Since the dawn of creation, the two sexes have coexisted in the natural framework as two halves of a whole, as they were meant to be. The key to the carrying forward of our own species was placed jointly in the hands of both man and woman; whereas one had been gifted the seed, the other had been gifted the fertility essential to the blooming of the flower of life. Over the millennia, humans learned to think for themselves, and the dynamics between the sexes have continued to evolve in newer and stranger ways. From the very beginning, man has sought ways to dominate, enslave and exert his power over his fellow human beings; and more so sexually than any other way. The bestial, animalistic display of sexual dominance by one human being over another is what we commonly term as rape.
Rape, by definition is the sexual assault by one human being on another without the other person’s consent. Unlike what most people think, both men and women in various parts of the world have suffered rape under various circumstances. Even children are not spared the curse of this brutality; cases of child rape are reported now then. Rape is nothing new. Men have been raping women since eternity. In ancient times, when there used to be wars between empires over land and territory, women were carried off as prisoners in order to serve as slaves, to be raped and exploited by their owners whenever they pleased. However, as the world has evolved, as we have slowly climbed out of the primordial pit of hell in which we all were once packed with nowhere to run, we have started to make efforts to eradicate this abominable behavior which blurs the line between us and beasts. As women have become more powerful and self-reliant, they have begun to raise their voice against the exploitation of their fellow women.
When we say “increasing” number of rapes, we are merely asserting the fact that more number of rapes is reported nowadays than was reported before. Indeed, until not very long ago, a very large proportion of rapes and sexual crimes against women went unreported; the reason being the victim’s fear of alienation and discrimination by society for no fault of their own. The fact that more number of rapes are reported now than before is representative of the realization on the part of women that by remaining silent, they are merely strengthening the morale of their attackers. Their fear regarding the reporting of the crime committed against them is not in any way unjustified, however. A very common and prevalent phenomenon in the aftermath of a rape is victim blaming. When a rape takes place, inevitably, people are found to be more inclined to point their finger to the victim rather than the attacker, a tragic irony in its own right. People always seem to blame the woman, blame what she might have been wearing, blame her choice of company, blame her choice of lifestyle, in short, blame her choice to make her own choices. This is truer in our country than perhaps in any other part of the world. Whenever a woman Is raped, people will invariably question the position of the woman rather than her attacker. The character and morality of the woman will be put under scrutiny. The media brings to light every little grotesque detail into wide public view, political leaders start playing a blame game of sorts as to which political party’s fault it is. In all this unnecessary drama, the pain and anguish of the victim is forgotten.
Further problems faced by rape victims include apathy by law enforcement officers in registering their complaint, greatly delayed justice, etc. In some cases, particularly in rural areas, rape victims are asked to marry their rapist thus condemning them to a life of torture and misery. In some parts of the world especially Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, women can be brutally punished for reporting rape.
The reasons for rape to occur are as varied as they are complex. The sexual frustration of men is not alone to blame. The objectification of women by the media for purposes of advertisement and entertainment go a long way in shaping the perception of women in the impressionable minds of young men. Lack of security on roads and other areas emboldens rapists and other miscreants to attack helpless women. People need to realize that a woman’s choice of clothing or company is in no way an invitation to rape. Instead of teaching their daughters to stay at home, people should train them in self defense and educate them against the dangers that await them in the real world and help them cultivate a strong mindset. On the legal front, quick and speedy justice must be dispensed to victims as justice delayed is truly justice denied. Law enforcement personnel should be trained to look into the victim’s side of the story instead of looking for ways to implicate the victim in the crime. Above all, the intrinsic right of a woman to her body should be recognized and her freedom to make her own choices must be respected. Women need to be viewed as individuals rather than objects to satisfy men’s desires, and a mass social awakening is the only means to bring about such a change in public outlook.