I’ve been afraid of rape ever since parental supervision started going out of style. Those after-school specials about sexual predators lurking in a shadow near you totally worked on me. It doesn’t govern my life, but it’s a fear that sits in the back of my mind only jumping into the foreground when I’m offered a drink from a stranger or walking home alone at night.
So I’m a bit annoyed by the discussion about rape as an India-specific problem lately. The threat of rape exists for every women, everywhere.
The media coverage around the recent gang rape cases in India have spurred much dialogue about rape. Although healthy discussion about the issue exists, there’s a lot of scapegoat action happening too. Many spoke about the cultural reasons why rape was a problem in India or how a solution was required to save tourism. That’s when I started fuming. Rape goes far beyond the borders of any one country and tourism should not be a key driver in the fight against rape.
Let’s stay on task. Rape deserves serious attention from every country. We cannot afford to write it off as an Indian only issue because this undermines the gravity of the rape problem and makes it easier for other countries to ignore it, limit funding and the like.
Let’s consider the US for a moment. A few years ago, I was shocked by a book called Body Wars by Dr. Margo Maine when it published the following stats after surveying a sample of American college men…
30% would rape if they knew they’d get away with it
58% would force women to have sex
83 % said that some women just look like they are asking to be raped
It’s dangerous when the conversation begins to infer that rape is symptomatic of India. The message of intolerance should not be impacted by geography, but should simply apply to rape – full stop. This is especially important since some men think it’s okay to rape women. And they can be found anywhere.