Whilst Sunny Hundal points his finger at the whole of India for its burgeoning rape epidemic, Jim Davidson has been arrested for sexual offences. In what seems to be a never ending spectacle of horror, Britain’s ‘National Treasures’ are being outed one by one for their abuse of women and children. The lead singer of The Lost Prophets has been charged with conspiracy to rape a child under 13, conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child under 13 and making, possessing and distributing indecent images of children. Rape Crisis Scotland responded to 12000 calls in the space of 12 months. End Violence Against Women revealed 41% of women aged 18-34 have experienced unwanted sexual attention. Meanwhile a New York police officer is accused of plotting to kidnap, rape and EAT women.
On doing a Google news search for rape, I went as far back as the 20th December only to discover that rape seems to have vanished from our streets. There were a couple of local reports of women being attacked by strangers in parks but the first 12 pages speak of India’s fall from grace. The whole world is rightfully appalled at the horrific way our sister met her end. But it seems to have had a magic effect on rapists the world over. Have they stopped raping?
I would love nothing more than for this to be true. But I feel it is unlikely when, on New Year’s Eve I stood waiting for a friend to collect me from Aldgate East station. It was 2am, I’d left one set of friends to meet another. As it drizzled, I stood under the canopy of the entrance, rolling myself a cigarette, hoping I wouldn’t be noticed. A group of lads exited the station and immediately gravitated towards me. I braced myself, angry that they would dare to do so. The leader of the pack stood in my personal space, less than a foot between us and stared at me square in the eyes. He had a sick cocksure smile planted on his face and leaned towards me. “Happy new year” he sneered. Of course all hell broke loose and I told him to fuck off in as many ways I could muster but he stood fast, my words barely making an impact. His friends were either side, all staring at me as they thought things and I felt sick. I remembered the woman from Delhi and I thought of whether she’d felt the same, did she think the approaching group of men were ‘just being a nuisance’? Did she know what they would do to her? Who could predict such a thing? It felt like they were there forever but then a male friend showed up. He saw me shouting at them and rushed over. I babbled at him, and he turned to them “if a girl tells you she doesn’t want to speak to you, you fuck off!” The whole party started shouting their excuses, denying their part, with no intention of backing down. A man passing by joined us and stood shoulder to shoulder with my friend. He threatened the other boys. So they skulked off.
I was shaken by this. I am no match for a group of men. My friend wasn’t much of a threat to them either. It was only as my situation drew attention they appeared to lose some of their power. Later that evening another group of strange men would surround my young friend and tell her she was a slut and should cover up with one of them stating Allah had granted him the right to put her in her place for being an apostate. This man was white with a ginger beard. Crowds of people stood around as they threatened us. Nobody spoke up.
Patriarchy is controlling each and every one of us right now. It’s telling us that the Indian rapist is a new breed of perpetrator, so horrific in his methods that we need to focus our attentions on sorting THAT country out. An epidemic suggests a rash of incidents, as if it’s a new problem or that somehow it has gotten much worse. That’s what patriarchy wants you to believe. India has always had a problem with rape. Just like the UK has always had a problem with rape. That’s how patriarchy works. And it keeps you battling the very same problems because it tells you it happened elsewhere. By pointing the finger at India and referring to the woman from Delhi as the Indian girl, it has become someone else’s problem. Instead of the global virus that it is. Rape is very widespread in India. But it’s widespread here too.
Damini’s rape will change India. It already has. Women are taking to the streets in solidarity. Global pressure and bad press will force Indian to review its penal code. If the mobs are successful, rapists will die. We hope. But when this happened to Mary Anne, what did we do?
It was 2006. Mary Anne was 16. She and a friend were abducted and then raped and tortured for several hours. The perpetrators had forced them to take drugs and they were repeatedly told they were going to die. Mary Anne eventually died from her numerous stab wounds. Her friend miraculously survived a bullet to the head. Where was the outrage for Mary Anne? Why are we not still angry?
Patriarchy minimises rape: “Do you honestly think a woman is treated the same in India as in the UK? REALLY?”. It defines it for you. When something like this happens to a woman, the menz trip over themselves to mansplain it to us. Instead of thinking, fuck those Indians need a telling off, why not think, fuck, rape is an evil thing and rapists need taking out? And then do something about it. Make it unacceptable to laugh or joke about rape lest the rapist thinks he’s got a friend in you. Raise your boys and girls with a clear understanding of consent. For a start, reason with your children why they must brush their teeth instead of forcing the brush into their mouth. Show them why it’s good to ask for permission.
Smash male privilege.
Smash the patriarchy.
Don’t feed the trolls.
This is not a race issue (which is one of patriarchy’s more evil inventions); this is about power and control of women by men. The only way to change things is to highlight them and keep the pressure on ALL governments. Let the rapist know we’re watching.
We’re watching the Indian ones right now.
Who’s watching ours?