Boys can make mistakes.

If this is vote bank politics, then whose votes does Mulayam Singh Yadav hope to attract here?

It seems, since the actual percentage of sexual criminals (and those who want them to go unpunished) is not big enough for him to win an election, he decided to try some Misogyny combined with (tested and tried) fear-mongering.

This looks like an attempt to convince his voters that there are laws (made by his unworthy opponents) that have enabled Indian women to get ‘boys’ hanged. [Rape Myth: Only young boys rape, and they rape only young women]

It’s possible that he is genuinely disheartened  – life would be so much simpler for sexual criminals and misogynists if women could be legally shamed, silenced, blamed, honor killed or married off to rapists.

It’s possible that he means what he is saying.

‘…Girls and boys…  and later they have disagreements and when disagreement happens then the girl goes and alleges that she has been raped … now they are saying the rapists (in Shakti Mills case) have been sentenced to death. Should punishment for rape be death? They are boys, they can make mistakes. Can’t hang them for it. In fact we will try to amend the law that would punish those who make false accusations.’

Note: Patriarchy approves of Capital punishment for rape, because it sees rape as a crime against the victim’s male relatives, and a rape survivor is seen as a dishonoured zinda laash. If it wasn’t so, we would see demands for Capital Punishment for acid attack victims too.

On the contrary, punishment for rape should be graded with severity of the injury to the victim, the rapist should have enough fear and reason not to kill the victim. Also, capital punishment might lead to rapists killing the victim to eliminate the witness.

But this is not what Mulayam Singh Yadav is thinking.

Mulayam Singh promises that if his party is voted to power they will bring amendments in the rape law and whosoever files a false report, will also be brought to book.

Seeing how difficult most rape survivors find reporting rape,  and how easy it is to for a rape survivor to be silenced (often with death) – it’s not difficult to imagine how much such statements benefit sexual criminals.

#election2014 😦

Related Posts:

“I can’t believe you are saying this! You are saying rapists should not be hanged?”

Would you call a Rape Survivor a Zinda Laash?

Who are we hoping to hang with Capital Punishment for rape?

I conduct mini opinion polls 🙂


40 thoughts on “Boys can make mistakes.

  1. It is not sad that he can make such comments. The sad part is he can say such things and get away with it!

    With such leaders at the helm what hope do we have? Let’s hope this #election2014 brings about a change


  2. I feel like saying – to hell with these stupid politicians. But I can’t say so because whatever nonsense they utter actually affects a lot of people. There are countless people out there who lack a mind of their own and are ultimately ‘guided’ by what their ‘leaders’ say. So, it is really dangerous to let such politicians get away with such nonsense.

    Though I do not entirely agree with IHM’s comment that – “punishment for rape should be graded with severity of the injury to the victim”. That may hold true if rape is viewed as merely a physical assault.

    But it is well known that the very basis of a rape is to assert power and dominance aimed at the psyche of the victim by humiliating the victim. It is the psyche of the victim that bears the brunt of a rape. And a proof of it is the common occurrence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorders and Flash-backs. A rape victim may be negligibly hurt physically, but her self-confidence and mental stability can suffer immensely.

    A punishment should be such that it instills fear in the minds of future criminals. And any punishment which instills fear runs the risk of the criminal killing the victim to escape the punishment for want of evidence/witness. It seems to be a two-edged sword.

    Mere surety of punishment (if not harsh) will not instill fear in the minds of criminals. Do you think any hardened criminal will fear going to the prison for whatever duration of time after committing a rape, even if every rapist is sure to be imprisoned?


      • IHM, I never said that I recommend the death penalty for all sexual assaults. But I questioned the view of doing away with death penalty entirely.

        Of course acid attacks are no less a crime than a rape. And thus such crimes should also be punished accordingly.

        And I never said that a victim should not be counseled or supported and the culprit be hanged instead. Of course a victim should be helped in every way to get back to living a normal life. But what has that got to do with the punishment of the culprit? I can’t see why you linked the two.

        My take on punishment is not to emphasize on the revenge aspect. It is more about being a deterrent to future criminals.

        What do you have to say about cases of molestation? At most times there is no visible physical injury to a victim of molestation. Not even the evidence of being molested. Yet, the difference between a rape and a molestation can just be by the presence or absence of penetration. So does that mean a woman is not affected by an act of molestation? How do you grade and hence punish molesters?


    • ” A rape victim may be negligibly hurt physically, but her self-confidence and mental stability can suffer immensely. ”
      No, yaar.

      In the moments after the rape the woman in Park Street had the presence of mind to call for help. The journalist in the Shakti Mills case was rumoured to buy a bottle of water soon after. The journalist who was a victim of Tejpal’s advances apparently remained relatively collected and calm afterwards.

      Insisting that women after a sexual assualt are mental ‘unstable’ is uncalled for.
      Also, it is dangerous, because the insinuation is that someone who did not suffer ‘as much’ was probably not ‘really’ raped.

