No! She Did Not "Ask" For It!
By Devika Mittal
19 December, 2012
“I could not control. She had PROVOKED me”; “Look at her clothes! She should have “expected” this, He is a MAN afterall!”; “I had to show her, her RIGHT place”; “It is not rape’! She is my WIFE”; “How does it matter, she anyway had a LOOSE character”...
We live in the 21st century where women have proved it that in no way, is she less capable than a man. And we continue to “surprise” the society. But, however much educated, liberal-minded we have been “fortunate” to become, the fear of rape has not gone away. Our freedom lasts with sunset. We continue to be a source of tension for our parents. We are still tensed about the misused strength of our male counterparts.
For Rape is not just a forced sexual intercourse, It is a tool to re-enforce patriarchy where women are supposed to be submissive, tied to the household and serve as objects of lust and desire. So whenever a woman has tried to speak up, tried to “venture out”, dared to dream, demand the right to decide for her own life, she has been made to pay for it. It is a “punishment” to keep a woman in her “limits”. It is a reminder to her that she can be overpowered and so has to be in her “Right” submissive place.
So even in the recent gang-rape case in Delhi that took place on the night of 16th December 2012. A girl was gang-raped in a moving bus. She had boarded the bus at around 9 with her friend. The molesters had begun with commenting on her decision to be out at night and with a male friend. She was then gang-raped.
Even when it is not a “punishment”, rape is not considered a crime in our society. It is a “mistake” and a “fault” of the rape victim. She had “provoked” the rapist through her “indecent” dress, behavior or because she was of a “Loose” character. The farce about “indecent” dress is barbaric and illogical. A study conducted on the psychology of rapists world-wide states that rapists select women who is appears weak or less-confident and can be overpowered easily. A woman dressed in “indecent” clothes will be far from being less-confident. And even if clothing is to be blamed, then are we saying that women in burqa do not get raped? A woman may look attractive in certain clothes but she does not issue a license to be raped. What is “inappropriate” behavior? Well, it may be anything that is “morally” wrong but is “legitimately” done by men. Though I do not say that women should seek equality in “wrong” but my only question is why is “goodness”, “purity” only reserved for women?. The rape victims are also often accused of having a “loose character”. They are proved to be sex workers. But even if they are sex workers, Isint a rape of a sex worker, a rape too? Aren’t they women too? Don’t they have a right over their body? A NO means a “NO”.
Even in this case, there may be people who dare to say that it was a wrong decision to be out at night. It was a wrong decision to board a private bus with hardly any passengers? There were 6 people in the bus. How on earth would she know that four of them were not passengers? But yes, she had “invited” rape. This time by “trusting” people, by forgetting that she has to be “Extra-careful” and by considering herself as a human being who is entitled to the rights of entertainment.
I also seek to question this farce of victim blaming in only cases of rape. Why don’t we ever blame a man for being robbed? Why don’t we blame a man for being attacked? Why don’t we say that it was his fault that he was carrying too much cash or he was careless with his wallet? Why does he not “provoke”?
All these are just excuses. Only a bull gets provoked, not human beings. We are dealing with demons, not human beings. However, sadly, our society does not accept this. And this has also been accepted by women. I often see women justifying rape because “men are like that. They cannot control”. A biological fact is that women are much more sexually active but the society has always tried to control her sexuality. But it is really the men who need to be “tamed” now.
Instead of women, why can’t we ask men to be in their “limits”? Why can’t we ask them not to rape? Why is that in a rape only the rape victim gets dishonored and not the rapist? I remember how when we were planning to shift to a new locality, we were informed that a girl was raped in that locality. I wondered why this piece of this news was mentioned to us when the girl was not even in the locality anymore.
I believe that Women’s destiny lies in their own hands. The change lies not only in changing mentalities but in the nurture of sons. I know a mother who had beaten up his sever-year-old son when during a fight, he had lifted his younger sister’s skirt to make her embarrass and lose the fight. It is only when the mother makes equal rules (like the extent of freedom, time to come back) for her son and daughter, when she stops pampering her son to the extent that he disrespects her, when she teaches him not to dominate over his sister just because he is a boy and only when she stops justifying his son’s habit of eve-teasing can the society change. The nurture of a man is really in the hands of his mother. It is the mother who makes his son a saint or a beast.
A woman needs to, as an Afghan ex-politician and Human Rights activist, Dr Sima Samar rightly puts it, “Stand for each other because we are our own class.”
Devika Mittal is Postgraduate student of Sociology(South Asian University), Core Member- Mission Bhartiyam, Core Member- Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign
Blog : http://devikamittal.blogspot.com
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