We live in a country where there are multiple cultures, languages, ancient heritage, and whatnot. We are led to believe that there’s nothing to feel but pride. The pride that you live in this country that inhabits diversity, unity, and hospitality.
At the same time, We want to compete with everyone who is not us, to show our deserved superiority. But a woman who resides here is still unsafe from all kinds of atrocities committed against her kind and even though most of us feel disgusted by the fact, we don’t try to make an effort to change it. Rather, we have an opinion of why it happens or to put it another way, whose fault it is. This time, we urge you to try to at least understand what ordeal we’re facing exactly and why it matters?
WHERE WE STAND
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there were 3,59,849 crimes against women in total in 2017. It means in less than 2 minutes a crime is committed against a woman, that is a lesser amount of time it’d take you to read this blog.
27.9% of these crimes (about 1,00,398 cases) are of ‘Domestic Violence’ which reflects the ingrained fallacy of our presumptuous culture.
20.5% are of Kidnapping/Abduction, 21.7% are of ‘Intent to outrage modesty’ (i.e. The crimes that just stop short of penetration) and 7% amounts to 32,559 reported rape cases. It is important to note that a majority of such crimes go unreported due to fear of society, unawareness of crime and threats given to the victim, etc.
According to the above data, a woman/girl is raped every 15 minutes in this country (considering only reported cases), which is a scary figure on its own.
You might think that this is bad but not the worst, that we’re doing better than most of the world. Though such competitive thinking on this subject is deplorable, still to free you from your delusion lets look at the following facts.
Thomson Reuters Foundation, a charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, based in London surveyed 550 experts on women issues in 2011 to find out the top 5 worst countries for women. India was in the fourth position.
In 2018 they did the survey again to find out how much effort those countries made to put the trouble in the grave. This time, shockingly, India was at the 1st place. Even the war-torn countries like Afghanistan and Syria were at 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
The survey was performed on six criteria namely HEALTHCARE, DISCRIMINATION, CULTURAL & RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS, SEXUAL VIOLENCE, NON-SEXUAL VIOLENCE, HUMAN TRAFFICKING. Each country was given a rating from 1 to 10 in each of the above criteria. (1 being the worst)
Ratings for India were:
HEALTHCARE = 4
DISCRIMINATION = 3
CULTURE & RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS = 1
SEXUAL VIOLENCE = 1
NON-SEXUAL VIOLENCE = 3
HUMAN TRAFFICKING = 1
All of this is sufficient to conclude that we’re not as good as we ignorantly believe.
WHO’S TO BLAME
Now that we’ve acknowledged that the problem is real, it’s time to think about where it originates from and why? To put it bluntly, the answer to this question is not brief, but we fail to accept that. And hastily try to pin this problem on someone or something. It is because of two things, 1. The subconscious desire to prove that you know the answer to everything and there’s nothing left for you to learn. 2. A desperate attempt to find a reason no matter how little sense it makes.
Due to the above reasons, we conclude that The Inappropriate Clothing of the Victim, Suspicious character of the victim; Negative effects of modern films, online streaming content, pornography or other media on the males, etc lead to rape of a woman/girl. Let’s scrutinize each of them to figure out if they’re true.
To blame the clothing or the character of the victim rather than the mentality of the person who committed the crime is lamentable, because if that was true then what should be the clothing of a child that was barely few months old and what should be the character of a 70-year-old woman who could barely stand, to avoid rape.
Another common thing supposed to be the cause of rape is modern television & film media, pornographic content, etc. Even though an effect to a certain degree due to these things can’t be denied but to say that the whole rape culture is due to these provocations seeded into our minds is just plain bullshit, because if we look into history, the rape culture existed long before any of the above things were invented by mankind.
In Indian mythology, the rape of Ahlya where Indra disguised himself as her husband Gautama; the rape of Vrinda, the wife of demon Jalandhar, by Vishnu disguising himself as Jalandhar and the rape of Araja by Danda, son of Ikshavaku, are few of many evidence of rape culture & misogyny throughout our history.
What’s more disturbing about the above examples is the treatment given to the victim in these stories. Ahlya was turned to stone by Gautama; Vrinda cursed Vishnu to turn into the stone then jumped into a pyre and later She took birth as Tulsi and married off to her rapist (Shaligram); Araja was told by Shukracharya to do Tapasya and ‘purify’ herself.
This proves that the origin of these atrocities lies somewhere else than our common belief. It proves that our perspective and our culture have always been cruel to women and the misogyny is too old in this country for the blame to be put on any form of media we produce now. It means that we can’t find a solution unless we first understand the root of the problem.
HOW TO SEE
We’ve come far ahead in terms of technology and science but we’re still lacking a lens that will correct our blurry vision towards these crimes. We associate rape cases to shame, the shame of the victim and its family to be precise. Even some news articles refer to the victim as ‘shamed women’.
Does a question need to be asked here why a woman has to bear the shame? She is the victim of crime!! The one who should be ashamed is the rapist and the rapist only. We don’t put shame on the victim of theft, assault, etc. so why should a rape victim be different. She should be allowed to live her life with her head held high. And instead of criticizing her lifestyle, you should criticize the rapist’s mentality and the custom of our patriarchal society which denies the fact that a woman is just as much a human as a man, that she’s not an object or property of her father, family or husband.
A Road To Find A Cure
Even though questioning things is necessary but we can’t find a solution just with that. The very thing needed for a cure is the realization that this is first a problem of the society & culture than a problem of the government. As the government can only punish the crime but an educated society can prevent it.
The role of government is to recognize even the microscopic roots & branches of misogyny in all shapes & forms and then take steps to uproot it.
Our role as an individual and a society is to educate ourselves that a woman and her wishes & decisions are just as important as that of a man, that thought of rape or any other crime against her itself is a crime and should be killed right at its birth. To teach each other the same. To educate everyone the difference between good and evil and to grow out of misogyny imposed by traditions, gods, pride, and stupidity.