Let’s Heal the Rape Culture
Someone on my FB wall posted that protecting ourselves and our children is more important than changing the attitude of people that commit such heinous crimes as that of Asifa in Jammu. And that over-protection of our children is the answer in this day and age.
First, the obvious way that little girl could have *possibly* been protected, was by completely giving up their nomadic life. Still no guarantee of protection, but increases the chances to a degree Now, let’s take this to the city and our lives. If we over-protect ourselves and our children (which means not going out after dark, going out during the day only to known places and with someone, etc etc), we could *possibly* be more protected. This means restricting our own lives and living in fear of something going wrong. Fear of one’s safety and that of one’s young is a primal, deep fear that, over a long period, can affect our immune system, mental health and overall well-being.
Second, even with this sacrifice, there is absolutely no guarantee that you or your children will be protected. There are more than enough stories to add weight to this claim.
Therefore, the answer to this is not easy or superficial. It is difficult. We have to go deep, question and affect each other’s mindsets, starting with our own families and that of friends’, to better understand and address this fundamental disconnect with our own humanity. There is no evil “out there”. It is all around us, and possibly in us. #scarystuff Rape is complicated. It’s not as simple as some people satisfying their lust. It’s about power, hatred, anger, etc much more than it is about lust. As the repressed gender, class or caste asserts itself, rape is one of the negative effects we must look closely at rather than running away from and hiding! So let’s look at anger/hatred, of any kind, of any intensity, towards another:
Do we equally like North Indians and South Indians? Foreigners and Indians? Is it ok if your son or daughter marries a black person? A Muslim or a Christian? A man or a woman? A Dalit or a Brahmin?
When this hatred becomes stronger than our basic love of humanity, then we don’t love each other as human beings. And it goes to follow that our actions will reflect our feelings. Those men that perpetuated that crime did not see that little girl as a human being. She was a Muslim. She was a female. They didn’t see the way she ran like a deer or chirped like a bird. Their hearts were burning with too much hatred to see or hear such beauty.
Let me take this a step further in the direction it has to at some point…towards myself and those close to me. Even in people close to me, I see the judgement and dislike towards North Indians. And dark skin. It may not be hatred. But it starts somewhere, creates a divide and builds on itself. And the thing is, we can justify it all beautifully to ourselves. The history of it all. Like a little girl and little boy fighting over who hit first or took away the remote, we fight, justify and divide. It all builds, we elect the people we do by overlooking things we don’t see as problems anymore with our filtered vision and then wonder. I can only try to challenge the closed mindset of the people around me. (And of course, regarding this case, add my voice to the crowd demanding justice.) However, I know that even if these 8 men hang, another Nirbhaya or Asifa is around the corner because the conditions are ripe. Like mushrooms in rain. And Homeopathy doesn’t work here. Hate does not cure Hate. The mushrooms will keep sprouting.
Unity in Diversity and Women’s Empowerment are modern, urban Indian myths today. We are continuing to let the Rape Culture Thrive by refusing to look deeper.
I may be a Hindu in my bedroom, but outside, I am a Human Being who loves each of you the SAME. I Promise You That. Please ask yourselves AND those around you the same. I guarantee you, from my experience in the last 5+ years in India that it is not. You’ll find within yourself or someone around you an ability to see everyone in the same light. It’s our collective responsibility to challenge this and work to resolve the many divides in this country.
Let’s fight today so we can live tomorrow without fear.
#livewithoutfear #healthedivide #asifa #justiceforasifa #nirbhaya #humanrights #lookdeeper #fightfightfight #fightagainstrape #fightagainstinjustice #fightagainstchildabuse #lovelovelove
Image is from cartoonmovement.com