Carefully talking about rape

When we had to visit Literati Bookstore, I picked up an interesting book of essays called ‘Bad Feminists’ by Roxane Gay. She has been known to write pieces that express alternative views from the normalized conventions of societal systems and expectations. One of the essays that I read today strongly correlates with our discussion question in class. We spoke of sex education and domestic violence not being addressed much in the society as it is supposed to be. Relating to this, is Roxane’s essay titled “The Careless Language of Sexual Violence.” A well-researched piece coupled with personal opinions, this essay directly addresses issues of rape and criminal threats to women in our communities, environment and societies today. She also quotes several books and newspaper articles blaming them for “talking about rape, but not carefully talking about rape.” She also expresses resentment about the misrepresentation of sexual violence and such derogatory acts against women that continue to pose fear amongst women. Personally, I feel disgusted and angry whenever I hear about rape cases since I tend to lose faith in basic humanity. Why are women always subject to foreplay and framed as “objects of pleasure who can be touched anytime anywhere?” Why isn’t the meaning of “consent” clear to the society?

With reference to this, I recently heard about an Indian court hearing’s verdict against a guilty Bollywood director-rapist that ruled in favor of him because a “feeble no” means “yes.” No, it does not. No means no and it is a complete statement on its own. The point here is that, as said by Roxane Gay, that “we live in a time that necessitates ‘rape culture.’ This phrase denotes a culture where we are inundated, in different ways, by the idea that male aggression and violence toward women is acceptable and often inevitable.” How do we change this? How can we now educate our men instead of educating our women to be safe?

I am shook by the ways in which our world has become so misogynistic where women ‘need’ to be told to be safe, and where their liberation is questioned.

(For those interested in reading about the court case: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/indian-rape-case-judge-feeble-no-could-mean-yes-mahmood-farooqui-a7969036.html )

Apoorvee Singhal

Hopeless romantic, fiction enthusiast, eternally loves coffee and (bougie) brunch

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