Stop blaming the victim

It is horrible hearing the details of a rape on television, but what is even more horrifying is how people continue to blame the victim.

Recently, Asha Mirje, a leader of India’s Nationalist Congress Party and a member of a women’s commission, made public comments about the 2013 gang rape of a Delhi medical student that were completely unsettling.

Last December, the 23-year-old, known to the nation as “Nirbhaya,” was returning home from a movie theater when she boarded a bus carrying her rapists. The men beat Nirbhaya with a rod until she lost consciousness. The men then took turns raping her for an hour in the moving bus and then dumped her naked body on the side of a road. The woman died of grievous body injuries 13 days later.

In a four-page statement given a few days before she died, the victim pleaded with authorities to “burn them alive.”

The judge found all the men guilty on eight counts, including rape and murder. He said the crime had been committed on the “defenseless” woman in a “premeditated manner”.

While most of the country is outraged by the rape, Mirje implied that the victim had is coming to her.

“Did Nirbhaya really have go to watch a movie at 11 in the night with her friend?” questioned Mirje. She also commented on the notorious rape of a 23-year-old photojournalist, who was raped in a deserted mill that she was photographing for the magazine she interned at. Mirje questioned, “Why the victim [went] to such an isolated spot at 6 p.m.?

Mirje defended her views in an interview with the Hindustan Times.

“I just said that although men are responsible for rapes and molestation, women too need to take more precautions in order to protect themselves,” she said.

enhanced-buzz-24336-1378823268-8Citizens protesting for harsh punishments of the Delhi rapists.
Photos Courtesy of Buzzfeed

Regardless of whether or not Mirje intended on promoting the “blame-the-victem” attitude, she did. Women take special precautions at night, carrying keys, pepper spray or other defensive mechanisms in their hand before walking alone at night. It is no accident that the Delhi victim was walking with a male counterpart. Oftentimes, women choose to walk with male friends or in a large group to get “safety in numbers.” It is ridiculous that women need to take precautionary measures and constantly be “on alert” when walking at night.

7c67c68a11864395d74062475601eb91A woman protesting at an anti-rape rally.
Photo Courtesy of Pintrist

The above photo is one of my favorites. It completely debunks the “she was asking for it” myth. Who cares what a woman is wearing? Wearing a low cut dress or a tight blouse doesn’t mean that sex suddenly doesn’t have to be consensual. Everyone can be a victim of rape: children, men and woman. Instead of teaching our children to cover up, we should be teaching our children to not rape and promote safe, consensual sex.