes: India as case study
    4.2. Types of Rapes
    4.2.1. Anger Rape
    4.2.2. Sadistic Rape
    4.2.3. Gang Rape
    4.2.4. Rape of the elderly
    4.2.5. Child Rape
  8. 5. The Impact of rape
  9. 6. Measures to prevent Violence
  10. 7. Youth can be saved
  11. 7.1. Rehabilitation programmes
    7.2. Outreach programme
  12. 8. Church’s role
  13. 8.1. To control Youth Violence
    8.2. To check Rapes
    8.3. Accompanying the youth

Youth is considered as the soul of any nation, as it will define the position of a nation in the near future. The economic progress, the educational growth, and security perfection is depended on the percentage of youth present in the country. But if this precious manpower of the youth is marching towards destructive motives then the nation has to be sure to pay the price in the days to come.

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Violent behaviour of the youth is what we can see today in many places. It can have several triggers, like parental conflicts, broken families, child abuses, poor parental supervision and offending peers, coupled with the carefree attitude of youth in schools and colleges, are often the precursors for youth involvement in crime. Some youth see it as a solution to day-to-day problems. Influenced by these violent images, many young people feel they can get away with anything. The notion that crime is low risk and high gain is the motto of the youth today.

It is pertinent to analyse what the authorities have done; and what we can do to curb youth violence and crimes to make our country a better place to live in.

1. Youth Violence: a concern

Morality is the chain which binds people to each other. We are responsible for each other. What each does, affects the other. Violence is bound up with morality. The ‘generation-next’ is growing up faster physically. Girls and boys now attain puberty at a younger age than previous generations. But emotional development has not kept pace with physical maturity. The hormonal disturbance often makes young people turn violent. Since violence is primarily a destructive force, the relationship it produces is one primarily of fear, anger and resentment. Violence is a symptom as much as an external act.

2. Bible and Violence

Violence has a number of connotations, but it would be unjust to say that violence is universally condemned. On the other hand, history stands witness for violence as a by-product of a society in transition, where value definitions are changing and where, our expectations are in flux. Violence has often at times accompanied constructive changes in culture and tradition. It is at this point that religious traditions play an important role. The Bible contains narratives of slaughtered children, raped women, annihilated tribes, and exploited individuals. Bible from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation provides us with a story of faith, couched in the imagery of murder, revenge, blood lust, war, rape and torture. In such a background, how can one understand the word of God from the historical setting of the people? How does the Bible understand violence?

2.1. The First Testament

In the First Testament the term used with regard to violence is ‘Hamas’. The verb ‘Hamas’ refers to “to do violence”. It often means not destructive force, but social injustice or oppression, involving physical violence. Violence has a very important spectrum of ethical and moral life of people, such as oppression by the rich, adultery, rape, racism, capitalism exploitation, injustice, etc.

2.2. The New Testament

Biblical term for violence in the New Testament is ‘Bia’, which means a violent force that is in a potential threat to human life. While the First Testament justified revenge against crime, Jesus always advocated pardon and forgiveness; love and kindness. Non-violence epitomized on the cross was his panacea for violence.

3. Factors causing Youth Violence

Children’s lives are saturated with violence: in their homes, in their neighborhoods and schools, on television, in movies and in video games and in the music they listen to. Children are not safe anymore as they are exposed to so many media sources which force them do things which are not morally right. In some sense violence does cause violence, but it is much more complex.

3.1. Societal influence

There are plenty ways aggression is being taught to children and there are many teachers too. The children get this aggression through different means like peer groups, siblings, and mass media. You can have one child grow up in a very violent home and not be a violent adult. Another child brought up in a violent home will grow up to perpetuate the pattern of violence. A lots of factors influence behaviour that the child grows into, including home environment, community environment, conventional norms, individual temperament and personality.

3.2. Domestic violence

Domestic violence is the most difficult form of violence to quantify. Aggression and violence are learned behaviours. Youngsters who are exposed to this kind of behaviour begin to feel that it is an appropriate way to solve problems, to get things they do not have, and to vent their frustration. Rapes have become a very common crime in India today. The youth has to avoid late night partying which could be the main cause of rapes and abuses. Cases have been noticed which bring to light that youth under the influence of alcohol and drugs commit such heinous crime.

