The world of rapists and the slut
Sneha, (22 ) commits suicide after being raped by her boy friend. It isn’t surprising because I knew she would end up there” said my grandmother looking at me and my cousins one evening. She was telling us about an incident that took place in the village during our absence. “She was always drooling over men, fantasizing, wore revealing clothes, quit school and spent most of her time with boys. “A boy can do whatever he wants and come back home, ,but a girl…? What will the neighbors think? Oh god… It’s a shame and the worst night mare a family can ever have”. Why is it that women get blamed all the time for being raped? How or where is it justified? Why is a women’s virginity considered to be important? Why isn’t it the other way around? It is the rigid cultural, religious and social trappings set by the society that surrounds a woman’s sexuality, demands her to be sexually active only within especially designed boundaries and time scales. (sex only after marriage, don’t wear revealing clothes).Today many states, organizations under the leadership of women has led the way in trying to put a full stop to rape and help those who have been sexually assaulted. Providing education, carrying out awareness campaigns, formation of clubs and societies, the enactment of new laws and regulations in constitutions have all being a part of their effort to eradicate violence against women. If you say that people trust is increasing over law enforcement’s abilities to effectively and confidentially, and sensitively handle the plight of raped women. Why women are yet fear to go directly to the nearest police station to pile a case against the rapist? Isn’t it pathetic to note that only a few of rape and sexual assault victims are bold enough to report their attacks? What is needed is not merely to institute laws to protect women and punish the evil doers within a community context, but a change of attitudes in both man and woman.
Looks like, women are more afraid of the men they know than strangers. We think rape is often committed by strangers. As a result women can be deluded into keeping their defenses high in public, and avoid paying much consideration or taking precautions in private situations. These misconceptions are frequently been used against women. Men cannot control their sexual desires; rape cannot occur in intimate relationships, rape is sex is among them, which is ridiculous. These misconceptions lead to assumptions that rape between acquaintances is somehow just the result of miscommunication and misunderstanding (a signal or an invitation sent out by a woman to a man). Subsequently, the response women receive after the rape adds to the trauma of the initial attack and existing depression. From family, friends to courts, women confront blame, embarrassment and are persuaded to account for the behavior that left them vulnerable to sexual assault. Basically, more energy and time is spent on questioning and examining women’s behavior and clothing than on locating and punishing those who had performed the crime. She often is harassed or tormented to answer the questions that can cause more mental depression. Some of these questions are difficult for a woman to relate to due to the culture or family she is representing and can also make people assume that she was really the cause for it. Why were you at the bar? What were you wearing? Why were your drinking last night? Where did he touch you at first? Women avoid reaching out to others for help or speaking the truth because of the fear that no one will believe them, that their personal sexual history will be used against them especially if she was seeking to get married in future. That they will lose friends, and that their family will blame them for all the havoc created by her. In date or acquaintance rape, women question whether their behavior led to or caused the rape. Women question whether what happened could have even be called rape? Should they be accused for it? This does not only apply to date and acquaintance rapes, but also to different types of rapes that exist in the society today.
