An op-ed by Indian author Sohaila Abdulali in yesterday's New York Times is the perfect follow up to my last post. She and I are definitely on the same page about how rape and rapists should be viewed.
Here are a few choice comments:
Rape is horrible. But it is not horrible for all the reasons that have been drilled into the heads of Indian women. It is horrible because you are violated, you are scared, someone else takes control of your body and hurts you in the most intimate way. It is not horrible because you lose your “virtue.”
At age 17, Abdulali was gang-raped by four men over a period of hours, and she credits her family for handling the event in a way that helped her move on with her life.
At 17, I was just a child. Life rewarded me richly for surviving. I stumbled home, wounded and traumatized, to a fabulous family. With them on my side, so much came my way. I found true love. I wrote books. I saw a kangaroo in the wild. I caught buses and missed trains. I had a shining child. The century changed. My first gray hair appeared.
Too many others will never experience that. They will not see that it gets better, that the day comes when one incident is no longer the central focus of your life. One day you find you are no longer looking behind you, expecting every group of men to attack. One day you wind a scarf around your throat without having a flashback to being choked. One day you are not frightened anymore.
Like me, she has no use for those who turn the blame on the victim instead of the rapist. There is no rational excuse for rape. And, it has NOTHING (I repeat, nothing) to do with sex but everything to do with control. Rape is just another form of attempted murder.
We need to shelve all the gibberish about honor and virtue and did-she-lead-him-on and could-he-help-himself. We need to put responsibility where it lies: on men who violate women, and on all of us who let them get away with it while we point accusing fingers at their victims.
To read the entire piece, go to http://nyti.ms/VRbelT.
In case you ever wondered why many women don't report rapes, Nicholas D. Kristof may have the answer. You might want to read his op-ed piece in this week's New York Times. Here's an excerpt:
When a woman reports a rape, her body is a crime scene. She is typically asked to undress over a large sheet of white paper to collect hairs or fibers, and then her body is examined with an ultraviolet light, photographed and thoroughly swabbed for the rapist’s DNA.
It’s a grueling and invasive process that can last four to six hours and produces a “rape kit” — which, it turns out, often sits around for months or years, unopened and untested.
Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/30/opinion/30kristof.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=rape&st=cse