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‘You Rape Our Women. You’re Taking Over Our Country’: Charleston & The Rationale Of The Terrorist

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By Abhishek Jha

There are two things regarding the recent Charleston shooting. The way these shootings are characterised by conservative media, and the terrorist-organisation-style rationalisation that Dylann Roof gave before murdering nine people.

When a male white shooter is only termed a “lone gunman“, a “mentally ill person” etc., the nomenclature denies that there is a systemic problem, that there is a hatred being methodically fed to the person by the establishments and structures around him.

Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof

In the critically acclaimed TV series ‘The Wire’, there is an episode where Prez, a supposedly incompetent police officer, shoots a black officer in plain clothes when responding to a distress call. His colleagues loathe him for being “a goof”, but most of them deny a racial angle to the shooting. But Prez himself admits that he would not be able to ascertain if that was in his head. Another colleague questions in private whether the plain clothes officer would have been shot if he had been white.

When structural violence by the police passes off as just law enforcement, when entire wars are waged killing innocent people in the name of “national security”, it is bound to create prejudices that run deep in the psyche of the people. Dylann Roof didn’t think he was doing something bad. He thought he was killing people who are “taking over the country“. Isn’t this the kind of rationalisation that terrorist organisations give for attacks?

Reportedly, before murdering six women (and three men), Roof said, “You rape our women. And you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” We saw a similar kind of fear being articulated against a woman who was wearing a hijab in a commuter train in Sydney earlier this year. And there is a lesson to be learnt by those of us in India. Wasn’t a similar mythical figure of the Muslim man as rapist invoked by the VHP and the rest of the Sangh parivar before the 2014 elections? Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai, a documentary by Nakul Singh Sawhney on the Muzaffarnagar riots, shows Amit Shah justifying the riots as a fight for protecting the “honour” of Hindu women in a public speech. The VHP is also calling for a strike in Gujarat this month after a woman was allegedly abducted recently in Nadiad town of Gujarat and is calling this an act of “love-jihad”.

As philosopher Slavoj Zizek in ‘The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology’ said, “Because, isn’t it that, for example, the most extreme case of ideology, maybe in the history of humanity, the Nazi fascist anti-Semitism worked in the same way? Imagine an ordinary German citizen in the late 20s, early 30s. His situation is, in an abstract way, the same as that of a small child. He’s totally perplexed…What does society want from him? Why is everything going wrong? The way he perceives the situation is that newspapers lie to him. He lost his work because of inflation. He lost all his money in the bank. He sees moral degradation and so on. So what’s the meaning of this all?…You need to generate an ideological narrative which explains who things went wrong in a society, not as a result of the inherent tensions in the development of this society but as the result of a foreign intruder. Things were okay until Jews penetrated our social body. The way to restore the health of our social body is to eliminate the Jews.”

Similar misrepresentation is also at work in our country. On a right wing website, which I found when researching the Muzaffarnagar riots, I found a similar image of the Muslim rapist being conjured through misrepresentation of reports. None of the reports it cites actually could point to which religion the victim of the rape or sexual assault belonged to. But since the offenders could be named and, in all cited reports, they were Muslim, it could help invoke a threat to the Hindu community.

Terrorists are often people who feed too much on these mythical figures, which simplify the confusion surrounding them. The work of a society then should be to eliminate the conditions that allow for this. Because it doesn’t matter whether Dylann Roof is mentally ill or not. His act would qualify as an act of racism and of terrorism because of the practices of American institutions against people of colour – racial profiling, for instance. They really have a well-equipped police department, which helped them apprehend Roof within a day. But policing is not the answer to the problem that has and might yet again make another Dylann Roof.

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  1. Jigsaw

    YKA is kindly requested to stop censoring my comments. You cannot censor the truth.

    Woman sentenced to 3 years Jail for a false rape case. Reason – Property dispute. Accused ended his life.

    Cops raid her home to find her husband, apparently accused of a crime, she CRIES rape by Cops! They plead innocence

    This article basically nails the trend. Tougher rape law leading to increase in false cases?

    Classic case of rape law misuse: False gangrape

    Journalist arrested in false gang rape case

    Delhi woman misuses rape law, held for extortion

    Men who face false rape charges – BLOG

    Girl faces 7 years Rigorous Imprisonment for false rape allegations

    Rape filed when husband discovered wife coming out of someone else’s house

    Punishment for falling in LOVE

    Consensual Sex of Four years turned Rape

    Sexual Adventure turned Rape

    Love, Sex and Dhokha…..all given the name of Rape

    Girl Pregnant, Property Dispute among neighbours, RAPE charge is the Solution

    Father and Daughter both retract from their statements of Rape, refuse to identify accused

    A false rape case by a MAID on an 82 year Old employer, Court issues guidelines to placement agencies–3257.html

    Got pregnanant with consent, but she was raped

    Settlement after Rape…or Rape charges for settlement

    She stayed with cousin with her own ‘sweet will’ but it was a rape for the girls father

    Court acquits man of Rape, wants curb on False cases

    Rape on a Road Side???

    Unable to pay debt, father coerces daughter to file a rape case. 13 years. Another accused woman dies during pendency of the case.

    Two brothers acquitted. If there would have been three, charges would have been on three, four, five…..

    Teacher-Student infatuation, baby born out of it, Rape case filed anonymously …acquitted

    Rape filed to force the boy into marriage

    Acquitted after 11 years of struggle

    Dispute over property, turned rape by a young empowered woman against an elderly senior citizen

    They raped but dropped her home. Then her father slapped her. Then she slept. Then police found her. OMG.

    No words….First elope with boyfriend then charge him with rape.

    Medical examination declares no rape, claim of sedation also false, still FIR registered

    Rape on pretext of Job, marriage and many other promises

    Girl agrees rape complaint was false as boyfriend turns husband

    Consensual sex turned rape, Judge says women should sleep before marriage at their own peril

    Raped continuously for a year by facebook friend

    Thrown out of Job, files rape case against 8 people

    Rape cases conviction low because of false complaints : Mumbai Commissioner of Police

    Don’t always believe rape victims evidence : Supreme Court of India


    False cases behind Delhi’s tag of RAPE CAPITAL: Judge, Delhi Court

    Woman arrested for extortion after filing 11 false rape cases

    90% of rape cases in Kishanganj False: SP

    74% percent cases consensual sex turned into rape: Pune Police

    Fake rape victims danger to society: Court

    Be Vigilant against false cases: HC tells trial court judges

    Boyfriend, his friends also in false rape trap….O Boyzzz so sorry for you!

    Consensual relationship, pregnancy, then Rape


    GO GOA and then GO crying rape

    Rape victims brother is the child’s biological father

    Women misuse rape law to force lovers to marry them: Delhi HC

    ‘Fake’ rape cases reported as Love Turns Sour: Ranchi Police

    When live-in turns sour, man becomes ‘rapist’

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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