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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Rape- Why 'IS' it a big deal?

India in the 21st century witnessing crimes against women makes it seem like a routine affair! Everyday we open our newspapers to read news of rape and murder. It has become like rain- No, it doesn’t even rain everyday; but rape? It does! What is queer is that sometimes it adorns the front page and sometimes it finds its way on a remote corner in the newspaper (where we seldom pay attention). Does it depend on ‘rape crime against whom’? It amazes me that sometimes whole of a city can be drowned into sadness of a rape victim’s case and sometimes it passes away as ‘news’ and no one bothers! Are only Dalit leaders supposed to raise voice against rape against Dalit women or girls? Are they any different than city dwelling Delhi rape victim? Yes, they are! They are even more vulnerable; even more helpless!
Even worse is the fact that these ‘crimes’ against women are not for sexual gratification; it is much more deeply rooted! It is the show of masculinity mixed with hatred towards the victim; a show of power! It is about de-meaning the women in all senses; associating the terms like shame, respect and dignity with her. The one who has raped was also involved in the ‘act’ and the shame should be as much ‘his’ as of the woman. Isn’t it? Yes, the forceful and abusive nature is what makes ‘her’ the victim. Inspite of the fact that she is called the ‘victim’; the ‘lost’ respect and shame make it difficult for her to resume her normal life in the society. No one in the society; neither man nor woman holds back to victimize her further.
Reading about news of a mother of a rape victim being stripped and beaten up in UP provokes me deeply. What do you call such an act? Anger? Vengeance?  Yes, it resulted because of disgust against a mother for reporting a crime and supporting her child who was a rape survivor (I like the word survivor though!). They are aghast as ‘how can anyone actually survive a rape’? How could her mother report the crime when her daughter could face the ‘piercing’ eyes of the society for bringing it on the table? She cannot live in dignity nor can her mother; they needed to be taught a lesson! And so the crime was carried out against the mother; why not against the father? Because it hurts more when a woman is involved; she is the weakest link in the family and the society. But who made her the weaker link? Some of my na├»ve friends might say its biological, but please think again.
So, we protect a woman- we have veils to cover her; the darker the veil, the better. But we as a society are not capable of lifting the veil of hatred and masculinity from a man’s heart, are we?
What if we decide rape isn’t a big deal? What if we do not associate rape with shame? What if we start to look at it only as a crime? By this I do not intent to ‘take rape lightly’ nor do I want any less harsher punishment for the perpetuators of such a crime. What all I want is a sense of support and justice from a society where ‘a woman is not made to feel damaged after rape’! Ofcourse it is a crime fit for death sentence for the criminals but the society also needs to change its view. Rape is not something every girl or woman should fear about because of its sexuality! We need to de-sexualize rape. Until it remains something which can damage a woman permanently; it would remain a big deal!  
Courtesy : Vibhor Kanojia

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