The worst part about feeling sympathy for a victim of a crime is that we sometimes think we can understand and feel their pain better than they can.
I’ve recently come across such people. People who think that the girl who had been gang-raped and is fighting for her life in a hospital in Delhi, is a living corpse (‘zinda laash’) or that how will she live now; her life is spoiled, or her life is scarred forever, or as I’ve heard a person comment ‘she must be in so much pain, it is better that she passes away’.
Who on earth do these people think they are to judge whether that girl should live or die? (Not to mention the death rumors which have been circulating over Facebook.)
What are people trying to say here? Do they think every girl who is raped should just die? Are they supposed to push that girl into depression to a point where she finds no reason to live her life anymore? What are these people trying to prove? Are they trying to tell us that they are angels of mercy who care more about other people? This is what happens when people feel emotional about something but do not use their brains before expressing those emotions. When a girl is raped, either they say ‘why was she there in the first place, and at that time?’ In other words, you blame her. Or you say ‘Her life is spoiled. It’s a scar on her honor and her life.’
Where is your humanity people?!
Respecting a girl’s body does not mean that you end up burdening her body with the weight of family ‘honor’. She is raped. Does being raped mean there is no reason to continue living? People might go out on a march at India Gate to protest and fill their eyes with tears, demand ‘stricter laws and fast-track courts’, but there is something deeper that one needs to look at here.
Punish the rapist? Yes. Stricter laws? Yes. Fast-track courts? Yes. But to consider rape as an end to the girl’s honor and life? A big NO!
When will we stop doing that? Stop associating a girl’s honor with her sexuality? When will we stop associating the parents’ honor with their daughters’ virginity. Only when people stop doing that can they look at rape from a different perspective.
What is important is that we keep viewing rape as a brutal and a traumatic crime. However, when we see rape as something that the girl should be ashamed of or as an end to her happiness and life, we clearly state that there is no need for that girl in this world, in this society, or in her family anymore. We clearly state that there will be no opportunities of life, love and career for her. So it is best that she dies.
Rape can still remain a crime that should be punished because it is an attack on a girl’s body and dignity. But what needs to be changed is the perception about the girl who is raped. Being raped should not be something one should be ashamed of.
Will the trauma of rape be with the girl forever? Probably. Will she never forget that something so damaging like rape had happened to her? Most likely. But does that mean we should tell her to give up on life? Absolutely not! We do not have that right. Saying that would kill all the humanity within us. It would end all the reasons for our outrage against rape.
A news story I read recently said that the girl had written to her mother — ‘I want to live’.
If a person wants to live, who are we to wish for her to die? Who are we to decide whether being raped would be a permanent scar in her mind? Who are we to say that she should give up fighting for her life just because we get tears in our eyes when we see her in pain? Who are we to ask her to give up just because we are weak?
That girl wants to live. We don’t have the right to even wish for otherwise.
Sympathy is when you share the feelings that others feel. Sympathy is when you are inclined to support. People should not sympathize when they do not know how to.