4. Rapes against Youth

The number of rape cases in India has increased in recent years. Rape is a sexual act that is attempted or completed by force against another persons’ will. This increase is a cause for ethical/Christian concern. Rape as an act of violence has several consequences for the victim, her family, friends and the community as a whole. This heinous act which the offender enjoys can destroy the life of the victim.

4.1. Causes of Rapes: India as case study

A factor that can be ascribed for the cause of rape in India would be perversion. When a man in his childhood is deprived of his security, affection and suitable identification, they may lead to perversion in him. These men feel powerless and dishonored throughout their lives and feel that they can have sexual satisfaction only by force and violence. Research reveals that, young men are more interested in partner variety, and less interested in committed long term relationship. The causes of rape in India can be better understood through the psychological, socio-cultural and social learning of life or life history of individuals. The socio-cultural milieu affects the behavior of men and women from the beginning in the making of their personality. Therefore the youth needs to be channelized towards productive activities in schools, colleges and universities, and not to let them use their precious time for criminal experimentation.

4.2. Types of Rapes

Rape is any sexual act that is attempted or completed by force, threat of force or coercion against another person’s will. There are many kinds of rapes which give pleasure to the offender. The more prominent and recently taking place is anger rape, sadistic rape, gang rape, rape of the elderly and child rape. India has been facing the problem of child rapes recently which is a great issue to make correct.

4.2.1. Anger Rape

In some cases of sexual assault, it is very apparent that sexuality becomes a means of expressing and discharging feelings of pent up anger and rage. The assault is characterized by physical brutality. The offender violently attacks the victim against her will and rapes her. His intent then is to hurt and degrade his victim. His weapon is sex, and his motive is revenge.

4.2.2. Sadistic Rape

In sadistic rape, both sexuality and aggression become fused into a single psychological experience known as sadism. There is a single transformation of anger and power so that aggression itself becomes eroticized. The assault is deliberate, calculated and pre-planned. The victim is stalked, abducted, abused and sometimes murdered.

4.2.3. Gang Rape

If three or more assailants are involved in the act of rape then it can be termed as gang rape. Through participation in gang rape, the follower seeks to find or confirm his masculinity, achieve recognition, and retain his acceptance with his co-offenders. Gang rape also seems to be a sexual offence directed more against adults than against children.

4.2.4. Rape of the elderly

In the case of raping an elderly, the victim is often regarded as responsible for stimulating her assailant and arousing his impulse. The victim is frequently stereotyped as a young and attractive woman who dresses and behaves in a sexually provocative fashion. Here rape is far more an issue of hostility than of sexual desire.

4.2.5. Child Rape

Children become easy targets for the assailants who roam on the road sides and look for prospective lonely children. In the case of children, it is more serious violation because they do not know how to defend and protect themselves. Children of rape face various psychological effects that have specific symptoms that are obvious and relatively easy to identify. Feeling of loneliness and lack of confidence are common characteristics that victims display.

5. The Impact of rape

In India, chastity is an important factor and virginity is a prerequisite for a girl to get married. In case of a married woman, rape will bring adverse effect on the whole marital relationship. She may lose the love and care of her husband and her restoration in the family is jeopardized. A married woman who is raped is divorced or rendered homeless by the husband, as she has lost her honour and dignity in the family. An Unmarried girl who is known to been raped, in most instances, finds it difficult to marry as she is considered to have lost her virginity and honour.

The rape survivor has to undergo social stigmatization, mental trauma of potential pregnancy, lost virginity, possible injury that may render her unable to bear children and the prospect of sexually transmitted disease such as AIDS. After rape the woman is maltreated and dishonored by the crucial and humiliating cross examination of the family, relatives, neighbours, police and so on. Some victims experience a general distrust and fear of men.

6. Measures to prevent Violence

Teens need time and energy from adults. The Church must be the voice crying in the law-and-order wilderness. The Church has to take up this call and act more thoroughly. We can be voice for young people. The future is bleak for those youngsters who do engage in serious crime. The authorities are getting tough on youngsters which will keep individuals under the supervision of the government from cradle to the grave. Kids are going to make mistakes, but we must never desert them. If we take up the call for the young people, we could make a great difference.

