`'We're girls, women, humans not a burden.' ~ Aranya Johar - 'a brown girl's guide to gender'
A 17-year-old girl from Malappuram, Kerala was sexually abused and raped by relatives and men in her locality. A total of 32 cases have been registered against 44 men for these charges, and while 20 (yes, less than half) have been arrested, 15 of them are out on bail. Seven of these charges are cases of rape. The police rescued the girl two days after the complaint was filed.
The 17-year-old was sexually abused since she was merely 13, and was raped in 2016, after which she was sent to a children's home. Mohammad Haneefa, the Circle Inspector of police, says that the girl was missing after she was released from the child’s home the first time. She then stayed with her mother, where she was sexually abused in 2017, she was then sent to the Nirbhaya shelter home, where she was again allegedly sexually abused by her relatives, she was brought back to stay with her mother and brother after a 2-year long span, where she further faced sexual abuse. She is currently in a care home giving statements about all the sexual abuse she went through during counseling and over the years.
The survivor has been undergoing constant sexual abuse, molestation and rape, from countless men for over 4 years, and yet not even a fourth of the accused are in jail, is this a failure of the system? The failure of education? Or just another glimpse, of the broken society we live in?
The root of the Problem:
The Ishikawa diagram is used to list all the potential causes of a major problem, according to this, while rape remains to be a heinous crime, it is probably the society that supports it, by forwarding rape culture with songs, movies, and somewhere, at their own homes.
Every time a girl hears, 'cover-up, there are men in the house' patriarchy is forwarded. Every time an uncle shares a sexist meme, gender norms are forwarded. Every time victim is asked about what she was wearing, rape culture is forwarded. Every time a boy gets off the hook for sexual remarks on a peer, rape culture is forwarded. Every time people deny the existence of marital rape, rape culture is forwarded. Every time a minister makes a remark about how girls should not wear jeans, rape culture is forwarded. Every time minister said that women should be put under surveillance for their protection, rape culture should be forwarded. They went so deep into tradition and tried to prove it the 'cure' for rape, that they forgot the ancient story suggested in Hindu mythology have told of Araja, the daughter of Shukra, who was made to do Tapasya and 'purify' herself after she was raped.
Dr. Malamuth, a professor of psychology for sexual violence at UCLA, suggests that although the motives for rape are diverse, he noticed a pattern that coincided with narcissism and 'as a way to get back at women, or having power over them.' The dissertation 'The Undetected Rapist' by Samuel D. Smithyman in 1976, suggested that it was difficult to generalize rapists into one category, because of the diversified motives and background of these men, more recent studies suggest the commonalities among these sexual abusers and rapists weren't related to race or class, but rather these people started early. Till the time they reached High school, they do something that can be considered molestation, or even sexual abuse.
Boys need education, but more than that, it's the educators that need to be more aware. The same people who've been molded by the societal pressure of gender norms and dominance are taking the responsibility of teaching another generation how to fit in the mold? The proper acceptance, that we as a society have continuously failed a gender over hundreds of years just to push forward another one? We as a society that fails to hold people accountable for every person that is raped every 15 minutes in India?
Because it is time we stop. We stop telling our girls to cover up. We stop telling them to not go alone at night. We stop victim shaming and we stop undermining their problems.
And, it is time to educate, to locate the root cause and teaching men, that women are not a commodity you can get revenge for, they're not your property that you can do whatever you like, and they're not below you, they're right there, with you or in a lot of cases, even above you.
Side note from the writer:
I'd like to believe my generation is better, but I come across these incidents from people I know which upsets me and seems like we're not making any progress but I want you to know that somewhere, taking baby steps we just might make progress, and so I want you to keep trying, every day. A little less or a little more, because hopefully, we'll get there one day.
'The Undetected Rapist' - Samuel David Smithyman, 1976 (Research)
Writer - Hamza Ansari ( Featured )
Editor - Priyam Kusundal
Illustrator - Ishika Chakraborty
Graphics - Althea Ocomen