Stigmatization and honour culture of India against the rape victims

Posted by Pranjal Pratim
October 10, 2017


Inspite of having deterant laws and stringent punishments, heinous crimes of rape and molestation has been increasing in the society. Declining human values and most importantly the societal stigma and taboos attached with these crimes has only increased the pain and agony of the rape victims. These taboos and stigmas find their roots in the patriarchal society of India. Honour​ killings of the rape victims in the name of saving the honour of the family are the result of such patriarchal mindset. These practices have their strong presence in India’s countryside where the absence of law and order creates a breeding ground for these nefarious practices.

Stigmatization of rape victims:

As​ according to a common saying ,”A girls Honor is like a glass once it is broken it cannot be fixed”, the rape victims are treated as a shame to their family ( mainly stigma dominated societies) and seen as a burden. Their future prospects in the society is lost and hence increasing their dependency on others. The dependency further pushes the victims in more agony and pain and eventually instigating the suicide tendency. Honour killings mostly enforced by the notorious Khap panchayats (unconstitutional caste based panchayats) further adds fuel to the burning issue. Moreover many cases of rape goes unnoticed and the voices of the rape victims are suppressed just because their family thinks that,” Khandan ka naak katjayega”, which is a common societal taboo. Taboos associated with marriage such as rape victims are impure and not eligible for marriage, has snatched away their dignity.

Where the concept of Welfare state has failed:

Article 21 of our Constitution declares that no person shall be deprived of his/her personal liberty. So the rape victims too deserve to live their life with dignity. Treatment given by the police and judiciary is also part of victimization. The law and order providing institutions are need to be more sensitised and compassionate towards the victims who needs mental support in crucial time. Although protection of the women from sexual harassment at work place has been provided yet it has failed to change the mindset and culture at work place that the society looks towards the victims who inturn question on her character. Blind belief in taboos and stigmas has shrouded the vision of humanity. People are so concerned in saving the izzat of their family  that they fail to understand the feelings and trauma of the rape victims.

Responsibility of every citizen:

In an Era where the world is changing at a speeding pace, the medieval practices of patriarchal mindset and feudalistic norms and taboos should be dropped.Sympathy, empathy and care are what the victims needed more rather than ignorance. Counseling to the victims should be given so that they can overcome the trauma. They should be made financially independent so that they can get back their lost confidence and live their life with dignity. Women organisations here should play a proactive role in leading the crusade to fight the societal stigmas against the rape victims. The government should ensure that justice is provided to every victims and the policies and legislations that are enacted for the protection of women should reach each corner of the country, with the ability to change the people’s attitude.

Youth Ki Awaaz is an open platform where anybody can publish. This post does not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions.