Rape is commonly defined as sexual intercourse with a woman against her will and without her consent. Rape is not sex or a crime of passion; rather, rape is an expression of violence, anger, and power meant to humiliate the victim. The act of rape is a heinous crime and it violates the most basic right of a person i.e., the right over one’s body.
A person who is raped suffers not only physical trauma resulting from the assault but also emotional trauma associated with the intrusion of her body by force. This trauma is worsened through victim-blaming where the blame is shifted from the assailant responsible for the violence of this crime to the victim, often wrongfully accused of provoking the crime.
Rape has its roots in, and is perpetuated by, society’s attitudes and perceptions towards women. Women are often perceived as insignificant and treated as sex objects while men are perceived as superior beings, having the right to behave as they wish and who have uncontrollable sexual urges. With this type of thinking deeply entrenched in society, rape will not only continue to persist but will be mistakenly perceived as excusable or even acceptable.
Moreover, the current definition of rape has many limitations as it:
- excludes other violent acts such as penile penetration of the victim’s mouth or anus, or insertion of fingers and other objects into the survivor’s vagina, and
- excludes the possibility of men being raped when in reality men and boys are also subjected to acts of sexual violence, degradation, and violations of their body too
However, these acts may currently constitute the crimes of outrage of modesty, outrage on decency, carnal intercourse, or attempted rape. Further, this definition excludes the possibility that wives can be raped by their husbands, thereby treating married women as the property of their husbands and to be used by them as they please.
WCC strongly believes that no one deserves to be raped and no one has the right to rape. No one has the right to abuse his or her power through any forms of physical assault. In no way, should a person be blamed for being raped. Our role is to provide a support system to equip and inform the community and to help rape victims deal with their physical and psychological trauma.
Each of us can play an important role by educating our family members, our colleagues, and the people with whom we interact. Men and women must treat each other with respect and women should not be treated as subordinates.