In order to put this blogpost in perspective, I have deemed it fit to give a background story. The 2012 Delhi gang rape case involved a rape and fatal assault that occurred on 16 December 2012 in Munirka, a neighbourhood in South Delhi, when a 23-year-old female physiotherapy intern, was beaten and gang raped in a private bus in which she was travelling with a male friend. There were six others in the bus, including the driver, all of whom raped the woman and beat her friend. On 19 December 2012, the woman underwent her fifth surgery, removing most of her remaining intestine. The woman died from her injuries thirteen days later while undergoing emergency treatment in Singapore. The incident generated widespread national and international coverage and was widely condemned, both in India and abroad. Subsequently, public protests against the state and central governments for failing to provide adequate security for women took place in New Delhi, where thousands of protesters clashed with security forces. Similar protests took place in major cities throughout the country. The suspects were found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. (Source: Wikipedia)
On 10 January, one of their lawyers, Manohar Lal Sharma, said in a media interview that the victims were responsible for the assault because they should not have been using public transportation and, as an unmarried couple, they should not have been on the streets at night. He went on to say: “Until today I have not seen a single incident or example of rape with a respected lady. Even an underworld don would not like to touch a girl with respect.” He also called the male victim “wholly responsible” for the incident because he “failed in his duty to protect the woman.
After the world had supposedly recovered from the shock, one of the accused deemed it fit to give an interview to the BBC which can be found at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/11443462/Delhi-bus-rapist-blames-his-victim-in-prison-interview.html In the interview, Mukesh Singh blames his victim for being responsible for her rape. His view is that “When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape.” And if you think that was the end of his comments, you will want to hear the next sentence “A decent girl won’t roam around at 9 o’clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy. Boy and girl are not equal. Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes. About 20 per cent of girls are good.” He also has one final analysis of the impact of his sentence “”The death penalty will make things even more dangerous for girls,” he says. “Before, they would rape and say, ‘Leave her, she won’t tell anyone.’ Now when they rape, especially the criminal types, they will just kill the girl. Death.”
The lawyers who defended the gang in court express similarly extreme views about women who venture out at night. In a previous televised interview, lawyer AP Singh said: “If my daughter or sister engaged in pre-marital activities and disgraced herself and allowed herself to lose face and character by doing such things, I would most certainly take this sort of sister or daughter to my farmhouse, and in front of my entire family, I would put petrol on her and set her alight.”
It has been a long time since I read the kind of nonsense I read in an interview. My theory when it comes to rape has always been that if you cannot talk about rape without blaming the victim, then maybe you need to just shut up. Rape is not some sort of joke. Rape is a lifelong pain, is an action whose side effects last a lifetime and which ultimately cannot be one to be a subject of a joke. As such how we talk about rape is crucial. How the media writes about rape and what we as a society do about rape are also crucial points.
The picture above perfectly describes the dilemma that every rape case brings. Every time a rape occurs, the holier-than-thou society leaves the perpetrator for a second and concentrates on the victim. It is quick to blame the victim by analyzing dress code, time of the day and whether or not the victim was drunk at the time of the incident. And you know what? This is total crap. The actual questions that should be asked is what kind of families are bringing up rapists? Is there something that can be done for our men so that they grow up knowing that all sex must be consensual? Instead of our solutions being geared towards stopping our men from becoming rapists, we are more bothered with finding a way to stop our women from being “rape-able”!
There is no debate when it comes to rape. No debate whatsoever. The only way to fix a rape problem and ultimately end rape is for rapists to reform. Not women to dress more decently or for women not to move at night or any other ridiculous solution being advanced to curtail the freedom of women to dress as they choose or go wherever they want to. The solution is simple; NON CONSENSUAL SEX IS WRONG. DO NOT RAPE WOMEN. Sex is something you do together and not something you do to someone else.
Victims of sexual assault and rape do not ask for it in anyway, as advanced by Mukesh and his advocate. The burden of preventing rape does not fall on the woman or the victim. Just because someone has had a little too much to drink does make rape justifiable. Just because someone is wearing a short skirt does not mean that their rape is justifiable in anyway. The legal principle of leaving a person the way you found them still applies and is good law.
I am a firm believer in not giving any airplay to perpetrators of rape and hence I am trying to understand BBC’s ethical and moral basis for providing Mukesh and his advocate airplay to continue perpetrating the contents of their brain matter. Is there not a limit to media quest for interviews? What next? Wont we soon be giving interviews to Kony to tell us how all the children he abducts and forces to become child soldiers called for it? i deem it common sense not to give prominent platforms to regressive rape apologists and rapists. They should be treated as outcasts in society and never heard about. Do not give them airplay to advance their theories.
It is even more important to take rape seriously because Victims of sexual assault are:
3 times more likely to suffer from depression.
6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
4 times more likely to contemplate suicide. (www.rainn.org)
Rape is not a joke. Do not trivialize it. Do not belittle it. And most certainly, do not blame the victims.
In the 21st century, i can’t believe we still have to protest this kind of shit.