I was reading this book of essays by Rebecca Solnit when the news was filled with the latest Hyderabad gang rape. For once, I didn’t rant on social media. What is the point? It is exhausting. Year after year after year it is the same. The angrier we are, the less things seem to change. Many people would like to argue that rapes of Dalit or women from less privileged backgrounds don’t get half as much attention. I agree. But if a privileged women in a metro city running an errand at a decent hour, who called her sister and reached out for help can get raped and killed so easily; what hope is there for anyone else?
Rape is an extreme point of the problem. Rape isn’t the issue. Rape is the symptom of the problem. The problem is misogyny. The problem is patriarchy. And even the smallest form of patriarchy is part of the problem. And it is everywhere. Once you start identifying patriarchy, you can see it everywhere around you. And it is impossible to close your eyes to it. I fought with 2 brokers (mine and the owner’s) in Kolkata to remove Mrs in front of my name, write my name before KC’s on the rent agreement and replace “wife of” with “daughter of”. Why should his father’s name be on the agreement and not mine? I wish I could have fought to have my mother’s name included instead of father’s but that battle is a long way off. Every battle matters no matter how trivial it seems.
I thought I had read every thought on the topic of feminism. That nothing could surprise me but this book did.
- The book talks about tracing the pattern of violence against women. Today, it is under categories- rape, marital rape, domestic violence, bride burning, dowry deaths etc etc. These are all part of the same problem. They are violence against women. More women have died due this compared to deaths in riots or The Holocaust. There are systems in place to prevent women from being treated like human beings. This isn’t a coincidence but by design.
- The problem aren’t women. The problem are men. Our discourse continues to be about women as victims of violence instead of men who are violent. The problem isn’t the rape but the rapist. We need to start talking about men who rape instead of women who get raped. The % of women who are violent is far, far, far lower than the % of men of who are violent. Why aren’t we doing something about that? Why aren’t we inventing a vaccine or a drug to reduce the violent tendencies in men? Why isn’t there research to find out why men are so violent? Are they born violent or are they brought up to become violent?
- Same sex partnerships have helped bring equality to heterosexual unions. This was a new of looking at homosexuality. Same sex marriages don’t have a gender imbalance. There is no power play due to gender. So, women in heterosexual relationships have realised that marriage can be between equals. It does not require sacrifice from someone due to their gender.
I don’t know about you but am tired of never leaving my balcony door open because am worried someone will climb 4 floors and try to rape me.
I am tired of being aware when I open my house door so nobody is lurking and tries to force their way in.
I am tired of requesting the househelp and cook to stick around till the male cleaner who washes the bathrooms leaves.
I am tired of being on my guard outside and inside my house at all times.
I am tired of knowing this isn’t going to change in my lifetime, atleast.
And I am tired of women who won’t use their privilege to fight against everything that is wrong with the world, in whatever way possible.
Posting the meme of “India’s daughter” amongst your chutiyaap IG stories isn’t raising your voice in solidarity for women. Ok? OK.