A recent report has revealed how prevalent videos of rape and gang-rape are. These are real life videos taken by perpetrators, and are almost always downloaded from the Internet to be sold further for as cheap as Rs 50 at times.
The effects of this trend and addiction to it can wreak havoc in the individual. First, in the very act of preparing to watch it, he abandons all sense of responsibility. These are extreme images and their impact is even more extreme. Even if he thinks he is just curious, he allows himself to be exposed to unimagined images that then get 'burned' in the brain. These are images often beyond what the mind can conceive. Some men react with disgust since these are images of gruesome force that dehumanise women. Others, who choose to watch it again, fuel and feed their sexual urges at their aggressive worst. This is noted as the most immediate effect.
To the individual who does so, even if he, as boy or man, leads a stable family life, gruesome violence against girls and women increasingly becomes acceptable to him. This changes attitude and impacts behaviour.
In societies where patriarchy dominates, it feeds already prevalent misogynist attitude towards women, allowing greater sanction to groups of men to become perpetrators of rape and gang-rape. In studies from 1993 till date, adolescent males convicted of such acts admit to watching sexually violent media with their friends before attacking their victims.
In developed countries, a distinction is made between erotica and violent sexual content. Erotica involves consensus between two partners; the second involves force. Even with this understanding, societies are struggling to put policies in place to counter the effects of violent sexual media.
We are a sexually immature country, where adolescent boys often don’t quite know how to approach a young woman. Sex is usually associated with filth and satiating this urge translates into using force against women who say no.
Worse, rape is sanctioned as an excuse to teach a woman a lesson, as in certain khap panchayat decisions. Here it is used to cloak, sanction and indulge perverted lust and raw aggression. Circulation of such porn is a trigger for the increase in such incidents.
To counter this, parents have to monitor their boys and what they are watching. Spaces that offer free WiFi have to rethink their policy. While laws have to be strictly and swiftly enforced by a police force equipped and trained to be effective, society has to understand that placing blame on the victim is a psychological defense that relieves itself of the responsibility to take action and help.