How to inspire science to work on rape prevention 

#rape, #rapeprevention

The Gurmeher episode has many emotive issues to agree/disagree with, but the one that really bothered me is the rape threat she received.
I feel that rape is not getting deserving attention as a problem, but there is no doubt that, if God granted women one wish, eradication of rape would be a unanimous choice of every woman. If rape can be taken out, life of a woman will be completely transformed.

What makes rape interesting is that it is almost a unique achievement of human males. Dimorphism; the root cause of rape-empowerment available to men is common in nature, while rape isn’t.

Dimorphism, i.e. difference in size between sexes, is not always male-favoring, as birds-of-prey females are larger and hyenas females dominate males, but testosterone being governing hormone, it is more common to find stronger males. Though stronger males are common, rapist males are almost non-existent in nature.

Most creatures live solitary life where sex is a seasonal drive getting switched on for a small window so forced-sex is irrelevant. Rape becomes a problem only when larger males and smaller females live together.

First to encounter such a situation were social insects, who solved it by structuring societies that restricted sex to one breeding pair and neutering the others.

In larger animals, the problem started with herd formation. Evolution solved it by making sex a seasonal need and making females auto-receptive to dominant male who proved his credentials through fighting or posturing. So, a small seasonal window of sexual receptiveness and male-dominance driven hierarchy have prevented rapes in nature.

The natural mechanisms that prevent rape haven’t worked for us because human females are sexually receptive round-the-year and our social structure is getting flatter. So male dominance is passé and females live a precarious life under the looming threat of rape. Modern woman stands at a point where she has no hope from biological or cultural evolution to solve her problem. So, science is her only hope.

Even though rape is almost an existential problem for a modern woman, she is ready to hide it because she surely doesn’t want to return to being an object owned by males. But if women were asked, they would have wanted research on rape-prevention to be prioritized over atom bomb, space-station, Internet or even smudge-free lipsticks. If so, why don’t we see a matching effort from science to tackle it?

As all scientific pursuits today follow market demands, it is likely that commercial viability of developing rape-prevention technologies hasn’t look lucrative to researchers, so I want to attract their attention to another woman-problem and its financial scale.

Though not-getting-raped is first priority of every woman, looking-beautiful is surely the next, and that has spawned an industry of unimaginable scale. Women of the world buy cosmetics worth 30 trillion Rupees (India’s GDP is 100 trillion). This is really crazy; as most of the cosmetic products don’t even solve the problem they are sold for.

There are more than 3 billion women out there who would be ready to pay any price for a rape-prevention technology, and what they spend on cosmetics is a great indicator of their buying power. So, there can be no research opportunity that can match the business potential of rape-preventive technology.

If you are a woman, it is likely that you would have found above prose callous and insensitive. Talking about rape is uncomfortable and it is a social evil that must have a social solution. But, if you are pragmatic (as all women are), you would understand that society might take just too long.

Technology is your best hope, but the world won’t move till it sees the money, so about time you flaunt your Gucci and indicate that you can afford to buy your happiness.

I am happy to admit that I have managed surviving till now with minimum effort as all my intellect has be used to avoid doing anything meaningful. As I needed to while all the free time I generated in course of being lazy, science has been my favorite muse that I have enjoyed company of. As an effort to kill time (in a way, to get even with it) one fine day I decided to write a science column, more for my personal amusement than to attract readers. After getting educated about the attention span of modern readers from my editor, it became more like a challenge to tackle esoteric subjects in 600 words that I have managed to remain interested in for more than a year now. I do not want to add my worldly profile here as these are ideas that need to be considered only on the merits they carry and not as an opinion of a certain human being.

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