By Saquib Salim,
I am not really a soccer fan and I do not want to pretend during world cup, just because everyone else seems to be following the FIFA world cup. My knowledge of the ongoing world cup is limited to the posts of people on social media. Most people around me in the hostel were keen to watch the semi-final between Brazil and Germany as I prepared to sleep on July 9.
The next day, as I woke up and checked the Facebook, I got to know that Germany had humiliated Brazil by a score of 7-1. What caught my attention was something else. The first Facebook update, I came across read, “Finally The #Destruction, The #Carnage, The #Rape is Over! #BRA 1 – #GER 7”; and then a series of Facebook updates, tweets and WhatsApp messages which compared the victory of Germany over Brazil to rape.
This is something that really worried me and led me to write this piece. How in our social constructions we really put rape? Such type of messages, updates and comments clearly show the mindset we have created in our society towards the rape, the rape victims and the rapists. And mind you there are lots of female who used this analogy or just overlooked it while commenting on such updates.
What such insensitive remark actually shows us is the portrayal of rapists as a victor, as someone who is heroic and does something commendable. In this case, it is Germany who “raped” Brazil. Germany did a “heroic” task by thrashing Brazil to defeat in front of its home crowd and this act is compared on the social media as a ‘rape’ done by them. On the other hand, Brazil who was ‘raped’ should be sympathized with. It also downplays the rape as just another way of defeating your rival. It is as normal as any other defeat in any sport. And here the Brazil, the “rape” victim in this case, should be ‘ashamed’ of this fact that it let the rape happen to it.
It is not a problem which is limited to the social media like Facebook and Twitter; it is in our social construct where rapists ‘rape’ because they have power to do so. If you have power than only you can rape. Rape is considered as an instrument of claiming ones dominance over the other. That is why in war zones, during conflicts, in riots etc. women are target of one particular group by the other to show the dominance and power that they yield over the others. As in Muzaffarnagar riots, last year the call given by some groups was of ‘Bahu Beti Bachao’ (Save daughter and daughter in law) we can see that how closely our society connects violence against women as an instrument of show of power.Prestige is directly connected to the women and in this conflict of dominance and prestige, one who suffers is the woman of one group or the other. In such a social construct woman are targeted, objectified and subjugated for they become the instrument of male power and dominance. Rape is seen as the instrument of controlling the women and in a way the whole group to which they can be identified with.
The ease with which so called educated people on social media are falling to these connotations of sexual dominance and violence shows the deep rooted extent to which such notions have penetrated in our society. It also tells us about the issues our education system has failed to touch upon, and most important of them is gender equality. How one society can think of development if it wants to subjugate half of its own through violence and dominance. People have to be told and made to realize that rape is not about celebrating victory of powerful over weak, it is a serious crime against the humanity which cannot be just laughed off.
(Saquib Salim is a student of History at JNU.)