I posted a picture on Facebook the other day, a beautiful day out with my friends, all the stress of the exams forgotten, just couple of girls out in the world having fun in a water body. A few days later, I was talking with my mom on the phone who made a comment on the sleeveless top I wore on that picture, I brushed off the remark, slightly annoyed, and I had thought the matter was closed when before hanging up, she told me to not trust anybody, not even my friends. I associated that statement with the over protective motherly instinct, but then later that day, as I was scrolling through the same news feed I came across a post that said ’27 rape cases in 3 months’, and the most shocking thing was that this was the statistics of NEPAL, my home, my supposed safe haven. That was when I realized that those words my mother said had not come as a general concern a mother has for her child, they were uttered as an expression of a deep seated fear every mother in this country now seems to have for her DAUGHTER.
It’s a shame really, that women of the 21st century have to quicken their pace while walking on a quiet alleyway, even in board daylight, that she has to hold on to her purse in a crowded bus, not for the fear of being robbed but to reach that pepper spray on time, or to possibly use that very purse as a weapon. Fathers don’t want their daughters to hang out with her guy-friends, and the daughter, she fears the thought of being alone with her father in her home. A mother no longer trusts her blood relatives with taking care of her infant girl, and a teenager coming back from her uncle’s house blames the blood on her clothes on her period which is 20 days too early. And the society still holds her clothes as the culprit.
I have a couple of questions to this society of ours which is so well fixed on its idea that to prevent rape, it’s the women who need to change:
What was so revealing about the blanket wrapped around a 6 month old that aroused an adult man?
Which behavior of a 6 year old was so flirtatious that a married man was seduced by her?
How was it that a 13 year old school girl with a book in her hand was so apt in the dark arts of seduction that she had to pay for her sins with not only her innocence but also with her life?
Why is it that a 15 year old who is confused about her emotions and dealing with hormonal change is blamed for being catfised on social media, by a grown, adult man?
Why was a child told to keep quiet by her own mother when she told her that her father has been touching her in inappropriate places?
Why this façade of social stigma is given more importance than justice?
The answers to these questions are easy; we have grown to respect this pretense of “pride” more than we value the women of our nation. We have taught our sons that their sisters are weak and therefore need protection always, instead of teaching them that every human is equal. We have covered the skins of our daughters from head to toe, when we should have been covering the eyes of the pervert animals interpret her shorts as an invitation to rip it off of her body. We have been shushing the victims who are left a walking corpse instead of apprehending the culprits. And we still boycott the poor innocent souls whose only crime was that they were born as a female, and the criminals are allowed to walk free and resume normal lives as if nothing had happened. Moreover, we blame the VICTIMS because boys will be boys, right?
But what can we do to stop this savagery? How can we make sure that a girl walking alone at night reaches her home with her soul and life still intact?
We can’t bring back the light that once lit in the heart of that school girl, nor can we stop the nightmares that the 21 year old still has after 5 years, but what we can do is stop more fires from extinguishing, to stop more dreams from converting to nightmares and to stop more worlds from being shattered. We can and must make stronger laws that will serve as atonement for the culprits and prevent the mere formation of such disgusting thoughts in someone else’s mind as well. The best thing however is to train the new generation in such a way that they respect each and every member of the society equally, so that the word “rape” ceases to exist as we know it, and the future mothers won’t tremble in fear every time her daughter is a little late in coming home. We need to build from scratch, a world where girls take taekwondo and karate classes for fun, not for self-defense.
All these rallying up, all the lives lost, all the rage on social media will only find their worth on the day a woman chooses a dress for her daughter with the sole concern being whether it will suit her rather than whether it will be taken off from her body in tatters. That is the world we need to work to build, and we need to pledge whatever it takes to create that safe haven for all those little girls out there.
Someone who’s genuinely afraid of the rape culture that her society is trying to justify.
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