My first impression about rape was extracted from the Bollywood movies of the 80s and the 90s, some of which depicted rape as a visual treat for the audience. I often wondered why such scenes were allowed for public viewing while something as natural as love-making was considered taboo. In a certain sub-genre of horror films, a female gang-rape victim killed after the assault turned into a white saree-clad ghost who seduced men and killed them on the mere pretext of their ogling at her.
When I was growing up, I heard from my close friends or cousins – how they were made to discover their developing sexuality by a stranger groping them at an unguarded moment or a close acquaintance of the family making a remark about their growing assets privately. Growing up was a shame. There was no one to condition the mind and prepare it for the developments of the body. The well-intended Moral Science classes at school were not enough.
After my much protected childhood, I started living away from my family for my undergrads in NCR. I was told that there are certain things you should take care of if you don’t want to be violated against your will. Most newspapers and hostel seniors forewarned girls against accepting drinks from strangers. Of course, there are enough predators wishing they could take advantage of you while you are sober to let intoxicated senses pose no difficulty of access for unwanted elements.
Crime prone areas: NCR
As an undergraduate student, I often read in the newspapers: “North East girl gang raped in Delhi’. She was on her way from work, was a BPO employee or a student taking a morning walk with her friend in the early hours of the morning. Then the report of a similar incident at a nearby place followed. The most sex-crime prone areas would be listed yet another time.
Years later, nothing has changed, it has only worsened: the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) of home ministry revealed that the rape cases in the capital increased from 459 in 2009 to 489 in 2010, in spite of the fact that only 1 in every 69 rape case is ever reported in India.
Demographic of the most-effected victims in NCR
NGOs report that about half of the sexually assaulted women belong to North East. Women with distinct physical features like small eyes are more prone to attacks because the attacker knows that the person is not from around the region, and more often the victim decides to leave NCR and go back home than face taunts on the street and go through the whole ordeal of a quadriplegic justice system.
The CM of Delhi, Sheila Dixit promised the community to set up a hostel for working women from North-East but few have moved to the one that has come up in Jasola because it is located in a remote area and has poor security.
We know that rape is not always a means of sexual gratification; it is an attempt at psychological dominance by humiliating the victim. The offender often feels the need to control the situation and uses aggression to hurt and control.
Whatever the psychodynamics of the assault are, what every woman needs to know is that you can protect yourself from certain situations. But if an accident happens, you don’t need to let it define you or your relations. There is no reason to feel less worthy as a human being.
Our social institutions might not always help us deal with difficult situations like this, but self-suggestion can help us reduce the damaging effect of the assault. I can’t speak for the woman who had to leave her job or the woman who has to marry her rapist, but for some of us, who have the right to choose, can choose to live with dignity. An animal blinded by lust can’t be the biggest thing that happened to us or the most important parameter of measuring our lives.
Read the title of this post again, if you don't have to make such a difficult choice, you are already on your way to recovery.