“War is not the answer, we don’t want war” – the lady had posted on Facebook.
Comment: “Let’s see who saves you from getting gang-banged in Tipu Sultan’s mosque lane where you keep going to sell your body you bitch.”

“Please join me in marching against spreading hatred under the guise of patriotism.” – the college student had posted.
Comment 1: “You whore come suck my cock.”
Comment 2: “You cunt! What’s your hole’s size? How many Mullah’s dicks have you been stuffing together in that fuck hole you twat?”

“This is not right, we are not the ones who will fight the war at the borders. It is wrong of us to call for something just because it seems to puff our masculinity, when we are not the ones who will lose most in it”- the young office guy had said.
Next thing you know, the comments are full of his girlfriend’s pictures that somebody hunted out. And then follows the same, predictable public groping. What’s this hoe’s rate? Which all army camps should we parade her naked into, those soldiers need some fun!

Examples like these? Countless, countless underneath any single post.
Did I hurt your sensibility and add a bitter draught to your evening tea? How did I, a so-called good girl from a good family come up with bad words like these? Is your head hurting and are you getting angry reading these? You know what- I, we, the women and few others in this country- we are hurting too. We are hurting, we are angry, and we are bleeding too from this daily onslaught of unbridled, disturbing lust under the shield of religion that gets hurled at us day in and day out.

The Pulwama terrorist attack is frightening, it is detestable. Not only did it kill 42 brave human beings, it shattered and amputated 42 families. This is a very deep lacerating wound on a nation. Yes, we are angry too- we are all angry after it and that is only natural. But what about what followed? What about the unprecedented amount of violence that social media saw and spread the following few days, what about how it used the crutches of patriotism to disable others, the way people went door-to-door hunting out the people sane enough to demand logic and not repeating the we-want-war rhetoric, the way they were attacked, publicly shamed, traumatised- where will be the court-martial to give justice for the way they were wronged in the aftermath?

Arguments, difference of opinion- this part is expected and natural. But this rigid, self-defined, absolute version of what patriotism is, and the subsequent hooliganism that follows to beat it into everyone else- whatever this perversion is, this is NOT your love for your country. Oh and if the person with a voice is a woman, then of course these self-declared patriots have their weapons already laid out for them. The best ways to shut her down are violent rape-threats, objectifying her, setting a rate-card for her body, and well if she is not in the grasp for that feast- then virtual rape is always there at their behest. Yes, rape- the endless power game, fuck her into submission. And this rape culture, this religion guised lust, these are all weapons by which they can catch a differing voice right at the throat. Because when it comes to this, you and I and all of us who are shocked hearing of rapes and demand immediate justice and death-by-hanging and public execution and genital mutilation of the rapist and wonder aloud where all these rapists are coming from, what is giving birth to them- many among this very same cohort of us go on and threaten online sexual violence to a woman or at least stand back and support the others doing so- just because her opinion does not match yours, because a woman with a voice is a whore and she is asking for it. Think about the gush of rape threats, the online sexual violence, the gendered harassment that followed in the foreground of this recent sad day- will you still not realise that rapists are not a different tribe, that they do not come from anywhere, that they are right here hiding behind the very normal, very plain faces all around and between us?

So deep is this rape culture engrained and enrooted into the underbellies of our society, that it does not hesitate to spread its arms up and spread even at the expense of the nourishment being derived from the untimely, violent demise of 42 young lives. This is like a game, a sport. A sport where university students all 22-23 years old discuss and decide and auction the price on the body of that differing voice, and calculate how best to rape her- all of this publicly on comment-boards while calling it patriotism. Or love for culture. Or religion. Backgrounds change but the weapons do not. These past few days, the ones who were sitting and listing out the sexual violence to-do manual each time they found a woman with a differing opinion- most of them are educated, most of them come from pretty privileged backgrounds, are part of the so called spine of the society and yet have normalised this rape culture so well. And that is the scary part- because what rids them of it then, if it is the have-it-all class that is the one perpetrating it? And sadly, even though less in numbers, it is not just the men- I saw women who were enabling and encouraging the men to rape to shut down the differing voice of other fellow women as well. While standing back, disguised and unnoticed – patriarchy slyly laughs.

