Everything… It should be an obvious answer but not everyone is of the same opinion. In past few weeks, I have witnessed multiple uncanny statements doing rounds in the media. These statements have been rather offensive and insensitive to women and to the rape victims. The post describes my viewpoint on rape and the outrageous comments.
Rape is defined as sexual contact or penetration achieved: without consent, or with use of physical force, coercion, deception, threat, and/or when the victim is: mentally incapacitated or impaired, physically impaired (due to voluntary or involuntary alcohol or drug consumption), asleep or unconscious.
For some people who can read and write but cannot comprehend the above definition, it becomes mandatory to state that:
- Silence doesn’t mean consent
- Consent under coercion (physical or emotional) is not given willingly and sex with a person under threat is still RAPE
Consensual sex with a person, under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is also classified as RAPE since judgment is impaired in such individuals.
There is no such thing as ‘legitimate rape’.
The Republican representative of Missouri, Todd Akin got my blood boiling with his comments on pregnancies due to rape in an interview given to St. Louis television station as a part of the election campaign. Mr. Akin was dumb enough to say, “It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”
Mr. Akin’s appalling statements were subjected to massive criticism on twitter within minutes of telecast.
I personally would like to ask Mr. Akin, what is LEGITIMATE RAPE? I am confused about the interpretation of this phrase. Being a female biologist, I find it quite fascinating to know that female body is capable of ‘shutting the whole process down’. I may only be familiar with books on Human Physiology authored by Vander and Guyton, none of them ever mentioned something as supernatural as that. If female body was blessed with such capabilities, why would they depend on oral contraceptives and hysterectomy for birth control? Moreover, why would even condom be a standard requirement for safe sex? After all, we can voluntarily ‘shut the whole thing down’.
‘Abortion’ of unwanted pregnancy is an individual’s decision.
I do not understand the hypocrisy and double standards of the society when it comes to aborting the unwanted pregnancy resulting from rape. Many people will hate me for saying that I am in favour of abortion. Trust me, I couldn’t care less. A woman, who is raped, undergoes a lot of pain and trauma. In this situation, a child who reminds her of the traumatic experience time and again is the last thing she desires. Pushing women for unwanted birth is unfair to both the child and the mother as the mother can never love the child enough nor will the child be able to develop adequately. Both unintended and unwanted childbearing can have negative health, social, and psychological consequences. Put yourselves in the shoes of rape victims and try understanding their miseries. Be human, just for once and let it be the victim’s decision alone.
If Todd Akin’s insensitivity wasn’t enough, days later, Richard Mourdock, a geologist by trade made a bizarre statement that stamped unwanted pregnancies to be ‘the will of god’. The Republican candidate for the US Senate in Indiana said, “Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, it is something God intended to happen“. If republicans are so pro-life, then why did they not oppose George W. Bush’s decision to go on war with Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan? Wars were never something god intended to happen as they deprive the people of their right to live. So what is it that you support, the idea of life or the nonsensical belief? (It’s all a matter of convenience. No? )
Mr. Mitt Romney and Mr. Barack Obama earned my respect by thoroughly condemning the statements made by Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock. It’s sad that Romney being a republican spent half of his time in election campaign apologising to the people on behalf of his fellow senators.
In Obama’s words,” I don’t know how these guys come up with this idea. Let me make a very simple proposition: Rape is rape. It is a crime. And so these various distinctions about rape don’t make too much sense to me — don’t make any sense to me.”
Forcing a rape victim to ‘marry’ the guilty is not the solution.
When I was a teenager, my mother often used to narrate to me the incidents of rapes, assaults and thefts that were published in the newspapers. No, she wasn’t a lunatic and I wasn’t dyslexic either, I detested newspapers for their depressing content and she was only trying her best to educate me about the world from early on. I found it very irritating when I was little, but now I thoroughly appreciate her efforts. We both resented the practice of marrying a rape victim to the attacker. When I questioned her about the origins of the practice, she coyly said, “I am unaware of its exact origins, though I do know the thought. The punishment for the guilty is to pay the victim’s father in cash or kind. If he chooses to return in kind, he must marry the daughter he raped”. I can guarantee that both of us were equally angry and I was in particular astonished. Later, I tried searching for the source and I did find the answer(now I know why she was hesitant), but what surprised me more was that even the judiciary in many countries use the same practice as punishment for the guilty.
So, how does this work then? A man rapes a woman and his punishment is to get married to the victim. Is it actually a punishment for the man or are you punishing the woman again? Indeed you killed her twice in my eyes.
And for heaven’s sake ‘Chowmein’ and ‘Age’ have nothing to do with rape.
People like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock are not the only ones in the world who love to make offensive statements. The ‘Khap Panchayats’ and former chief minister of Haryana, Mr. Om Prakash Chautala are not behind. The only difference being, they both blame ‘the western influence’ including food, clothes and the ‘marriageable age’ as causes of increase in rape cases in Haryana and not God. The ‘Khap’ strongly believes that spicy Chinese food can cause hormonal imbalance which upsets the brain circuitry and compels the brave haryanvi men to rape the women. *Claps!* (Why do we even listen to them?) To make matters worse, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader and former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala backed the view of khaps, that the marriageable age for girl be lowered to 16 to prevent the rising number of rapes in the state. Justifying his stand, Chautala said even in the Mughal era people would marry off their daughters early to save them from atrocities of the Mughals. However Mr. Chautala certainly doesn’t understand that we are out of the Mughal era and Chinese food is actually quite bland. It is the ‘Indian Chinese’ which is spicy.
Since sociology is not my major, I cannot give a detailed analysis or a report on the factors responsible for rape and the possible solutions. As a woman, based on my observation and reading, I can definitely say that RAPE is independent of caste, sex, creed, religion, age or food. It is one thing that can happen anywhere, to anyone and in any circumstance. What causes rape is debateable, what can prevent it is not. If we start respecting each other as individuals and become more sensitive to the needs of others, world would be a better place. Get rid of the beliefs which stop you from progressing and think freely.
And as for the woman in the picture above, she definitely would have abused ginormously and even kicked you in the balls if she was able to.