Yatra naryastu pujyante ramante tatra Devata..loosely translated, the sanskrit line means God resides where women are worshipped. And India is one such country where women are revered and put on a pedestal. Yes, it’s also a country where women find themselves at the receiving end of things—honour killings, dowry deaths and rapes. But generally speaking, going by the way our society is structured, it's natural for people to expect women to be anything but dangerous.
The gender or rather the fairer sex is thus wired in such a way that they ought to care than cause any harm. I mean this is a universal norm and any deviant behaviour seems unnatural.
But like they say truth is stranger than fiction. And with the rising cases of women offenders, one wonders if the gender equality in terms of crimes is also catching up. One of the most vocal early champions of feminism, Germaine Greer and her followers could well shrug it off as nothing unusual.
Statistically and factually, men are more likely to commit crimes than women. No, I don't mean that women don't make mistakes. They do but that's universally considered a deviation from their natural biological instinct. A cold-blooded woman murderer is therefore, seen as an oxymoron.
Also, I remember reading a BBC report which said that women offenders are often stereotyped and projected as being much more cruel as they often end up killing someone they closely know. They don’t go on shooting or stabbing sprees and are less prone to mow down dozens of innocent people with a truck or car. Yes, there have been a few instances of radicalised women extremists turning into suicide bombers, but religious extremism is something else.
Take the recent case closer home—of our very own Swati from Nagarkurnool, who killed her husband Sudhakar Reddy and poured acid on her paramour, Rajesh so she could live with him happily ever after. Another woman Jyoti, along with her lover, Naresh and his friends, killed her husband, Nagaraju, the other day.
Yesterday, a woman in Guntur lovingly fed her husband a concoction of alcohol laced with cyanide so she could be with her paramour! Isn't that startling? Why is it that a woman committing such a heinous crime comes across as shocking when we couldn't be bothered about scores of worse acts committed by men on a daily basis? Simply because women are meant to be the trusted caretakers in any entity—be it at workplace or home, they are so unsuspecting. So when we hear of such cases, it's hard to digest and seems much more cruel than a man committing it.
It's hard for people to identify with such women. You would often find people either pitying a women offender or severing ties with her and treating her as a social pariah. Female criminals are often seen as exceptions and not as serial offenders although the crimes committed by women are on the rise in recent days.
According to psychologists, a woman's act of violence is often triggered because of a man. Perhaps this is one theory we all could agree with or at least appears to come closer to reality given that in all the three cases cited here, the woman killed her husband so she could be with her 'lover'.
What supports this statement is a Canadian study according to which, most women who kill husbands are not domestic violence victims neither do they have any psychological issues. Women who kill are strong because the weaker ones suffer silently anyway.
We often refer to a woman's murderous act in a domestic set up as horrific unless it is perpetrated in self-defense or stems out of her mental instability. So when a woman commits an act that contradicts the 'set rules' of womanhood, it's hard to forgive such a violent woman who breaks that taboo. Yes, some women argue that it is man who has circumscribed their roles, rights, responsibilities, defined their shades of behaviour and has drawn a Lakshman Rekha around their lives.
Now, the million dollar question is how does the mind of a female killer work. Why does she think of committing such a heinous act? Is it some sub-conscious instinct to demonstrate power? Women always love to be in control. Be it to show her superiority or simply to prove a point to somebody, a woman often finds herself doing things which are not meant to be germane to her nature.
There seems to be a role reversal even on the crime scene. Male or female, a criminal act just doesn't deserve forgiveness. Cold-blooded murder cannot be rationalised or explained away.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below.