      By no means are women affected equally and similarly by rape/sexual assault.


      • Desi Daaru, you missed the point.

        I never said ‘all’ rape victims are affected equally and similarly. That was exactly I was trying to point out in reply to IHM’s comment that since different victims are affected differently, only physical severity cannot be used to grade the harm to the victim.

        And, there is a difference between presence of mind (like in the examples you mentioned) and psychological effects on the victim. PTSD and flashbacks are perceived by victims even months after an assault in spite of leading a very normal daily life otherwise. You have to consult psychiatry/psychology literature to understand the difference.

        Many, if not most, diffident and psychologically affected individuals remain calm on the exterior otherwise.

        And, I never said that any/every rape victim becomes mentally unstable. Loss of mental stability (as in having episodes of PTSD in an otherwise normal person) is not exactly the same as mental instability.


  3. They are boys and they make mistakes, cant hang them for it?
    In india when girls make “mistakes” they are “honour killed”


    • Death penalty for rape is also similarly linked to honour.
      Think about it.
      Since honour is held so dear to a woman’s identity,the taking away of it -by rape is punished with death. Should the punishment of rape be the same as the punishment for murder?


  4. How come it is always it is the statements of politicians that are “taking out of context”
    If their statements of are always taken out of context why can’t these idiots think before opening their mouth.

    Look at the crony defending his misogynist boss. He is concerned about the misuse of the law and not about effective implementation of laws in this country.
    Women of India now is the time to show your worth vote against misogyny of every form, you can’t go by a choice between bad and the worse.
    Desi Girl


  5. It is depressing and revolting that such a senior politician makes and gets away with such statements. What he is saying echoes sentiment of a large section of people. Many of who might be scared of public/media shaming and suppress their real thoughts. But if you scratch a bit, these are the sentiments of many, too many people.

    I also agree IHM about death penalty. It doesn’t do anything to reduce sexual crimes, only whets the appetite of public outrage.


  6. What is so wrong with what he said (apart from the fact that he did it just for votes) ? For any crime, unless the victim has been killed or severely maimed (like acid attacks), I don’t think death sentence is warranted. Not just boys, every human commits mistakes and the punishment should be proportional to the crime committed and not something just to satisfy our righteousness. In Delhi case, I support the death sentence but definitely not in the Mumbai case. I sincerely hope that the supreme court overturns it.

    PS: If the point of the death sentence is to send a message, let’s start with death sentences for everything like bribery, traffic violations etc.


    • Moreover, India is one of the few countries where even consensual sex can be called “rape” if the girl later changes her mind (when the boy doesn’t marry her). So, it makes sense not to jump to death sentences for all rapes.


      • India is also one of the few countries where marital rape is not a crime , where dowry is the norm , where you (used to) have the 2 finger test for rape victims and where you actually need a law to ensure that policemen take domestic violence cases seriously. Based on this, by your logic, it makes sense to castrate men at birth ,doesn’t it?


        • I am trying to have a reasonable discussion. If your solution is basically kill all men, we could well go with Abu Azmi’s proposal.


    • He said rape is a ‘mistake’, boys are boys they make mistakes. Rape is a serious crime, not a ‘mistake’. And statements like this embolden sexual criminals.
      About capital punishments, I agree, if at all then only for repeated and aggravated assaults.

      Capital Punishment makes no sense when the victim is too afraid to report, and when it takes years in the court. Much rather have awareness (only rapist is responsible, it’s a crime not a shame/honor) support (legal, moral, medical, social) and counselling.


    • @anon
      He was clearly victim blaming. Rape does not automatically come with a sentence of death penalty. It is only used in cases of gang-rape,multiple offences or where other serious injuries were inflicted.
      I really don’t think he can play the ‘I’m opposed to the death penalty’ card.

      We were having a discussion on parties with institutionalised misogyny the other day.The Samajwadi Party definitely qualifies- because their manifesto apparently promises to re-think the new laws on sexual assault.


    • The shakti mills case got death penalty because they were repeat and compulsive offenders. It was not a one-off event. They had a tried and tested modus operandi to lure the victim, subdue her and then intimidation to ensure it never comes to light. At no point did they feel any remorse for what they had been doing, instead it was like a friday night poker game for them. That’s why they got death and they deserved it.


      • That’s the point here. The victim neither died or was severely maimed. So, death sentence is unwarranted. Life sentence should be sufficient to remove those men from society.


    • Let me get this straight – you’re equating bribery and traffic violations to physical assault ?
      These men used to lie in wait to attack women and later blackmail them. How is the punishment disproportionate to the crime? You think rape is a joke? You’re equating it to a someone accidentally scratching your car to jump a signal or bribing a guy at a government office to jump the queue – a small annoying inconvenience? “Oh he was some random stranger who physically restrained me for hours and assaulted me – it was annoying ,but boys make mistakes right? Anyway it wasn’t like he shoved an iron rod through me and tried to kill me.” ?

