Dhruti Kalavapudi, content writer, Hyderabad
I have the NDTV app on my phone, but a large amount of my news consumption is from social media, word of mouth, and links which are shared by family and friends.
My mental health became a strong reason for me to stay away from news about sexual violence. Some of the reportage is too graphic for me, although I understand the necessity of it. The last incident of sexual violence I found out about was from a post on social media that went viral. It was a video of a taxi driver in Mumbai touching himself while looking at the female passenger.
Sexual violence is rampant in India, but it exists on a huge scale around the world too. There has been a change in it being reported more often, but I believe there is elitism here. Upper-caste, upper-class experiences with rape and sexual violence are reported more often. I’ve also noticed that sexual violence that ends in death or that happens in the public eye is given more importance.
I believe there needs to be a conscious change in the way news pieces are phrased because language can affect perception. The focus should shift more on the perpetrator than the victim, and in changing the way sentences are formed. It could be something as simple as “A man has raped a woman…” instead of “A woman was raped, when she was travelling back home…” which only adds to victim-shaming. Apart from that, I think there should be a collective effort in scouting for stories of sexual violence in the areas that haven’t been covered yet.
We need to recognise that rape and sexual violence is the norm. We believe that sexual violence is a one-off, which happens to someone somewhere, when we know inherently that it has happened to us and everybody around us. Once we address this fact, we can make progress in dealing with it.