Today, we have perpetuated a culture where the woman being raped is blamed for the act as means to remind her of her crossing the boundaries set for her. Restricting a woman’s sexuality is effectively and easily done by the society through categorizing and labeling. It determines her fate and a warning against her character for the rest of the world to believe, “SLUT”. (slut means a woman growing up with a bad reputation). I am speaking of a new way of discrimination we can do unintentionally to women, while we stand up against violence. There are multiple reasons that girls can be labeled sluts. She can be called a slut if she was developing breasts earlier than other girls, appears to be too matured for her age, being an outsider, suffering from hatred towards men or often seeking comfort or compassion from men or had been a victim of rape and sexual assault. If a girl happens to be wearing miniskirts, tank tops, tight pants and hanging out with her male friends a great deal, people recognize her as that “fast girl” or the “slut” who’s being hit by every man in the town she hails from. Labeling a girl slut can be counted as a powerful response to rape. Rapists ultimately tend to believe that they cannot be held accountable entirely for the crime they have performed because the victim is already being designated by the community as a slut. The slut reputation the girl is known for protects the rapists because it makes not only the victim to believe, but also the community to accept the rapist’s justification. “ She was as…., so I did it”. Because the mentality of people is that the slut reputation the girl has earned makes her appear as someone who is in need of sex a great deal with anyone, at anytime, anywhere and that constantly she had been on the process of doing something to ask for it and entice him. As a result she gets blamed. Often girls get manipulated by men to begin relationships. Women look at a relationship as a sense of security, love and care, however for the man it might just be lust. She does not identify the ulterior motives of the man she is dating and finally is betrayed. I find this particularly the case when it comes to date rape or acquaintance rape. From Sneha’s perspective. How do we know that she had been actually sleeping around with a couple of men in her village? What if she was longing for companionship and love from a man and was deluded by men into relationships? What if she was forced into one or out of one and resulted in this tragedy. Society at large, does not want to believe women who are sexually assaulted by a date or acquaintance. They look at a spouse, a lover as someone who protects a girl. This was why marital rape was not identified as a crime in some countries for a long time. Instead, they make wrong assumptions that the rape resulted from a miscommunication or slut myth. I believe that these justifications reveal fear of the society because of the possible social consequences of women gaining more power over their lives. Also their control and domination over a woman’s body. Often, women are spoon fed by their families that if women can identify specific behavior patterns and learn to abide by the social customs, then women can ensure their own safety. In other words, if a woman drank too much, then we can avoid rape by not drinking. If she wore provocative clothing, then we can prevent rape by rejecting similar clothing, if she abstains from having sex, she can avoid abortion, if she remains indoors, she can avoid being kidnapped.
We being so sure that it is wrong to under estimate a women, aware of the importance of gender equality in terms of freedom of choice and decision, yet spoon feed into society’s already existing fear by making it clear that we don’t want to be mistaken for a slut. Unfortunately instead of standing together with women speaking out against violence, some women send the message that women are to be blame. We shout slogans, holding banners on the streets for sexual rights and innovate ways to make women comfortably wear what they want, do what they like, and walk about the streets at peace. Women’s demonstrations and unrest perfectly unfolds their ceaseless resentment and unhappiness nullifying the inequality in a patriarchal society and its domination over them, and a strong desire for liberty. However, here we ourselves are restricting a woman’s sexuality and freedom of choice on what she wants to called ourselves independent of our male counter parts, where our sexuality is ours regardless of whether or not we choose to have sex with men. Can we be justified in taking control over her choice to make her decision and profoundly announce to the world that we are fighting for equality? Even when we are with our friends, colleagues we tend to use sluts as our subjects to mock or accuse a friend who may dress up in revealing clothes for an occasion or may act like a slut. How can one exactly know if she is a slut or not? women spend a lot of energy and time trying to adhere to sexual norms and avoid being called a slut. But the reality is that they too have little control over whether they are labeled one or not. One can be called one even when she has not being promiscuous. On the other hand, by keeping it all behind the doors can make people assume that you are innocent. What we are doing here is looking down upon the role of a slut unintentionally and not willing to see the emotions a girl would have to deal with from their perspective. The root causes for her to be one. “We consider it a big deal to not be a slut”. What we need to be doing is to make people to be saying that they’re supportive of a girl raped, who is considered to be a slut. I used to intermingle with girls who have had a very bad reputation throughout my life. It never provided me the opportunity to isolate them; instead I valued their presence just as I did to my other friends. We need to be encouraged to develop friendships with people who are prone to be marginalized in a society. This is what is expected from educated, matured individuals. There is no justification for the perpetration of violence. Recognizing that rape is out of our control is scary, for what do we do then? We want to date, feel loved but how do we prevent violence? It is wrong to over generalize every man on earth and call them as enemies. What happens to our quest for a man if men become the enemy? And what becomes of us if we pursue dating relationships? Are we at risk as well? A woman should be able to identify a cheating spouse or lover beforehand and follow safety tips when being alone with him. A change of attitude is necessary before we think of any other programs to uphold their rights. We should have control over our own sexuality so that we no longer are forced to feel shame and or be called upon as sluts. We need to bring out the rapists. We need to stop blaming women for rape and using women’s sexuality against them. abstinence, remining a virgin should not only be confined to women,m but also to men, If not it is ideal to get rid of it where both become equal. rape is rape, we cannot measure how much of trauma, damage or embarrasement it had shed on a family or an individual. instead we need to address it as a crime against a woman. We must stop the message and place blame on the perpetrators and not on those who are sexually assaulted.