      The problem in our country is that we have WAY too many people who STILL think rape is just bad sex.


      • I am just equating the idea of using sentences for sending a “message”. As I clearly mentioned in my post, for the Delhi case I support the death sentence. But, here the victim wasn’t killed or severely maimed. We could have gone with life sentences to remove the perpetrators from our society. Death sentence is a bit extreme.


  7. And IHM, if this is vote bank politics, how is it that he does not fear alienating almost half of voter base? Or does he think (maybe rightly so) that women are not going to independently decide whom to vote for or that many women are misogynist themselves? disturbing..


    • Women have no separate identity in rural western U.P., it is presumed they fall in line with husband and his family (of course you can’t be unmarried adult woman). Even when women candidates are contesting elections (like panchayat seats reserved for women etc.) , you see the husband’s big picture — and statement “Vote for so and so’s wife” .


  8. Don’t worry, here is a solution (even if it may mean wiping out the human species) 😀 😀

    When asked for a solution to the problem of rapes, Azmi had this to say: “Solution is this: any woman if, whether married or unmarried, goes along with a man, with or without her consent, should be hanged. Both should be hanged. It shouldn’t be allowed even if a woman goes by consent.” – (


  9. We believe that such callous remarks, dent the real fiber of democracy. It makes one question the surrounding and the people we have chosen to run the country. Such statements would not be there when our politicians believe that they are here serve the public and not to rule them.
    ‘dod’ Rangers


  10. It is now that I would like to see our women political leaders, across party lines – Sonia, Sushma, Mamata, Mayawati, Jayalalitha – speak out. It is now that I want Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, Arun Jaitely and other “national” leaders to have an opinion and share it publicly. They should do TV, joint press conference, editorials in newspapers. It is not sufficient that they have their party spokesperson reel out a scripted two-liner dismay. There should be anger and outrage. The only strong response I see is from the NCW. When was the last time their opinion severely affected a candidates’ election prospects? That male politicians have this attitude is not surprising, rather it is the lack of response by our political leadership that worries me.


  11. I am against death penalty in general. But his comment can only be seen as something that is intended to lighten the crime and establish once again that boys can get naughty and rape..It is actually the woman’s fault to be present there during that time and if at all she does get raped because of her fault, she should remain and live the rest of her life as “zinda laash” and not go filing cases against the assaulter.


  12. whose votes does Mulayam Singh Yadav hope to attract here?

    Mulayam will get the votes of brainwashed people in UP who believe that every case is police vendetta against muslims. BJP will get the votes of people who believe this is proof of muslim appeasement. Polarization complete. Mission accomplished.


  13. What did you expect from them? This is western U.P. where when Delhi police came to arrest a rapist the village people blocked their entry and had violent clashes with them. SP is named the party of ‘Dacoits’, many of the members are former dacoits.

    Right before last assembly elections in U.P., Mulayam completely disappeared from public view, it was strongly rumored he is on deathbed and that Akhilesh will take over completely. Akhilesh made strong points on development, technology and no gundaraj. People were deceived by all this, thinking things will change with new leadership (no mulayam). With positive media attention (IBNlive gave him politician of year award), many people voted for Akhilesh. Since then, with the aid of their votebank politics, they have been sowing unrest and fear in the community. Immediately after swearing in of Akhilesh, there was an astronomical increase in riots in U.P., hundreds of them, even in places where no rioting happened in 1991 Babri incident. Muzaffarnagar was just waiting to happen. Mayawati was 100 times better than these people.

    Expecting gender-sensitivity from SP is too far of a stretch. I am not surprised at all by this news. We know what to expect from like of mulla mulayam and abu azmi who have now given these scintillating gems of advise. Their vote bank very well knows and agrees with their thoughts, that’s precisely why they are saying it loud and clear to garner votes.


  14. Im against death penalty – for any crime, just because we cant bring that life back. Unless we can prove 100% and there no such thing as absolute proof 🙂 I think life imprisonment without any chance t be set free is enough punishment, maybe isolated confinement. ???This i feel about in the entire world, i have seen cases which were proved wrong in the US. I dont know much about indian judiciary but i bet there there are corrupt officials who can get the wrong guy ( by mistake or on purpose) so no I strongly OBJECT to death penalty. but i also want the r
    ape cases swiftly prosecuted and the offenders shown no leiniency and swiftly sent to an isoltaed jail life


  15. What an effing jerk! Seriously, he needs to be fired from his posting. Rape and gang-rape are NOT a mistake. They are calculated predatory sadistic acts which are just as bad as murder in my opinion. First he is saying the girl can falsely accuse, then he is saying what the boy did was a mistake – so which is it?
    I think this man needs to have a background check, he sounds like a rapist himself!!!!!!!!!!


  16. Pingback: When a crime is a punishment or a lesson taught to the victim. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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