I recently viewed this video by Wtf India. They were out there to find the “heroes” of our society. They asked boys, father and mothers if they will marry/get their son married to a “raped” girl.
Now for my interpretation of the video, I’m happy to find out more viral campaign videos on women related issues. Rape is an epidemic. But more than the rapists, what we all fear are the mindsets. This video managed to prove that in a way. Here is a look at some of those problems:
1. The tag “raped” girl.
What we should understand first and foremost is that a woman’s dignity does NOT lie in her vagina. It is a fact. This is the kind of awareness that should be spreading via social media campaigns. Female sexuality is discouraged by every religion in every way even though Lothario is something that is not considered a big deal. Maybe that is why we find the male perpetrators in large numbers. After a rape incident what the survivor needs is justice and moral support. The best way of giving that kind of moral support is by stop using terms like “rape victim” or a “raped girl”. The focus needs to shift from the raped victim to the rapist. Rape status does not downgrade a survivor as a human being. It is not the worst thing that could happen compared to being killed, put in a vegetative state or attacked with acid/fire.
2. ‘Finding heroes’.
See, asking them “will you marry a rape victim?” sounds almost like “Will you jump off a cliff?” “Will you play with fire?” or “Will you stand upside down?”. That is not how it is. There is nothing heroic about marrying a rape survivor. You’re not doing the person a favor, you’re marrying them because you want to and not because you want to become some sort of social hero. It is not something as big as saving the earth from a meteorite. Besides what these men said need not be true. They might blurt out an opinion just because they are in front of a camera.
3. Opinions of the parents can be understood (but not justified) unless….
Hearing a “no” from their mouths is just heart breaking, no doubt about it. The Muslim man in the video says “My son is ‘clear’ and I want a ‘clear’ girl for him”. ‘Clear’ as in ‘virgin’. Is he really sure if his son is a virgin? Another man when asked “But it is not her fault right?” says “But I don’t like it”. But their mindsets cannot be revealed because with the term “raped girl” the question itself presented her as a downgraded person, so a straight answer from them in a way can be understood, however they are not acceptable in terms of morality.
But in order to find the morality killers in them the question should have been elaborated. “What if the girl you love/ want to marry is raped the next day? Will you still marry her?” or “You saw a girl you liked her. You want her for your son but if she was raped then will you still want her for your son?” or “Your son likes a girl, you also liked her and if before the marriage date she was raped under treacherous/fateful circumstances. Will you still continue with the wedding?”. A “no” there is where one will find the right misogynist mindsets. That’s how we could know if they will abandon or not. And if they are the “abandoning type” then yes it is heart breaking. So the video should have expanded the question more.
4. Marriage is not the most important thing.
“Honey, if you do this no one will marry you”
“Honey if you do that no one will marry you”
“Honey, if you get raped no one will marry you”
“Honey if your husband is a rapist, it is not a crime”
As the makers of the video know that a rape survivor should not be seen as a victim of a lifetime. A lot of people will face one way of sexual harassment or the other including these heroes. By marrying one is not exactly rescuing her from the depths of hell. There are things beyond marriage like a happy life, comfort, financial security, commitment, intimacy etc.
Marriage is not the first and last thing for a woman. There is education, dreams, career and so on. I believe the makers should have focused more on rehabilitation of the survivors.
5. Rape is not a woman’s issue
Because of the rape epidemic it is a woman, who cannot walk out at night, it is a woman who’s doing her share of sacrifices and above all it is a woman who suffers all the oppression due to the tag “possible future victim“. In spite of all this, plenty of men and boys are also sexually assaulted by other men or women. Question is do they face all these social stigmas that is faced by women? If yes, it is sexist to both the genders equally.
Now since it is the women who can’t go out at night then it is because they fear men/rapists/sexual harassment/eve teasing. If the rape is committed by a man then it is a man’s issue. It is his issue. It’s problem with his self control, self esteem, self respect and above all his undying hunger for lust, control, power and domination. That is where it should be corrected. Similarly it should be considered a woman’s issue only if she is the perpetrator.
So Wtf India, we completely appreciate that you were trying to help, but please try to understand the various aspects of rape before taking it out in public.
(It is almost same as IndianMaleFeminist’s review of the video. )