Rape is not a hot topic

Rape is not a hot topic in India but a cruel reality. The widely spread news about the gang-rape and death of a young medical student in New Delhi in December 2012 has stirred an uproar in urban and rural India. The response from across the country stunned me as this particular incident stood out as a story of courage and struggle when hundreds of dalit women and children are raped and killed everyday in India. However, I am glad that people have come together to address rape culture and the struggle of this young woman has become a symbol of hope and courage. Every revolution has a beginning and this could be one..

Rape is not just happening in India. It happens everywhere and it happens every day. It is not just a sexual act of violence that is physical..it scars souls. I am not sure if this brutal act excites rapists sexually, but I am sure this is an act of power that men use to showcase their weak strength.  The power a man feels while raping a girl on a moving bus must be so thrilling that it overshadows the reality of life and respect. Not just respect for the woman but also his self-respect.

If the society treats women as mere objects of desire, oppression, violence and sexual gratification, this is the lesson we are passing on to the next generation. We need to challenge the patriarchal system which blames women for getting raped and start promoting concepts of positive masculinities. Our society needs to empower men and liberate them from chains of patriarchy and power. To promote mutual respect and positive understanding of sexuality is a social responsibility and this can help put an end to all forms of sexual harassment. There are no easy answers but we can work towards making India a country where women’s rights become human rights and not just a dream. We have lots of good men..we just need more!

How many Konys should we kill for putting an end to child soldiers?

The viral outbreak of the Kony 2012 campaign video has managed to captivate the hearts of many (people with good intentions). Kudos to some excellent marketing skills, they have sold the idea brilliantly! I wish we could use the same skills to promote the passion for justice without targeting an individual but to target issues from grass roots. The problems in Uganda and many other countries where war crimes are flourishing, is more complex and tormenting than what we see or hear. We certainly cannot relate to these crimes with the Kony 2012 video because this video wants us to promote the campaign and donate money. It does not ask us to promote awareness on children’s rights or human rights education but it focuses on buying a product and believing that by doing so, we are contributing to eliminating the evil from the society. Sadly, by supporting the campaign, we will not be destroying evil. If Kony is killed, the fighters from his troops will join other forces and still continue with their atrocities. Therefore, how many Konys are we going to kill?

If we really want to focus on the issue of child soldiers in Uganda, the first step would be to get our facts right and understand the current situation of the people. It is important to pay attention to the political and social framework. Radical understanding of the issues will contribute towards policy developments, awareness campaigns, promoting human rights education and many other methods that will actually help putting an end to violence and war crimes rather than being selfish and wanting to put an end to one person’s life. Policy development is crucial for governments and Uganda needs to have a stable government, one that is going to promote peace and justice, one that is stronger than the current system.

As individuals, we have a bigger responsibility towards protecting human rights and children’s rights rather than focusing on one person. In any case, I don’t think Kony deserves so much of our time and energy!