Victim Shaming is a dangerous weapon

 Hi all.

Today, I am going to just jump into the article without any introduction, because, I am going to be talking about an issue that has disturbed me to a great extent for the past few days.

I am from Tamil Nadu. One of the biggest issues in Tamil Nadu for the past few days is the Pollachi sexual abuse case. Let me describe the issue first in a few lines.

Long story short, a group of men, (4 reported) lured women into meeting with them, assaulted them, took videos of them being assaulted and threatened them that the videos would be published in social media if they do not give them money.  

Pollachi

The number of victims in this case as of first report is 50. But this has been going on for the past 7 years and the number of victims keeps growing as the police discover more and more information.

This case sounds really disturbing right? What do you think is the root cause of the problem? Is it the girls? Is it the guys? Is it the greediness for money? Or is it some criminal master mind behind all of this? None of these.

VICTIM SHAMING WAS THE WEAPON USED

(Victim shaming refers to the fact that, in cases of rapes/sexual assault, more often than not, the victims(girls) are blamed as if they did something wrong. )

Let’s analyze situations like these for a second:

Culprits – The men who committed the crime

Victims – Women

Consequences

  1. More and more parents get scared to leave their daughters out. So, girls are not allowed to go out.
  2. In many cases, in rural areas, girls’ education could be stopped.
  3. Girls are made to believe that something has terribly gone wrong and that they can’t have a good life anymore.

If you notice here for a second, all of these consequences are for the victims and not for the perpetrators. Especially, if people who commit such crimes are powerful, they can easily find their way out of these. This is the status of our society.

On the flip side, let’s assume that there was no victim shaming. How do you think the exact same situation would have panned out? The girls would have complained to the police earlier and this issue would have come out much earlier and lot more girls would have been saved.  

But we are not even a bit closer to the ideal situation described above. Even in this 21st century, girls are incredibly scared to open up about sexual assault. It is very easy to be a third person and say, “Well, the girls should have said something”. But it really is not that easy. Most often it is the victims and their parents who feel ashamed of what happened. In some cases, commit suicides as well. How do you expect a girl to open up with such fears in mind? How would a girl open up to anyone if she has the fear of not being accepted in the society. Let alone the society, sometimes they are not accepted by their own families. I personally know of situations where the family disowns them or commits suicide. How can a girl then confess any such thing?  All of this happens only because of the shame that we associate with the victims instead of the perpetrators.

How do we, as a society fix this problem. The solution cannot be more straight forward.

STOP VICTIM SHAMING 

And accept the fact that:

IN A RAPE, IT IS NEVER NEVER NEVER THE GIRL’S FAULT

If you know someone who has been assaulted/raped, don’t abandon them, don’t make them feel pathetic. Tell them that it is not something to be ashamed of and most importantly, tell them that it is not their fault. Only if we stop shaming the victims, things will get any better.

I want to take this solution one step ahead and say something here. If at all any girl who is a victim of a sexual assault/rape is reading this right now, I say this to you from the bottom of my heart.

“PLEASE OPEN UP. PLEASE FILE A COMPLAINT WITH THE POLICE. IF THE POLICE DOESN’T FILE A CASE (which does happen many times), YOU CAN STILL FILE A CASE IN COURT. You know first hand, how painful it is to go through such a problem. What if you’re not the only victim? If you file a case and fight for justice, you can save many other girls from going through the same pain. I know it is easy to say and hard to do. I also completely agree that dealing with judiciary can be scary. But for a minute, just pause and think of the number of girls you could save if you fight for justice. You, as a single person, at this situation can CHANGE THE WORLD and make it a better place for everyone.

Nobody, literally nobody will have the strength that you do and it is about time you show the world what you are made of. Let no amount of victim shaming be an obstacle for you. If the fear of dealing with judiciary is what is stopping you, there are a lot of non-profits out there that can help you assist with this, like “Apne Aap Women Worldwide”, “Namati” etc. Please do consider taking this step because, YOU COULD BE THE ONE PERSON WHO COULD MAKES LIVES FOR ALL WOMEN BETTER FOR ALL THE GENERATIONS TO COME. “

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