When a rape victim chooses her life over her ‘Honor’.

This image is being shared on facebook and had 399 likes, 306 shares and 217 comments when I last saw it. Warning: The language used in the post and the comments is disgusting. 

Here’s what it says,

Thoo… Thoo… (spit) on the face of this doctor woman. This is woman agricultural scientist Anita Shukla. This woman calls herself a doctor but she thinks like a prostitute. She talks trash, says the Delhi bus gang rape victim should have surrendered when she was surrounded by six rapists, atleast she would have saved her intestines. What would you say to this Kulta?

(Kulta is a term used to insult women, roughly translated it means, a woman who has blackened her face by not following Patriarchal norms.)

In this case Anita Shukla criticised the rape victim for being in the wrong place, at the wrong time, in wrong clothes, in wrong company, and for not handling the crime in the right way. Anita Shukla felt the victim should have ‘surrendered’ when she saw she could not fight back. (Meaning the rape vicitm should have valued her life more than her ‘honor’?)

‘The victim should have surrendered when surrounded by six men, at least it could have saved her intestines’. [Link]

Many Indians believe they know exactly how women can control sexual assaults, and I assumed she was only being condemned for blaming and shaming the victim.

But Indian understanding of crimes against women seems to stop at how it affects their honor. And yet there is hope, because many comments did seem to believe that a rape victim choosing her life over her ‘honor’ was not a shameful thing to do.

And here are some of the comments,

“kyoki doctor banane ke liye is aurat ne esa hi kiya hoga,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,chhhiii gandi aurat”

Translation: “because she must have done something like this to become a doctor… yuck dirty woman!” (implying she must have slept with someone to be awarded her degree)

There is so much that is wrong with this one comment. For one, the commenter seems to have no clue that a brutal rape and consensual sex for any benefit are not the same thing.

2.

” **** **** character less.”
Suggesting a rape victim saves her life instead of her ‘honor’ makes makes the person suggesting this ‘characterless’?
3.
“Aji Dr. Sahiba vo jina bhi kis kam ka jiske liye apni atma ko marna pade, is time kam se kam ye duniya uske sath jiske aap nahi or aap jaise soch ki nariyo n hi un **** ko ye himmat di h”
Translation: Hey doctor ma’am, what’s this life worth if one’s soul has to be killed (to save that life)? This time, atleast  the world is with her who you are condemning. Women who think like you have made these rapists so bold.
Not all comments thought like this and there is hope that the pressure from those who don’t, can compel the police and the law makers to put their prejudices aside and ensure women are seen as equal citizens and not as Zinda Laash or Ghar ki Izzat (Honor).

18 thoughts on “When a rape victim chooses her life over her ‘Honor’.

  1. Isn’t this the same as saying “If you are attached at gun point and asked for your diamond necklace, give the diamond necklace away immediately, your life is worth more than diamonds”?

    “To all the rapists/ would be rapists,Here is one lady who would meekly submit when you wish to rape her. So, please spare those innocent girls who would not submit and have your take on her.” So there we are one more of that type of guys.

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  2. Whatever this lady meant with her comment, I would like to point out that you can’t really predict how you would react in an extreme situation. When you are already threatened by six men, your choice what to do is totally affected by adrenaline and fear. I don’t think many people who are already wary and alarmed would coolly think: “Hm, if I submit now, I might escape without life-threatening injuries.” Who can claim to know the precisely right thing to do in such a situation?

    Nobody can. Because you simply don’t know what the mob is going to do to you. Bloodthirsty people are unpredictable. Mobs and violent gangs are not known for following any logic, they just act on rash feelings. Even if she hadn’t fought back, there is no guarantee those men would not have worked themselves into a frenzy. Some people get a rush of bloodthirst merely by witnessing violent acts. You simply don’t know what might provoke them into further violence. So know-it-alls should just plain shut up. It’s once more a symptom of victim blaming to try and lecture women on how they should react in such situations. Sometimes you simply need to acknowledge that there are situations you can’t control.

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  3. Honor is such a blurry concept. And always only connected to what is of use for the ones in power.

    As I woman I feel backstabbed when another female is using misogynist explanations and adopting an archaic view. But then, she is only yet another victim of a patriarchal society where adopting those archaic views is certainly more rewarding than fighting for women’s´ rights.

    I really wished we could stop discussing about wrong places, wrong clothes, wrong times and wrong choices of company. Stop discussing what behavior would have been appropriate. But focus on what matters: how we raise our kids, what we teach them about right and wrong, and how we make sometimes obvious and sometimes subtle gender differentiations.

