An international coalition of researchers recently released the results of a study conducted throughout 6 Asian nations, China, Bangladesh, Cambodia. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Papua New Guinea. They surveyed over 10,000 men and the responses were startling (although, not really, but I refuse to ever become desensitised to rape statistics). The survey found that, on average, 1 in 10 men admitted to raping a woman who was not their partner and when partners were included, it was around 3 out of every 10 men. The researchers were careful to not use the word “rape” because then it just sounds wrong so they side-stepped around it by asking if they had ever forced a woman to have sex, ignored when she refused, or had sex with a woman who couldn’t consent (either she was drugged or too drunk). This allowed the men to be more candid. Of the men who acknowledged forced intercourse (bka. RAPE), over 40% said it was because they were angry or wanted to punish the woman and over 70% admitted that their reasoning was because of sexual entitlement. They felt entitled to have sex with women, any woman they chose, any woman they had access to. They were entitled. Entitled to someone else, who isn’t really anybody because all we are is a body. A body for sexual pleasures.
What highlighted the results of the study was the coincidental timing of the death sentence of 4 rapists in India who brutally raped a 23 year old girl. Just for brief context, the woman was returning from seeing a movie with a male friend, they were lured by 6* men to ride a bus through the city, once on the bus the men beat the male friend and began taking turns raping the woman. When they grew tired, they began using a metal rod to rape her. The woman died 13 days later from her injuries. What’s remarkable is the fact that the rapists even went to trial. Far too often the rape is blamed on the woman, for so many of the same reasons we hear in this country “she shouldn’t dress that way””she was out too late””she was leading him on”, etc…No matter the country, no matter the GDP, the politics, the language spoken, women everywhere are far too often viewed as bodies. We are vessels to fertilize to perpetuate humanity and we are receptacles to receive the deposits of men.
We must declare our humanity as women, claim our bodies as our own, enforce our rights to our life. We have a right to live peacefully, to wear whatever the hell we choose, and to finally, one day, have the ability to live our life without the constant dread of being raped or sexually assaulted. Rape is not our fault. Nobody is entitled to our body, for any reason, ever. It is never okay.
*6 men were arrested for the crime but 1 died in police custody (police say suicide, others say murder) and 1 other was a juvenile who had been convicted of rape and sentenced separately to the maximum 3 years in prison.