AZHAR AALAM MIR
Rape isn’t a new crime; it has been there since ages but was considered as a minor crime. It was in 20th century when rape was considered an atrocious crime.
When we talk about rape we can’t miss the cause, that is, patriarchy whose seeds have been sown since a long ago. Patriarchy is a political structure created to benefit men. Moreover, patriarchy is the entitlement men feel to sexually harass women, perpetrate sexual violence against women, have power over women’s’ bodies, life decisions and economic needs. Patriarchy has been engrained in us since we were kids. It has become a part of our culture and speaking against it is considered anti-cultural. We don’t learn it from any particular place, it is our society(patriarchal society) that has made us to do so. It is practiced by every men and even women, from a friend to a parent or a sibling, we practice it in our daily lives at our homes, universities, work places and where ever we get a chance. Patriarchy, in simple words, means domination of men over women and it has been so normalized that a woman is not able to identify that any wrongdoing is going on with her.
Violence against women, sexism, domestic violence, girl child infanticide or abortion or any crime against women has its roots in patriarchy and we contribute to it. We aren’t ready yet to eradicate this ill-system. When a woman is raped, many people blame the victim instead of the man and his ill-thinking. It has become so easy to put blame on the woman for bringing out the beast in a man. People blame her and her dresses that it provokes a man. Oh, come-on , aren’t women clad in burqas not raped? If you blame a women’s clothes or makeup for the crime against her, how would you justify rape on minors, infants or aged women. Here it is not only patriarchy but it is malady
It is a modern world and is very much affected by movies, songs, media etc. In India, I think Bollywood has a lot of contribution for promoting patriarchy. Almost in every movie they have item numbers where woman is projected as no more than a sexual object; this causes women to be viewed as commodities, meant to be consumed and ravished. The lyrics of many of their songs are such that it presents women as a sexual object for men.
The irony of Bollywood is that it has wrongly interpreted the meaning of women empowerment. They show women empowerment as women wearing short clothes, going to late night parties and revealing their bodies; this is not women empowerment, it is simply adoption of western culture which is a totally different thing. Women empowerment actually means empowering women politically, socially, economically, culturally and through many other dimensions.
Some movies are actually good and beneficial which focuses on women empowerment, patriarchy, girl child abuse like Padman, Pink, Highway, Kahaani etc. But overall, they produce such movies which promote patriarchy therefore crimes against women. Besides they kind of encourage men to commit a crime against women.
In many movies, scenes like sexual assault and rapes against women are shown as glorious acts which influence people to do such kinds of crimes. There have been many cases in which criminals have committed crimes and are directly influenced from Bollywood movies.
People from J&K are also patriarchal; they blame women for every bad situation. They blame gals for climate changes, weather or any natural disaster. I have heard it from many people that Kashmir’s situation isn’t improving because girls are adopting modern culture and deviating from their so-called ancestral-patriarchal-culture. From religious sermons to school assemblies, people tell girls what to do and what not to do, what is right and what is wrong but none is concerned about what boys should do, how they should treat a girl, how to respect a girl and how to respect the choice of a girl. If focus would have been more on boys then there might not have been such crimes against women.
Women across every place should lead the front and raise voices against every crime committed against them. There should be awareness about patriarchy and sexism among girls and boys too. Families should be more concerned about boys and their activities and also should teach them to respect a girl. These simple steps can minimize patriarchy and hence the crimes against women.
All these measures can help a lot to stop crimes against women, but if we really want it to end we have to put an end to patriarchy which you and I can stop by not practicing it at our homes or colleges or other places and treat every girl or women with respect and consider her equal as of you.
The author is an undergrad student of Delhi University who hail from Sirhama, a village in district Anantnag. He can be reached at: [email protected]