Rape is among the most common crime against women in India. It is defined under
section 375 of IPC, 1860. It is a stigma that has been going on in society
for a very long time. The rise in the number of rapes has paved the way for the
creation of rape culture. A culture like this blames the victims and treats
sexual violence as the norm. It treats rape as a problem that can be solved by
bringing changes in the behaviour of the victims rather than improving that of
It not only destroys the victim but also constrains their freedom and
limits their opportunities. Rape culture normalizes rape and allows it to
flourish. Factors like ignorance of sex education in schools, objectification of
women's bodies in pop culture, rape jokes and many more such things said or done
trivialize sexual assault to even glamourize it.
The normalization of sexist behaviour is what leads to its growth. Through this paper we will be talking
about rape culture, how is it getting promoted by us, and what should be done to
Rape Culture in India
India is a country of diversity with numerous cultures. Some of them are very
old and some are newly discovered. The most archaic one which is still
prevailing, about which people don't talk much but is known by everyone is 'Rape
Culture'. This is a term that generally gets overshadowed because people do not
want to accept the truth. It has become a part of our society because of the
negative mindsets people have towards survivors and sexual violence in general.
So, the first thing we would like to highlight is what exactly Rape culture is.
Rape culture is a sociological setting in which rape and sexual violence are
normalized. This type of culture grows from rape jokes, sexist behaviour,
acceptance of toxic masculinity, victim blaming, and violent acts against women.
In simple words, it is a culture where victims are blamed and shamed as in, they
asked for it, and perpetrators are protected. It trivializes sexual assaults and
acts and makes them seem very normal. This type of culture judges the affected
women and places the onus on their safety on their conduct.
Phrases such as 'Boys will be Boys' is a known examples of the shield which
these perpetrators get which supports rape culture. I have always hated this
saying as it let them make mistakes without fearing consequences while girls on
the other hand suffer.
In India, rape is reported every 15 minutes according to official government
crime data. In the year 2017, 32,500 cases of rape were registered with the
police which means almost 90 per day. The National Crime Records Bureau on
October 21, 2019, released its report for the year 2017, which stated that
359,849 cases of crime against women were reported within the country.[i] Well
the numbers are much bigger as most of the rape cases go unreported.
This time when the whole country is under lockdown and the streets are
relatively empty, who would have thought of listening to new rape cases,
murders, and mutilations of women. So, the question arises that if women aren't
safe from rape even amidst this pandemic situation, will they ever be?
Coming across such horrendous rape cases every day, I wonder what would be the
factors contributing to the growth of rape culture in our country.
How Are We Promoting Rape Culture
There are several instances of people promoting Rape Culture.
Ignorance of Marital Rape
"My rapist doesn't even know he raped me, because the system told him he
Marital rape has given license to every man out there to have sexual intercourse
with their partner without their consent. This is still not criminalized in
India because the majority of people don't see things such as Marital Rape. The
foremost reason given by the supporters of this legislation is to protect the
sanctity of the institution of marriage. Here my question is - does being
married change the social rules? It's we who made these social rules.
not speak about it because of societal norms, the stigma against divorce, the
fear of getting judged and abandoned by families, and societal rejection. Our
system and our society both support marital rape which has given a bigger hand
in the rapid growth of rape culture.
Use Of Rape Jokes
We all come across people using these types of jokes while having fun with their
groups and mostly in case of fights. Survivors of sexual violence deserve
empathy and support. They should not be made feel triggered for the sake of a
few laughs. Also, these types of jokes validate rapists in their behavior and
thinking. Making such jokes is just plain insensitive and wrong
Advising The Survivors To Refrain From Sharing Their Assault With The
Authorities Or Outer World
This is the major reason why most rape cases go unnoticed. The victims are made
silent on the notion that these things they encountered are normal to women and
sharing it would lead to embarrassment in the society they live in. But the
people need to understand that by doing this they are not only trivializing
their trauma but also protecting the offenders from facing the legal action they
Blaming The Victim For The Inappropriate Actions Of The Sexual Offender
Rape not only destroys you physically but also mentally. The victims of sexual
assault undergo a lot of mental traumata. If this isn't enough society expands
it by shifting the blame onto them making their life miserable. In India, the
victims of sexual assaults are treated so badly than the perpetrators of the
This is one of the reasons why most of the victims end up taking their
lives. Victim blaming marginalizes the survivor, making it harder for people to
come forward and report the abuse they faced. By saying things like "you dressed
inappropriately" or "you provoked him", you are holding the wrong person
Ignoring Misogynistic Songs And Scripts In Bollywood Movies
In psychology, there is a very famous experiment of the Bobo doll[ii] which
tells us about a theory that how children adapt to the behaviour they are shown
on television. This is why a lot of credit goes to Bollywood for objectifying
women in the name of mere entertainment. And this is not only their fault, but
it is ours too. We watch these kinds of movies which is why they keep on
There are still many more reasons on how are we as a society play a considerable
role in the growth of rape culture. It is just we highlighted the major ones.
Everyone wants to stop rape but nobody knows exactly how to do it. This is the
reason why we end up creating an atmosphere that actually supports it. Rape
culture grows when people keep on normalizing everyday patriarchial beliefs.
Such culture demonstrates itself in ways invisible to us.
It is only be seen if
we recognize its existence in the films we watch, the way we speak, and the
words we use. Even after so many years, women are still seen as the property of
men which should be protected. In our society girls are restricted to wearing
clothes that reveal their bodies but boys are not told that girl's bodies are
not theirs for the taking and it is their sole responsibility to make sure they
are safe to be with.
Men are not natural predators, our behaviour attitude and
exterior factors contribute to making them so. Such behaviour is a product of
rape culture. We all need to understand that it is us who are instilling
discrete lessons in the minds of boys and girls about their position in society
and their responsibility.
Now comes the importance of consent in such cases. Sex
without consent is rape and here I am talking about marital rape. I find no
valid justification for viewing non-consensual sex between married couples to be
different from that of non-consensual sex between strangers. Nobody has a right
to force his will upon any other person.
Nothing changes when nothing changes.
So, there is a quick requirement for considerable changes in the law on sexual
offenses. Rape culture is highly witnessed in the jokes we make and the cuss
words used on regular basis, mostly by youth. It's high time to learn that jokes
on rape are not at all funny. There should a line between sensible jokes and
Songs and movies that project women as objects must be
banned and not allowed to be watched as people have a habit of recreating the
scenes they watch in their real lives. Sex education is highly suggested in
schools and colleges. When there will be a supportive and understanding
environment for the children, they will not resort to pornography or random
sites on the internet which could exploit their minds with filthy and negative
At last, we want to talk about victim blaming which is also a prior
concern. It should be noted that it isn't their fault or their dressing sense.
If clothes were of concern, infants and aged women wouldn't have got raped.
Instead of blaming we should provide them with an atmosphere in which they could
help them to overcome the trauma they faced.
It is time that we stop putting
blame on the victims and understand that it is the rapist who needs to get
punished. We know it won't be easy but it is worth trying. Change comes when we
stand together and fight for it. So let us unite in this and end rape culture at