I have a serious disliking for the term ‘rape culture’ which has been floating around. It’s not something we’ve inherited, it’s not a result of collective human efforts and it’s certainly not a ‘thing to do’ among the masses. It’s a problem; please don’t over-intellectualise it.
For most part, the controversial BBC documentary has raised contradictory views among the public. Those in favour are hoping this would lead to awareness and resolution, while supporters of the ban fear defamation of India and generalization of our culture in the global media. When the Indian Government banned the television premier of India’s Daughter, a film by Leslee Udwin on the 2012 Delhi Gang-rape incident, the only platform that made it possible to see the documentary, share it and comment was Social Media.
#IndiasDaughter became the number one trending hash tag across the globe on the day of the release. Several users tweeted against the ban expressing that the move only reinforces the patriarchal set-up of our society and hints at the regressive state of our democracy. The ban and the hype around it only lead to amplifying viewership. The film might have become the most watched documentary in a long time. Which is what makes us wonder, was the ban necessary?
Rape is less reported than other crimes. Several cases of the past remain unresolved and pending with the judiciary. Unless we take an aggressive stand we cannot help victims who are battling shame, displacement and suicidal tendencies. The ability to experience multi-media on social networking platforms has made us curious and sensitive to issues where we don’t have first-hand access. Social Media has become a platform to challenge the norm by fuelling numerous conversations about this taboo topic of ‘rape’ in India.
NDTV went monochromatic in a silent protest for the hour that was initially allotted to the film. This dignified approach to raise a flag against the government’s decision was lauded on social media by its followers. On the contrary, the always misbehaving and clamorous Arnab Goswami of Times Now chose to stab the film and its message by labelling it a sensational stunt for TRPs.
#NirbhayaInsulted immediately trended attached to his name on social.
Several viewers around the globe didn’t agree with Udwin when she gave the bus driver/rapist Mukesh Singh a platform to speak through her film. If you’ve never seen confessions like these before, perhaps you should see what Oprah Winfrey found out when she interviews and video taped 200 child molesters. Monsters like these roam among us everyday and the film has made it easier to spot one. The cure here is to change the mindset but then again when you hear defence lawyers speak the way they did on camera, who’s to say the educated ones are any different?