Rape Culture Is Real


We feel bad. We shake our head. Yet another rape. Another gangrape. 'Kya hoga is country ka?' And we go back to sipping our tea. Little do we know that we are adding fuel to the fire. Yes, my friends, we are propagating the rape culture.

The title image indicates just what Rape Culture is about. If Rape Culture dismisses rape...it dismisses itself as well!

Rape is “the violation of another person’s autonomy, the use of another person’s body against their wishes.”

Rape culture is...

Source:The Quint

This mentality is deep-rooted and is the reason why we have been hearing of so many rape cases in the news of late. Rape culture does not imply promoting rape. It’s an undercurrent in our cultural practices that makes excuses for sexual violence.

Here is a video that speaks of the Rape Culture prevalent in Haryana. (I have mentioned this in a previous post but would like to highlight it here.)


Here are some excerpts from the video that will make you seethe in anger: 

‘Rape is Consensual’ 
“Once a girl turns 14 or 15, you can’t call it rape after that. There is always consent.”
- An elderly man in Mankawas village, Charkhi Dadri district 
“Blame the victim” 
“The girl has to have done something wrong, that’s why she’s been raped.”
- A Class 8 boy from Bhiwani 
“Both the boy and the girl have done something wrong. Then why is it that only the boy is held responsible? The girl gets to stay at home, the boy is sent to jail. What sort of a law is this?”
- Mother of a rape accused in the Charkhi Dadri district
This is our world. And let me tell you…it was always this way. 

Rape culture is not just prevalent in Haryana. It is everywhere. Women have historically been considered second-class citizens who were not thought to deserve the same rights as their male counterparts. Our patriarchal system is the reason why we think and behave this way. 

In a fellow blogger, Kanika’s blog post I read that it was believed that a female orgasm is essential for conception. So if an alleged rape results in a pregnancy, then it can't be a rape at all, because the woman experienced pleasure! The truth is that an orgasm is involuntary and can occur during rape. This does not take away from the heinousness of the crime. 

And rape culture is the sad reality that in 127 countries rape within marriage is still not considered a crime, including in India!

The system of rape culture affects men too

"Toxic masculinity". is a gender stereotype burdening the men in society, depicting them as sexually driven, violent beings. This is the reason why men do not complain when they are raped. They are ashamed of the trauma. 

Want to hear how the issues of rapes can be solved? 
A Khap Panchyat member Sube Singh had given a bizzare 'solution' to the 'rapes' and suggested that the marriageable age for girls should be reduced to 16 years. He later blamed movies and television for rapes. 
A friend asked me if rapes will stop if we legalize prostitution. Or if it will stop if we fast track cases for speedy justice. Sure these measures will help. We must do everything we can to ensure that lesser women feel unsafe. We need legal reforms, policy reforms. more structures in place that allow women to feel safe enough to raise their voice against assaults. Marital Rape must be made a criminal offense in India. 

But its more important that we change our behaviours and mental attitudes to prevent rapes

1) We should not just say ‘Aur ek rape ho gaya’ and move on with our lives 

As a society, we cannot turn our heads against what is happening around us. We must raise our voices. We must encourage women to name and shame their abusers. We must not let our fandom or our ostrich mentality get in the way of justice. 

2) We should not declare that rape is consensual 

We need to support and be part of as many organizations as we can to change the mentality that rape = sex and rape cannot occur without consent. Rape is not sex and whenever force is used for sex without the other’s consent, it is rape. 

3) We should not declare that the victim is at fault

Going back to the definition of rape: “the violation of another person’s autonomy, the use of another person’s body against their wishes.” That means the rapist is always at fault, not the victim. 

4) We should not think that marrying the rapist solves the problem 

Again, please look at the definition. The crime of being forced to do something against their will can't suddenly stop being a crime because of marriage. 

5) We should not doubt the Victim 

Yesterday, Ali Zafar, the Pakistani singer was accused of sexual harassment by another singer. The news broke out in the morning. During the day, as usual there were a bunch of celebrities who came out saying they didn't know the facts of the case, but Ali could not have done it. Of, course a lot of fans showed their support. Really? Fandom before empathy? And towards the end of the day, we had more women come forward with allegations. Why do people judge the victim or doubt her instead of giving her the benefit of doubt?! Is it because most men find it easy to be in the shoes of the man and not the woman? 

6) We should not support Rape Jokes 

This angers me more than anything. How can anything about rape by funny? Why do we dismiss it? It is imperative that we do not create, share, like or encourage any jokes that objectify women. It’s not that women can’t handle jokes. But rape jokes are a no-no. 

7) We should boycott our misogynist pop culture 

We all know how anyone with a conscience feels when we see such stories. These get made because we watch them. And because they get made, we watch them. Why does a smoking scene require a disclaimer and an item number doesn't!? Maybe because in some movies... the whole time the movie is played we'll need the disclaimer: 'Objectifying women is wrong' !! It’s a vicious cycle. Let’s put an end to this. 

