It all began with a fruit, the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. The second Adam and Eve took the first bite off the forbidden fruit; they could no longer look at each other the way they used to. Passion and desire over powered their ability to reason, it took away their innocence, equality and eye for justice. They were naked before they ate the fruit but it hardly mattered then. They loved each other even before but now it was different. Suddenly, they felt ashamed of their nudity and rushed to cover themselves up.
The reason of rape has been subtly described in Paradise Lost, even before we came to realize it. Milton was truly a genius and rightly warned us about the curse that’ll follow human kind for tasting the fruit of “knowledge”.
Rape is not just a form of sexual violence; rather it is much deeper than we thought. It is the act of mental control and subjugation. The society has built a foundation with levels of complex structures which brainwash us with the fruit of knowledge. No, I do not mean that the society wants women or men to be a victim of sexual exploitation but it does aim to control us. The powers of the society have built a structure which divides the society into two genders. We are not just humans but men and women. We are not just men and women, rather we have to follow a particular behavior, dress code and have certain dreams only. A good or perfect girl is accomplished in the art of cooking, singing and dancing. Yes, you might say that nobody forced you to do any of this. But then you will be looking at just one level. A girl is free to be emotional but a guy never cries. Girls play with dolls or kitchen sets whereas men are born to play football or cricket. Even if a girl is given the freedom to enter the field of her choice, she has the deadline of marriage. A guy must study certain courses which make him independent and able to take care of his future family.
We have been allotted uniforms and even in those uniforms there are restrictions depending on the country we live in and family that feeds us. We are allotted who we should walk with on the streets and by what time one should not step outside their homes. If these unsaid rules are not enough, we have television and media to keep us in our pre-decided places. Television serials of saas-bahus (mother and daughter-in-law) and movies like “hum saath saath hai” teach a woman that the rightful place for her is in the kitchen. A “bahu” (daughter-in-law) who wishes to join the world outside is pulled back, not by the men but by the elder women of the family. This never ending crab mentality is shoved down our throats where a freedom to live a gender free existence is impossible because our very own gender is always ready to pull us back. The rules may depend on the whim of the present ruler or government. Milton rightly suggested that the ‘tree of knowledge’ brought doom to the human race. Our knowledge of gender and its difference created the present scenario of panic and rape culture.
The offender, like in the 16th December case, excuses his act of violence as a punishment to the victim who over stepped the boundaries of the society. She was wearing a skirt or she was outside her house at 8pm or that she was with a guy, are the reasons and explanations for raping a woman. The offender as well as the society believes that the girl must be punished, that she must know that she has tried to cross the gender boundaries. The traditional gender roles prescribe that a woman should be submissive while a man is supposed to be dominant. A very well laid out example would be from the novel “The Color Purple” (by Alice Walker) where Albert chides his son, Harpo, because according to him [Albert] Sophia, Harpo’s wife, wears the pants in the family. Harpo prefers cooking while Sophia does the field work, a clear blurring of gender lines. Celie advices Harpo to beat Sophia to “control” her like his father controls Celie. The desire of men to stay on the top and the desire of the society to keep the scales in their favor has led to a community that functions on fear of breaking the norms.
The only way, the only possible way to weed out this parasite called rape or any kind of gender violence is to erase off gender discrimination. Stop forcing your girls to wear pink frocks or buy dolls and stop trying to force G.I Joes and blue color on your boys. They are too young to know what they are supposed to be. The world will be so much more sympathetic once it sees every other person equal to itself and nothing- no clothes, movies, advertisements, behavior or timing- will seem like it is wrong because every border on Earth is man-made and no border is more dangerous than gender borders, where natural is seen as unnatural .