Sinister primal instinct

Amal Chatterjee
11 min readNov 18, 2020

Source : Google photo

Synopsis : The incidence of rape and murder of an innocent child, girl or a woman occurs in societies where the men still feel superior to women and disapprove their modern ways but the times are changing .Women are getting education and training that puts them on equal footing with men that many can’t accept so behave aggressively toward them. The blog looks at the tribal reasons behind such behavior.

I get very annoyed when bad people are called animals because animals are noble and have compassion whereas the bad people are anything but.

Today I would like to write about a very primal instinct in human beings that brings out the dark side that is usually covered with the cloak of social taboos and norms. Since childhood we are taught by our parents, our teachers and others what are good values and what are not. Most organized religions do the same although what effect it has on the morality of the average person is anyone’s guess.

Since the time unknown, men have been overly harsh on women in most countries and have promulgated laws and rules for them to keep them in their place that is home and hearth. These are called tribal laws that have roots in the belief that women are the weaker sex so they must be protected by men either by keeping them at home or through other means like hijab, burqa or veils of some sort so that they remain invisible to men who have bad intentions. This tradition still prevails in many Moslem countries that prevents the women to show their full potential as human beings although it is slowly changing.

They are discouraged to wear western clothes, form fitting and revealing clothes or clothes that attract undue attention to their bodies. They are discouraged to go to school because people are literally afraid of educated women who may someday challenge the male hegemony over them.

This attitude of male superiority over women is prevalent in uneducated tribal cultures where boys are preferred over girls, where girls must be married off even before they reach puberty to prevent them from illicit sex before marriage, where the hard core Islamists kill girls for going to school and who question their authority, where the boys within the family learn to dominate over their sisters and even mothers.

Women who are thus oppressed are fighting back and steadily gaining their rights through protests and through education because they get their support from their family. Some governments are taking proactive steps to help women get education, jobs and training and are enacting laws in their favor. Indian government recently banned the practice of Triple Talaq and promotes fair compensation and equal treatment of women.

In India the child marriage is banned by law and now the government is considering raising the minimum age for girls to get married from 18 to 20 but secretly and not so secretly some communities still practice child marriage because it is very difficult to change their mind set and the tribal culture.

The British stopped the inhuman practice of burning the widows alive on the funeral pyre of their husbands although some tradition bound Hindus opposed the law on the ground that it was their tradition. The real reason was to acquire properties owned by the dead. Thankfully the law is enacted throughout the country preventing this hateful crime but other roadblocks to complete female emancipation still remain that are rooted deeply in the patronizing culture in many societies in general in many parts of the world that are being slowly overcome.

But during my grandfather’s time meaning some 90 years ago, it was unheard of sending the girls to school anywhere in India although some girls learned the alphabets and basic math at home simply because women’s education was not their priority.

During the British Raaj, some British women started schools for girls so they set up schools like Annie Besant school, Girl’s high School, St.Anthony school, St. Mary’s school, Loreto and many others but 90 years ago very few female children attended them and those who did stopped at grade 5th or 6th . They were told by their mothers and elder sisters that the formal education was not necessary for them since they were going to get married soon so they should learn how to cook or mend clothes.

In rural areas where most Indians lived and still do, this attitude is still prevalent although it is slowly changing because the government actively promotes female education both at primary and secondary level and makes it easier for the rural children to go to school

The western countries only recently ( 1918 ) allowed women to vote and to get education, gets jobs with equal footing with men in many sectors. The female education and their right to vote in England and in the United States was a hard fought battle they won so now you see women there have become professionals and can be found nearly in all jobs that were previously open only to men including in the armed services. The first black president and now the first woman as the vice president in the United States show how far we have come. We see this trend throughout the world although the success rate varies from country to country.

We all have the primal instinct to protect our children from harm. Women breast feed and protect their babies just like the lioness due to this primal instinct. This instinct is natural and benevolent.

But my subject of this blog is the dark primal instinct of some men that comes to the fore even today when women are making tremendous progress in every field and breaking all the old traditions that had tried to puts limits on them. This dark side of some men is not a natural phenomenon but a learned experience. The traditionalists irrespective of their religion and location still believe that education for women makes them question their authority that they find very hard to tolerate so they resist the female emancipation with tragic consequences. They disapprove of women who wear tight fitting and skimpy Western clothes, going out with boys late in the evening, smoking, drinking, dancing in a seductive way, living with their boyfriends before marriage and promiscuity. They see such women as a threat to their tribal culture.

This disapproval was manifested one night when a teenage girl was gang raped by a group of people in a running bus late at night in Delhi just because she was with her boyfriend so they assumed that she was promiscuous so should be punished this way. Her boyfriend was severely beaten by them and both of them were dumped by the roadside. The girl beaten, raped and severely bleeding from her injuries was found gasping for life when she was brought to a hospital.

The prime minister of India sent her to Singapore in his plane with doctors and nurses to assist her but unfortunately she died before she could be helped. Her boyfriend survived but will bear the scar of the incidence the rest of his life.

No day or week goes by without the report of rape of children or gang rape of a teen age girl somewhere in India often resulting in the death of the innocent. The police catches the culprits but no punishment is enough for them because they took the life of an innocent girl.

