Since the time we recognized non consensual sex as a crime, rape has been seen a class apart from any other kind of crime. Deep rooted in classist, racist, sexist perceptions, the society sees rape as the only crime that takes away a person’s “honor”.
Honor. Another controversial term. What is honor? My breasts? My genitalia? For you see, THAT is the extent of trivialization of a term that could be (should be) associated with far more productive things, such as intellectual property or artistic creations or human happiness. But no, of all the things that honor could have been associated with, we chose to associate it with gender, religion, caste, nationality and many such arbitrarily defined concepts that have till now done little to encourage liberal thinking and a questioning attitude. From raping the women of a particular community to shame the community, to consolidating in female figures the burden of protecting “traditional values” by valorizing roles of the mother and the wife and imposing a moral code of conduct upon them seldom applied on men in the same degree; we’ve come a long way in perpetuating and further aggravating misogynist attitudes.
Simply put, rape is the sexual violation of a person/animal without their consent. Any other connotation surrounding this term originates only from stereotypical communal(in the sense of community, not religion) attitudes that seek to “dishonor” some one/thing by making a situation analogous to a rape.
Dishonoring women has been a favorite job of the past, present, and unfortunately by the looks of it, also the future. Assuming women as the inferior sex and extending that logic forward, any kind of domination or victory over another automatically becomes analogous to rape; the sexual domination over a socially weaker being, resulting in a crushing, humiliating defeat. What we’re doing with this analogy is extremely disturbing. We’re describing rape as a category of crime that puts the onus of preservation of “honor” not on the perpetrator, but the victim. It becomes prey to the capitalist construction of competition where there is literally a fight TO WIN. Rape then becomes not a crime per say, but a win/lose situation that culminates with onse side gaining complete mastery over another by virtue of its strength. Unlike murder or theft, which are comparatively less socially misconstrued, rape with all its deep set misogynist ideals, becomes an ideal and befitting example to draw analogies of win/lose, humiliation-subordination and communal victory.
Comments on the rape of Brazil by Germany are just another small drop in the huge wave of misogyny that seems to be spilling all over. It is descriptive of the spectacle like nature of rape, in the sense that it is a social event put up for jeering and leering by the society (against the victim). The weakness of the victim, combined with discriminating perceptions highlight more of the victim than the perpetrator that leads to sensitive event being reduced to a public ridicule. Let us not trivialize life altering events such as rape into a mass spectacle that seek to ridicule the defeated at a public platform and keep the spirit of sport intact. It is high time we try to remove connotations of sexism away from judgments we make in public events
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