Women suffer Sexual Violence and Rape. Peacetime, Wartime, Anytime.
And the world targets them for rehabilitation, reparation and healing. There are programs for women, education of women, making available healthcare for women, healing for women, fighting justice for women and reparation for women. All good, absolutely – no denying that.
But where are the men, in all of this?
While there is every ounce of pragmatism in involving women in any program that aspires to keep sexual violence and rape at bay, there is an added degree of prudence in involving men in the process of sensitization. Wars involve the perpetration of rape as an easy-to-use-weapon. When the bodies of women become battlegrounds, the future of the country is lost. Women are stigmatized. Consequently, the social institutions of families and procreative alliances break down. Men must be involved in the process of reconstruction by making them realize and understand the fact that there is no wrong on part of the women themselves for having been subjected to rape.
The ideal starting point is to inculcate understanding as to why rape is such an "effective" form of terrorism and genocide. Men must be made taught to understand that Rape does not only affect women but also their children, or, as the case may be, future children. Families must be able to understand the fact that rape has ramifications that affect them as well. Rape and Sexual Violence prevents mothers and wives from fulfilling their normal roles, it disrupts relationships between a husband and wife through the intervention of a spurious worm of distrust. Children suffer consequences as well, and when this happens throughout an entire community it then disrupts normal function of all contributors to that particular economy.
Very rarely do programs working on rehabilitating and avoiding Sexual Violence focus on the effect the incident has on men and their psyche. For starters, it is vital that the responsibility quotient or the blame factor should be tackled. There may be instances where men may feel they wronged their sisters, or daughters, or wives or mothers by not stopping them from being subjected to rape.
The relevance of this modus operandi in most social settings is that everything- be it culture or gender, is learned by imbibitions. When that is the case, if there is a culture of silence and impunity, it only breeds the birth of more harm. Men must not see women who are already raped as easy targets, because, well, they've already been raped. Significantly, it is also a very valid premise to understand that men must be involved in a program that understands that they also have been victimised.
So, again, Where are the men?
Kirthi Gita Jayakumar