I am seething in anger about the Hathras incident. I am flabbergasted by the brutality of the incident. I find it ridiculous that we’re an ironic nation that worships Goddessess and also kills women. Above all, I am scared. I feel more and more scared every time I read about a rape incident in our country or for that matter, any part of the world. The women in my circles share the same feeling. However, there are a bunch of people out there who don’t find it alarming at all! Unbelievable, right? But it’s true. Some people can be soulless like that. It doesn’t mean anything to them. They think it’s inevitable. “It keeps happening!” “Men rape women. Men will be men.” “She asked for it!” “That’s why women must stay at home!” “If you wear decent clothes, you’ll be safe!” And this mentality grows like weed. Welcome to Rape Culture.
What is rape culture?
When I first bumped into this phrase, I wondered, culture is a positive word and rape a negative one; culture is defined as the ideas, customs and social behaviour of a particular people or society, and rape is (typically) a man forcing a woman to have sexual intercourse against her will by means of violence. Yet we are coining this, why? Then I discovered the answers all around me.
It turns out, today more than ever, we preach, practise and normalise crimes against women. Instead of teaching boys and men to respect women, society teaches girls and women to compromise their freedom to stay safe. Instead of punishing crimes committed by men against women, society blames girls and women for being in a space that is rightfully theirs. Instead of sensitizing children about gender, society “protects” them from gender issues. And instead of boycotting any form of media that sells sexism, misogyny, and gender stereotypes, the society looks for such “paisa-vasool” entertainment. Told you! The answers are all around. Welcome to Rape Culture. We are living amidst it.
If “I’ll teach you a lesson” is told by a boy to a girl extremely casually, then, it’s a direct and serious indication of rape culture.
If a boy demands physical intimacy from a girl just because she’s his girlfriend, then, it is a symptom of rape culture.
All those pop songs that talk about grabbing a girl’s ass although she’s a stranger walking on the road are promoting rape culture.
Those mother-sister cuss words that seem funny and cool are part of rape culture.
Trying to control a woman’s body by telling her how to sit, what to wear, where to go, how to be is rape culture.
All those tweets and remarks by politicians that “eating a certain cuisine causes rape” are catalysts of rape culture.
If you write a bad paper during examinations and you describe that you “got raped”, you are propagating rape culture. Come on, do you have even the slightest idea of the trauma a rape victim goes through? Cut the so-called comic crap.
If you are in a political and powerful position but are not talking against rape culture, you are indulging in and contributing to rape culture. Acche din go down the drain.
You can take a look at the pyramid by FII (Feminism in India) here that sheds light on rape culture:
Rape culture blames victims instead. It curtails a woman’s freedom for no fault of hers. Safety becomes a luxury whereas it is every woman’s right. And before some of you link rape to lust, let me clarify. Rape is not a product of lust. It is irrevocable damage caused by a man’s ego and his need for power and control over a woman, her body, her way of living. It’s the conviction a man has that he will get away from even the most heinous crimes in our society. It’s the sickening entitlement that men falsely claim.
How to stop rape culture
Rape cannot be stopped by asking women to dress fully or instructing them to stay inside the house after sunset. Rape can be stopped only by plucking the patriarchal mindset from its root. Because Rape Culture is everyone’s problem. Women’s safety is everyone’s concern. No matter what gender you belong to; doesn’t matter if you “aren’t one of those men who rape”. You still have to talk about rape. You got to take a firm stand nonetheless. You got to teach boys to respect women. You got to elect representatives who care. You got to drop those objectifying songs. You got to stop watching cinema that promotes VAW. You got to stop supporting celebrities who have committed sexual harassment. You got to human up!!
P.S. Here’s an article that you could read to understand how YOU can stop rape culture.