After the recent rape incident, I wonder what has changed in the society. The values or the ethics or is it really something as trivial (read provocative) as a short skirt or increased consumption of noddles and mobile phones. The thought brought me to another thought about other forms of assaults against women like domestic violence. Is it not a sheer exposure of power and male chauvinism?
Violence against women have been increasing and taking various forms. Highly inhuman rape cases, brutal domestic violence, voyeurism and every day eve-teasing are just some examples of the violence against women.
Another appalling reality is that we all don’t actually realize the real pain of the survivor. We all brag about the bruises caused by the rapist but we forget to go deep and realize the real pain which is caused by an indifferent society, lethargic judiciary and sometimes inconsiderate near and dear ones. The bruises that lay under the skin are deeper and painful and unfortunately unseen. There is no doubt about the fact that wounds given by near and dear ones are more painful than those given by strangers and our patriarchal society doesn’t allow the women to raise a voice.
It is high time to ponder about the reason for such brutal showcase of power and robust increase in the number of cases. One of the main reasons is the way we project this crime. Calling it a gender issue makes it only a women’s issue. In our society, especially in Asia, gender is thought to be synonymous with ‘women’ like the word race is thought to be synonymous to blacks in the United States. So when we say it is gender violence, the male community tend to sidetrack themselves thinking that it is a women’s issue and not pertaining to them when in reality sexual violence is not only against women but also against men. And so far violence against women is concerned; it is not their issue but more of men’s issue. It is their psychological issue which needs attention and not a woman’s issue. Another problem is calling the ‘raped’ a victim. A woman who has been raped lives throughout her life as a victim. She is a survivor, a fighter, a brave heart but certainly not a victim. Unfortunately, we never call the rapist a rapist but we call the survivor a victim.
Our policymakers talk about gender sensitisation. The recent law which has brought acid attack, voyeurism, stalking and sexual assault under the ambit of one law is a great step but the success is yet to be seen.
But, we do not need sensitisation. Your and my sensitivity won’t help, what we need is ‘leadership’. Leadership to change the attitude and ideology, leadership to stop making the victim the subject of our conversation and start talking about the culprit, leadership to think and act, leadership to see women as women and not mere objects of lust.