7. Youth can be saved

To save these children from being violent, these youngsters need to be kept in contact, who have dropped out of school, who are gang members, and who more than flirt with law-breaking (violence, drug dealing) as a way of life, so that they do not become full time violent workers. If their energy and enthusiasm is channelized in the proper way, these so called violent workers can work miracles for the societal benefit.

7.1. Rehabilitation programmes

We as seminarians can experiment with dozens of different ways to steer children from violent behaviour by counseling the parents of such youngsters in the schools. They could be given instructions to give their quality time for their children so that they do not find pleasure in doing things which get them into unnecessary trouble. We have to give our nation some hope that these efforts are going to make a difference in the lives of our youngsters.

7.2. Outreach programme

What is the right age to offer help? Intervene too early and some children may feel stigmatized; and to intervene too late, the child may shun attention. School-based programs have to be implemented in the school curriculum for the more troubled youngsters, to guide them properly. The family support is also equally required to solve these conflicts.

8. Church’s role

The Church has supported the initiative of local anti-violence plans to curb youngster from going astray. The urban communities are facing a spiritual crisis that is being studied by the church. The minsters of the church have to be prudent enough to handle cases of youth violence, especially rapes, to guide the victim, to promise her, that it is not the end of her life. God still loves her and she can live her life trusting in the providence of God who is all powerful and loving.

To be more practical the church is undertaking new forms of organization to meet new needs and challenges. Many educational institutes have been targeted by the church authorities to spread awareness to safeguard women. The stringent laws too are made clear to the offenders of the crime, so that each person takes the responsibility of his offence and face the consequences that follow. No partial punishment is acceptable for harming innocent women but strict, life torturing punishments awaits the offenders. Thus church plays a silent, but effective role to curb youth violence.

8.1. To control Youth Violence

The church authorities are involved in a network established for street ministry. These people walk into the streets of pain, they go into the drug houses, and they are in the schools, the hospitals and the funeral homes too. They are preaching and teaching the youngsters, but most of all they are spreading God’s love and assurance. The Roman Catholic Church has taken this initiative and is seeking support from the other churches too. The members of this ministry deal with the tremendous personal and family problems and responsibilities. They guide them in trusting God’s love to give them the strength to stay on the path of transformation. These young people are just discovering the power of God in their lives.

8.2. To check Rapes

It should never be forgotten that, the church is a primary reference point in the life of many people. Whenever the rape victim faces any personal problem their first refuge is the church priest. For them, the minister of the church is a trusted and known resource; they assume that he will know what to do in this situation. Still others may seek the minister because this crisis of sexual victimization is also a crisis of faith. Many victims fear to tell anyone about their abuse for they fear disbelief, and lack of support. The perception that the minister lacks knowledge, sensitivity, and experience in dealing sexual assault also keeps the victims of rapes from approaching him. The ministers have to have the proper solution for the victim which will lessen her burden of thoughts.

8.3. Accompanying the youth

The cause for the present youngsters to become violent is the loneliness that they go through in life. If every youth is accompanied by someone, like parents, friends, relatives in every stages of their lives they will not be violent. If we become their friends, then they will not make the media source their companions, which are morally bad in few contexts. If proper moral values and the importance of the other are made known to children, they will respect one another. Youth have to be saved from getting into the addiction of drugs and alcohol to avoid violence. Conducting youth seminars and programmes would be of great help to protect them and assure them a bright future without offence and violence.

We have to reach out to our youngsters before they become criminals. We need to spend time with the youngsters and re-establish the creditability of our institutions. We have to give our nation some hope that these efforts are going to make a difference in the lives of our youngsters.

Jesus teaches Christians to respond to the needs and hurts of their neighbors. However, it is not easy to know how to respond to a neighbor who is a victim of rape. Yet there is a need for each individual in the community of faith to adopt the role of the Good Samaritan.

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Can we help these young people? It is not easy, but we have to give it a try at the grass root level. We have to bring in more church partners, mobilize more local congregations to be involved. We should look for more moments where we can stand with the oppressed as a witness to God’s love. This is what our faith and our belief in Jesus Christ our savior should be about: being doers of the word, not just sayers.

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