In a world where sexual assault claims the well-being of numerous people every day, is it fair to accuse feminists of overplaying the victim card? Recently, on Twitter, ad-filmmaker Ramamurthy Subramanian has shared a rape joke that “cracked” him up. The joke reduces both survivors of sexual assaults and feminists to a hypersensitive bunch of people who fling rape allegations at every possible person/object in every possible situation.
That such a crass joke comes from a person who was once a voice against sexism is disheartening. Whatever may have led Subramanian to turncoat, this joke is a proof that for many men and women, the #MeToo Movement has been exasperating, as the naming and shaming drew blood very close to home. For them all the allegations of sexual assault thrown up in the air today are too absurd to be true.
Their reaction thus, comes across as a denial to accept that the state of affairs, when it comes to sexual misconduct, is so bad.
Can we afford to reduce a severe crime like rape to a joke?
It takes an overwhelming amount of courage for rape survivors to finally stand up to their abusers. Years of systemic oppression and shaming at hands of powerful predators had left them voiceless. Now finally they have a strong voice and support in feminism. Plus, if all the din over rape proves anything, then it is that how common sexual assault is. Which is why it needs to be called out, because unless we raise a voice, who is going to believe that we actually have a problem at hand?
- Ad-filmmaker Ram Subramanian shared a rape joke on Twitter which accuses feminists of precariously throwing up rape allegations in the air.
- Rape jokes undermine the survivor’s struggle and credibility and trivialise their ordeal.
- Also they come across as a denial among people to accept that the state of sexual safety is that bad.
Feminism is all about equal rights, and in this matter, it is about equal rights to have sexual safety. Again, feminism stands for rape survivors irrespective of gender, age or sexuality. Every person who endured this heinous crime deserves justice. Rape survivors deserve closure or at least a chance to voice their ordeal. The least we all can do is to give them this chance and empathise with their struggle. But all this effort gets undermines when rape is reduced to a joke.
Rape jokes are not funny and are offensive beyond acceptable. They trivialise a rape survivor’s trauma and the immense strength it takes to come forward with allegations.
But isn’t this what most people actually think of our stand against a gruesome crime? We live in a country where rape in the name of marriage and honour is still justifiable in the eyes of many. Where rape only means brutalisation, which turns your guts. People’s threshold for what counts as rape today is so high, that mere sexual assault is not enough to get their sympathies.
Also, this accusation that feminists cry rape at every possible occasion gives us a glimpse at the sexist mentality among people which degrades grievances by trivialising and generalising the issue at hand. This is the standard response, which sees every uprising against men’s privileged existence as unnecessary and unfair. Ironically, it is the sexist mindset which is playing the victim card here, by saying that rape survivors are making a big deal out of nothing.
So instead of accusing feminists of over-reacting, perhaps look at the peer behaviour on the streets and in bedrooms dear people. Talk to a few survivors about their ordeal and struggles to get justice. Hell, just listen to them about losing their dignity and credibility due to these rape jokes you find funny. Perhaps then you will understand how damaging these seemingly innocuous jokes are.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.