Social media today is filled with the question “Whose fault is rape?” In fact, everyone else intuitively has the same question as rampant rapes are happening all over India on a daily basis. The question is indeed noteworthy as one tries to root the cause of the rise in rampant rapes and as one desperately tries to solve the problem surrounding rapes in the country. We shall briefly explore the question in this article.
Rape in India is unfortunately not something uncommon. It is undoubtedly one of the major obstructions in regards to the country’s race towards providing safety for women and of course women empowerment. This ostensibly means that rape in India is something which has been demanding a serious action plan from the authorities concerned although it remains largely neglected.
According to sources, rape is the fourth most common crime against women in India. The 2019 annual report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) stated that 32033 rape cases were registered across the country, which is an average of 88 daily cases. The number of the cases is very high as compared to Saudi Arabia which has none or negligibly less cases of rape. Therefore it raises a cause for concern of how India is doing so poorly in effectively controlling the number of rapes in the country.
As stated earlier, rape has always been surrounded with questions. With it, the notion of “who takes the blame” has been a relentless question of angry protestors especially on social media channels. The recent Hathras case has sparked another wave of controversy and has left everyone in a crossroad. The BJP MLA’s statement that rape will stop when parents give sanskar to their daughters and inculcate good values in them is regrettably immature and extensively sensitive and irresponsible to the conclusion of many people. This has brought us back to the question “Whose fault is rape?” “Who is to blame?”
The question is indeed abstruse but alarming. Albeit the fact that there can be no single answer, the rising need to find a solution has compelled one to come to a conclusion. Ironically, in the recent Hathras case, there were upper caste people who were rallying in support of the rape accused. They were literally holding placards in support of the rapists and in condemning women in general. According to them, when women get raped, it is absolutely not because of the man. The hypothesis can be summed as, “women get raped because they demand it”. In fact, according to this hypothesis, rape isn’t even rape but mutual agreement to have sexual intercourse.
Women get raped because they do not dress properly or they go out at night. The problem is because they stay alone at home or do things that would sexually arouse a man. They are solely responsible for the actions of a man, and therefore they should also take the blame. For some others, they should be taught manners and dos and don’ts to be able to survive in a patriarchal society. I remember some years ago in Delhi I read somewhere that women should learn to say “bhaiya” so that they are not being raped. Moreover, there are also people who believe that there is natural or divine entitlement for men to treat women as they wish or as it pleases them. The validity of these arguments or stances are not known, however, these are the most common notions of people who believe that it is the fault of women to be raped or sexually abused.
On the contrary, such beliefs are strongly against women empowerment and extremely hurtful to the sentiments of the women folk. It undermines equal rights for men and women, and most of all the right to freedom. Men have their own free-will and every action is a matter of their own choices, therefore, putting the blame on women is simply outrageous and nonsensical. It only intends to play women as an object or considers women as a lesser human being than men are. Furthermore, the notion of such “blame” is extensively primitive in nature as resolutely opposed to modernism and intellectualism. Women hold that women aren’t any lesser in capability whether intellectually or physically than men. A stronger notion is that the society as modern and educated as it has become must cultivate more reason into itself and must distance itself from ideas as the superiority of men that is rationally absurd and morally defiling.
Although being largely out of question, the problem of rape has also to do with the existing law and order of the country. This may seem unclear but one must understand that it is the law and order in a government that dictates the running of a country in both internal as well as external affairs. In India, although rapes have become more rampant and severe having caused thousands of lives, there are no sets of laws against rape that are entirely effective. In fact, there are people who are blaming the ineffective law and order in the country for the rising cases of rape. In addition, rape in India is often politicised which is absolutely unnecessary and only hints at the existing law and order problem. Interestingly, the legal process against a rape accused in India is particularly long. For record, the Nirbhaya gang-rape case took seven years until the case was finally over when four of her killers were hanged.
As earlier stated, there can be no absolute conclusion as long as we are trying to put blames on each other. The answer as we see it is an endless debacle –a vicious cycle. Another problem is that blaming has the potential to divert us from the core issue which is fighting against rape. As such, it is necessary for us to look into it not as a problem between men and women but a problem of a greater evil that is threatening our society as a whole. It requires each of us to be responsible in spreading a positive message through our lives and actions so that people do not become victims.
In fact, all of us are responsible. The question from the start should not be “Whose fault?” but it should rather be “What is my responsibility?” As a woman, if you live in a society that has not been properly cultured to respect women as they should, it is best for you to take necessary precautions while also working to educate and bring change in the society and fighting for the same. For men, it should not be about the external circumstances but it should rather be about your inner convictions and your respect for women and your love for humanity.
All in all, men have greater responsibility. Because a man is the one who acts against a person’s free will. Nevertheless, it is fairly advisable that women should not go psycho with her notion of freedom. In a compendium, it depends and varies from person to person, and there cannot be a generalisation that holds true for everybody, and all we can do is to love and respect each other, very much, so that we hold our desires –our lust and our freedom –below the rest.
I sincerely hope your conscience has a room for this humble point of view.