Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
The rape and murder the of the Hyderabad veterinarian has sent shock waves across the country. After Nirbhaya, the sheer brutality of this incident has yet again raised questions on the safety of women in the country.
But what makes one a criminal?
A person steals when they need something. They commit murder in vengeance or passion. But what makes one a rapist?
What makes a man inflict such extreme pain on a woman without any hesitation?
Unless we understand what makes one commit such heinous crime, how do we curb these incidents? Will there be no end to this kind of brutality?
To get an insight into criminal psychology and get answers to questions that have been troubling us for years, The Logical Indian spoke to Anuja Kapur.
Anuja Kapur is a renowned Criminal Psychologist. She is the founder of ‘Nirbhaya Ek Shakti’, a centre for assistance for sexual rape survivors – it provides assistance to victims in the form of counselling, legal aid, vocational courses, and rehabilitation. She was recently felicitated by International Association of Research and Developed Organisation for her work in the field of Indian Criminal Psychology.
1. What makes one rape a woman? What goes on in his mind?
Rape can be termed as a ‘hate crime’. A man rapes not just because of his sexual urge, but because of their hatred for the other gender.
It is basically toxic masculinity. A sense of entitlement because they consider themselves to be the superior gender. They do it because they think the act may prove that they are more powerful.
2. When we refer to rapists and murderers, we usually call them psychopaths. Are they all really psychopaths?
India has more serial rapists than serial killers. Both serial rapists and serial killers are psychopaths.
Psychopaths are manipulative, may come across as charming. They lead a life which may look normal to people. They are highly intelligent.
On the contrary, there are sociopaths – people who are more erratic, rage-prone, and unable to lead a normal life.
Somebody could be a psychopath or a sociopath due to genetic imbalance or if the parents have a criminal background.
If a normal person sees images of rape and murder, they tend to have an emotional outburst. As opposed to them, people with a criminal mind will remain unmoved.
If not genetic, a person may develop criminal behaviour if there is trauma to their brain, which alters the activity of the Prefrontal Cortex. This brain region has been implicated in planning complex cognitive behaviour, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behaviour. Biology plays a major role.
Criminals are usually narcissists, emotionally unstable and predatory in nature. They are often paranoid.
3. Did you ever interview a criminal? If yes, what did you learn in the process?
You don’t easily get permission to interview a criminal – a rapist or a murderer – in India. I think it’s quite unfortunate, because how else does a criminal psychologist get a practical insight into the criminal mind? The theory is not enough.
However, I travelled to the US once and got the chance to interview a couple of men who had committed murders. They are remorseless people.
As opposed to serial rapists and serial killers, paedophiles tend to feel guilt.
But murderers I interviewed were unmoved. They did not flinch while talking about their crimes.
4. Are prisons in India equipped to facilitate reformation? Can the perpetrators be rehabilitated?
Never. Like I said, rapists and killers are remorseless. The documentary ‘India’s Daughter’ based on the Nirbhaya case was banned in the country, but if you watch it, you will see how one of the convicts confidently says that a woman should not step out of her house after 9 PM and that women are meant to do household chores.
He unflinchingly says that had the woman (Nirbhaya) not fought back, they would not have killed her.
He is an example of what every other rapist is like. They feel no guilt. They are convinced, in spite of any punishment that they are given, that they have made no mistake.
5. If rehabilitation is not possible, what is the solution?
Reforming a criminal mind is hardly ever possible. Education and gender sensitization merely cannot bring down the crime rate, or make the next man who is about to commit a crime realise that what he is doing is wrong.
Our legal system will have to ensure that a case against a person who has committed such a horrifying crime does not stretch forever. There should be a particular timeline by which all the procedures must get over, and the perpetrators are rightly punished. Our justice system needs to speed up.
The Hyderabad vet’s gang-rape and murder points towards the failure of our system, yet again. Things will have to get better.
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