I wasn't going to blog about this at all, but here I am.
In light of the recent Delhi gang rape that has sparked a huge outrage worldwide,
this is my two cents.
This is something I've never blogged about before, nor even talked about before voluntarily,
for one simple reason : talking about rape makes me uncomfortable.
It makes my skin crawl in a way that I can't even describe.
I don't know if this makes me anti-feminist or weak, but its the truth.
So this will probably be the first and last time I ever mention rape on this blog.
I'm not entirely sure where I'm going to go with this, but bear with me.
If you find something you don't like, you're more than welcome to stop reading.
India is notorious for rape.
Especially gang rape.
And the problem stems entirely from the mentality of the people.
I can say this confidently because I am Indian. And though I don't live in India, this is a mentality that I have spent my whole life rebelling against :
Men are superior.
Your husband is God.
And despite the fact that most Indian girls and women are getting higher education and good jobs,
that mentality still remains.
And there will always be people resisting the "modernness" of today's Indian woman because it apparently represents a detrioration in culture.
But I digress.
What I'm trying to say is India is notorious for sexual crimes against women simply because men are not brought up to respect women.
And this isn't just a male fault.
Seeing the number of male celebrities apologizing over twitter and facebook :
"I am so sorry for how my gender treats women",
"I am so sorry for being male"
I'm sorry, but what?
That same mentality that I'm complaining about isn't just instilled in men by men.
It is instilled also by women.
Generations of mothers who bring up their daughters with the mentality that men will always be superior.
Generations of mothers who don't bother to teach their sons to respect women.
We're all brought up with :
"Don't talk so loudly, what will your father and brother think?"
"Don't sit like that in front of the men"
"Don't wear those clothes, what are you trying to prove?"
Which son is scolded for the way he sits or talks or what he chooses to wear?
We're all at fault here.
And we've skewed this whole thing into a Man vs Woman issue.
We've made out men to be a bunch of rabid animals always looking out for female prey.
What about the men who get raped? We hardly hear about those, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
But I'm not going into that.
Rape isn't as much about sexual gratification, as it is about power.
Rapists want control.
This is a Good vs Bad issue, or a Right vs Wrong.
And this isn't just an issue in India.
We've all been talking about India now because of this one recent case.
We know about this case thanks to the extensive media coverage, and the horrible, horrible way the poor girl was brutalized.
What about in the rest of the world?
What about other cases?
The thousands of cases that never make the news, and instead wind up as just another statistic?
The thousands more that never even get reported?
And how much better off is Malaysia, really?
Six-year old children found raped and killed and thrown into sports bags after weeks of going missing?
Walk into the paediatric ward in Seremban and you find 14-year olds, 16-year olds who have been sexually abused by their boyfriends, or their fathers, or their step-fathers.
And in this four few months we've been in Batu Pahat, I've seen at least 3 cases.
Aren't boyfriends and fathers supposed to be the people who love you and protect you?
If young girls aren't safe even at home, what then about outside the home?
So how much better off are we, really?
How many of us girls feel safe getting into a taxi on our own?
How many of us girls feel safe to go jogging around our neighbourhoods on our own?
And even here, in Malaysia,
the problem still is the mentality.
Maybe its not so much the mentality of men disrespecting women,
but its the fact that rape just isn't taken seriously enough here.
And what I absolutely hate, most of all,
is the way some people, even people I call my friends, can joke about rape.
"I totally raped that test today"
"I'm going to rape that presentation in the ass!"
I'm flinching even just typing that out.
I don't speak out about it much, true.
Simply because I've already tried. I've tried telling people "please don't use the word rape in that context. I get that its a joke, but its crude and hurtful to some people"
And more often that not the response I've gotten is the person laughing it off, probably calling me a prude, and then proceeding to make more jokes/repeat the word rape over and over again for no other reason than the fact that they are juvenile shitheads.
So I've stopped trying to make people stop.
Its easier to just flinch inwardly and let the joke slide, than to make a big deal out of it and prolong it further.
And that exactly is the problem with us.
Its either the topic is taboo, so we do not discuss it,
or it is made trivial enough that people feel comfortable joking about it.
This is exactly what rape culture is.
Rape is trivial.
Its not happening to you or me, so why get offended when someone makes a mild joke about rape?
Because its wrong.
Because laughing at the joke and condoning such behaviour is exactly what leads to rape culture.
And because of a few rapist men,
and a few crude boys who insist on making crude jokes about rape,
there is one school of thought that now blames men entirely.
Which is exactly what is causing all these male celebrities (that I've mentioned earlier) to apologize on behalf of their gender, of all things.
Don't make excuses for these rapists.
They were men.
They couldn't control themselves.
They are men.
They are not animals.
They should be able to control themselves.
Rape isn't an impulsive act brought on by blind lust.
It is premeditated and cruel.
And the other school of thought harping on the issue of "maybe she was asking for it"
In cases of six-year olds being raped and killed...were they asking for it?
Someone once asked me "What if a girl is walking around naked? Isn't that an invitation to rape? Shouldn't she also be blamed then?"
I'm going to answer this with an excerpt from something one of the guys (I don't know who this is, or I would credit properly) wrote on tumblr :
We (men) are not fucking sharks!
We are not rabid animals living off of pure instinct
We are capable of rational thinking and understanding.
Just because someone is cooking food doesn’t mean you’re entitled to eat it.
Just because a banker is counting money doesn’t mean you’re being given free money.
Just because a person is naked doesn’t mean you’re entitled to fuck them.
You are not entitled to someone else’s body just because it’s exposed.
What is so fucking difficult about this concept?
I have men in my life that I would trust with anything.
I have male friends that I feel completely secure with.
Stop making excuses for the men who rape.
They don't rape simply because they are men. They rape because they are horrible, twisted souls with absolutely no respect for another human being.
For as long as we fight about who is to blame, there is never going to be a solution to this problem.
And I'm hoping the outrage about this doesn't just die off once the fuss about this case is over, as has happened so many, many times before this.
As has been said by others before me,
it has to start with education.
At home, at school.
Instead of teaching people to dress or sit a certain way, teach them that rape is wrong and why.
Teach your children to respect other human beings.
Rape, isn't just a female issue.
It isn't just an Indian issue.
It affects everyone.
India needs a wake up call today,
but so does the rest of the world.
This entire post may be a horribly skewed and ignorant perspective of things,
but I had to write it before it ate away at me.
Rest in peace, Nirbhaya. I can only be thankful your suffering is over.