Discussion of the underlying cause of India's rape culture, and that of mysogenist violence against women worldwide, underlies the role of language.

Misogyny has long permeated our textbooks, our pedagogy and our parenting. In fact, it runs so deep that it reflects itself even in our linguistics. The Hindi phrase most commonly used to describe sexual violence or rape against women is "izzat lootna," which means "to steal the honor of."

Why should a rapist be given so much credit? Rape is a criminal act of force and perverse subjugation. When a woman is raped, her most fundamental rights as a human being are violated.

Yet, she is just as honorable as she ever was. Honor cannot be stolen. It can only be surrendered. Surely in the act of rape, it is the perpetrator, not the victim, who surrenders honor. [emphasis mine]

Let those of us who love language reform it!

Misogyny in India: We are all guilty

Let's understand that rape is not a problem that affects only women: It affects families, communities, entire cultures. It is not an inevitability, but the outcome of a system based in discrimination, just as slavery was.

Let's declare 2013 The Year to End Rape. If this is a problem that men have created, this is a problem that men can help solve. [emphasis mine]

End culture of rape in 2013

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Replies to This Discussion

Let's publicly and privately declare all sexualized violence unacceptable.

A small part of that: Let's declare that it's never a joking matter, online as well as face-to-face.

If you ever use Urban Dictionary, it has many such horrible definitions. The guidelines they used to give to volunteer editors called for rejecting sexual violence, among other things, but now clicking "edit" lets people vote on submissions immediately (Publish / Don't publish / I don't know) with no stated policies.

The "remove" link (which submits definitions for a removal vote) might help somewhat.


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