I Think: Rape is misdiagnosed as a problem of safety rather than ideology

Tanvi Mehta, student — Ashoka University, Sonepat

‘Reports need to talk about the narrative of sex in a country —even to start talking about it would change something’. Photo courtesy: Tanvi Mehta

I don’t think the news today targets the core issue — rape is usually spoken of as an unfortunate event but not as a symbol of a larger problem. When the larger problem is spoken of, it is not accurately diagnosed. It is often diagnosed as a problem of safety, instead of one of ideology.

Media reports are missing sensitivity, in the sense that, rape is treated too much as a usual unfortunate occurrence.

Rape reports need to avoid talking about the victims — when they do so, they often imply that the social class or background of the victim is relevant. The focus needs to be on the perpetrator instead. Reports also need to include commentary on the narrative of sex in the country — even to start talking about it would change something.

While medical diagnosis, the sensitivity of the physician, etc should be covered, I don’t know how relevant it is to the news. It sensationalises the pain of the victim. Rather, I think having statements from the family and friends of the accused, where they have to confront the person’s wrongs, would help.

If I were a journalist, I would create a detailed profile of the perpetrator, having interviewed every person in their background and lives. And do a narrative piece on the moments that this person was taught that behaviour like this is logical.

This is one in a series of articles that NewsTracker published from 25 November to 10 December as part of the #16Days activism, aligned with the UN’s International Day for Ending Violence Against Women. This piece appeared on Day 10.