Sunday, April 28, 2013

Rape Isn't a Sport

To people who use "rape" to describe a cricket performance:

There is nothing even remotely funny about rape. If you think it is a clever word to describe the utter decimation of a cricket team by another, think again.

You are on Facebook. You are actively vocal about your opinions thanks to its Status Update feature. That makes you tech-savvy and educated. Wait, did I say educated? I take that back. I’ll go with "literate". You are literate enough to voice your opinion about a cricket match, but when you say things like "XYZ raped the ABC team" or "XYZ was gang-raped by 11 men", you prove you are far from educated.

We live in India during a time when no other word is more commonly splashed around in the media than "rape". We have the dubious distinction of nurturing a "rape culture".

Rape culture does not just begin and end with the men who think that women are mere objects for them to violate. Rape culture includes the society that encourages it. A society that is insensitive to the plight of thousands of women and young girls who are brutalized.

That society includes you. You who so callously bandies around words like "rape" and "gang rape" to describe a cricket performance.

Think about the young woman who was gang raped by six men on a bus, who screamed for help even as the brutes gouged out her innards with an iron rod. Think about a five-year-old girl who lies in a hospital, traumatized after being gang raped by two men – men who did things so terrible to her tiny body, it makes me sick to even mention here. Think about the six-year-old girl who was found in a public toilet, raped and left for dead, her throat slit.

That is RAPE. Is that what you equate with the blistering knock of Chris Gayle? Is that the word you want to use to describe the complete annihilation of PWI or RCB?

Are you that insensitive? Or is it simply apathy? Are you so smug and content in the belief that it couldn't happen to you or to someone you love? That rape only happens to someone else – some nameless faceless stranger whose ordeal earns her a two-column piece on the front page, an hour’s debate on the 9:00 news and a candle light vigil at the India Gate.

What if (God forbid) it did happen to you or someone close to you? Would you still use "rape" or "gang rape" to describe a spectacular performance?

Open the dictionary. You will find it to be a wonderful book. There are words like "decimate", "obliterate", "annihilate", "drubbing", "defeat", "vanquish", "expunge" and more. Or is your brain, much like your petty insensitive mind, so tiny that it can only grasp completely inappropriate four-letter words?