Stigma: Rape

Dear Diary,

Today I don’t wanna talk about my day, today I want to speak what’s on my mind. Coming from a South Asian background, there are many cultural variations between the east and west- and I don’t just mean the bright colourful weddings. I’m talking about perception, societal views/values etc. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my culture, I love the collective-ness we have and so on, but there are some things that prick me, some things that make me cringe and question how people even believe/follow this stuff. This will probably be a series of rant sessions, so keep an eye out! – I will be speaking largely about the stigmas that I witness from the Indian culture (as I am originally Indian) however some of these may apply to other South Asian countries

The first cringe worthy crime is rape and its perception in the family and society. Now, normally in the west, when someone is raped, what happens? The victim is taken under full care-physically, emotionally, psychological. They are provided support from their loved ones in order to overcome the trauma- and why not? They are the victim of such a heinous crime. And the rapist, well they are hunted down and sent to prison, and looked down upon by everyone- seems fair, yes? However in the South Asian culture its the opposite! (Thankfully, that is slowly starting to change after this disgusting crime took place and was given awareness)

So firstly, if someone is raped, it is an act of shame…for the victim! Wait, what?! Why is the victim shamed- you ask. Apparently the person’s (in most cases, a female is the victim so I will use the pronoun she) honour and dignity is lost if she is raped. How does that work? To be honest with you, I don’t know, but I can take a guess. (If you know the real reason comment please) My educated guess would be a girl’s honour and dignity lie in her ‘purity’ and her ‘virginity’ so if those are not there, she’s good for nothing. Absurd right? First this person goes through the horrific trauma of rape, then she finds out that she is a disgrace to her family because she was victimized? WHAT KIND OF LOGIC IS THAT. Anyways, it gets worse than this, the rapist is most probably roaming the streets freely- why? Well most likely it’s because the family of the victim is too ashamed to go to the police station and report the case. Instead, at times, the family goes to the rapist and requests him to not tell others about what he has done as it is a matter of honour and dignity, and in some cases if word does get out, the victim is made to marry her rapist- Yup, I kid you not, I’ve read many incidents in which this was the outcome. So let’s get this straight, the victim who is already going through enough psychological and emotional trauma because of the rape, now has to see her rapist’s face everyday for the rest of her life?! :/

Does something seem wrong here to you? Cause it definitely seems wrong to me. Firstly, why is someone’s honour strictly preserved in their purity? Whatever happened to have good manners and character? Second, why is it considered a shame to the victim that such an incident took place with them? Why isn’t the rapist dying in shame? Third, why isn’t there proper counselling and support given to the victim?

So in essence, it’s the society and their mindset that is continuing on with this kind of mentality, shouldn’t this change? We’re an educated society, shouldn’t we think beyond the realms of society and culture and actually focus on what’s right and what’s wrong? Everyone believes that one day this will change etc, but it won’t change, not until we actually reinforce a new mindset, not unless we teach others of what the reality of the matter is.

It just boggles me that people could be under so much pressure by society that they would ignore the pain of their loved ones. I’m not proud of this aspect of my culture. but I love my culture and I sincerely hope this changes soon, before more victims are put through a lifetime of trauma and shame.

*end of rant*


Shazia Arif

(Image: Google images)

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Afnan says:

    Everything you said is on point.
    But, I had to ask since i’m from the same continent as well, do you think the religious culture also contributes to this stigma and mentality? in the sense they try to see what was wrong in the girl and why she didn’t follow customs, like her following the proper religious traditions wouldn’t have let this happened; which is absurd. like would you say it’s required not only in the social customs but to really get to the religious ideologies of people as well?

    This is something that happens around us all the time, even if its not rape, the way we view women is wrong because we associate her value to something which is not even…damn i don’t know what to say. but yeah, you get the point.

    Good read πŸ™‚


    1. shaziaarif02 says:

      I do believe that religious culture has a role to play in this when the sole blame of the rape is because she didn’t follow xyz religious tradition, when in reality there could be many other factors that could’ve played a role to trigger the rape. As for targeting religious ideologies, I chose not to step in that realm cause there are many loopholes and what not which may offend a person or a religion, and that really isn’t my thing. But thank you for your input! πŸ™‚


      1. Afnan says:

        exactly, that’s what I really wanted to know if other people see it like that as well.

        Thanks for the insight πŸ™‚


  2. β™₯ Abidha Basheer β™₯ says:

    It’s just so irking to see how lightly rape and child abuse is treated in India! I hope the change comes in soon! Great post!


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