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Why self-defense and other “solutions” can’t end rape culture

Last month, I wrote how patriarchy and racism give birth to rape culture, not a drunk woman or her miniskirt. It generated quite a response, but for any blogger, academic researcher, activist, and feminist, who is trying to steer the dialogue on rape culture towards the correct framework of patriarchal order and racial discrimination, the real aim is not to create a buzz, sensationalize or draw attention to himself or herself. We do it because we want a change: a change in mindsets, and a change in approach, and all this starts with the change in framework. But it is baffling to see the dialogue outside of these platforms going off tangent, in random directions. This needs to stop, now:

  1. Self-defence classes:Really? So if a woman can learn to pin someone to the ground, she can stop the sexual assault and put an end to rape culture? I think it is a great bragging skill, but not the solution to prevent rape culture. How about when women are at their most vulnerable? Women who are passed out? Women drugged on a date? Little girls? And violence for violence?
  2. Anti-rape underwear: Seriously? Yes, a shock might deter someone who is trying to tear it off a woman. But will that end rape culture? Especially when there is a gang of men around the woman? Will the police magically appear and stop the assault just in time? And not to forget that every time a woman steps out, she has to wear it, with the grim reminder that she can be grabbed any second and sexually assaulted.
  3. She is someone’s (something): A woman is someone’s sister, daughter, partner, wife, mother, so it is wrong to rape her. Yes, she is, but first, she is a person, a human being, with a physical body and a soul. How about respecting that first, instead of focusing on her gender? She doesn’t need your sympathy; she needs equality.
  4. Safety tips for women: So you do think it is a woman’s problem? How about teaching the importance of a healthy sexual relationship and the significance of consent to BOTH boys and girls?
  5. Community problem: Uh, please stop hiding behind the veil of culture, race, nation and religion. None of that teaches rape. It beats me that I still have to defend this framework! Men of all cultures, races, nationalities and religion rape women. The culprit is power imbalance between a man and a woman and racial discrimination.

Now don’t focus the dialogue on my observations and me. The above approaches may act as tools to fight a sexual assault, not curb rape culture. What we are demanding is: shake the very foundation of patriarchal order, and reorganize it, where rape is not a woman’s problem. Period. Next step: end the rape culture.

Republished with permission from author. Read more on her blog. 

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