Trigger warning: Mentions of rape
I am not your wife. Or daughter. I am a person.
A girl who is a rape survivor was certainly someone’s daughter. She may have been someone’s sister. Someday, she might even be someone’s wife. But these are not the reasons why raping her was wrong. This rape, and any rape, was wrong because women are people. Women are people, rape is wrong, and no one should ever be raped.
Undoubtedly, someone is going to scream that I am playing the role of the Stuebenville defense attorney, blaming the survivor, giving a new voice to old canards like she asked for it, or boys will be boys, or if you act like a slut, you deserve what you get. I would answer that it’s not a question of deserving. It’s a question of complex causality, of recognising, owning and consciously wielding whatever power we have in that equation.
Absolving women of responsibility denies us response ability. There are those morons who seem to think that women have to dress and act like nuns in order to avoid accidentally signalling to men that we want to be raped. Then there are those who seem to throw equally unhelpful pieces of philosophical wisdom into the conversation, about our right to be naked where we want, when we want, with whom we want, and be as intoxicated as we want and it’s nobody’s business.
Never take a drink from anyone or let your drink out of your sight. Don’t show too much cleavage. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Never go to a boy’s room alone. If it comes to it, go for the eyes, the nose, the balls. Always stay with a group of girls. There is safety in numbers. You can’t trust him, even if he seems nice.
These are all the rules I was taught growing up. Parents, teachers, media, all told me I had to be careful not to get raped. Because I was a girl. And the responsibility was on me. Since the gory details of the December 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape surfaced, people have been measuring every rape case with the ‘Nirbhaya’ yardstick to decide on the level of brutality of the crime.
Laws were amended, there were protests and candle marches throughout the country and only earlier this month, the apex court of the country upheld the death penalty given to four of the six accused (one was a juvenile and one died by suicide while in prison), calling it a ‘rarest of rare’ case.
However, when it comes to the rapes reported from other parts of the country that may not be of the same geopolitical importance as Delhi, the procedure of identifying criminals and meting out a treatment that might set a precedent and deter people from committing heinous atrocities is, sadly, not the same.
Stop rapes now. No means no.
Please stop rapes.