Many men don’t understand why a woman takes years to come out and speak against rape or sexual abuse. Most of them perceive it as willful consent where she ‘enjoyed’ the ordeal. I feel that PC George, an independent MLA from Poonjar, Kerala, is someone who has succumbed to such a belief system as his statement confirms.
A few days back, Mr.George told the media that a nun, who has accused a bishop of raping her, enjoyed it for 12 times and only realised for the 13th time that it was rape. He even went to the extent of calling her a prostitute. His statement is all kinds of problematic. One must not forget the fact that a woman can consent to having sex 12 times and refuse the 13th time and that will be rape. It’s not really about the number.
Experts say that the reason a woman takes time to come out and speak about rape is in the very nature of sexual assault.To understand this better, you should read – ‘Why women can take years to come forward with a sexual assault allegation’ in the New York Times. This article will give you a deeper understanding of how women are not psychologically prepared to accept how common harassment and assault are and they look for reasons to deny what has happened to them. But this is not the only reason. When the person committing the crime is someone they trust, it takes years for them to realize that they are being violated.
The offenders take advantage of this confusion to exploit the victim further and delude them into believing that nothing has happened. In many cases, the woman gets confused and asks, “Was I raped?” The victim may have little choice but to stay in contact if the offender is a boss, teacher, coach or relative, as was evident in this case. The offender here is a senior member of the church community, whereas the victim is a nun.
People like PC George should understand that it’s preposterous to ask questions such as, “Why didn’t she run away?”, “Why didn’t she push him away?”, “Why did she stay there for 13 years?” Fighting back is not something women naturally do, as they are taught from childhood not to be violent.
To condemn such statements, we should join the #VaayaMoodal campaign (mouth shut campaign) started by a group of women in Kerala, asking people to send duct tapes to the politician, along with a handwritten note. The campaign was initiated by activist and writer Aysha Mahmood along with a couple of her friends.
— Aysha Mahmood (@aisibi) September 11, 2018
The campaign has been supported by actor Parvathy, who became a victim of cyberbullying by a bunch of misogynist goons for criticising Malayalam actor Mammooty’s film Kasaba.