We’re sure you agree that crime has no religion. The recent gruesome happenings in Kathua go to show how some sections of society rally and protest over religion as a basis for proving the guilty as innocent. The reactionary wave of social media outrage is but natural, but is this outrage over digital platforms really going to do anything apart from rile us up and make us feel frustrated about the context that we live in? Does feminist outrage avenge Asifa? It’s obviously easy to say that ‘doing something’ rather than writing an article or making a Facebook post will have more of an effect. In order to understand how we can truly change our context, we thought it’d be important for us to understand what guilt, remorse and shame truly mean for us.

What did the perpetrators of the brutalities committed against Asifa feel? Was it guilt? Was it remorse? Or neither? From an evolutionary perspective, if we look at the notion of rape, species such as the scorpionfly are anatomically designed with total organs that are meant for coercive, non-consensual sexual acts. But, does the male human organ serve the same purpose? The simple answer is; no! There’s no justification for non-consensual sexual acts from the human male. The lack of copulative opportunity, sexual frustration, or other motives rooted in cultural dogma probably lead to these acts in the human spectrum. It’s important to look at the difference between simple guilt for something you’ve done, and remorse, in order to understand whether there is potential for change in our context.

The act of rape is; undeniably, not associated with any form of remorse or even guilt. The feelings may or may not surface even after. In the case of events such as the Asifa ‘incident’, there is a clear religious undertone to it, apart from the obvious desire to fulfill some sick, carnal desire. The men who perpetrated the crime involved police officers and so-called ‘proponents’ of Hinduism who worked at a temple. Isn’t it ironic that we call our religion so pious? The type of behavior we see in the name of religion in our country is truly tragic. The difference between guilt and remorse is something that we need to understand in order to see whether the ideologies of people who claim to be ‘high and holy’ are really what they claim.

Guilt only represents a certain amount of pathos in reaction to a gruesome act. It doesn’t necessarily warrant that the individual concerned will have the agency to do something to fix what they’ve done. When you’ve done something unacceptable, its natural to label yourself as a ‘bad person’. You deserve to beat yourself up about it a bit. But, the thin line between remorse and guilt is bridged when one actually feels the agency to do something to fix or repair the damage you’ve done. The death of an individual through the gruesome acts of others, however, can’t be fixed by either of these. One needs to pay the price. A life for a life is a fair bargain. Asia can only be avenged if the lives of those that took hers, are swiftly taken away.

Events like these elicit shame in the highest form for the state of affairs within a context among the larger population. That kind of explains why we take to platforms like social media to express our disgust. It’s because we’re ashamed about the state of affairs we thrive within. Express your shame, but make sure you don’t turn it into a debate about feminism. It isn’t merely about gender. It’s about how we need to make other people realize that the shame we feel is something that is only acceptable, whether we’re men or women. Rather than reprimanding men for saying that the angsty feminists make ‘generalizations’, doesn’t it make more sense to express our shame for the acts of others as a collective?

To close, it’s only apt to put t out there to human rights groups rallying for the lives of the men involved in the Asifa case and ask, ‘does someone who has violated the rights of a child deserve to have their rights protected?’ we personally think that the answer to this question is an obvious ‘NO’.

An undergraduate in Psychology, Shantanu is an aspiring Educational Psychologist who will be pursuing his Master’s in 2018 at the Ohio State University. He is adept with psychometric and statistical research, and has honed his grasp over psychology through a 4 year undergraduate course in Liberal Education at FLAME University, Pune.