On November 17th,a 22 year old was gang raped by three men, including an auto rickshaw driver,when she took a shared auto, at around 7:45 PM. The men took turns raping her and then dumped her in a secluded spot.
In India,blaming the victim in a rape case,is not a new phenomena. Individuals in high positions such as politicians, to common men have all made comments that have blamed the victim. We would like to believe that in today’s day and age, this trend has reduced, and the perpetrators are blamed for the crime; but that is not actually the case.
Kirron Kher, in Chandigarh, commented on how the woman should not have got into the auto, after seeing that two other men were already sitting in it. She also said that boys and men should be educated, and this will lead to a decrease of rape related crimes; but at the same time, women should also be aware and cautious of their own surroundings.
This is a classic tale of ‘better safe than sorry’. This is a phrase that every single girl has heard growing up and is ingrained in their brains to such an extent, that for many, the first instinct is to blame the victim for not being ‘safe’ enough. In a country like India, where rape cases are extremely frequent, it is important to be safe also, but blaming the victim for not being cautious enough is not an option.
Kirron Kher voiced the opinion of the majority of the population. Even if they do not directly blame the victim; by saying that the women should have been more careful, is in a way saying that it is her fault that she was in that situation. This is a mindset that needs to change. It is a more subtle way of blaming the victim, and is not as direct, as commenting on her clothes, or trashing her character, in order to justify the crime.
Educating men, and even women, is the first step towards changing this mindset; but India as a country has a long way to go. It is going to be some time before comments on a rape case will pertain more to the perpetrator, than the victim.