What happens after rape? What should happen?

One Sunday afternoon, a young woman, a school teacher, is abducted from near her house by two men in a car. She is taken to a secluded area, where she is raped by the men. She is unable to identify the men as they wore masks.

Within 24 hours, the police arrest the rapists. They are the driver and cleaner of the school bus by which the young woman commutes to and from school. They had raped the young woman to ‘teach her a lesson’ for reprimanding them for using abusive language while on duty.

The young woman’s marriage had been scheduled to take place about 6 months later. They had first been introduced to each other about a year back by an amateur ‘matchmaker’, a mutual friend of both their mothers. Both her parents and her fiancé’s parents had wholeheartedly approved the marriage plans.

A few weeks later, the young woman’s fiancé meets you and informs you that, following the constant advice from their families and close friends, his parents want him to call off his marriage. He had himself decided that he would go ahead with the marriage once his fiancée was ready to do so, but his parents’ words have shaken him. He seeks your advice.

What would you advise the young man to do under each of the following situations?

1. You are the young woman’s sibling.
2. You are the young man’s sibling.
3. You are the young woman’s cousin/uncle/aunt.
4. You are the young man’s cousin/uncle/aunt.
5. You are the young woman’s friend.
6. You are the young man’s friend.
7. You are a friend of both.
8. Both are not known to you.

Is your advice the same in all 8 situations? If not, why not?

It is very likely that you are unable to come up with an honest answer, even to yourself.

Ideally, what should the young man do? How do we bring ourselves to the situation where each of us would advise him to do that, irrespective of how or whether we are connected to both or either?

Other posts on Humanism and Sexual Harassment:
If a girl is being sexually harassed …
Thwarting sexual harassers, Reducing sexual harassment
If a woman tells you she has been raped …

8 thoughts on “What happens after rape? What should happen?

  1. While being the advisor, my answer will remain the same – ‘Yes’, the more difficult question to ask and answer would be ‘What if YOU yourself are the bridegroom in question. What would you do if you were in such a situation?”
    1. Would you be Okay to marry a woman who has been raped?
    2. Would you be able to handle the pressure you’re facing from your family?
    3. Would you be able to convince your family and get your wife the place and respect due to her, in her new family?
    As an advisor, one can say what’s right or wrong. But, the executor is the bridegroom so it should be only and only his decision. No one’s advice or opinion can/should matter.

    And, I think here a woman’s answer doesn’t matter, it’s the menfolk who need to answer this. Honestly.

    • I agree that, in this situation, it is the man who has to decide.
      ‘No one’s advice or opinion can/should matter.’ Agreed, but what’s the ground reality? People who are not connected to the persons in any way will put all kinds of direct and indirect pressure, especially in case of marriage, and especially if the immediate family is susceptible to pressure. Ask people who have had an inter-religion or inter-caste marriage. Read http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/dalit-youth-ilavarasan-found-dead/article4881007.ece
      We have to work hard to remove prejudices (in so many matters) that exist in ourselves.

      • When I said people’s opinion/advice, I meant the ‘advisor’s advice’ that the bridegroom was seeking. Of course, the man needs to fight the prejudices at home. And the only way those prejudices can be removed or diminished, I feel, is by being a living example.
        I’m a married woman and I have to fight many small battles myself to bring about any change in the family. And if I can back up my change with one example of someone else doing it, it becomes much easier….for them to accept, and for me to explain.

  2. I am a woman, so seeing this from the girl’s perspective seems easier to me. I would ask the man to go ahead with the marriage, because:
    1. the fact that she was raped is not her fault.
    2. a rape is a more of an emotional violation than physical, as it leaves indelible scars on the mind of the raped one. It is now that she needs the support and understanding of the ones who love her,to realise that she is not responsible for what happened to her, the perpetrators of the crime are.
    3. this could’ve happened after the marriage also. What would he do then? disown her? Or will the parents and so called friends ask him to divorce her then?

  3. The answer is very much a yes. But i am glad the guy got this doubt before marriage and not after. Marriage in India is about 2 families and not just 2 people. I am not saying there are no success stories of marriages without parent’s permission. But the case here is slightly different. Unless this guy is strong and sure that he will be able to stand by her come what may…there is no point in ruining 2 lives. I totally agree with what sreeja says. good point. Cause people who talk now will keep talking after the marriage too. He should not get second thoughts later on.

  4. Pingback: Tackling workplace / sexual harassment | Proactive Indian

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