Dear Youth of today,
What the F*** are you doing? That caught your attention didn't it? Until and unless you don't swear or use an expletive word, you just don't care.
My name is Ashneel Jaynesh Prasad, and I'm not a RAPIST. But I'm equally responsible for all the rapes that have taken place today and in the last few years. In December, 2012 a girl in Delhi, India was gang-raped, I was responsible. In January 2013, a 16 year old girl was gang-raped in Vanua-Levu, Fiji, I was responsible for it. An 18 year old girl was raped in Leeds, England on Friday (6th March, 2015), Ia m responsible for it.
I was born in a very traditionalist Hindu family. My parents taught me to respect woman. My religion taught me that a woman is 'Shakti' (the ultimate force). The Hindu scriptures taught me a woman is 'jag-jaanni' (Creator of the world). I was told to pray to the Hindu goddesses - Durga, Kaali, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Sita, Radha and Santonshi Maa, all of them depicting power of strength and righteousness.
In school, my friends were a mix of boys and girls. My teachers were woman. In fact until I reached class 6, all of my teachers were woman. My high school's principal was a woman. At school, I was taught the woman and men are the same, we all have the same rights and privileges. I was also taught that I as a man, should always protect a woman. "Respect her".
Now I'm studying in a university. My lecturers are women. My classmates are females. The bus-driver who drives me to university from home is a woman. I live in a country where the previous Prime Minister was a woman. The 'fish n chips' and the vegetable shop owners are a woman.
I didn't protect any woman when they were in need of help. I didn't take a second glance back a woman with a black-eye. I didn't ask a woman if she's alright when I saw scars on her hands. I didn't ask any of my female classmate, if she would like me to escort her back to her place after dark. I didn't stop any guy who flirted shamelessly with my high school girl classmates. I didn't ask my mother why is she too quiet, when she had some problems. I didn't ask my lecturer why she was sad, when she could had been harassed at work.
It is true, that our religion, our community, our scriptures, our leaders and our family tell us to respect woman. But do we? We keep a mourn of silence and turn a back to a woman who is in need. But before that, I had to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Its wrong to rape a woman, its wrong to hit a woman, its wrong to abuse a woman, but what's even more awful is where did this thinking, this thought to do so came from.
The very frame is equality is wrong. Why do we proclaim that everyone has equal rights, when it certainly isn't? Does woman get the same wage rate as a man everywhere? Does a woman get the same perks and advantages that a man gets all around the globe? NO. It is little things like this, that leads to the bigger crimes, more specifically RAPE. How? By doing little misogynistic things such as these, we, MEN, get's the idea that we are superior than woman. We are above woman, and woman can never be our equal.
Mukesh Singh (Rapist involved in the Nirbhaya rape) thinks that a boy and a girl is not equal. Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night and doing "wrong" things, wearing "wrong" clothes. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy. When (Nirbhaya) was being raped, she shouldn't have fought back. She should have remained silent and allowed herself to be raped! Now this is not just Mukesh's thoughts, millions if not billions of men around the world think the same.
Everyone tells me, as a men, I should protect women. But why? Why does a woman need's protection? I have never heard that a man needs protecting, so why does a woman needs protection? It is because of me. I have never raised the question why? Maybe I should have had. Maybe I should have had raised this question with my peers. Maybe my peers should have raised this question to other youth. And maybe the youth of today should have raised this question to the world.
When will RAPE-culture (I call it a culture cause when many people are just believing in something that is right in their head, it becomes a culture) end? Never! You know why? Because we aren't paying any attention. I have become so conscious about myself, my family, my future - that I have become blind to everything else. My friends, my peers, my mates have become so busy with their own boyfriends/girlfriends, we just don't have the time to think about it. It doesn't really affect us, does it? IT DOES DAMN-IT, IT DOES. A woman has been raped. God forbids, what if tomorrow it is your mother, your sister, your aunt, your grandmother, your wife, your friend who is being attacked, what will you do?
All of us study, and when our parents and our teachers ask us what do we want to with our lives, we very proudly and confidently proclaim 'I WILL CHANGE THE WORLD.' But if we can't change our thinking, how can we change the world. I beg the youth to wake up and take action. This is not my individual fight, this is our fight. I don't want tomorrow, whenever a woman looks at us, they have the fear 'Is he going to rape me?' I don't want a future when a woman has to be scared to live in her own community. I don't want a future where a wife has to live in fear of her husband - will he hit me again today? I don't want a future where little girls get raped. My self-respect is being tarnished when a men, raises his hands on a woman. My self-shame increases when a men rapes a woman.
We have the power in us to change the world. Let's start by changing our views in regards to a woman. Let's stand against men, community, religion, leaders, governments and countries who can't protect a woman. Shame on us Men, if we can't respect a woman. Shame on us men, if we can't stop another men abusing a woman. And shame on me, if I can't do anything about it. I ask each youth, men, leader and person who has a heart, join me in this and lets tell the world, its not okay to rape.
I'm a man, and I'm not a RAPIST.
|Ashneel J Prasad is the Oceania (New Zealand/ Fiji) correspondent of JeevanMag.com A Fijian of Indian descent, Ashneel is currently a student of B.A communications at Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand.|