India’s perception of rape as a criminal offence seems to be entirely misplaced and abhorrently incorrect. We place the onus on our women as if there is always something they could have done to prevent it from happening. We say, “She was raped by him” rather than “He raped her” as if the weight of the crime should fall on the victim. Isn’t that just a skewed outlook?
A large chunk of the problem also lies in the fact that the politically influential of our country hold his backward view. Following the tragedy of the Hathras rape case and its resultant outrage, Surendra Singh, a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Uttar Pradesh commented, “It’s the duty of all mothers and fathers to imbibe good values in their daughters and bring them up in cultured environments,” as reported by NDTV via ANI.
He also added, “I am a teacher along with being an MLA. Such incidents (like rape) can be stopped only with sanskar (values), not with shasan (governance) or talwar (sword).”
The horrific case has led to an impetus in discussions about caste-based gendered violence, and yet, it seems like the authorities, as well as people such as Surendra Singh, refuse to acknowledge its existence. Instead, they deflect the conversation into a ‘women should know better’ narrative.
BJP MLA Surendra Singh is in a position of power and there are masses of people ready to follow his words. At a time when women do everything they possibly can to bring about positive change and simply acquire the rights available to the rest of the society, such regressive and shameful statements are unwelcomed and worthy of admonishment.
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