Friday, July 18, 2014

Women in Rape

Recently media has been flooded with news of rape in India. Having gone through sexual abuse at a very early age, I cannot even begin to imagine what rape victims go through, no matter what their age. When I was finally brave enough to talk about what happened to me, I realized it was not only our men who needed to be educated, and in some cases have their penises chopped off, but the women were equally part of this disastrous mindset that plague our society and culture.

If you know me well enough, you will know that I always say, a country that cannot respect its women, is far from being developed. But where women don't respect other women, is a society that will breed evil far worse than we can imagine.

I think the problem is far deep-rooted than what we'd like to see or believe. When I first talked about what happened to me as a child, one of the first reactions from an elderly woman, who I had previously loved and looked up to, was, "Why did you not say anything earlier? Did you enjoy it?" As an 8th grader, one thing I was sure of. I would probably never enjoy "it" and if I could bring justice down on the person who did that to me, I equally wanted justice for this woman who had asked me this horrific question.

These are the women who give birth to sons and set examples of how to respect other women. And this is the reason it is not all the men's fault. As mothers, we have shown our kids it is okay for the men in our families to treat us a certain way. We have reminded our sons over and over again, they are superior over their sisters and have taught them how to mistreat their wives, because as mother-in-laws we have done exactly the same. We have prayed every night in order to conceive this superior being in our wombs and have been a part of destryoing the girl child. As mothers we taught our daughters to cover up and avoid men and be introverts. We've asked them not to wear pretty clothes or use makeup or do anything that might enhance their beauty and warned them over and over again of the evil that presides and put the fear of rape in them whenever they got ready to leave the house. Sadly we never put the fear of rape in our sons when it came time for them to venture out. Thus rape happens in our streets, schools, police stations and even in our homes.

We've been this way for centuries. And no matter how modern or developed as a country we think we get, we always end up in the news as a country with the largest number of rape cases. Yes, I agree we also make the news with some brilliant achievements worldwide hidden between coverage of corruption charges, film stars and cricketers, but these are the things that keep us awake at night, make us switch the channel or close our screens when our kids walk past.

I sit here in California, by the poolside of my apartment where majority of the resident population are Indians due to the proximity of my apartment to a hi-tech company. We are inevitably the smart race. But here too, I see the difference between our sons and daughters, husbands and wives. And even though we are writing code and building systems that will shape the future of the world, we are also establishing the stepping stones of how these boys and girls will perceive our gender moving forward. It is as much the responsibility of our men, as it is our women, to bring change. And by change, I mean, to revert back to our scriptures and worship our women rather than abuse them.

And just as an FYI, I definitely did not enjoy "it."

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