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Calling for the rapists’ blood isn’t going to solve anything. Instead, rape culture itself needs to be tackled. Here’s what can be done.
Things Jaya Bachhan and others could do to change rape culture instead of asking for mob lynching of 4 rapists:
1. Don’t have categories of rape.
It doesn’t matter whether the target is a cisgendered woman, a transgender person, or a boy or a man, or animals. Having different punishments for different targets of sexual violence is just horribly wrong.
2. Don’t have spaces where rape is ok.
Not in marriage. Not as ‘honour,’ not as punishment for a family member’s crime, not in panchayats. Not at brothels. Not as a tool to terrorize local populations. Certainly not in schools and colleges, parks and forests. There is no space where sexual violence is “understandable,” or “expected.”
3. Don’t ignore caste or class.
It is violence when dalits and adivasis are affected, as much as when upper caste people are affected, certainly as much when it happens in Pollachi versus in Hyderabad. Even more so where this is generations of violence.
4. Don’t make it about alcohol, substances or any other circumstances.
It doesn’t excuse the man, and certainly doesn’t mean consent on the victim’s part.
5. Don’t make it about religion, education, family background, wealth, community or anything else.
Rapists could be Mohammed whatever, Swami whatever, Father whatever, Guru whatever. They can be millionaires and lorry drivers, MPs and MCPs.
6. Don’t excuse the lesser assaults as everyday play.
No, it isn’t ok that someone takes videos on the sly, or cyber bullies somebody who rejected them, or passes a sleazy comment.
7. Don’t say the raped have lost everything and are destined to live lives of despair.
They are not what happened to them. Their virtue and character is not determined by what happened. If anything, it is the rapist who could be expected to carry this.
8. Don’t call for murder.
Research suggest that with death penalties for rapists, they are more likely to murder those that they assault, in an “in for a penny, in for the pound” logic. We lose so many children and people because of this.
9. Don’t block sex education.
When children are denied access to safe education, they get their information from unsafe places which mostly depersonalizes others as objects of lust, glorifies machismo, legitimizes violence
10. Don’t be conditional in what is acceptable and not.
By treating everyone as a potential victim unless they abide by certain dress codes, professions, behaviors etc., we are shifting the blame for violence from the perpetrators to the victims. Even if I shout “Shoot me!” and somebody does, they’d be charged. Why should sexual violence be different?
11. Don’t visit the crimes of one on the family.
It isn’t ok to blame others, and certainly not ok to criminalize and punish the family for what one of them did. Not ok to deny water/ work, not ok to have revenge sexual violence on other members of the family.
12. Don’t forget to confront the voyeurism.
Not ok to scream bloody murder at the one who made the video of the violence or the one who posted it, without screaming at the 8 million who ask to watch this. There is enough professionally produced porn with consenting adults for those who want it.
The list of “Don’t”s keep growing. But there is only ONE ‘Do’:
1. Make it safe. Protect the vulnerable.
First published on the author’s Facebook wall.
Image source: a still from the movie Pink
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