This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Here”s Why Rape Is Not About Sex And Why Prostitution Will Not Solve The Problem

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Shibika Suresh:

These days, there seem to be a lot of people saying that prostitution should be legalized to help curb the rising rapes. In the light of the sudden increasing rape cases in the capital, many have come forward with this belief that providing paid-sex (which is precisely what prostitution is) will help decrease cases of rape. But it is a very wrongly conceived notion that a rapist is sex-deprived. Rape is not about sex, but a means of violence where sex is a weapon. It is about power, control, degradation, punishment and humiliation.

prostitutionMost of the recent rape cases involved young men whom curiosity and the adrenaline-rushes got the best of. The pathetic, sickening demeanour of such men, using candles and iron rods, could not only be a result of sexual tension. To say that a rapist was sexually unsatisfied, and therefore he raped, is yet another way for society to excuse rape.

Legalising prostitution, especially in the country like India where polar-opposite beliefs exist together, is a matter of huge debate and discussion. While some are of the belief that since commerce is legal and sexual contact is legal, combining the two should be legal as well; many others feel that legalising prostitution goes against the very basis of our beliefs and culture. The real question here is, whether giving a legal status to prostitution (basically offering sexual gratification in return for cash or kind) will help in curbing such heinous crimes in a country like ours.

Saying that legalizing prostitution would curb rapes means that sex-workers and their profession address the problem that causes rape. It seems to imply that the rapist was a poor victim of circumstances, which lead him to rape. On the contrary there is proof to believe that countless men without access to prostitutes do not rape at all. The belief that sex is why rapists are led to rape can also be taken as an insult to men at large. Essentially it means that men need sex or they rape, and that sex should be provided by society to keep their girls safe. The whole thing comes down to this: In order to protect the ‘purity’ and ‘chastity’ of some women, its okay to inflict the worst of cruelty to others who don’t deserve the ‘protection’ that society has to offer.

The need to legalize prostitution should not come up because it has a remote possibility of curbing a social evil. It should arise because we as a society feel that the sex workers need their share of respect and rights. Because they should be guaranteed human rights and strict standards of health and cleanliness. Because there should be a check on human trafficking and the undesirable figure of middlemen should be abolished.

In a rapist’s mind a woman is not a person, but an object that is symbolic of whatever or whoever the rapist wants to humiliate – could be a relative, could be a caste. As long as that desire is there, as long as the view of women as possessions is there, we cannot hope to defeat rape by providing a greater variety of women. As long as stereotypes about women make rounds through generations, we cannot hope for establishing a rational society, with a broad-spectrum thinking. Society has to stop associating a woman’s ‘virtue’ with her worth as a human.

What we need for preventing rapes directly is strong law enforcement, consistent policing, reliable and prompt sentencing, and not more women being exploited. There should be stigma and social condemnation attached to the rapist. What we need is a more sensible society, which learns to logically reason situations, and not come up with such theories that exploit women as objects of sexual desire and propagate the view that if we keep sex easily available for men, we can prevent rapes.

Should prostitution be legalized? Yes. Should we hope that rapes will decrease because of it? Certainly not.

You must be to comment.
  1. rishita19

    well written… though legalising prostitution is something that needs to be discussed at length separately from the issue of rape as well… but the point you are making through this article, i.e “rape is not about sex and prostitution will not serve the problem” is very well put…. (y)

  2. shreya sarin

    very true…i totally agree
    inorder to stop rapes, the mindset of india needs to change, and i think that is the governments responsibility.

  3. Raj

    Sorry I don’t agree completely with this article :

    1) In many cases, it is about sex. It is about some demented guy knowing that he isn’t gonna get sex because he’s poor, ugly and … demented. Think date rapes. What show of power does the rapist achieve, having his victim sedated?
    However in many cases like marital rape , it is indeed about power. But many a times, it’s indeed about sex.

    2) Prostitution is LEGAL in India. Yes you read that right. Check wikipedia :
    “In India, prostitution (the exchange of sexual services for money) is legal,[1] but a number of related activities, including soliciting in a public place, kerb crawling, owning or managing a brothel, pimping and pandering, are crimes.” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_India

    3) “The belief that sex is why rapists are led to rape can also be taken as an insult to men at large.” is absolutely devoid of logic. Yes, heterosexual men do desire sex. But not all of them violate women in order to get it . Many instead have girlfriends with whom they have sex, and most of them get married and then have sex.
    Men desire money too, but not all of them kill and loot for it.

    4)”In order to protect the ‘purity’ and ‘chastity’ of some women, its okay to inflict the worst of cruelty to others who don’t deserve the ‘protection’ that society has to offer.” What do you mean? Are you talking about prostitutes? Is consensual sex a crime being perpetuated on prostitutes? Is any type of heterosexual a crime against a woman?

    5) “…. and not come up with such theories that exploit women as objects of sexual desire and propagate the view that if we keep sex easily available for men, we can prevent rapes.” Where are you getting this stuff from? Prostitutes voluntarily “sell” their bodies for sex, so do pornstars…and to a lesser extent item girls and actresses. They voluntarily and with full knowledge know that they are marketing lust. They aren’t that stupid , you know.
    And who are you do tell the society not to come up with such theories? Freedom of expression out the window?

  4. Social Scribblers

    Well written… Completely agree with you…

  5. Priya Ambani

    I feel prostitution should be legal.. it is about two voluntary people who want to get sexual satisfaction.. GEt the adrenaline rush and get over with it..

    Dont pool the adrenaline rush and make other unwilling girls victims of your sexual desires..

    Legalize prostitution in India.. keep it monitored.. keep it safe from diseases like AIDS.. regulate it..

    Nirbhaya rape was by Bus driver and cleaner.. Hyderabad rape was by lorry driver and cleaner..
    These people were not married and have sexual desires.. Address them ..

    Dont give lecture that we are pitying the accused..

    Save your daughter from the sexual rush desire of a monster..

    What if some rapes atleast reduce.. What if we can reduce rapes..

  6. Priya Ambani

    America – Guns dont kill, Mentally ill people kill, No need to ban guns..
    India – Sex drive doesnt rape, Male chauvinists rape, no need of legalize prostitution

  7. Priya Ambani

    India – Sex drive doesnt rape, Male chavinists rape, no need of legalize prostitution
    America – Guns dont kill, Mentally ill people kill, No need to ban guns..

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Debarati Sen

By The Bleed Eco Project

By Youth Action Hub- India (Delhi)

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below