Culture’s Lies


I sat there nursing my warm cup of chai, trying to stave off the morning chill. It was my first visit to the Ending Gendercide Project in India, and I was trying to take it all in. The normal morning chit-chat had moved towards a discussion on recent cases of harassment and rape of women that had made international headlines. As we reflected on the horrible tragedy of each case one of the men in the office began talking about the Indian public’s reaction to the cases. I sat in horror as he recalled responses various public figures had to the events:

“Women display their bodies and indulge in various obscene activities…women equally responsible for crimes against them”

“She (the rape victim) should have called them [her rapists] brothers, fallen at their feet and pleaded for mercy…”

“Women should not venture out with men who are not relatives.”

“How can this be?” I thought, “How can people have such a distorted view on who is ultimately responsible for rape and harassment?” I began to condemn Indian society in my mind for such a ‘backward’ view of the issue. Then the memories from home came flooding in.

“women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”

“…[the victim was] older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation…”

“Obviously, I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position…”

It was then that I realized, this is not a problem with just Indian society, but with humans as a whole.

One of Reconciled World’s core values is Nurturing Truth and Confronting Lies. Let me tell you, “women are responsible for being raped” is about as big a whopper as they come. Somewhere along the way we (and by “we” I mean you, me, India, the US, New Zealand…WE) have bought into this lie that women are responsible for the disgusting acts of men. Yes, the Bible speaks about women being modest and not being a stumbling block to men. But does this mean it’s their fault when they are attacked? Hardly. If you continue to read, the Bible also speaks about men being responsible for their actions in regards to women. It’s a lie that traces all the way back to the beginning of time. Adam, after eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, refuses to take responsibility for his part in the sin he just committed. Instead, he blames it all on Eve, as if she shoved it down his throat.

Valuing women can be a difficult topic, especially in the US, where everything has become so politically charged. But we need more people to stand up and say “enough is enough” and start speaking out about the injustices against women that are happening in our own back yards. Violence against women, in all its forms, is not a problem of one particular country or people group, but one which is prevalent in every society, many times behind closed doors. It’s so easy to say, “Well in (insert your country here) we don’t have these problems, it’s a problem with ‘them’.” However, I don’t think it would take any of us too long to come up with cases in our own countries where women have been the victims of violence and abuse. We need to stop thinking of this as an issue with ‘them’ and starting recognizing it as a problem with us.

Image courtesy of Devon Buchanan / Flickr.com
By | 2014-03-14T08:30:54+00:00 March 14th, 2014|Categories: Learn and Apply|Tags: |

About the Author:

Jordan calls New York home, but has spent most of his adult life moving from one place to the next. Fully embracing his nomadic lifestyle he loves traveling, new foods, and photography.

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