Rape - A cancer that has ruined lives and continues to penetrate and plague our society. Unfortunately if you open any newspaper today you will see one report of rape case. It requires our immediate attention and collective efforts of the pen, the law and most importantly the society to create a system that amputates the infected and help the victims heal those Rapescars. Contributing towards this cause with pen is Gaurav Sharma, who is a young Delhi based Mathematician cum writer. He tells the story of a young girl who suffers the ordeal and fights it in her way.
We wanted to understand what, why and how behind this story and so we decided to sneak into Gaurav's thought process behind this unusual revenge story and here it is for our readers:
1. Tell us the story of how a mathematics teacher turned into a fiction writer?
A- I started writing when I was eight. So I was a writer before I developed interest in math. I have passion for both mathematics and writing. Mathematics fills my stomach, writing satiates my soul. Struggles didn’t allow me to pursue writing as a career but mathematics helped me to earn my bread and butter.
2. What does writing mean to you?
A- Writing is a stress buster. It is the subtlest way to pacify the storm inside you. It might be the joy or tormenting something. Pen has the power to express everything, precisely and liberally. I am a very restless and intolerable kind of person. My friends find my views strange. Writing is a mode to find people who may agree with what I think.
3. After your first book “Love at Air Force” which spoke of true, unrequited love your second book is on a completely different topic of “Rape”, why such a transition?
A- “LOVE AT AIR FORCE” too addresses a serious question. People in armed forces have related to it. It was like seeking blessing of my father before entering into the literary world.
After “LOVE @ AIR FORCE” I had started writing a satire on our education system but the alarming rate at which the rapes are taking place scared me. “RAPESCARS” is about my thoughts on rapes. It is what troubles me as a father, as a brother, as a husband and as a part of the society. As a writer, I aspire to create a stir so I chose this subject.
4. Why does rape happen in our society?
A- Rapes happen in every society. It is a disease of sick mind-set. In our society particularly, we understand the gender relation largely as sexual relation between man and woman. In bisexual relationships, we give so much importance to sex that it becomes an obsession. In India, marriage itself is a licence to have free sex. Women in our country are paying the price of asking for the change. For ages, Indian society repudiated to acknowledge women as another pillar, denied her to study, to make career and to choose her companion for life. It is accustomed to treat women as an object. Rapists are not sex-starved men. They have a serious mental disorder which makes them think that to have sex with a woman is their right, consensually or forcefully.
5. What do you think can be done to prevent such incidences?
A- Strong moral education with lessons on etiquettes in bisexual relationships must be a part of school curriculum from the very beginning, making it more intense with every class.
Law needs to be more stringent on rapists. A compulsory death penalty will surely help. Hearing of rape cases should be on daily bases and there should be no provision of appealing in higher courts against the judgment of lower court. The rapists and terrorists must be forbidden to render a mercy plea to the apex court and to the President.
And above all we should teach our sons not to rape instead of teaching our daughters how to prevent rape.
6. How does your book “Rapescars….They Never Heal” address this issue?
A- “RAPESCARS” is a rape survivor’s perspective. Follow a reported case of rape closely. You will learn that in our country getting rape is a lesser ordeal than fighting for the justice. It is difficult to get conviction unless the victim engages a seasoned lawyer as the prosecutor. In about one-fourth of the reported cases, victims give up because of the snail-paced process, haranguing by the defence lawyers and social stigmas and humiliation. Akriti Dayal, the protagonist of “RAPESCARS” endures all this and when the conviction comes, she feels that it is too less in comparison to what she has suffered. What she does after, is a slap on the face of Law. It is an irony that a victim has to fight for justice and the offender gets every opportunity to escape from punishment.
7. Is the story inspired by real life or is purely fictional?
A- It is amalgam of some real life stories and is partly fictional.
8. A lot has been said by politicians about women working in the modern world and wearing revealing clothes leading to rapes, what is your outlook on the same?
A- All I have to say is that a gentleman will not rape a woman even if he sees her naked. Revealing and skimpy clothes can attract you; they can’t reduce you to a beast. If one doesn’t get tempted to snatch somebody’s food, money and other precious belongings…should he lose control of himself on having a glimpse of a woman’s assets?
9. How can we as a society help women who have been a target of a man’s brutality?
A- Social boycott of rapists and men who torture women is the best punishment in my opinion. If one half of the society feels vulnerable, we can’t call it a society. Neither we have evolved as human beings nor will we prosper as a nation. This country is under-utilising its human resource because men of this country don’t allow women to live without the threat of violation, assault and exploitation. It’s best to cut off the diseased part and prevent it from spreading.
10. What is the message you wish to spread through your book?
A- “RAPESCARS” is a mirror which reflects on how our system tortures a rape victim. It involves the Police, the Law, the media and the society. It reiterates that imprisonment is no punishment for a rapist. On the contrary, imprisonment helps the first-time rapist to overcome the guilt and transforms him into a hard core criminal. Rapists should get a death sentence or they should be made to earn their livelihood living in a hostile society. In 75% of cases, rapists are repeat offenders so it is imperative to reform a rapist along with punishing him. “RAPESCARS” is an attempt to bring forth a rape victim’s point of view.
11. Your book has also been discussed by NGO’s and platforms dealing with these issues, can you please mention some.
A- Yes the book is a part of ‘Change India Initiative’ and is being discussed by many organisations which are working for this cause. Credit goes to my publisher Mr Harpreet Makkar and the entire team of Petals Publishers and Distributors for this. I am grateful to them for their sincere and devoted efforts in publishing this book.
12. Can writing help us solve such social problems? How?
A- Yes writing can help in solving social issues. Many authors have written motivational books. They do help us. I had read ‘Magic of Thinking Big’ a few years back and it did have a very positive influence on me. We can motivate through stories also. I think writers need to be responsible because unlike movies, books don’t have a censor certificate.
13. A message to your readers.
A- Dear Readers…it is not Gaurav Sharma but Akriti Dayal who is confiding in you through “RAPESCARS”. As a writer, I have tried my best to bring out the anguish of a rape victim however; I accept that nobody else can understand the pain of a sexually assaulted girl.
You may not approve of the way she seeks vengeance but you will surely appreciate that she raises her voice and vows to continuing her fight against the violation of her persona. I hope you will empathize with her. I hope she inspires many. I hope you will extend your love and support…she really needs it.
Also, I am not trying to preach and teach through this book. I don’t intend to suggest that a rape victim should take revenge on her culprits the Akriti way. It is just an effort to tell everybody how peremptorily we all need to ask for a change in the laws.
Readers Cosmos: We wish you and your book a lot of success and hope that many more writers address such crucial problems of the society in their works.
Gaurav Sharma: Thank you so much for the wishes. I take this opportunity to congratulate The Readers Cosmos for the wonderful work they are doing. I wish more success for you and your team.