I Do Not Deserve To Be Raped
Nowadays, whenever a rape case gains media attention in India, we brace ourselves for the onslaught of comments from both men and women blaming the victim for the rape. Being in an extremely patriarchal culture, we are so used to it that AIB released a now infamous satirical video called ‘It’s Your Fault’ reminding us Indian girls all the ways in which we ‘ask for it.’
Many of us here assume that in countries where women have more autonomy—freedom to dress, financial and job security, access to healthcare and family planning, etc.—they [women] are therefore able to break free of these patriarchal stereotypes controlling their sexuality.
A recent article in Huffington Post is a painful reminder that this is not the case. The article refers to a study released in Brazil stating that 65.1% of Brazilians either “partially or wholly believe that ‘if dressed provocatively, women deserve to be attacked and raped,'” and 58.5% of surveyors expressed the belief that “if women knew how to behave, there would be less rape.” I am disappointed and honestly, quite surprised that it was the majority of people who felt this way, and furthermore that “66.5% of the surveyed pool were, in fact, women.” This coming from a country that has nude beaches and carnival…it begs the question, what hope do we have in India to combat this issue?
Upon the publishing of the study, the women of Brazil took to the internet and started an online campaign posting pictures of themselves topless, or scantily clad, holding up signs saying “#NãoMereçoSerEstuprada” (#IDon’tDeserveToBeRaped).
In an age where women are increasingly liberated, it makes sense to me that one of the most threatening aspects for patriarchy is when women are truly in control of their sexuality.
Unfortunately, putting women down for being in control of their sexuality is rampant worldwide. An example of this is, ‘Slut Shaming’, essentially when a person insults a woman for choosing to express her sexuality in a way that does not conform with patriarchy’s expectation of how ‘a woman should behave’ sexually. Dictating how a woman should dress ‘appropriately’ in order not to be singled out for rape is part of the same school of thought.
A few people might feel that posing nude to defy rape is counter productive as it just “invites trouble.” That is exactly the problem. While I believe in dressing appropriately for the situation or the country, being smart in your surroundings, and not letting your guard down – if one happens to make a poor decision, it is not acceptable to label it as an excuse to “invite rape.”
The other part to this argument that frankly, pisses me off, is when people say “if she dresses like that, how does she expect a man to react?” . Excuse me, are you implying that men are so primal that they cannot control their base instincts to possess and procreate because of a stirring in their loins? When you see an unknown woman wearing a sexy outfit, is it your right to claim her body simply because you desire it? If your gut instinct is to answer ‘yes’, then you might as well forfeit your right to critical thought as a human being and go and join a clan of chimpanzees.
It has been said many times before, in India, around the world, and throughout this article, but apparently it can never be said enough, so I’ll say it again: In NO circumstances is anyone ever ‘asking to be raped.’ No matter what he or she is wearing, it is unacceptable for any person to force him or herself on another person sexually or otherwise.
So, in solidarity with my Brazilian sisters and brothers, I share this picture: I Do Not Deserve To Be Raped.
Kisi Ko Kisi Ka Balaatkaar Karne Ka Haq Nahi – Badal Ja!
Photo Credit: Sid Gogel
If you are inspired, feel free to take a picture of yourself, share with hashtags #Idontdeservetoberaped, #NãoMereçoSerEstuprada and/or #KisiKoKisiKaBalaatkaarKarneKaHakNahi, and be a part of this online campaign to support the women of Brazil and around the world. Gentlemen, this call to action extends to you, too.
You can share your picture on your own Twitter/Facebook and tag us or share it with us directly (firstname.lastname@example.org)! We would love your contribution!