Rape is in the air! Sad but true! The only good thing about Rape being in the air is that everyone is talking about it. Unlike multiple generations till now, it is not being silently brushed under the carpet or hidden inside dirty laundry never to be seen or cleaned again.
My daughter and I had our first conversation about rape, 4 years ago when the documentary on Nirbhaya was released. These days there are many more – Kathua, Unnao, Surat, Indore. The list seems endless. Each act more horrifying than the other. Each day, as my daughter reads about one more case, her faith in humanity diminishes a little. She questions these acts and asks Why? Why do girls get raped? Why are rapes increasing? Why do men behave like monsters? Is India unsafe now? Is a girl entitled to kill a man who is trying to rape her?
No matter how hard it is to think, much rather talk about these crimes; as a mother, I have a responsibility to share my point of view with my daughter. This is what I have to say.
Dear daughter, first of all, it is not only girls who get raped. Rapes happen to both men and women. Maybe the ratio of girls getting raped his higher, hence it is being talked about more. But believe me, girls are not the only victim. We together, girls, boys and transgenders are all getting victimized.
As far as I see, rapes are not increasing. The reporting of rapes in the news and discussion about rapes in social media is increasing, which gives us the impression that rapes are increasing. In fact, I think that such crimes should be slowly coming down because so many parents are aware and educating their children about sexual assault. The only answer to addressing sexual assault is to talk about it and be ready for it rather than ignore it and believe that it will never happen to one of us.
Men who rape are not necessarily monsters. The way I see it, they are suffering from a disease. A disease which makes them lose control over themselves. This condition is created due to multiple reasons –
- We live in a patriarchal society where men are made to think that they are superior to women. This makes men feel that they are right in using any girl/women to their advantage.
- Because of the affinity towards male children, generations have systematically killed female child. This has skewed the natural gender balance of nature, leaving more men than women. In some states of India, the proportion of boys to girls is significantly bad. When boys don’t find a partner to mate naturally, they tend to resort to crimes like this.
- There is so much objectification of women through magazines, movies, even music and other art forms. Such depictions of women often create the perception that the sole purpose of a girls life is to satisfy the physical needs of a man.
These reasons don’t justify rape, but should help you understand how this disease is caused and how it spreads. Men who rape are sick in their mind and need serious medical help. Unfortunately, no medical system recognizes this disease and hence no cure is being sought, as yet.
If you consider global statistics on rape India is at 94th place out of 119 countries. This statistic for rape is calculated as the proportion of rapes to the overall population of India. Even though the number of cases of rape are high in India, when you compare it to the overall population of India, it is still significantly less than most countries in the world. Even the so called developed countries like USA , UK and other European countries are ahead of us in the proportion of rapes. Sexual assault is a global problem and not really centric to a country, state, religion or gender. Those who try to pin it to a country or political party just don’t see the problem for what it is.
There is lot of fake news floating around about laws on rape. One of them relates to giving the right to kill to a girl is she is under threat of sexual assault. Such a law can never be passed because, no one can be allowed to take justice in their own hands. If such a law was passed, any woman could easily kill a man on the pretext that he was trying to rape her. It is for the law to establish guilt and pronounce the punishment. Even though it takes time, it is the only right way to do it.
In order to prevent rapes, we need to look at the problem for what it is. Creating tougher laws is a retrospective way of solving the problem. If we have to eradicate the problem from its root, we have to solve it at the lowest level in the society. We have to give equal respect to both genders at home. We have to create equal opportunities basis strengths and interests and not gender. We have to stop depicting men and women as sex objects.
There is no quick fix to this problem because it is a mindset change for billions of people. But I do believe that this problem is on its way to being solved because there are many more people like you and me who are talking about it and agreeing that change is needed, not only in the laws of our country but more importantly in the law that governs each household.
With this, I kiss my daughter on the forehead and hold her hand. We sit silently together for a long time.
Sexual assault is a reality. Let the next generation be ready to deal with it. More importantly, let them be the drivers of the change that is needed in the mindset of the people.
P.S – Views expressed above are solely my views. If you disagree please share your point of view. If you agree, please share this Rape 101 with other parents. Lets talk about Rape with facts, not with emotions.