Our society has a weird culture of victim shaming when it comes to rape.
A rapist may get elected to the Parliament but the victim would constantly be taunted by the society and they would be forced to live as if ostracised.
Due to the lack of sex education combined with insensitivity, some of us may say lewd comments regarding the rape victim even directly. May be because of this culture, a rape victim may feel a sense of guilt though it is fallacious. And what the society does to a victim by slut shaming aggravates the condition.
Few thing never to say about or say to a rape victim:
1. When did this happen? At night? Why did you go out alone at night?
Nobody has the right to rape a person during day time, evening or night. Women who walk alone or in groups in the evening and night are not sex workers. They are not asking for it.
2. You knew him/her before? Did you give any hint that you liked him secretly?
Sometimes, the rapist might be someone the victim knew personally- a boyfriend, husband, friend or family member. This becomes even more difficult since the rapist is someone whom the victim once trusted. Don’t make her/him feel that it is his/her fault to trust the rapist and this is the outcome of the mistake.
3. What clothes did you wear?
Of course, clothes provoke men and they cannot stop themselves from raping a girl. No matter what clothing a woman wears, nobody has a right over her body.
4. Were you with other boys?
Hanging out with other boys makes it obvious to a ‘rapist’ that she is a slut and needs to be taught a lesson. Of course, it is like every woman is a slut by default and we are hiding it from the chauvinist society by being meek, quiet and covering ourselves. Come on people, the logic is outrageous!!!!
5. When did you protest openly?After five minutes? Ten Minutes? Of course, he would have thought that you liked it.
An unexpected attack might freeze you for some time. It is natural. You might take time to react but that does not mean that you are asking for it. Unfortunately our legal system goes into the precise details so intensely that it is almost like repeating the whole scene in front of a court room. But NO MEANS NO and if the rapist still persists, it is rape.
6. Did you talk to him at night? Any hints that meant you are available?
Talking to a friend, day or night does not mean that you are physically attracted to that person. A person who thinks like that would talk to you and may use you if an opportunity strikes, day or night. What should be changed is the attitude not the timings of the call.
7. Did you insult him before? Any action from your side that provoked the issue?
The classic revenge. A bruised ego needs need revenge. Rape is the worst attack one man can do to another. But no matter how much the victim has hurt the person, rape is not a fair retaliation. It is historic. Soldiers raping the women of the enemy country has always been a part of wars and battles be it in myths and real history. The babies produced as a result of rape are named war babies and the issue of parenthood make a severe impact on their personality.
8. Did you enjoy it?
Even the ex- CBI head of India once proclaimed that if a woman cannot stop rape, she should enjoy it. Rape is not done for the victim’s pleasure. It is a shameful act that involves power and brutality in the worst form and nobody can enjoy it. Just because it is a sexual act, it does not provide gratification. Further, it is the victim’s pain that thrills the rapist. Stimulation might occur but that is not enjoying
9. Could you have avoided the circumstance by any chance?
Of course. Had the girl left early with her friends, she would not have been there alone. She could have avoided it. Had her brother come to pick her from the bus stop that night, she would not have become a victim to his rape. Circumstances like being alone, not having a pepper spray or pocket knife does not mean you are responsible for the act.
10. It is quite common. What is done is done, no point in crying now right? Now you know you have to be careful.
The classic defense a victim would be forced to put on is silence. Pretend as if nothing happened. It happens every day, no big deal. And if we go to police, it would be the victim who would be humiliated. Boys loose nothing but the girl becomes a taboo for a life time. Better keep it quiet. But remember, if you keep quiet, your rapist gets a confidence, that nobody and nothing can hurt him. Speaking out loud is not easy and not everyone may support you. Dealing with this social ostracism is no mean task. But go for it. Speak about it. It would only make you stronger and bolder and you will learn to settle with your past and move on to the future.
11. Is the story cooked up to black mail him to marriage?
Do not approach each and every rape victim and judge her as a vicious power hungry monster just because there are a few women and men who misuse the legal system.
Even this guy, the rapist from the infamous Nirbhaya case, blames the victim for the rape- Make sure you don’t share his attitude
Living in such a sexist country, I am sure that many of us have heard these comments being said about a rape/molestation victim. Our body is important but it does not define us. Being violated gives a feeling of disgust towards yourself and your body. But remember it is not you but the rapist who should be ashamed. He just proved that he is such a waste of space and time, and a lustful over-entitled and violent creature. Speak about your experiences so that he may fear public humiliation and would learn to control his actions.
Kindly make sure you do not say these statements on social media or in private conversations. You never know if there is a rape victim listening to or reading your comment.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.