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OP-ED: Stop making justifications for rape

  • Published at 02:38 am November 28th, 2020
women blame

Why do some people still think that clothes have anything to do with a woman being raped? 

Appalling? No. Because we have already learnt to live without being appalled by anything. 

It’s infuriating. But, then again, we should have been accustomed to such a life without being enraged. We should have thought this was normal for us. 

But I couldn’t help but be angry, which I still am. But who cares about my anger at the state level? Nobody. 

And I know that. But it’s not something that I have been able to accept.

I had to practice anger management meditation to digest the fact that a member of Bangladesh’s parliament has connected the occurrence of rapes to women wearing t-shirts. 

If I understood the MP’s message correctly, it means that if a man looks at a woman wearing a t-shirt, the man’s sexual desires will skyrocket, leaving no other option for him other than to rape her.

Isn’t that what you meant? I may be wrong, but you need to explain your statement further. The many millions of men who observe women wearing t-shirts all around them and admire and appreciate women in attractive outfits, their sexual desires don’t seem to be erupting like an uncontrollable volcano. 

We have no urge to violate or rape a woman if they’re wearing a t-shirt, or any other attire that might show them in a certain way.

It looks as though, according to our people’s representative, we men have a right to violate a woman when we get the chance to look at her body. Is that what you meant that, if women don’t cover their bodies, the rapes will continue?

I believe that men who would have such urges just through witnessing a woman’s body are not human. A human being would only act and engage if they felt that if his desire for a woman was reciprocated. 

By defending rapists, the parliamentarian has sent out the message that people in his constituency have the freedom to commit acts of sexual violence if they see women revealing certain parts of their body. Must a people’s representative not think several times before disseminating such a message to the people?

What was it that you wanted to communicate? Or did you want to impress any particular segment of the population? Perhaps the religious lobby?

Well, we must keep in mind that many pious men been found to have committed acts of rape. And many women who used to cover themselves had also been raped. Many were also killed.

We also know for a fact that many small boys in many schools are raped by their teachers as well as their seniors. What about these boys, who don’t have the same body parts as their female counterparts? Why are they raped?

We often forget that women also have sexual desires. Let’s think about the issue from their point of view. If a woman decides to tie up a bare-chested man wearing nothing but a lungi and violate his body similarly, what would you say then?

Would you say that men should also cover themselves so that the women don’t feel the need to violate them?

We collectively have to accept the fact that rapes are monstrous acts no matter the attire of the victim. A man has no right to touch a woman even if she stands naked in the middle of the road. 

Even by blaming women, you cannot justify these heinous crimes. It is a crime and it’s about time you understood this fact. 

We expect our elected leaders to have the maturity and wisdom to work towards a crimeless and equitable society in which our women feel safe.

When you blame women in this way, you categorize them as lesser human beings and indirectly validate the crimes of the perpetrators. Thinking in this way should also be a crime.

Ekram Kabir is a yogi, a story-teller and a communications professional. His other works can be found on ekramkabir.com.