It seems we are stronger than a rogue virus-like corona and something as formidable as the deadly virus is not enough to mend our ways. Every day when we glance through different dailies every morning, we feel tormented, petrified and disturbed by observing the kinds of brutality some people are actually rearing up inside. Nowadays whenever I open my Facebook account, I feel ashamed of myself considering me as a part of such a society that has failed all of us as we have failed to practice sexual abstinence and let our girls bloom the way they want as they are not safe from the clutch of some insensate polluted-minded culprits.
News reports of rapes are so common in our society and in fact, these incidents are some kind of popular stuff for daily newspapers in our country. Rape incidents fill the inner pages of almost all the newspapers every single day and these happenings are so frequent that people even forget the details and facts related to rape incidents the very next day.
According to Ain o Salish Kendra, 632 rape incidents took place in Bangladesh between April and August this year. This means that on an average four women have been raped every day in the last five months despite the fact that Covid-19 was wreaking havoc on public lives during the timeframe.
Why rape is so prevalent in our society? Have we ever thought seriously about it? Let’s try to get our head around what went terribly wrong with our society.
To explain the scenario, I would like to reflect on the role played by the administration (police and other law enforcing agencies) and the government in a broader perspective. Several rape incidents in the past and police’s inability to solve sexual assault-related cases in due time with dexterity have proved the incompetence of police time and again.
Well, rape incidents are increasing at an abnormal rate owing to the fact that offenders are never brought to book rather they are allowed to roam around scot-free. To be frank, the reminiscences of these criminal acts will apparently get faint in the memory of the people with the passage of time mainly because of the inactions on the part of the government and the law-enforcing agencies.
This is how the hooligans, morally corrupt people and the likes are escaping the law and consequently, the ordinary people are hardly in a situation to see justice being done.
There is an English maxim- ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’- that can be simply elucidated to mean that if the process of justice is lingered on deliberately, then there is every possibility that the victims will be deprived of proper justice. Though this phrase is old, its implication is still very relevant in our society.
Again, the role of society in our country is also questionable considering the fact that this country is fostering a male-dominated society where female counterparts are seen merely as objects. Rape culture is so prevalent in this male-dominated society that this society (society comprises of people and people, males or men in a patriarchal society to be particular, determine how a particular society will behave) refuses to help victims and offers a cloak of deniability for those accused of rape.
Instead, our society continues in the complicity of turning a blind eye to serious allegations of violent criminal behaviour against women. Moreover fear of retaliation, bullying, shaming, etc., in the aftermath of a sexual assault oftentimes silences the victims, in effect leading to a secondary trauma in which they are unable to come forward with reporting the crimes.
In reality, the status of women in our society is lower, the power of women is diminished in many ways by their male counterparts, and various life options for women related to career, family, education, personal style, sexual expression etc. are continuously getting narrower. As a society, we have failed to place an unparalleled emphasis on women’s equality and social security. That’s why males in our society inflict so much brutality and degradation on them so easily. Still, those ill-minded people manage to escape punishment.
Another aspect that has long been ignored in our society is that it objectifies women. The objectification of women – turning them into body parts that exist and have value only to the extent they satisfy male desires – has been acknowledged widely. Consequently, sexual assault against women continues to increase.
Unfortunately, societal expectations and stereotypes play a large role in our impressions of how people should act. While as a society we make different kinds of efforts and take initiatives to teach girls methods to avoid getting raped, we ironically do not teach boys not to rape or assault a girl or a woman sexually. When it comes to minimizing the risk of sexual assault, parents and our society in a broader sense are more eager to teach girls about the dangers of roaming around on the streets rather than teaching boys to respect women living in our society. I think the time has come to bring about some changes in our mindset.
As a society, it’s time to break down the walls of stereotypes and stop setting double standards.