Rant post-reading this. Political correctness may have been missed. I’ll probably be corrected over a period of time and debates, and I’ll add those modified thoughts to this.
Yes, these opinions are mine and are subject to change when I see reason to.
There’s no solution to this but raising the kids equally.
Nothing ‘asks’ for rape. Not clothes, time of the day, curves, relationship, even gender. After the Shakti Mill rape case, Rahul Bose pointed out that at 6 pm, not in Delhi, accompanied by a male friend – nothing about the girl in conventional terms “lured” anyone into committing the crime, apart from wanting to rape.
No – it’s not socially acceptable to talk about raping someone. But then again, it’s not socially acceptable to talk about sex.
I believe that till the time we have gender roles, we will have rape committed on women. It’s probably an oversimplification, but we’re scaring ourselves into not beating rape.
This morning, my mother read about the case and pointed out to me why she’s not okay with my leaving the workplace later than 10, which is always the case, and how she’s not comfortable even if I’ve SMSed her the cab details. I said, “But you can’t not live life if you’re scared. If it happens, it happens.” She said, “But still.”
But still what? Stop trusting men? Stop being nice to strangers? Stop stepping out in the dark? Stop treating myself as a part of the environment and a healthy influencer in it, instead of a victim of it?
Thing is, there is nothing that stops intent. That’s all I’ve learnt. I will not insult those who have been wronged by claiming that they could have fought back – I’ve never been in their shoes and I’m sure you aren’t thinking this objectively when you’re being physically attacked.
Is a stronger law the solution for this? Yes. Fear of repercussions usually forms the first barrier to doing anything. Yes, Uber could have followed the law more strictly and had that background check done. But is this ensuring that any other of their drivers – license-holding, clean criminal records – would not rape? No. It’s down to an individual then. The law is important – I want anyone who throws paper on a street to be fined, jaywalkers arrested, murderers painfully killed – milked of their remaining humanity – and rapists, molesters to be humiliated till they commit suicide. No one’s listening to me.
But they are listening to each other. To you, when you crack a joke about a person about how they dress or how they sit. To people when they ask if you’re okay with having a taller girlfriend. To instructions about not going through a locality in the dark. To movies when they tell us that we need a hero – one specific male– to save a girl from being raped. To mothers who tell their daughters that they need to adjust to their in-laws because that’s life. To the neighbours when they know your whole story. To the media when they don’t understand privacy.
The fact that a physical accident for the victim is because of power wielded by the perpetrator tells me something. Power is relative. You feel power over a person, because someone else thinks you did something they couldn’t, because someone else applauds it, because you’re relatively a step ahead.
Strip the criminals of this power. When a person is broke, they are shamed more by the country and its institutions than when they have raped someone. Human rights violated, okay – taxes paid? We’re cool.
Honestly? We’re fucked.
Steer the stigma to the rapist. Let every person who has even abetted wronging another question their future. Log kya kahenge? Kaun shaadi karega? Kisi ne pehchaan liya toh? -let them be fears faced by everyone. EVERYONE. Make it a no-win situation.
You see, when we don’t talk about sex, when the women go quiet during a sleazy joke, when it’s assumed that the girl will change her last name, or hyphenate it to accommodate her husband’s, when men feel uncomfortable talking about periods, when a father is praised for staying home to raise his children, when a man’s child-rearing skills are questioned, it’s a sting. It’s another power tactic.
Everyone’s party to feeling it, and feeding it.
I don’t know how right or wrong I am, but I think I will raise my kids to believe this. No one is different. No one is your business. Be nice to everyone – because you don’t have a right to not do that to them. If you hurt someone, you’re going to be hurt worse.
And we’ve evolved far too long and far too deeply to accept that gender roles are the same as having different genitals.
I can’t say I’m sick of rape news. No one has a choice. I’m sick of rapists still making them.
And I’m sick of feeling bad for a girl who has all her life to live, and a society who will look at her future with pity, and not at her rapist’s with contempt.