8) We should not indulge in Gender stereotyping 

Women and men don’t “have” to do anything or be anyone. This is the root of the problem. Men don't need to be "macho" or "powerful" and women don't need to be "submissive". 

9) We should teach our children well

We need children to be taught how to behave with women and with other boys when they speak about women. We must teach them the importance of consent. That’s how we ensure a better future. 

10) We should not allow our politicians to get away from discharging their responsibilities

We must not allow people in power do any or all of the above. We must hold our politicians accountable for the safety of our women.

What are your thoughts on the rape culture and on the recent situation in our country? Do share your views.



Comments

  1. Ashiwini this is brilliant. So glad you spoke out in no uncertain terms about your feelings on all aspects of rape so clearly. Much needed article. Kudos.

    I had written an article called `A marraige certificate is not a license to rape' http://www.womensweb.in/2016/12/law-against-marital-rape-necessary-in-india/ and now at least marital rape of a minor has been criminalized, finally.

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    1. Thanks Kanika for the kind words. I needed to write this...for myself... to express my anger, my pain my hurt. Today I hear an 8 month old child is raped. What did she wear a diaper? To ask for it??

      Read ure marital rape article. I agree it needs to criminalized.

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    2. Also I genuinely think you and I are kindred souls. So happy I got to know you through tbis challenge. U ll always have a reader in me. :) :)

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    3. Thanks Ashwini and you in me. I think we have a lot of similar issues that matter to us a lot.

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  2. Brilliantly put into words in a bold way.

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    1. Thanks Deepa for the visit and comment. Means a lot.

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  3. Anonymous9:21 am

    That was so needed. I have seen the video and it has made me v angry. We stopped watching movies and TVs because of raunchy item numbers. my son once told me how a kid took off his t-shirt and was singing Sheila ki jawanai. That was the day we stopped watching TVs altogether. We need to changc the chauvnistic mentality.
    Priya from priyreflects

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    1. Kids only say or do what they hear and see. Its our responsibility to change the way they percieve the world.

      Thanks Priya for your unflinching support.

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  4. Brilliant article Ashwini.

    As a society, we need to stop bringing up boys to feel like they are gods. Irrespective of social class, women should make their sons do house work as well. And as you said, bring them up equally.

    Men need to be made responsible for controlling their sexual urges. Dont try to shift the blame on the woman.


    https://lonelycanopyblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/19/rainy-days-in-oceangreen-kannur/

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  5. Irrespective of social class, women should make their sons do house work as well. And as you said, bring them up equally. - Excellent point. :) Thanks Seem afor your visit and comment.

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  6. What a bold subject you have chose Ashwini, and ever so apt especially in today's scenario. I didn't even know about the conception thing that a woman conceives when there is consensual sex. Oh my God, men will leave nothing unturned to throw the blame on women. What rubbish is this! I agree with all your points especially that one should not make lame jokes about it, it's not funny and also that we as a society should stop treating rapes as just another piece of news.

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    1. Thanks Anshu for your thoughts. I get angry and disappointed in people and our society because of these issues. Its not easy but we need to try and change.
      One day at a time.

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  7. Brilliant post Ashwini. You have brought forth so many valid points.

    I watched the video. It was sad, but not shocking. And it's not true only of Haryana. Maybe it's more obvious in Haryana, but it is definitely the same thought that exists beneath layers in the rest of india...Even among the educated classes.

    More general interaction between genders can help normalise diversity, and promote genuine friendships and understanding between males and females. Maybe then people will begin to look at the opposite sex as just other individuals, and not merely as sex objects.

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    1. Thanks Chriss for your kind words. I find it sad that you found the video sad but not shocking. Because u knew this is how people think. I wish more people said its not ok to think this way.

      You are right...maybe more interactions between the sexes will help normalize things.

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  8. A really important post and such a powerful video, too.

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    1. Thanks Raimey for your visit and comment.

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  9. The law lets the criminals get away; thats the main reason why there are so so so many rapes in India. If there would be speedy trials with punishment at the end of it - it would instil fear. Otherwise how is it that men have the impunity to rape as a threat to the girl or her family without any fear of consequences as there are hardly any.
    Loved your post on this topic and I hope all this shouting and sloganeering brings about a real change and not just some eye wash promises.

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    1. Thank you Shalini for visiting my blog and sharing your valuable thoughts. The law definitely has a role to play after... and its not working. But I genuinely feel that people need to stop the everyday rape culture which is creating a safe environment for rape!

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  10. What a roaring piece of article Ashwini! It can shake anyone with basic humanity. It's heart-wrenching to be part of this society, who is a daily witness of such heinous crime. I just can't imagine how one can satisfy his lust with a few years or just few months old babies!
    True that one has to stop blaming the girls and start imparting proper knowledge to the boys from day one in order to end this rape culture.

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    1. Thanks Rashmi for your visit and comment. Truly appreciate your support. Heart-wrenching is spot-on. We need to work on our today to ensure our tomorrow is better .

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