By Nupur Dogra:
Everywhere I go, I have this fear within me “what if I get assaulted?” Where does this fear come from?? This fear is not only of being physically assaulted but also to face the mental trauma after being raped. In India, you are not a victim if you are raped. You will be treated like an assaulter. Following are the views of the two important institutions of our life towards rape victims.
Orthodox Indian v/s rape victim:
Universally rape can be defined as a physical assault or sexual harassment of body of a person by another. But in India, it’s definition can be framed this way “a rape is sexual harassment of a girl by a man where after the girl has been polluted, she has been disgraced and now her life is destroyed.”
If you ask an orthodox Indian about rape or its causes, most of them will attribute it to modern culture. “The girls wear short clothes and provoke boys to rape them”.Â “They go out on late night parties and drink alcohol.” “Girls should ignore eve teasers, responding to them might lead to a rape.” “Â What our society says to a rape victim “laparvahi ki vajah se puri zindagi barbaad hogai” (your irresponsibility has destroyed your life ). And to the assaulters “jawani mai kabhi kabhi pair fisal jaata hai”Â (youth might slip sometimes). What we call Indian culture or “hamari sabhyata” is adamant at creating a society full of social stigmas against the rape victims. Only a virgin sells in the matrimonial market of India. No matter what past a guy has, it’s only the girls who are expected to be “pure” in the language of these so called moral bearers in the society. The very problem is in the conditioning of the Indian society. No one wants to look at rapists, but will stare at the victims inhumanly. TheyÂ wouldn’tÂ question the rapist but try to find where the girl went wrong. Rather than telling a boy to behave, the girls are told to take precautions. What actually a rapist should go through, the victim actually suffers from.
But is disgracing a women really a product of modernity or western culture? No it is not. The Mahabharata shows how Draupadi was disgraced. Was she wearing a short skirt or was she drunk? Her mistake was that she was a women and a wife in a male chauvinist world. I feel endangered whenever I step out of my house. Whether it is day or night, whether I wear a salwaar kameez or a short skirt; the “gentlemen” on the street scan me from head to toe like a hungry lion looks down at his prey. And even if a girl walks down the street with minimal clothes or drinks alcohol or celebrates her life she is not asking for a rape. We need to understand that the problem is not how girls live their lives; it is the way our society is conditioned. No wonder, why a movie which has its theme as celebrating womanhood is called “dirty picture” in India and Akshay kumar very proudly flaunts his father as “the-rapist” in Housefull 2. The host of a very popular reality show roadies scolds a participants “learn to respect girls you sister f*****.” The irony of his statement is very much visible in his language.
Law – a protector or a destroyer?
When a rape victim files a case against the rapist, what she is looking for is “justice” for her “lost dignity”. But our laws indirectly say “oh you are traumatized? Don’t worry we will make sure you remain so and will do our best to worsen your condition”. The way the girls are cross questioned by the lawyers is barbarous. To quote few “were you wearing tight or loose clothes?” “Were you on top of him or below him?” “What was the length of his errection?” Â The lawyer after asking these questions might have thought how well he has performed. While displaying the clothes of the girl in the court and analyzing its provocative quotient he might have thought of it to work as a trump card. This is what happens when law turns into a profession rather than a guarantee of justice. From facing the proceedings to having a medical test, every single experience is torturous. The proceedings seem to be an attempt to assassinate the character of the victim. The girl, the family and everyone related is made ashamed of their existence.
But why should the girl or any one related to her be ashamed?
Ashamed should be the one who raped her. Ashamed should be the one who supported him. Ashamed should be the one who gave birth to him. I don’t know about anyone, but I feel ashamed to be part of such a society, such a culture, such a nation.
Whenever I think about it, I realize how fearful and helpless my life is; only if it was fairy land I would have wished for a knight in a shining armor to rescue me. But it is not a fairy tale and knight himself is a male.