Rape: Beyond Violence

Situation 1:
A woman faces a knife threat and decides to handover her purse with all her money and jewellery in it. She returns home alive; everyone appreciates her common sense.

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Image courtesy: bbc.co.uk
Situation 2:
A woman is threatened with a knife and the attacker goes on to rape her. In order to save her life she decides to accept the humiliation, pain and trauma. Despite her injuries she returns home alive. This time her near and dear ones are broken. Not because she was attacked but because she was raped. Many of them question her decision of bearing it. The saved life takes a back seat.
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Image courtesy: Indian Express
We may argue that the two incidents are completely different, and we cannot compare robbing with rape. But it’s not just a comparison. It’s a way of highlighting one nagging problem. The disturbing fact is, we have decided that when it comes to rape life is not worth living. A woman should die rather than live a life of “shame” (the society have already decided what shame is in this regard). When violence=forced sex, we are ready to quit living and suggest others to do so too. But why? Isn’t this another way of underlining that a woman’s body should be pure, and once violated it’s not worth preserving? Aren’t we saying sexual violence destroys your personality? Is that so? Just because someone, a woman, is sexually violated she’s lost her self identity? Is the violence a woman’s fault? It was an attack, and she merely saved her life. She has accepted the post-attack trauma, because she loves her life. She is clutching on to it, like a child will hold on to its mother.

It’s we as a society who have created a separate rule for rape victims. You and I together have created this hellhole, where rape victims can be sympathised with but cannot be counted as normal. A battered body, a bruised face, or a shattered rib is better than this-that’s what we say; that’s what we believe.

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