Asaram, the self-styled godman has finally been sentenced to life imprisonment till death. It's the survivor we need to thank for her courage.
Asaram, the self-styled godman and now convicted rapist, has finally been sentenced to life imprisonment till death. It’s the survivor we need to thank for her courage.
The self-styled ‘godman’ named Asaram raped a minor girl when she came to his ashram in 2013 to cure her from ‘evil spirits’. He is finally being punished for his crime. But it is important to remember that punishing the rapist is never enough because it’s never just one person even if only one person committed the ‘actual’ crime. We are a part of a culture that enables rape and is present everywhere.
I recently had a friend tell me that rapists should be punished but Nirbhaya shouldn’t have been out that late at night. Rape culture is something that is promoted by us and the people we are close to. That’s why it’s important to truly empathise with the person who was raped instead of just screaming for the death of the rapists. One of the things essential to end rape culture, is by getting rid of this emotional disconnect between rape victims and ourselves. We need to try to truly understand their perspective and support them instead of saying, “Rape is bad, but…”
The girl who was raped by Asaram was so affected by it – it was not just during the rape, but her entire life was impacted by it. She felt that had to withdraw from the outside world. In India, ‘godmen’ are worshiped, and Asaram abused this power of his to not just rape but also threaten the girl. Apart from threatening the victim, Asaram’s supporters also threatened her family. Many of the witnesses were attacked – one of them was shot just 7 km from the rape survivor’s home. After Asaram was arrested, she thought she was safe and she even started going for computer coaching classes. However, the threats started coming in and she had to drop out of school for a while. One year later, when she did go back to school, she chose to study ‘easier’ subjects like computers and home science. The reason for this was that she regularly had to attend hearings at Jodhpur.
All of these effects are just the very visible ones – one can only imagine the mental pain that she went through. It is terrifying to think about! Even now, when the rapist is going to be punished, her life hasn’t magically become perfect. Rape and sexual assault can leave lifelong scars.
The rape survivor showed a lot of courage in standing up to these criminals despite the very real risks involved. Asaram had and still has a lot of power in the form of his supporters and godlike status. Yet, she stood up to him even after seeing the violence that his supporters were capable of. Even after receiving threats to her life and her family’s lives. Even though she had to change everything in her life just to fight Asaram. Even though she had to face her rapist again – the man who had harmed her without a second thought. And all this while she was still really young.
When Malala was shot for fighting for education, the world came together to support her. Well, now we have another Malala, the least we can do is support her during these difficult times. In fact, there are many women and girls in the world who display extreme bravery with their daily acts of courage. And it’s our duty to help them by standing by them.
A very small thing like not doubting the victim can do wonders and enable more women to report rape and sexual harassment. Even if we can’t help every woman in the world, we can at least support the women in our lives because almost every woman faces some form of sexual harassment at some point in her life and that’s not how it should be.
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, indivisual posts do not necessarily represent the platofrom's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
Falling in love, marriage, a hidden secret, divorce. Despite all this, Vinita noticed her life was full of love that came in various unexpected shades!
“Aap jinke kareeb hotey hain, woh badey kush naseeb hotey hain…”
Just as Vinita was settling down into the cab seat, the driver put on music and the song started to play. It took her back immediately to that evening ten years ago, when Gautam had sung that very same song to her on the first evening they had met. She could remember every single detail of that evening so very clearly.
Neena Gupta shares her terrifying childhood experiences of being molested - like most assault survivors who often go to great measures to minimise these incidents by remaining silent, she was scared to tell her parents.
Neena Gupta shares her terrifying childhood experiences of being molested – like most assault survivors who often go to great measures to minimise these incidents by remaining silent, she was scared to tell her parents.
Trigger warning: This deals with child sexual abuse and may be triggering for survivors.
The focus on safety measures, and considering rapists as 'oversexed' men, is utterly wrong. It's important to treat rape as a crime of power and eradicate its very roots.
The focus on safety measures, and considering rapists as ‘oversexed’ men, is utterly wrong. It’s important to treat rape as a crime of power and eradicate its very roots.
The recent incident of four men raping a Hyderabad-based Vet sent shock waves across the country again. But whenever rape happens in India, people overlook analysing the whys and get into a rut of reactions.
Women, especially those further marginalised by caste, class, etc., are seen as 'disposable', and 'punishment' has just pushed rapists to 'finish off' their victim completely, further increasing violence against women.
Women, especially those further marginalised by caste, class, etc., are seen as ‘disposable’, and ‘punishment’ has just pushed rapists to ‘finish off’ their victim completely, further increasing violence against women.
This week, as we are celebrating triumph of our women in the Tokyo Olympics, how is it looking for respect for women in the nation? Betterment of gender rights – reduction of gender violence – and all other such?