Rape — The WHY matters !!

If you are a girl working in a metropolitan city in India, especially in Delhi NCR, your parents must have called you after listening any news piece and must have told that you must not stay out late at night because apparently you might become victim of eve-teasing or even rape. Did you then think, “Why must you stay at home to avoid being raped ??” or “Will staying at home ensure that you’re safe enough ??”. Well, just for information, more than 80% of rape cases lie under the category of date rape (you ask, what is date rape ?? Well, it is used to refer to several types of rape, broadly acquaintance rape, which is a non-domestic rape committed by someone who knows the victim, according to Wikipedia) and staying at home can not save you from date rape.

Anyway, that is not the point. The point that must be highlighted but is least in limelight is, “WHY do YOU think rape is wrong ??

You might find loads of examples of rape done so heinously that you’d start hating humanity in general and must have shivered and staggered but did you ever turn to that person sitting right beside you (whatever the gender of that person may be) and ask why do you think is rape wrong ?? Or did you question your parents, why a girl must not go late at night ?? Well, if not, ask !! You might get an answer that would lie in one of the following categories:

  1. Gender norms
  2. Religion / Culture based norms
  3. Safety measures

And when you get one of these answers, just ponder over them a little.

Gender norms, when are thought as reasons of occurrence of rape and when they are then strengthened, the figurative fetters around women are tightened. Females are then thought of someone that must be protected and males are left with the choice of being the devil or angel and hence the women do not get their say in the matter. This results into further augmentation of the gender rifts and hence even stronger rules around the so called weaker section are applied and thus we reach to cases like Khap Panchayat’s order for gang rape of two girls after their brother fled with his beloved.

Religion / culture based norms influence the mass in a way that a section (male as well as female) of society belonging to that particular religion or culture is somehow impacted and made to believe that the norms are all that the truth can be and there is no logic beyond them and hence we reach to cases where people in power give statements like “Women are not entitled to respect when they walk around without a Hijab. They are to blame for it (rape) when they are attacked”.

Well, safety measures might sound a logical point and something that must be practiced especially when we all want to go by the rule “Prevention is better that cure”. Right ?? If your answer was yes, think about it this way. “Have you ever treated a person like a blot when his/her wallet was stolen ??” or “Has anyone ever denied to marry someone when his/her house was looted ??”

NO !! Right ??

Isn’t rape a crime too, similar to theft, murder, etc. ?? Then why would victim suffer when raped ?? And why must the safety measures be gender biased ?? If safety for men means being aware of thieves, why not for women ?? An obvious answer to this might be “Our society is that way, and we need to act accordingly to be safe”.

Umm, right !!

Consider this, when a man from a slum (where no one cares about the cleanliness and waste is thrown here and there) goes to a metro station, which is very very clean and has plenty of signs saying “Do not spit here!!” / “Do not throw trash here!!” / etc. Doesn’t he understand that he is supposed to keep the station clean and must not throw trash around ?? Well, in 99% cases, he does !! So, if everyone behaves in a manner that considers dignity and respect terms for “humans” and not gender biased words, won’t there be almost no rape cases ?? If equality doesn’t mean reserving coaches for women but proper ambience for everyone to travel in same coach without feeling insecure coz someone out there is watching you and would attempt to do something heinous, won’t it mean mental peace ??

The problem is not women staying out late at night, or drinking, or being alone. Real problem is how we consider women and the crimes related to them and then what actions we take to avoid them !!

We at SocialE had a survey about “Short clothes as a reason of rape”.

There are many many reasons of rape, but blaming the society, or male counterpart, or culture, or western influence or any external influence for that matter is not the solution. We need a solution, and not a list of reasons about how women invite rape. Being inside four walls or wearing full clothes is NOT a solution coz short clothes might arouse men but they can’t arouse men to rape. Solution must not forbid women or prepare a set of rules that must be followed as precautions but a different perspective towards the crime and criminals. Rape is not about sex or traditions. It is about individual’s existence and liberty at stake and consequently WHY matters.