How Victim Blaming confuses rapists, police and the society about when exactly does non-consensual-sex becomes a crime.

The recent investigations by Tehelka.com have shown that not just the rapists, but even the police and the society don’t seem to be aware  that forced sex is rape (and a crime).

Many also seem to believe that rape is a natural result of a man finding a woman attractive (‘getting provoked’); most of the police (and probably many rapists) don’t seem to know that a woman who has had sex with more than one man still has the legal right to say no to other men.

They also seem to be unaware that women can consume alcohol (or talk, laugh, dance etc) in company of men without requiring to have sex with any or all of them.

Where is so much confusion and ignorance about rape coming from?
I think victim-blaming is the culprit.

Victim blaming can confuse rapists, police and the society about when exactly does forced-sex become a crime. [Victim blaming also discourages the victims (and their families) from reporting rapes.]

Police confirmed that rapists often don’t see rapes as crimes, and don’t expect the victims to report them. [link]

(Legally, non-consensual sex is always a crime (except marital rape?), even with a sex worker, but the Police seems to be quite unaware of, or unconvinced about this.)

But it’s not just the police and the rapists’ lawyers who blame the victims.  They do it of course, because it silences and shames the victims and helps them prove their innocence.
.
But what makes the rest of us blame the victims?
I think it’s because victim blaming has created a culture where everybody sees rape by men as an excusable activity and consensual sex (by women) as a crime.
Since sex between heterosexual adults requires both men and women, one with tacit permission to use force, and one who can be condemned for consent – how can there be clarity until force is seen clearly as wrong and consent is accepted as a choice?

35 thoughts on “How Victim Blaming confuses rapists, police and the society about when exactly does non-consensual-sex becomes a crime.

  1. It stems from the premium attached to virginity and chastity. If you have sex with more than one person (that you are married to) then you are a whore and public property. That’s what needs to change. Rape is when your dignity is violated because the act is non-consensual. It is not one where your property is stolen, or worse ‘becomes public’ because you did not ‘follow the safety rules’. Just to make it clear again, rape is a consent issue, it is a dignity issue. Not a property issue. So drill into their heads that no matter what she does for a living, what she wears, how she walks, what she drinks, how many people she sleeps with, she does all that because she wants to. And it’s rape because she doesn’t want to. Simple?

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  2. I have it on good authority that a gynecologist in India told her patients that “it’s impossible for a woman to be raped” and that “the physiology of a woman doesn’t allow penetration unless she consents to the act at some level or the other!” Ergo, every single case of rape is fake and made up.

    This really takes the cake. A gynecologist. And a woman. What the hell?

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  3. Patriarchy is based on the premise that male’s (male)offspring inherit his wealth. Any sex outside marriage thus becomes prohibited for women. So Women doing consensual sex before marriage is by default a ‘fallen’ women, Such Women thus ( in Patriarchy) has no rights to refuse sex to any one else.
    To prevent ‘untoward’ things happening Patriarchy even prohibits women minglIng with other men, So any one doing that against Patriarchal culture is again a ‘fallen’ women with out any rights.

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  4. The government takes up many campaigns like drunk driving, Education, Women empowerment, polio eradication seriously. There have been effective ad campaigns.
    Why can’t this issue be taken up?
    Additionally, we really need strict laws and encourage the victims to come forward to punish the culprits. Yes, it all boils down to removing the victim blamng culture. This definitely need some sort of awareness campaign.

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  5. It’s a convenient attitude, absolving yourself of any responsibility and blaming the victim instead. Shame her, doubt her character and dismiss her anguish as frivolous. Our police needs to be sensitized and punished if they don’t take action against sexual crimes.

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  6. Wanted to share this information here: Read a book recently – ‘The Hour I first Believed’. It’s a long winding book that also shares a fictional journal of an American woman born during the American Civil war and also her fight to establish a seperate prison for women. The journal shows how common victim blaming was in the West as well during that time period. It came as a surprise to me, because i somehow thought the Indian culture was exceptional in blaming the victim so much. It also gave me some hope, because american laws (and society) have changed so much and work better for the victim now, so hopefully India will also see a lot of change in this in the near future.

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  7. More than ‘victim blaming’, IHM, I feel it’s just a case of ‘woman-blaming’ and woman-bashing. Like you said, a woman has as much of a right to choose her sexual partners as a man does, or do whatever activities she pleases of her own free will. However, in our patriarchal society (however much it may claim to be moving away from it) we still believe women are not part of the human species, they’re another class of being, one that may be treated any which way one likes, and one that needs no respect whatsoever – she’s just there for the service of the man, whatever way she may provide it. So very sickening. Like another commenter said, we should have awareness drives for this. And rape and how to prevent it should be included as topics in sexual education classes, for those schools or educational institutions that provide them. Sex education will help people understand this issue better, and what better way to start than by educating the youth of today? Unfortunately that opens a whole new can of worms, as parents feel that by informing kids of how the reproductive system and sex works, they will become promiscuous. Do you think sex-ed would help this issue in any way, IHM?

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  8. Any other crime would not be treated this way. Just the ones against women.

    Just imagine, on your way to work, you pass by a beggar everyday. You give him a coin and move on. One day, you don’t feel like giving the beggar any coins. So the beggar attacks you and snatches the coins from you. Would this police blame you? What if the beggar was hungry. Would the police still blame you? No.

    If they can understand this, then why is rape so hard to understand for these people?

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