Rape: A Cultural Tradition, Does That Make It Okay?
Rape is rape and that is wrong, period.
For the past twenty years or so, a big part of India’s cities have beautifully developed into economically formidable, energetic and modern metropolises. However, gradual changes has been seen over the last couple of months. Despite India’s gradual westernisation and economic reformation, certain parts of the country still prefer sticking to the more traditional ways of life.
In the midst of the large, bustling populace, a large percentage of teenage girls and women live in apprehension — fearing that their lives will be at stake by the way they choose to present themselves or dress in public. For the most part, this is because a conservative group of vigilantes , predominantly made up of males, inflict pain and torture on those who may pose as a threat to tradition, resulting in brutal acid attacks.
These everyday attacks, coupled with the lack of government intervention in society, has led to a severe misunderstanding in certain facets of modern Indian society — the duty of “raising awareness,” and dictating moral codes lies in the hands of moral vigilante groups. The issue does not end at India. Earlier this year, a 14-year-old girl in Beitar Illite faced similar consequences for wearing “loose fitting pants” in public which resulted in acid being poured over her stomach and legs, causing brutal burn wounds. Another incident happened in Toronto, where a police office insinuated that women ought to “avoid dressing like sluts” in order to avoid getting assaulted or rape.
After the recent attacks outside a college in India, the police has refused to react to such threats and the government has not taken any measures to retaliate against the actions of such groups. Of course, the public is mad at the fact that not much is being said or done to prevent such attacks against females, however, we must consider — to what extent can the government intervene? How can authority take measures to restrict, or least reduce such behaviour?
However, further consideration allows us to question why women are being threatened for dressing in a supposedly sexual manner — when one thinks about the core of the issue, moral vigilantes are not very different to the government, that in the sense that they commit these attacks as a mean of making others aware of the possibility of getting raped for dressing provocatively.
Maybe it is neither the extremist group, nor the government’s duty to protect women from rape and other heinous acts alike, but rather, society should give individuals the liberty to present themselves as they want. The tradition or moral vigilantes taking the liberty to inflict pain on others must die down, in order for true culture and modernity to coexist in harmony.
Moral policing through violence is a tradition itself, a tradition that should be abolished at once, in order to allow culture to coexist with modern society. Any form of moral policing in this regard is not acceptable in this day and age, as people inherently know what is right and wrong, and ergo chose to follow their inner conscience. Should such circumstances occur, there is no point in complaining thereafter.