If you were to ask anyone what “consent” means to them personally, I’m pretty sure most girls would say, “When I say no, I mean no.”
Hopefully, most boys would say, “I respect my partner’s choices. If she means no, I’m going to stop right there.”
Sadly, this isn’t necessarily the case in India right now.
Rape has been a hot topic for the last few months as social media outlets, including Tumblr, have shed light on how gruesome and troubling the concept of rape is to our generation. But what is even more shocking has to the number of gang rapes that have been happening in India.
While you were busy watching this week’s MTV Video Music Awards, India was in turmoil once again over the country’s lack of protection for women. In Mumbai, India, five men tied up a 22-year-old female photojournalist and raped her repeatedly. Her male colleague was tied up with a belt before the five men took the woman into the bushes.
India has been dealing with high reports of gang rapes in the past years. Why is this type of violent act gathering more and more attention now?
It’s quite simple: Women in India didn’t have much of a voice until now, and it’s getting more violent and dangerous for women on the streets.
These rape cases have been causing an uproar, sparking protests across the country. Major Bollywood stars have come out and voiced their disgust with the Indian government, which they contend has not taken enough action. Campaigns and social media have been using Twitter to publicize the gruesome truth that is happening all the way on the other side of the planet.
Individual citizens are reaching out to the education system and calling for a reform. Women are coming out of the shadows one by one and admitting to being a victim of sexual harassment or rape.
Women in India are now in a stronger standpoint in society. They are no longer simply housewives. Girls are starting to go to universities, achieve political power and provide for their families, but for this trend to continue, women need to be able to feel safe.
The only hope India has now is to reform its culture and the way it teaches its young men. Maybe, one day India will be able to say that its streets are safe for women.
Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her at @tishnii