The rape myths are the additional baggage that a victim of rape has to carry apart from the physical and psychological trauma that she has to endure for rest of her life. This is so much true in most part of the world especially in the conservative societies of the world. In fact the whole burden of proving a “rape” is shifted to the victim and she has to fight a tough battle for justice against the highly biased patriarchal system. The rape myths are strongly engraved in the psyche of the society and it gives a clear advantage to the perpetuator of the rape act. If we want to give a definition then we can say that rape myths are those false beliefs and propaganda items that are established by the society to blame the victim for the rape act and absolve the rapist of any wrongdoing. In plain language and understanding, it is the mechanism to exonerate the rapist and punish the victim for bringing up the “rape” in open forum. Now let’s see what these rape myths are and how they end up becoming the biggest hurdles in the path of justice for a rape victim.
Rape myths: Female precipitation and stimulus leads to the rape act
One of the most common and most damaging rape myths is the belief that females are themselves responsible for providing the stimulus that precipitates the rape act. Through this myth, females are attacked for everything ranging from their clothing to their character and they are squarely blamed for inciting the opposite sex for the rape act. If we want to really give a chance for the rape victim to have justice then this is one of the myths which have to be totally shattered and destroyed.
Rape myths: Men cannot control their sexual urges
This is the most stupid rape beliefs that exist. When we try to comprehend it, we feel ourselves brainless and foolish. But believe it or not, this type of rape myth exists in many societies and cultures and they are enough to absolve the rapist from any major punishment. It should be very clear in our mind that “Men” who cannot control their sexual urge and who indulge in rape to satisfy their lust have a serious pathological disorder and they should be considered dangerous to any social order.
Rape myths: All rapists are mentally ill
This is a very false notion and by branding all rapists as mentally ill we are actually trying to generalize the whole issue and trying to hide the “darker aspects” of the society under the carpet. To start with let’s accept the fact that a stranger who sexually assaults may turn up to be a mentally ill person in “some” of the cases. But then how do we explain the phenomenon of date rape, drug induced rape, acquaintance rape, child rape and spousal rape? These are some of the many situations where the rapist is fully aware of what he is actually doing and he conducts the whole rape act in the most cunning ways. These type of individuals who live in the society as normal people in every other way cannot be considered as mentally ill. Here the society should understand the hidden motives behind the act of rape that operates in the society. These hidden motives can stem from the extreme urge of hatred, jealousy, control and power.
Rape myths: Male hostility, or the anger that men feel toward women
Male hostility towards women is a belief which cannot be totally discarded as baseless. Male hostility, or the anger that men feel toward women, might be more likely to be expressed as a cause of stranger, acquaintance, and even date rape. But, then what about partner or spousal rape, child rape or insist where the perpetrator is actually assumed to take care of the victim.
Finally from this discussion what we can conclude is that rape is just not an isolated act of physical and sexual violence against women but it is a systematically planned act to control and subdue women in many ways. It is a proven method from the ancient times to induce fear among the women folk and we all know that inducing fear is one of the commonest methods of authoritarian control and power.
Article by Sanjay Nair
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