Content advisory 18+ RAPE. Such a strong implicating degrading action with grave consequences, but a word used almost casually and thoughtlessly. So many renowned public figures throw out comments which not only makes light of the gravity of the action but also sends out a wrong message to the people who look up to them.
Rape is such a common occurrence nowadays and people don't even blink an eye when yet another rape case news hits the news, unless of course the media wants to glorify one case and get people talking about it. Let's take a look into the statistics.
(All figures have been taken from a Times of India article)
But what do all these figures translate to? It reflects the nature of the society we live in.
Women have always been deemed the weaker sex. It's true. If you go by physical strength, yes, women are weaker than men. And like the bully who picks on the weaker kid, some men gain a false sense of masculinity by dominating a woman.
Consent is an important powerful personal right and no one should impinge over that. No means no. Some people do not understand or perceive the importance of consent. Instead, they believe that it is their birth given the right to play with a lady's womanhood, just because they have been born with a different appendage.
Some men are sexually starved. Most are perverts who derive pleasure from having a woman struggle while he dominates her. In most cases, the rapists are people known to the victim (family and friends). Sex is a personal thing while rape is a taboo and victims are often stigmatized. Most of the rape cases go unreported at the fear of social abuse and also threats by the rapists. Often the family hushes up the victim at the risk of being a social outcast. Studies show as much as 90% of the cases go unreported, painting an alarming picture to the extent of the situation.
This has only given more power to these men, now empowered with the knowledge of conducting a crime without consequences. We should not forget the immoral vocalists who put a badge of shame on the victim for wearing a skirt too high, a neckline too low, for being drunk or just having the fault of looking alluring. There are also the mothers, sisters, wives and friends who blindly support and rush to save the rapist while being women themselves.
This has given rise to a ‘rape culture'.
Who/What to blame?
You cannot pinpoint rape to a particular place/country, culture, race, color or status. Yes, some countries have a higher incidence of rape than others, interestingly, the some of the most developed countries taking the lead. However, it is an integral fault deep-seated in the human society. And the incidence has been showing a linear curve skywards.
Now, it is not only ‘mature' women who are the victims, rapists don't even discriminate among girls as small as two-year olds. There are heinous crimes where sexual predators torture their victims for days to an end. There are also women who suffer silently, buckling to her husband (other family members too), imprisoned by the imaginary line of marriage and blood relations.
The aspects surrounding it:
There is of course the physical and mental trauma superimposed with unjustified social abuse. The trauma to the family of the victim. Also, the difficulties the other family members go through when one is accused of rape.
On the other aspect, there are also various cases where women make false accusations to implicate innocent men.
Studies have found that 99% of the rapes are committed by men. But we shouldn't forget about the remaining 1% either, where a woman rapes a man. Such a situation is so often laughed at that most of them go unreported at the fear of being ridiculed. One shouldn't undermine their trauma by discriminating against a sex.
But what makes men have such a skewed perception?
Illiteracy? Poverty? I don't believe so. With a higher incidence of rapes in developed countries, these indices show to have a marginal contribution. (Though statistics might not be a representative of the reality. Percentage of reported cases in developed countries is much higher than that of other ones.) What is really needed, I believe, is a proper guide during a child's developing years. A child should be taught about equality and respect. A child should be taught about his own rights and others. This can only happen when you can educate the society about humanity. That is an almost impossible uphill task.
Maybe in an era of touch and go, virtual spaces, we have become too shallow to not only respect not only others, but also ourselves. Our actions are so selfishly driven to derive pleasure even at the cost of others, we could never really be happy. We are in a vicious cycle of ‘raping' each other out of their happiness for a twisted moment of fleeting pleasure of gratification.