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How Do You ‘Justify’ The Rape Of A 4-Year-Old? Was She ‘Asking For It’ Too?

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By Vaagisha Das

The aftermath of the ‘Nirbhaya’ gang rape case in Delhi saw numerous protests over the callous way in which incidents of rape are treated in the country. These protests are yet to die down, especially since another horrific instance has now come to light – that of a four-year-old in the slum area of northwest Delhi. The young girl, lured by the promise of sweets to a nearby railway track, was dragged by a group of men into the nearby forest and brutally raped. Having barely survived the ordeal, she is battling for life while the perpetrators are yet to be identified.

For representation only
For representation only

Dubbed ‘Choti Nirbhaya‘ by the media, various programs are being set up in order to provide financial aid to the victim by way of procuring funds for her education, as well as to secure her future. The Nirbhaya Fund too, seems created for this express purpose of providing help – yet these efforts pale when confronted with the ever increasing number of rape cases in India, showing that the problem runs far deeper than we think.

Sexual violence can be directly linked to the patriarchal values that Indian society is steeped in. The very same values that put men in a position of power and influence over most spheres of society, and train them to seek control. Very often this control is sexualised, while the sense of power, along with the cultural presentation of female bodies as a source of masculine pleasure- whether it be pornography, or ‘item numbers’ in movies- creates a sense of entitlement. This is what lays the basis for rape culture, where rape is trivialised on the part of the perpetrator – in India, often by blaming the victim. Rape victims are often dismissed on account of their having ‘brought it upon themselves’. Instead of focusing on the rapists, society shames the victim instead, claiming that she must have done something to warrant ‘punishment’. Rape seems to be justified when individuals cross a certain predetermined line of ‘bad‘ behaviour – They go out at night. They dress ‘fashionably’ or ‘sexily’. They have boyfriends. They go to bars. They work alongside men. Surely they were ‘asking for it’.

But then, how does one justify the rape of a child by the same logic? Was the child, by wandering off to play, ‘asking for it’? Does this not bring the problem into stark focus – how do you explain the sexualisation of a four-year-old by anything other than a blatant idea of claim to the female body – any female body? The problem of sexual assault cannot be removed unless the very foundation of patriarchy crumbles, and with it the eradication of the idea that women are in any way there to ‘service’ men, or are less important than them. Nirbhaya was enough of a prerogative to set better standards, that the ‘Choti Nirbhaya’ incident should take place is a source of shame.

However, it is a mistaken assumption to believe that the aforementioned has since been the only rape case. Child rape has gradually been on the rise, yet we see very few incidents of the same are being reported. Therein lies the problem of media reporting – often, cases that do not involve brutal violence, gang rape or stranger assailants are eclipsed by the more ‘sensationalised’ cases, even though the former is more common. Further, their absence in the media makes them appear trivial, and hence victims are less likely to report such cases of assault. Cases with proximity to news studios receive better coverage, while inaccessible or minority community regions are disregarded. When all these factors are taken into account, it is little surprise that the national media ceases to be so. Perhaps, along with what should be done, it is time we also pay attention to how it should be done, so that all cases worthy of attention get their due.

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  1. B

    There is no justification for rape. These rapist bastards must be hung from trees in public. But what justification is there for the increasing fake cases of rape where innocent men’s lives, career, and reputation is destroyed, and the women who falsely accuse walk scot free.

  2. Vivek

    I visited G.B. Road in Delhi lastmonth. After I entered a Kotha a pimp came and forcefully took all my money (approx Rs. 2000) , and told me to wait. After a couple of minutes a fat, ugly, dark 40 plus woman entered the room who insisted I fuck her. I requested to leave, but she didn’t budge. She took of her shalwar and my pants. She started rubbing my dick but I wanted to puke. She started yelling when I didn’t get an erection. I couldn’t. She was so fat and ugly. Finally after I pleaded she let me go. It was a scary and horrible experience. The pimp was dangerous (never argue with them) and I was nearly raped by a prostitute.

    1. Blimp

      Sure you were.

  3. G.L.

    Sexual assault has nothing to do with patriarchy. No article by a feminist is ever complete without the unnecessary insertion of ‘patriarchy’ in it. Rape is wrong, whether committed by a man or woman, but as a precautionary measure we can cover ourselves well and be home early.

    1. Blimp

      Perhaps you should cease your involvement with women completely if you believe in your false accusation nonsense. Otherwise go to hell.

  4. krushna

    Very simple solution just kill the perpetrators if people here can chase and kill people over a rumor of killing a calf ,can the people do have the guts to do same for the little girl,she never flaunted her breast or thighs which could have led to the rape but still she was raped i think we our country is entering into the darkest phase..

  5. Monistaf

    Who exactly is trying to “Justify” the rape? Rape is not “justified” when you cross a certain threshold, it is just more probable because of circumstances. Rape is, and always has been against the law, so it cannot be “justified”, however, there is an increased chance of being a victim if the person is walking around alone late at night. You also have an increased chance of being robbed or mugged as well, does not mean it is justified.

    1. beachjustice

      This is true.

      However we must be careful not to slip from “a woman should take reasonable precaution to protect herself” to “the woman did something silly; she was partially responsible for what the rapist did”.

      Even if it is not possible for my mother or my daughter or sister, I do dream that one day perhaps for my daughter's daughter's daughter, we may live in an India where girls (and men, but let's be honest, girls are more vulnerable) can walk outside alone or even in a dark alley and not risk rape or assault, not matter how she is dressed or whom she is known to have dated or any other silly excuses.

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