Rapists deserve a taste of their own medicine

If I have been silent about the horrific rape and murder of the as-yet unnamed Indian medical student in New Delhi, it’s not because I don’t care, but rather because I care so much I can hardly bear to think about it.

We seem to be living through a time of tipping points: when thresholds are crossed that are so outrageous that they provoke long-overdue reaction from a generally compliant, inured and zoned out populace.

India, and indeed most of southeast Asia, is well-known for its misogyny and callous brutality towards its women.  From female infanticide, neglect of girls, dowry deaths, domestic violence and tribal justice in which female victims of sexual assault are blamed and punished, often with death, this is not a region that treats its women kindly.

This is old news to global human rights activists.  But suddenly, thanks to the martyrdom of that one tipping-point rape victim, it is front-page news in India and around the world, and men and women are out in the streets demanding a sea change in the way sex crimes are punished and in the discriminatory attitudes towards women, not just in India, but all over the world.


Eve Ensler

Eve Ensler, long a tireless advocate of women’s right to live free of violence, observes in a recent article in the Guardian/UK that we live in a global “rape culture,” in which “a girl can be purchased for less than the cost of a mobile phone.”

Or simply taken for nothing, as happened on the bus in India, and then thrown away.

Ensler’s website for her One Billion Rising movement, which will reach its peak on February 14, tells us that “one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.”

“One billion women violated is an atrocity.  One billion women dancing is a revolution,” the website continues, urging viewers to “strike, dance and rise in your community to demand an end to violence against women.”

I’m sorry, but I have a hard time getting very enthusiastic about the idea of “dancing” to end violence against women.

I think it’s time for a stronger response.

I’d like to see rapists and assailants of women get a taste of the kind of retributive justice so many of the patriarchal cultures and religions like to mete out to women accused of sexual crimes.


Stoning to death.  Cutting off of body parts—noses are popular, but how about we try penises this time?

This is probably why I didn’t want to write about this issue.  I’m too angry.  I can’t sit around and talk rationally about it anymore, like Nick Kristof did in his column today.

Just once, I’d like to indulge my own rage and seriously entertain that favorite approach of the patriarchy: an-eye-for-an-eye retribution.

Touch that woman violently, young man, and you will feel the edge of this razor, right between your legs.

Throw acid in the face of that young bride, kiddo, and you will be ceremoniously dumped in a vat of acid yourself.

Like to jam iron rods up women’s vaginas, Mr. Bus Driver?  How do you like the feel of this one up your ass?

And no, don’t tell me to calm down!  Don’t tell me I’m hysterical!

Women’s rights advocates have been trying for years—for centuries!—to get the leaders of our male-dominated world to treat us with the respect we surely deserve.

And yet still a brave little Pakistani girl who dares to speak out for the right to education gets shot in the head.

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai

High school and college sports stars still think it’s fine and dandy to gang-rape unconscious female classmates.

Women are pushed into the workforce and expected to still do the second shift of housework and childcare at home—and by the way, we’re paid less, too!

The list goes on and on, and sometimes it’s just too much.

Maybe the only way to get real change to happen in short order—in my lifetime, please!—is to give the men responsible for these crimes and inequities a nice taste of their own medicine.

Leave a comment


  1. One aspect of this not discussed is the effect it has on women generally. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been walking along, minding my own business, and have become aware that there is a human of the opposite gender walking in the same direction — and becoming agitated because I am there. Which is nuts, because I wouldn’t hurt a fly; but because of the stories we hear and tell, people are often more scared than they need be.

  2. Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

     /  January 14, 2013

    Yes, women walk in fear; and it hurts good men like you too, in subtle but definite ways. Rape culture. Haven’t we had enough of it, after the last 5,000 years or so?

    • leavergirl

       /  January 15, 2013

      If convicted? One word: castration.

      • We do need fewer bastards in this world; I’d agree with your solution, but, harsh though it may seem, only for a second offense — on the grounds that reversal of a bad conviction would be a tad tricky. Subsequent offenses (should there be any) to be penalised by removal of any appendage (victim’s choice) with a rusty saw.

      • Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

         /  January 16, 2013


      • leavergirl

         /  January 16, 2013

        All right, Wibbler. It’s a deal. Though a vasectomy as a warning for the first might not be a bad idea.

      • Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

         /  January 16, 2013

        Leavergirl, you have the best ideas!

      • Be careful what you wish for: I have no doubt at all that some would view it as a reward, not a punishment.

  3. Jennifer…I agree with you…I am not sure dancing is the way to stop violence…as it does not really show any respect for the victims. I have been raped and that moment stays with you forever…it is an eternal violation. Our society, is very ill. We are in what is known as the Age of Ignorance. I have requested to interview this organization and I will ask some tough questions if they do me the honor. At the same time, I will “like” them because they are bringing a voice to a subject no one will talk about. I often have my doubts about these large visions really shifting anything or bringing anyone to a call of action. However, I will remain open as it might be just what mother earth is waiting for. 1 billion women chanting NO MORE!

    Thank you for your voice…I wish I had a solution to these outrageous events. I am not sure more violence will solve the problem…I feel we need to all learn to respect one and another with a zero tolerance…meaning we have enough land on this planet they can go live there and figure it out.

    Sending love and gratitude… Suzanne

  4. Lorimer Burns

     /  January 16, 2013

    There is a ongoing WAR ON WOMEN and children and the effects of abuse are enculturated.

    No one is unscathed by this unconscionable violence.

    Having taught Safety and Self-Defense for an awesome organization , IMPACT, for 12 years, in Boston, and being a survivor of sexual abuse myself, I have witnessed too many soul crushing stories to be moved by Red Ribbons or Dancing our way to a Rebellion. Within the class we often recreated the crime so that the survivor could “rewrite” the ending
    and exact a physical defense/punishement. To say the least, It was very cathartic and healing.

    And yet, I say, with some sense of sadness, that I agree with you and have for sometime (almost my entire adult life!) .

    In my fantasy, the punishment is in a public arena.

    • Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

       /  January 16, 2013

      Yes, just as patriarchal societies carry out their punishments of women in public–stoning, etc–punishments of men who violate and hurt women should be very public, to serve as a warning and deterrent.

      I have to say that normally I am so anti-violent that this post surprised me when it came bubbling out of the depths of my anger about this issue. As I ponder it, it just seems to make sense that we have to fight fire with fire. Speak to them in the language they understand: violence.

      Very sad. But maybe necessary.

  5. carrie diehl

     /  February 19, 2013

    I HEAR YOU! The UMASS, Amherst Production this year chose to not play the video. As soon as I figure out how to upload the statement we made and the letter we are sending to V-Day to resist the film, in all of its contextual MIS-represetnation and invoking of beliefs that women can just “magically” push away violence and begin dancing, I will. We instead made a statement to the audience to show that we were rising, but not inside the domains of how V-Day asked us to. I’m happy to know other women find this idea problematic and are willing to voice concern.

  6. Anna

     /  February 22, 2013

    More heartbreaking news from India. The bodies of three young sisters were found last week in a well. They had been raped and murdered. The killer(s) have not been apprehended.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: