India is a heady mix of contradictions, traditions, science, religion and culture. Almost everything is found here in different permutations and combinations and there are very few things that aren't normal. Even rape has become almost normal. Just think about the number of times you have told your girlfriend, friend, sister or any woman in your life to "get home safe", not to walk on a certain street or to not wear something while going to a certain place because she is at risk of being abused.

If she 'bares' it, she has to ' bear' it

Though we have moved about 5 years past blaming "western clothes"- wearing miniskirts or a T-shirt still warrants unwanted attention and if a girl unfortunately happens to be abused whilst wearing such clothes, then she has to bear the rape because she did not take the needed precaution of not dressing in "decent clothes". The amount of skin that she covers is proportional to her values and her "asking for it."

TRP's- The Rape Programming

The media today, is more bothered about getting their TRP's (Television Rating Point) or readership numbers to increase. Though showing rape on media is a good thing and it creates awareness, how this rape is portrayed is where the real issue lies. Rape victim's
stories are paraded around in the most sensationalized way that people no longer raise their voices to help the victims but rather tell their daughters to stay at home.

The glass ceilings might be shattering but the bottle is still taboo for the woman

Alcohol gives men an invitation to do whatever they want to a woman.
If a woman drinks then she has "no morals or values and is used". If she is already "used", then she will have no problem if she's raped.

She has male friends so she definitely is a "slut"

When we picture "rape culture" the only images that come to our mind are politicians, old men in khap panchayats, aunties who glare at girls when they talk to boys and uncles who stare at girls lecherously. But this is where we are wrong! How many times have you called someone a "slut" because you thought the girl had male friends? Though, it might not seem a big deal, even small comments reveal mindsets that contribute to "rape culture." There tends to be less sympathy for girls termed as "sluts" when they are abused or raped.

I am only singing it not living it

Switch on the radio and you will hear everything about how hot a girl is or what the singer would like to do to them. It's not the just the male tones but even lyrics sung by female artists objectify women. Switch on the TV and most songs will show women gyrating around men. It's almost like popular music is promoting the rape culture. By letting people know that they can call women whatever they want and they have to take it as a compliment.

Eve teasing doesn't make you a bold 'aadami'

No one bats an eye lid anymore when it comes to street harassment. If you are a girl/woman then you have braced yourself to being teased when you step out and if you see someone being eve teased you leave it to the norm as it's just "harmless." But what most of us don't understand is that this leads to perpetrators thinking they can get away with anything and girls think twice before they leave their homes.

Rape isn't just Rape; its ostracisation

A recent video showed people in India telling the interviewer that they would not want a rape victim marrying their son or they wouldn't marry a rape victim because if a woman has been raped she has lost all purity and has probably done something to deserve it. Rather than seeing her as a survivor who stands as an example that our society needs to change she is seen as the contaminator of everything innocent.

The word-Rape

Rape is not just used to describe what it really stands for anymore. We use rape to describe sports, the crazy night we had or if two friends had a nasty argument. Rape is not serious anymore. It is a colloquial word that we can use without realizing the gravity of its meaning. The more lightly we take 'rape' the heavier its consequences get.

Voices of those who have been campaigning for a safe society for women are getting hoarse. People are tired of hearing another rape story. Whether it is a 2-year-old child or a 30-year-old woman, it's a story that's been "done to death". We are living everyday trying to pretend it is a mythical, fire breathing dragon living in a far off castle but in fact rape has got so serious that it is being called a "culture." It's time we stopped avoiding rape and started preventing it.

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