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Let’s Talk About Rape

No, no. This does not come as an insight into the interview of the Nirbhaya-rapist and his lawyer. Their mindset is something that continues to elude me. This article talks about our mindset. By “us”, I mean the generally literate upper and middle class.

How often have you heard someone say “The chemistry paper raped me”, or someone add, “Let’s go rape this quiz”? I am pretty sure that you have heard people say “Germany raped Brazil in the World Cup” after the seven-goal rout.

As a fan of the German football team, I have no problem with Germany beating Brazil black and blue (or was it white and gold?) Nor do I have a problem in winning a quiz or nearly flunking a test. What I do have a problem with, is people using the word as heinous as “rape” in a casual (and often positive) sense. They probably don’t even think twice before saying it. You too might have said it sometime in your life without even giving it a thought. And that exactly is why I am writing this blogpost: to make you think.

Think about this:

Every day, 93 women in India alone get raped (Source: Bureau)

Not by their math exam, not by their job interview, but by real men. Their pain is more real, more excruciating than you can ever imagine. What if you end up casually tossing that word in front of a victim? Imagine what she feels when she hears you throw around the word so easily. Imagine the nightmarish memories that flood her mind in that very moment. A person who has never been raped can hardly empathize with a rape-survivor. When you use a word so trivial to you, you never understand what the person in front of you goes through, because of something you did quite unintentionally.

 

Let us not trivialize a word as heinous as “rape”. When you use it in the positive sense, you are glorifying the act of rape as a show of extreme dominance. When you use it in the negative sense, you are comparing the pain of being asked tough questions to the pain a victim feels when she has been overpowered and humiliated. Either of the ways, I do not see any justification for the use of the word.

In case, after all this, your vocabulary is running short, and you cannot think of a better word than “rape” to convey how well you did in your last exam or the number of goals you scored against your little brother on PlayStation, here’s a list of words that should help you out:

Ace, annihilate, beat, conquer, defeat, drub, eclipse, exceed, excel, master, outclass, outgun, outmatch, outshine, overturn, own, prevail, skunk, subdue, surmount, top, triumph, trounce, upend, whup…

I just gave you 25 alternatives for one word. Surely, you do not feel compelled to use that one word, do you? Or does the short skirt of the drunk-and-alone word compel you to use it over and over and over again?