Opinion: Let’s talk about it

Anushka Mukherjee | Staff Writer

I always thought that 2020 would be my year because I would finally get to be on the field and not just observe from the sidelines. But with less than a month left to go, there’s a part of me that fears what is to come ahead. The political and socio-economic state of our world is going downhill day by day. Every time I open to a news channel all I see is bloodshed and disputes all around. I can’t even remember the last time I walked away from a news article that made me feel proud to belong to this generation. 

And it’s not just the headlines in America, but even in my home country – India. A few days ago I woke up to the news of a young girl, Priyanka Reddy, who was gang-raped and burned on her way home from work in Hyderabad, India. 

I was appalled by this news. Every time I feel that we have made progress towards a better world, stories like this make me ashamed to belong to such a society. The ghastly crime led to a chain of social media rants by people. 

But to be quite honest, I don’t believe that simply expressing your anger and condolences in 125 characters is enough of an action. There have been over 30 horrific known rape cases in India alone. There are thousands of women who have been sexually assaulted or worse and all society has done is crib on social media on how change is needed. There are so few who actually care enough to take action and fight for change so that incidents like these don’t happen again. 

And the issue is about more than rape or sexual assault, it’s about being a better society. It’s about creating a world where women don’t have to constantly live in fear. It’s about being human. Has our society become so vulturous that even a divine power is afraid to intervene? 

Rape culture is pervasive because society has welcomed it with open arms. And with the increasing number of cases with no action, it’s up to us to start channeling our angst to cure rape culture. 

There are many little things we can do as individuals that can help our society become more apt to handle such cases. Victim-blaming, for instance, is often an idea that prevents sexual assault and rape victims from speaking out because they feel as though they are the problem. And along the same lines, the way such cases are handled and approached is another issue in the system. Instead of commenting on the victim’s sobriety, sexuality or clothes, society should be focusing on the rapist. We should be questioning men who see violence as the ideal method for obtaining power and who believe that sex is an entitlement. 

One of the biggest issues with rape is the role of “masculinity.” We allow rape culture to grow because we are brainwashed by ideas of masculinity that defines violence and dominance as “male.” 

As a society, we need to redefine the term “masculinity.” And educate others through community conversations. As teenagers, we are exposed to various stereotypes regarding masculinity, rape, feminism, etc. But instead of blindly accepting what society has been feeding us, we should challenge these ideas. 

Consent is another major player in this issue, and so it’s important to teach the upcoming generation about it at a young age. We can’t keep using “protection” as an excuse to not inform children about sexual violence. Instead, we should work to establish a safe place in our homes, schools, and communities for everyone to talk about such devastating issues. 

It’s time to stop talking about rape and sexual assault behind closed doors. Even if person starts the conversation, we’ll be one step closer to cancelling rape culture. So, will you start the conversation with me?