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Shrinkhala Khatiwada

Every day, a new case of rape is highlighted in the media. Rape and murder of a 13-year-old, rape and murder of a 9 month infant, rape of a mentally disabled woman, rape of a daughter…

Surrounding all this, I’ve been seeing a strong force in the social media demanding violent prosecution of the rapist, as severe as a death penalty. But, what we are failing to understand is that Rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment is rooted deep, beyond our general understanding. It’s a result of hundreds of factors, and sadly, we too are responsible for some of it.

I get messages every day, asking me to do something regarding the increasing cases of rape in our country. I then think of my strongest strength, my voice. Rape culture is a complex subject. It starts with the smallest of matters that we never even consider to be important. Remember the guy who eve teased you while you were walking along the streets of Ratna Park. No big deal, right? No! This is what’s wrong. The guy saw you as an object, not a living human being with emotions. He is a man for whom women are to be looked at, to be sexualized. You can tease her as you please because.. you are a man !

Remember when you sang along your favourite Honey Singh song where he says he wants to give a “brown girl” an “opportunity to be his possession”! Remember when your opinion was looked upon as a woman being “too opinionated” or “egoist”. Or when someone told you that “educated, independent women break families apart”. Or when you had to take your husband or boyfriend’s “permission” to go out with your girls. All of this is a result of our patriarchal society. That has taught us that men are in authority over women, that expects women to be obedient and submissive.

From sexualized advertising to molestation, from rape jokes to drugging, from unwanted touch (non-sexual) to rape, they all are a part of rape culture. The difference is that one is termed as normalization and the other as assault, they all are a part of the same mentality, the latter part is just the result of the former. We need to realize that these things, they have a big part to play.

The reason why I am talking about rape culture, which might take years to change, instead of a death penalty or “burning the rapist” is because I know that these are the things that make a long-term and a positive difference. I still stand firm on my principles where I believe that violence can never lead to peace. Just like how wars can never be a solution. We need to find the root of the cause instead of just axing the diseased branches.

The above ideas are for the educated group that will be reading my posts. The group that gets furious with news of rape and abuse, that wants to do something to bring about changes. All being said, it’s important to realize that we, as women, are not playing the victims. There is a thin line between rape culture and normal human behaviour, we have to be able to differentiate between the two. I have seen men who respect the other sex and I have seen women more sexist than men. This is not an attack on any gender.

We need to build a society that is open about the term “sex”, that accepts it as a basic human need. A society that realizes that sexual urges are natural, a society that educates children about having a control over it. Someone once told me “we need to raise stronger children instead of fixing broken men” and it made perfect sense !

Nevertheless, the most important thing right now is strong laws with even stronger actions. A judiciary system that is quick, efficient and accurate. A system where justice is not a burden for the victims. We need to establish that rape is a heinous crime that can’t be forgiven. Our body is not for someone else’s satisfaction !



Note : The article was originally published on 29 Aug 2018, in www.shrinkhalakhatiwadablogspot.com !

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