Reproductive Rights, World News, Gender & Identity, Gender, Life

In most South Asian countries, survivors are treated like they deserved the attack

Sexual assault victims are not asked if they are okay, but what they were wearing, and if they made their objection to sex clear enough.

A man walks slowly towards a slender-framed girl, the sound of his footsteps magnified as his feet now help him transition into running. The girl turns around, the man’s hands cover her mouth as he shamelessly strips her of her chastity. The girl goes to court to prove him guilty. The man’s lawyer asks her to prove whether or not she said no at the time of the incident.

My TV screen now says “intermission.”

Something just doesn’t feel right about this film. What is it?  I reach for the remote and proceed to turn the TV off. As I go to bed and try to sleep, the thought of the woman having to prove the absence of her consent continues to vex me. I prop up on my elbows and start reading through boys’ reactions to the film on an online forum.

Most of them are saying disgusting things like, “It’s only a no until it turns into a yes,” “Women these days play way too hard to get, they deserve to be punished,” “Meh, they get over it anyway,” and “Why couldn’t she just say no?”

Yup, I figured it out. That last question. It was exactly what had been bothering me.

No one cared about what that woman was put through.

I mean, could she even be heard when he had her mouth covered up like that? Even if her muffled “no” did manage to get out, do you genuinely think that lust-driven prick would care? Why would her consent even matter to someone who followed her in a dark alley for ten minutes straight, with the blatant intent of violating her?

The kind of oblivion today’s generation of males lives in stuns me.

But what’s even more pitiful is that such imbecile questioning of victims doesn’t only happen in films, it takes place in real courtrooms; ones with actual lawyers, and culprits. The assailant sits back as his lawyer continues to throw question after question about the character of the victim.

The opposing party’s lawyer will tear apart the victim’s already broken self-esteem by asking her why she thinks the incident took place.

He will stoop as low as telling her that what she was wearing would have “lured” anyone in. Sadly enough, the same happens every time a victim chooses to talk about her dreadful experience outside the court of law, with her friends, family, colleagues, or neighbors.

Many sufferers remain silent about such incidences because they know the judicial system, as well as their loved ones, will never understand their agony.

Out of every thousand rapes, 994 perpetrators walk freely.

Why, may you ask? Well, it’s because victims know that instead of receiving justice and support, their own character that will be scrutinized over and over again.

Their person will be ripped apart by anyone and everyone they open up to; they will be forced to face multiple unreasonable statements like “What were you wearing?” “Why would you even go somewhere that deserted?” “You probably did something to turn him on,” or “You were drunk and so was he, no biggie,” in both court and day to day conversation. The assaulted woman and her family most likely back down because of the threats they receive from the opposing party.

Regardless of how fierce a stand, the sufferer will be belittled.

This ignorance is what leads so many victims to leave their sexual assault cases unreported.

When they tell their families, they are very likely to be silenced by something along the lines of “Just make sure no one finds out!” and “Pray to God, He will heal you.”

And here we are, naively thinking that the helplessness of such sufferers is limited to when they are being assaulted, but is it really? Their lives are constantly clouded by the shadows of a dirty open secret. They are treated like damaged goods. Their classmates and colleagues suddenly don’t want to be around them because they think their sorrow is contagious.

In most South Asian countries, men will refuse to marry victims of sexual assault as they are no longer considered pure. And if they’re married, the husband will most likely drag his fragile masculine ego into the matter and make sure to bruise the victim even further.

She is deemed characterless simply because some waste of sperm thought it was okay to have his hands on her without her consent.