This sort of crime is reported from every part of the world and begs the question why people behave this way and commit such crimes? This is the dark side of the human nature that manifests itself during the struggle between the tribal culture and the modern age that recognizes the right of women to get education, choose their mate often against the wishes of their family, right to mix with boys at school, right to choose a profession they like, right to pass competitive exams and become officers in the government, right to dress the way they want, right to eat the food of their choice, right to marry only when they feel that they are ready etc.

These rights that women worldwide are demanding and making inroads into terrify the traditionalist because the tribal laws they value comes under threat and their authority gets shaken up that they cannot tolerate. When such tribal laws are passed on to the next generation of boys, they too start to believe in them and start to look down on women who demand their rights mentioned above. That is why I say that the sinister primal instinct is a learned process and not a natural one.

This is especially true if the men remain without education and skills so they express their hate toward a girl who is educated, well dressed according to her taste and goes out with her boyfriend late at night that triggers their dark primal instinct to rape the girl and beat her boyfriend unconscious. A rape is often the expression of disapproval of ways of modern women like in the case of that poor girl in Delhi and this disapproval is linked to their tribal culture that goes easy on boys but is harsh on girls and modernity.

When a girl goes out with a boy anywhere in a traditional society, it is assumed that she is promiscuous so her behavior is socially condemned let alone cases where men and women live together without marriage. These guardians of the tribal society feel that they are responsible for the moral standard they impose on everyone specially women but exempt the men for the so called indiscretions. When a girl is gang raped in a village in India, often the elders in the village council blame the girl saying that she must have seduced the boys to do so and punish the girl. ( Read my blog called The story-of-Phoolan here )

The dark primal instinct that I write about here is a product of the tribal culture that is diminishing in its influence on the society as a whole in cities but is still found to a great extent in the uneducated rural societies where women still face many difficulties they want to overcome.

The tribal culture that favors boys over girls is quite tolerant of boys and say that it is perfectly alright for boys to seek sexual satisfaction wherever they can including the prostitutes so they say that Oh boys will be boys and they may sow wild oats but never the women.

There was a time in Medieval Europe when jealous men forced their women to wear a chastity belt that only the men could open with a key so the poor women suffered. In the harems of kings in India, the guards of the harem were castrated just in case some women got horny and had affairs with them. You could imagine the frustration of young women cooped up inside a guarded harem where no male was allowed except the king so some women did get horny. The Chinese kings employed the eunuchs in their harems for the for reason.

The Western culture that promotes equality for women has come a long way from their days of chastity belt and patronizing attitudes because women will not put up with it anymore. Many have become leaders in their country and have encouraged millions of women to come forward and become whatever they wish to become. They have won their rights after a long fight because they too had to contend with the tribal culture of the males at first. They now inspire all the women to claim their rights so now half the world population is becoming more aware of their rights and are taking steps to get on the equal footing with men. ( Read my blog called The other half here)

Depending on the country and the tribal laws prevalent there favoring men over women, they have a long way to go to get to where they want to be. Now some Moslem countries are relaxing their laws so that women can get education, can drive and can choose a profession there but often their own families stand in their way.

Older women find nothing wrong with their tribal culture that kept them illiterate and tied them to home and hearth because they had gotten used to it. They also show strong disapproval of the influence of the Western women on their society and their culture when it comes to skimpy clothes, going out with a male companion without a chaperon etc.

The overt sexuality in some men driven by their testosterone at a certain age makes them aggressive toward women who break taboo so they use it as an excuse to hurt them just like in the case of that Delhi girl. This sort of thing happens in any society, progressive or not so rape occurs in all countries. The extreme violence associated with rape of a woman and the murder later begs the question why it is so and what exactly triggers such hateful action that results in the death of an innocent girl.

I have always maintained that the act of rape is often associated with a male showing dominance over the body of a woman who is helpless so it is not always about the sexual gratification. It is about the power play so a stronger male overcomes the resistance of a woman and rapes her by showing that he disapproves of her. You will see this behavior in soldiers like what happened during the war in Bangladesh.

In the animal world, you will never see a dominant male overpowering a female so copulates only when the female is ready. The females show their willingness to copulate when they come of estrus and start spreading their urine that contains the scent of female hormone estrogen. The male animals pick up the scent to find their mate and in the process fight with other males to secure their right to breed but they rarely fight with the female because they don’t have to.

In humans we find that the way we are brought up has a lot to do with the way we behave toward the females. In educated families, the parents are a lot more tolerant and wish or encourage their daughters to get their full potential through education and meaningful jobs. There an educated woman may work even after her marriage to pursue a career of her own

For the first time women are being trained as fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force and many are fighting in the front alongside their male soldiers. The Peshmerga girls in Kurdistan fight just as hard as men. This is a drastic change from the days of our grandfather so I see that the tribal culture can change with time and the spread of education for all.

In countries where boys and girls mix easily with each other since childhood form a greater understanding of each other so aggressive sexual behavior is restrained. It does not mean that there are no rape cases there but violent incidences like what happened in Delhi or elsewhere in India is not common although serial killers killing of prostitutes or women suspected to be promiscuous is not unheard of. The education in women weakens the influence of tribal culture that lingers in societies where men still play the dominant role.

So please do not label bad people as animals. Animals are noble in their behavior so we should learn a lot from them.

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