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The eye for an eye principle has led Panchayats to order rape of women for the crimes of their fathers or brothers. How can this possibly be called justice?
Today I came across a shocking piece of news – there couldn’t have been a better example of where our world is headed or more evidence of our increased inhumanity and sloppy judgement.
News as reported by CNN: Village elders ordered the rape of a 17-year-old girl after her brother was accused of raping another girl.
Here’s what happened:
A man raped a 12-year-old girl while she was cutting grass.
Post contemplation, the elders declared that as vengeance, one of the sisters of the first attacker would be raped for the crime.
The second victim’s mother and sisters protested this but the elders brought out their guns and threatened to kill them.
An eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth was considered sufficient justice in the past but we have moved on from those times to a more just age where various other factors are considered before passing such crude judgements.
Going by the proverb, the elders should have ordered the rape of the culprit. (But seriously, even considering a rape for a rape is just so barbaric.) But thankfully, they didn’t. Instead, they ordered the rape of the culprit’s sister’.
Now how is that justice for the girl? Did she deserve it for whatever her brother did? Does anyone even deserve rape?
By passing a judgement that serves rape as punishment, this implies that that the offender deserves rape.
Nobody deserves rape, not even the rapist.
It is not the first time a woman has been raped as a form of punishment which is far more than that. Men or women, rape is irreparable. It’s the most inhumane form of cruelty that we can inflict upon each other. It damages a person physically and psychologically. Moreover, our society and its norms have made it even more difficult for victims to survive after rape.
Our society has limited our existence to the ‘holiness’ and ‘purity’ of skin, body and most importantly, the genitals of the victim – only if she is also a woman. If all of these are untouched, a woman is fit for a family, and not otherwise.
By raping a woman, it is intended to destroy the ‘honour’ of her family, and all those people who she ‘belongs’ to. And most depressingly, women are not even considered as human beings. Women are perceived as property. To own. To sell. To destroy. To rape. To enslave.
Yet we go about happily with our lives as if nothing is wrong and carry on with our misogynistic norms. We, who destroy these women, want to live a fulfilled life yet expect the women to only survive with guilt because living is only for those who haven’t committed the crime of being raped.
For all that has happened, and for all that we have done, it’s not them who should be ashamed, but us.
First published here.
Top image credits DVIDSHUB, used via Flickr under a Creative Commons license 2.0; Used for representational purposes only