Instead Of Teaching Women How ‘Not To Get Raped’, Let’s Educate Men?

It’s Time We Talk About Rape Culture

Recent data released by NCRB on crimes against women show that rape in India has unfortunately increased. The report highlights the inadequate law and order situation in the country, with 3.59 lakh cases of crime reported against women in 2017.

“Uttar Pradesh recorded the maximum number of crimes against women with 56,011 cases in 2017, while Madhya Pradesh registered the highest number of rape cases at 5562.”

Any culture is generally viewed from a sociological point of view, and hence associating it with rape is almost unacceptable to some people. Even our society does not promote rape openly; how it does promotes rape is disgusting in its subtlety.

Image Credit: Getty

What Is Rape Culture?

We are not only discussing rape when we are talking about rape culture but something more absolute than that. For a practical understanding of the term rape culture, we have to realise that the term rape culture implies how we collectively think about rape and the survivors, and not necessarily the culprit.

We are talking about a systematic cultural mindset which practices and promotes the normalisation, trivialisation, and justification of rape. Ignoring and excusing the culprit and the crime is dangerous because it hampers whatever little progress we have made in eliminating sexual violence from our society.

The promotion of rape culture begins when women are taught how not to get raped, instead of teaching men not to rape, or when rape survivors are questioned about whether they were drunk or what they were wearing.

It is no news that women are often considered an object of possession for providing pleasure. Rape will continue to happen, no matter what women do, as long as women are blamed for getting raped, or advised to take precautions, and that it’s up to them to prevent rape. A fixed frame of reference is formed, and life can get complicated for women who refuse to comply with the set standards of the society.

It would be unreasonable to put the criticism of the existence of rape culture entirely on men because it involves both men and women, and how they regard each other. In my opinion, silence from both men and women has become a crucial reason for rape culture to persist in our society. Doing nothing is only an aspect that makes both women and men part of the problem.

Younger people and transgender people are at a higher risk of falling prey to sexual violence, which can have long-term effects on the survivors. Sexual abuse in prisoners and the military often go unreported.

Representational image.

Rape culture is particularly systematic in India. The discussion about rape culture is as overdue as is the lack of accepting its existence at all. First and foremost, we require an open mind, an understanding of the concept of consent, and how dangerous rape culture can prove to the survivors if we need to find any solution to it.

The belief that we live in a perfect gender-balanced society is as wrong as it is irresponsible. This denialism and ignorance of the pain of several rape survivors only propagate toxic masculinity.

Where Does Rape Culture Begin?

No conducive solution can be found unless we recognise where rape culture begins and where and how it stops. In my opinion, women have only gotten more vulnerable with the evolution of our society, and the Indian justice system has repeatedly failed the survivors of sexual assault.

Shaming the survivor undoubtedly stems from patriarchy, which prevents men from both discussing and learning about the issue. 

The politicians all around the world are connivance in rape culture and waste no time in jumping on the blame game bandwagon. Blaming the survivor, alcohol, pornography, unlimited freedom to internet access and clothes, and everything else instead of the rapists removes the culprit’s liability of their actions, promotes rape culture, and epitomises the flaw in our society.

To define rape culture only as a system of opinions of our society that encourages and supports male sexual aggressiveness and sexual violence against women would be an understatement. A rape culture approves and disregards physical and sexual violence against women and sends a message that rape is the same as sex. The lack of the vital principle that is consent entirely alters the action and makes it an act of violence and a heinous crime.

Image Credits: Richard Potts from Flickr
Similar Posts

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