I know the accuser Ashwini and personally think she’s very brave for coming out. Rape is a crime and guilt should be determined in court, so I can’t judge what the author Mr. Nizar has done. I can judge what he says, and he sounds like a poster-boy for rape culture.
If you want to understand how people rationalize and perpetrate rape (or just enjoy feeling rage and nausea), Fazl Muhammed Nizar is recommended reading.
How Do You Justify Rape?
The main justification for rape, at least according to a recent WHO survey, is sexual entitlement. The idea is that women – by having bodies and putting them in men’s field of vision – are asking for sex, which men deserve.
For an example of how this thought process might go, you can read Mr. Nizar:
In all fairness to the men and more often than not, women too need to take responsibility for rape figures to reach astronomical heights.
Giving a hypothetical example, the need for a single or for the deprived woman to attract a good man should be accepted as her universal right. And while at it, she also has the right to show her cleavage or her legs as much to net the most eligible man around. The problem starts only when the woman attracts the wrong kind of man and unknown to her initially. Had it been a case where the man was interested in her only for her physical looks and for expectations of sexual gratifications, rise it does a situation where only the fittest survives, followed by the worst. (Colombo Telegraph
Mr. Nizar can’t seem to understand that a woman might wear clothing because she likes it, or because it’s warm out, or just because. In his mind a woman’s body is not hers, it’s something that affects him and other men and if it’s out there then she must be looking for sex. And if rape happens, well, survival of the fittest.
We don’t apply this reasoning to anything else because it’s stupid.
If someone parks a nice car in front of you, you can’t just take it. You can’t steal from the supermarket if you’re hungry. With rape we’re talking about human beings and their bodies. The reasoning is beyond illogical, it’s unethical.
How Do You Blame The Victim
Aside from the tortured logic above, Mr. Nizar also demonstrated some practical victim blaming when Ashwini bravely said that he had abused her since she was 11 years old.
You can read his whole frankly repulsive comment here, but I’ll put it into bullet points. When accused of rape and abuse he responded by:
- Calling her dad a drunk
- Saying she kissed boys
- Saying one of her boyfriends killed himself
- Saying she ended a pregnancy
- Saying she drank and smoked weed
So basically, nothing to do with the allegations. The fact is that all of his accusations could be true and it would still be rape. He does nothing to address the actual allegation. Indeed, he later admitted: “I have slapped her a couple of times to control her, yes. And I am being honest.”
He also posted more recent photos of them together, which still doesn’t prove that there wasn’t abuse. Indeed, many people are close and remain close to their abusers.
What he seems to be practically demonstrating is the practice of blaming and trying to shame the accuser. Underneath that is the implication that whatever happened is her fault. A rape accusation is a serious thing and can be very damaging to a person. It hasn’t been proven in Mr. Nizar’s case, but his response certainly doesn’t make him look any better.
How Do You Reduce Rape?
So, given that we’ve gone through the torture of Mr. Nizar’s logic, what solution does he prescribe? Here are some of the more ridiculous options he proposes (also published in the Colombo Telegraph):
- Separation of men and women on buses
- Public flogging for cat calling, etc
- Segregated schools
- Knee-length swimming attire
- Registration of all men that move into a neighborhood
- The Department of Social Service to make house checks on women
I say ridiculous because it’s all based on a false premise. The premise is that men will rape if they see women, so hide the women. This is both insulting to men and dangerous to women. And completely illogical.
We don’t treat any other crime this way. We’re not like, oh, there’s been a murder in Nawala, don’t go to Nawala. Nobody’s like, oh, they robbed a jewelry store, don’t sell jewelry. No, the police investigate and people are arrested because these are crimes. Because it’s not the victims fault. Neither is rape.
Rape being a part of human history is undeniable. Rape being a part of our culture, however, is a choice.
The attitude of people like Mr. Nizar is that rape is a part of our culture (boys will be boys) and that covering women up is the only way to deal with it. This is wrong and goes against the currents of history.
We don’t give into the desires of murders and thieves and work around their needs, we build a better society, even if it takes a long time. It’s insane that we would structure our society around the proclivities of rapists.
What Mr. Nizar proposes is a defensive and weak society, where women hide themselves because rape is their fault. What the vast majority of people are striving towards is a society where women are empowered and free and where no one has to be ashamed or hide. That involves more women in power, more women in public, more freedom, more education and less shame. That’s a culture worth working towards, and it’s certainly more compelling than a rape culture with 1920s bathing suits.
The painting used up here is Susanna And The Elders by Artemisia Gentileschi, herself a rape victim and an artist.