Many men in India grow up in male dominated surroundings. Based on a patriarchal society with socially and culturally accepted separation of genders, men have little contact with females in the post puberty phase. Due to the lack of if not limited natural interaction with young women they often grow up with false notions about manliness seeing sexual dominance as necessary to show their manliness. One predominant notion that prevails among young men is the concept of “asli admi” ( the Real man) which correlates with among other characteristics the need to be sexually aggressive in order to satisfy women. So the underlying contorted ideas about masculinity among many men in India influences the attitudes prevailing in the Indian social scene.
There are very few role models of manliness that don’t involve molesting a woman. Bollywood exacerbates the matter by often depicting its film heroes with stalking or related mannerisms. Lacking a role model of masculinity, Indian men often tend to view such mannerisms as worth emulating.
There are many underlying reasons behind the Delhi gang rape and the high occurrence of rape in India, all of which need to be addressed. But social organisations in India need to correct this distorted notion of masculinity by educating the masses on a broader base than done so far and breaking down the prevailing ‘culture of silence’. It is time that social institutions in India work towards developing a “youth culture” that promotes a healthy, open, positive approach to sexuality and a normal relationship between both genders.