Raseel Arora has worked with work with Girl Up, UNF, and her year-long project with UNICEF. She speaks of India’s approach to rape culture, and the prevalent disturbing notions that women all over the country are shrouing in every day of their lives.
Everyone has a platform. The empowered, the racists, the advocates (for all sorts of causes), the misinformed, the underprivileged, the sexists. Everyone. The popular saying that correlates great power and great responsibility connected with overuse. For want of a better one, I am employing it as the theme of this article. In other words, with great power and privilege, of belonging to a part of society that is not routinely discriminated against. It also comes to the great responsibility (frankly, the very bare minimum), to not exploit it. I am going to talk about The Sad Reality of Rape Culture, lets Readout below.
Being called the worst country in the whole world for women and their safety, India is sadly no stranger to appalling statistics of rape and violence – sexual, physical, verbal. We have become numb to the statistics, the newspaper headlines, and our country’s cry for help. For instance, we can ignore the numbers for rape culture, stop reading the papers and suppress the red flags to deal with another day. But it is rape culture that forces us to deal with the realities of the 21st-century mindset. Seemingly progressive, apparently still stuck in the antiquated and archaic mindset that thrives on victim-blaming. We are so numb to the reality of rape culture that we think we aren’t aware to it.
Women are always advised never to walk alone at night, come back home at a certain time (always significantly earlier than their male counterparts). Also, women are so conditioned that they instinctively go to the washroom in groups, decide what to wear based on what society has labeled ‘acceptable’, and are scared to rock the boat and report things that make them feel uncomfortable, in fear of judgment. This is rape culture. As a society, we are almost beyond redemption. We don’t do anything about it because we are scared, scared of things bigger than ourselves. That being said, sometimes, it’s more logical to go forward with short-term solutions as opposed to long-term ones. The culture doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, so might as well protect ourselves from it. The band-aid on the bullet wound approach.
Social media creates echo chambers. People’s ideas and preconceived notions of what a woman should be are all supported and held up by people who are comfortable with the status quo.
Parents are well-intentioned when they tell their daughters to dress conservatively because it’s better to keep them safe than lose them. This conditioning stems from fear to approach the question of rape culture because it has historically silenced the victim. With character assassination and their names plastered all over newspapers, the woman land up feeling most ashamed. That’s rape culture. The band-aid simply isn’t sufficient.
Power and responsibility:
I started this with the correlation between power and responsibility. One of the leading causing of violence, especially sexual violence, is the abuse of power. It is when an aggressor feels powerful when they feel the most immune. That nothing will happen to them and they will never get caught. That’s where the problem lies. The patrons of rape culture feeling immune and drunk on power. The #MeToo movement finally gave the survivors of abuse a platform, where their voices finally weren’t being suppressed or undermined. The ‘Bois Locker Room’ situation made the aggressors and patrons of rape culture afraid.
A reflection of the laundry list of things we overlook and turn a blind eye to. The reflection of the flimsy justifications we make up for the perpetrators, look back at us as what they are, excuses. The reflection of telling survivors to be different, or act differently, look back at us for what they are, the lackluster attempt to educate our society. Social media creates echo chambers. People’s ideas and preconceived notions of what a woman should be are all supported and held up by people who are comfortable with the status quo. I think the need of the hour is to challenge the mindset, make things uncomfortable. To whatever extent possible try to un-condition yourself.
That being said, it’d be naive to end an article on rape culture on that note, an empowering one. Unfortunately though, calling out rape culture in a country like India wherein people with a lot of power give it fuel, often feels futile, with not too much of an outcome. Therefore an upward graph is what we need but a learning curve in society means that in the interim, women (especially) have to keep falling victim to this oppression. It is with that note of frustration and hopelessness that I end this. Those of you reading this, the relatively more privileged and informed. Stop propagating rape culture and challenge your own implicit biases.