A country like India is never free from mind-boggling problems with no apparent solutions. Now, this very minute, the only thing every woman living here cares about is her (questionable) safety from the surprising number of rapists, molesters, murderers and acid-throwers who freely roam the streets by night, day, and at all other times. Not surprising, given the recent spate in brutal rape cases that make us want to give up reading the morning paper altogether. But life goes on, you know? We can't give up on our education, on our jobs, on our lives, we try to push this fear to the recesses of our minds and pretend we're all right. That is, until we're reminded of the danger of being attacked.
It started out as a simple status update by a friend. She wanted to speak out against rape. All was well, until he started commenting. Let's call him AS. I have no idea who he is, but his comments made me want to break everything on my desk. He proceeded to present his views on rape. Let me tell you what they were.
According to this person, rape is a WOMAN'S fault. Why? Because "women these days dress inappropriately." This person said rape is human nature, and men cannot control their sexual urges. He also claimed to be quoting from religious books. He compared women to money and food, according to him, that is why women should be "kept hidden", and if women believe in religion they should cover up. If they don't, he says they don't deserve respect.
I HAD to try and drill sense into this misogynist's head. First of all, he blames women for rape, and think's it's justified if a woman is dressed "inappropriately". How does one even think of something as messed up as that? HOW can you justify a crime as heinous as rape? And HOW is rape justified simply because men have sexual urges? Don't women have them too? Do we throw ourselves at every man we encounter?
Why is he even bringing religion into this? I may not be a religious expert, but I do not think any religion encourages rape. And, if, as he says, "people must believe in religion", then men shouldn't even think of rape. I think I am correct if I say that all faiths teach us to respect our women.
I said so many things to him, thinking I could change his mindset, even if it was only by a tiny fraction of an inch.
Instead, I was called an atheist, because I told him a woman can wear what she wants to and that should not be used as an excuse for rape. I don't have anything against atheists, but evidently he does, and thinks I don't deserve respect because I said those things. I have nothing against women who want to cover up, nor against those who don't, it's their personal choice, but how can one use a woman's way of dressing to justify rape? No, no, these men see us as one of those women with so-called "loose morals". By the way, that's another excuse for them to rape, because we don't deserve respect if we think like this. And after that? I was told women like me are a danger to other women and it's our fault there are so many attacks on women.
Mr AS disgusts me. He is the embodiment of millions of men in this country. For them, we're mere commodities, objects of pleasure, and baby-making factories. If we speak out, or try to assert ourselves using any of the few ways available to us, we're attacked. Physically, verbally, mentally. One or all of the three. Those of you living in the so-called third world would understand how and why I thank God several times over when I pray, for giving me access to education and opportunities, two things that millions of my Indian sisters are denied. Men like AS believe women can't be respected if they speak out. And he is educated. Clearly, education doesn't guarantee anything in this country.
I am not a danger to women, men like him are. This is a country where the victims are blamed for rape. Where the victims hang their heads in shame and are social outcasts, not the rapists themselves. Where women like me who try to drill some sense into the heads of these chauvinists are blamed for rape.
I'm pretty patriotic, but right now, I am ashamed of belonging to a place where people think like this.