And what if the differing voice is that of a man? One example I had already given in the beginning- and that is definitely and thankfully not the only one. In this case, his girlfriend was targeted. The way to rape a man is mostly to rape the women in his life. And thus follow the widely imaginative verbal research on which whore-house his mom goes to, what is her rate for a blowjob and what is it for a hard-fuck, which all traitors she has slept with and in which all places she can be raped, and what all things can be inserted into her vagina (a soldier’s gun? a flagpole? a bayonet?)- nothing is left out. And who engages in these discussions, yes the very same group calling the country a mother and chanting in the name of Bharat Mata- the very same group. Because Mother India whispered into the ears of her favourite sons to go forth and rape, and derive fanatic joy from harassing the real women in the country, right? Where will we hide this shame? Where will we hide this shame that the spine of the country is the one insulting it the most and we are all letting it happen, under the name of patriotism!
We have witnessed similar incidents even in the past on social media, but these last few days it is as if some invisible dam has broken. It is as if there is a running credit score- in favour of who uses the more rape-metaphors, who can describe it more graphically, who can describe more methods for it and who can describe it more systematically. The normal faces around us, the violence and the teeth and nails with which they are cyber-raping is of a whole different rabid level. And we are enabling it. Because look at how fearless they are, not even an iota of fear or shame in their nefarious behaviour, instead calling it a deed for the country!

We, who have lost count of the number of times we have been sexually harassed on roads, at work, in our homes, and add on it the latest-on sexual media, we who have faced it and crossed it so many times in so many different ways that at some point we had become immune to it- today we are also frightened again, anew. Not for just us ourselves, but for all the victims around us. For that woman from example 1 who is scared to board public transport, for that girl in example-2 who has been traumatised so much by the indescribable cyber-rape she was subjected to that she has been reduced to a shadow of herself and only barely exists now, afraid every moment of the next. And I am scared for that young boy- the one who whose normal, innocent face is nurturing a rapist behind it day-by-day, who is being taught to curb everything- these are the ones who will rape one day the moment opportunity presents. Because he is seeing, assimilating, and learning- that there is nothing to stop him, in fact if you can find a good enough excuse people will sit behind and laud you. And I am scared for that girl who felt that raping the other girl into submission is called for. I am scared for this society who feels there are scenarios that justify rape. Because in one way or the other, she was asking for it.

Mukesh Singh from that fated bus that Nirbhaya boarded, felt the same way too. That rape can be done anytime you want to. A girl who goes out at night is asking for it, she deserves to be raped. So much so that even knowing that a death penalty is in order, he did not care to declare it aloud. Just the way our cyber rapists are doing. Rape is justified, because she differed in her opinion. Rape is justified because how dare she have a voice. So where is the difference, I ask? Because I do not see one. Nd yet, this year too, we will reel in shock reading how India ranks high on the number of sexual assaults and rapes. We will get shocked hearing of the rape in our neighbourhood and curse and swear at the rapist from an alien planet landed among us and then go on with our lives. While unbridled, unchecked, he grows among us.

Love your country? Come, join hands and come down with a heavy hand on this rape culture, this rape mentality and this using of sexual violence as a release for pent-up sexual frustrations. We won’t let rape happen, plus we won’t let rapists happen- make this your own agenda. A huge part of whole society is growing up thinking it is okay to use rape as a tool, as a weapon- come, stand together against it, talk to them, try rectifying them and if required, take legal action against them. Unless this horrible rape-enabling thought is mowed down at the grassroots, we will go nowhere. Come let us teach our children right from when they are babies, to stand up against even the smallest of things fuelling and funding this normative rape culture in the society. This country is a home to over a billion humans, not an open bedroom for rapists. Come, prove it.

(From an original post in Bengali)