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  4. This woman is being stupid. Sometimes people need to just shut up instead of pontificating about things they have no knowledge about. Six men assaulted a woman, and she was not supposed to fight back in the hope that they will not subject her to more unspeakable violence. The victim had no control over the situation, and yet was somehow ultimately responsible for the damage she suffered and her own death. I guess this is a different version of saying women are responsible for their rape because of how they dress. Now they are responsible for the violence which they are subjected to because they are not submissive enough when they are being raped! No wonder society is so messed up when we have intellectuals like this lady doctor on the case (God save her patients!).

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  5. Would she give the same piece of advice to her daughter or any other female relative? And ironically this happened at a gender sensitization camp in MP! As a moderator of the event she should have asked the women to fight back and not meekly give in! And then could it guarantee in such a situation, no loss of life? I am at loss of words for so much patriarchal misogyny and when it comes from women, alas God forgive them and instill in them some sanity! Atleast the kind that can let them humans in first place!

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  6. I think such public statements will continue to emerge till the time such a mindset is wiped out from our society. And I dont see that happening in the near future. The same Narendra Modi who showed his mindset by calling a female – 50 crore girlfriend – is chosen unanimously as the chief minister again and is expected to be the next PM. The congress MP Sanjay Nirupam calls a female MP – thumkewali – and easily gets away. Mulayam Singh publicly talks about the appearance of village women as compared to the city women regarding attractiveness. What politicians from TMC and CPM have said has already been shared on this blog.

    So what do we expect from our politicians. They make such disgusting statements and get away because they know they will be elected easily again. Becoz the voting public forms the same society which harbors such mindset. When the highest placed public representatives dont find it wrong to display their mindset publicly then such persons as the one above are nothing in comparison. Our society will continue to be obsessed with honor and people will continue to judge women on the basis of honor.

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      • Though I don’t think such persons who make such comments are punishable (at least legally) but what causes a problem is when politicians make such comments is that there are countless people who blindly believe and follow whatever their leaders say. And it surely doesn’t help to remove such mindsets from the society.

        @ Karan,
        I don’t see why you are so upset what that blogger has suggested. I have read his blog. He seems to be living in a world of his own. And though sometimes he talks logically (as his suggestions to the Justice Verma Committee in a previous post), but mostly whatever he says is impractical.

        Someone who says things like, emotional and verbal violence (even towards women) is not violence, american culture is better than other cultures because it allows nudity, a human fetus is a parasite and can be killed and plants are robots is either having some trouble with his thought process or is looking for sensationalism just like Indian politicians do. Reading such thoughts is rather amusing and if you take such people seriously, it is only your fault.

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  7. The comments made by Anita Shukla are vile. However, calling her every name in the book is also an example of the misogyny that led to the brutal rape. I wonder if the people who made that poster condemning Anita Shukla do not see that. It is the same kind of misogyny.

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    • Totally agree. Shukla is wrong, but the poster and comments are no better because they demean her in the same sexual terms – prostitute/sleeping around etc. If a woman’s actions cause her to be deemed a good/bad woman and measure her in terms of her “honor”, society will always consider some women “bad” and not consider them worthy of respect. The poster and commenters do not understand that you cannot replace one kind of misogyny with another.

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  8. I think I will support the view taken by Arunia81 that it is difficult to prepare or think when you are attacked by a gang of men exhibiting mob mentality.
    Coming to the point of Anita Shukla, though I am totally against what she said, I think she has the right to express her views. It is not fair to expect everyone to think on the same lines. The people who had made derogatory comments on her had also committed an attack on her honour as a woman.

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    • “Honor as a woman”? If a man were to be called a slut/prostitute/loose woud that insult him as a man? Women are people too and must be honored as people first and foremost, not as some deities to be “honored”. Women must be seen as full-fledged people with rights and abilities and sexuality. When we are so hung up on “honoring” them as women, and not as people deserving respect and dignity, we create easy avenues for people to insult them.

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  9. Why should one be made to choose between life and honor whatever the situation is ? Every person has the right to their life as well as their honor. It is wrong to suggest things like in such and such situation, life should hold preference over honor or the other way round.

    Secondly, every person is justified to fight for both their life as well as honor when faced with an untoward situation. And it is silly to think one of these things would be spared in lieu of the other by monsters who don’t value either.

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  10. IHM,
    Ever since this girl was raped, we have been hearing one insensitive comment after another. If they cannot grieve and feel bad about her family, the least they can do is shut up.
    Yesterday, the KHAPS came out with their golden words. Yes, they were the only ones missing here.

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