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Rape threats haven’t abated despite the Hyderabad encounter which was supposed to “put fear into hearts of rapists” – as this rape and death threat to Sucharita Tyagi shows.
“Women are being educated and empowered. What has not changed is men’s attitude towards these women.”
Rape, murder, vigilante justice – these seem to be the flavour of the season. The mob is out there demanding blood and violent deaths of rapists. At the same time, there is a large group of people who believes that women deserve to be raped, especially those with violent fantasies that women who dared to be different should be raped as a punishment.
That’s the impression I got after reading this comment left for film critic Sucharita Tyagi. The user here believes or rather he “prayed” that Tyagi faces the same fate as the Hyderabad vet. Why? Because she insulted Hindu gods.
Now, this simply reflects that apart from acknowledging that what happened to the vet was horrible, it is also supposedly wished upon Tyagi to “teach her a lesson” over her opinion.
What’s ironical is that the gentleman (should he be called that?) called Tyagi a “disgrace to humanity and womanhood” while simultaneously using words that did great “service to manhood” (assuming that the user is a man).
Due to the rape culture that reduces a woman’s honour to her private parts, where her mobility and dignity is measured on based on that, rape is regarded as the worst thing that could happen to a woman. So it is used in the context of violence.
This is an idea that is recorded in human DNA because we have read about war rapes where the invading men rape women and children of the place they defeated. We know sexual violence is used to scare women into submission and we have seen this between different conflicts.
Men face death threats but women face rape threats along with death.
So, this man will probably want the death penalty for rapists in the vet’s case but if he sees women who think differently from him, then what happened to the vet is the perfect “punishment.”
Women who wear short skirts, women who got out after 9 pm, women who use mobile phones, women who are in a live-in relationship, women who are not “sanksaari”, women who have an opinion, women who smile at men etc. are blamed for the rapes.
Let me tell you this…
Five men gang-raped a 32-year-old woman in South India when she was out to buy groceries.
12 men who gang-raped a law student in Ranchi, and were recently arrested by the police.
A relative raped a nine-month-old baby while he took her out to buy a toy.
A young man half the age of a 55-year-old assaulted and raped her inside her home.
The rapists of a 22-year-old gang rape survivor threatened her while being out on bail in Unnao. After she refused to withdraw the case, five men, including her rapists set her ablaze. She died on 7th December in Delhi hospital.
All these incidents were reported within days, so one can only imagine how many cases are unreported over the years.
Now, I have mentioned a plethora of sexual violence cases that were reported in the last few weeks. What is to be noted here is that the victims and survivors range from different ages, circumstances and social status.
Rape culture will be perpetuated as long as victim-blaming persist. Victim blaming is like pouring saltwater over the wounds. Victim blaming is a horrifying way in which sexual violence is normalised in a country whose constitution gives every woman the right to speech and mobility but punishes only some men for rape.
People like K Bhagyaraj will get on a public podium before an applauding audience and say that rapes won’t happen if women don’t let it happen and that they should be given restrictions instead of blaming only boys. I don’t know which fantasy world he is living in, to believe that boys are actually “blamed” for rape, but the privilege he gets thanks to his gender lets him fantasise.
But when powerful and influential men like him say that rapes are something that women should prevent, then there is a natural tendency for men to see their female counterparts as lesser beings.
When women are given stricter hostel rules, early marriage, chastity rules and social restrictions than the attitude won’t change no matter how empowered they are.
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