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Mr. Tiwari, Rape Has One Nature: That of a Crime

Uttar Pradesh MLA and Minister Upendra Tiwari demonstrated with his crass comments that he does not care about women - or that rape is a crime based on power, more than anything else. 

Uttar Pradesh MLA and Minister Upendra Tiwari demonstrated with his crass comments that he does not care about women – or that rape is a crime based on power, more than anything else. 

Dear Mr Tiwari,

I want to think you hadn’t a clue what you were saying, but I can’t bring myself to condone this as mere ignorance. You seem perfectly clear about what you said, and your conviction seems to come from the same place that your entitlement comes from.

I listened to you with a great sense of despair when you said “Dekhiye rape ka nature hota hai, ab jaise agar koi nabalig ladki hai uske sath rape hua hai toh usko to hum rape manenge, lekin kahin-kahin pe ye bhi sunne ko aata hai ko ki vivahit mahila hai, umar 30-35 saal hai, uska alag-alag nature hai.” (Translated: Rape has its nature. If a minor is raped then we consider it a case of rape. But, if you come across an incident where a married woman aged 30-35 is raped, then the matter is different.)

I listened as you said that when people are in a relationship and then allege after a few years that they had been raped, it is different from the rape of a minor. I listened even though it made my skin crawl and left me feeling triggered.

And now, I hope you listen to me. Even if it questions your entitlement, even if it questions what you think you know for sure to be the right thing.

If that doesn’t convince you, here’s a simple trade: I listened to you, you listen to me. Just return the favour.

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Rape, Mr Tiwari, is a crime.

It has one nature: that of a crime. It doesn’t change if the victim/survivor/target is three or thirty, it doesn’t change if the victim/survivor/target is single or in a relationship, it doesn’t change with the identity of the perpetrator. It doesn’t change with the gender or sex identity of the victim/survivor/target. It doesn’t change with the sexual orientation of the victim/survivor/target. It doesn’t change with the marital status of the victim/survivor/target.

Rape, Mr Tiwari, is a violation of a human being’s personal agency.

It has one nature: that of a crime. Sex without the consent of an individual is rape. Sex that is forced, coerced, imposed, and foisted, is rape. Sex where the consent of an individual is obtained through fraud, through threat of violence, through coercion, through forced intoxication or under voluntary intoxication, and through intimidation and blackmail is rape. Sex with an individual who cannot legally consent for reasons of minority, incapacity, and inability is rape. Marriage is not a license, Mr Tiwari.

Rape, Mr Tiwari, is a human rights violation.

It has one nature: that of a crime. Rape is a manifestation of patriarchal dominance. Rape is a flagrant disregard for an individual’s inherent right over their minds and bodies. Rape is a violation of personal space, an attack on one’s sexual and reproductive health, a disregard of one’s freedom to say no, and a blatant disregard for an individual’s right to life.

Rape, Mr Tiwari, has its nature. That of a crime. And no, it never, ever changes its nature.

In the hope that you’re listening,

Kirthi.

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