Rape: It’s Your Fault!

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TRIGGER WARNING: Depictions of sexual assault and violence against women

The darkly satirical video, “Ladies, It’s Your Fault”, was released by Indian comedy collective All India Backchod (backtalk) over the weekend and has since gone viral. Starring well-known Bollywood actor Kalki Koechlin and video jockey/model Juhi Pande, the English-language video has reached over a million views on YouTube, and is accompanied on the All India Backchod Youtube page by this statement:

Every sexual assault case in India inspires a string of stupid and hateful remarks against women. This is our response to those remarks.

The video satirizes the many ridiculous suggestions for rape prevention made by Indian officials in the wake of the Delhi rape verdicts, including calling for a ban on skirts, cellphones, Bollywood movies, store mannequins, and even Chinese food. My personal favorite is the suggestion that calling your attacker “brother” will prevent him from raping you.

Koechlin’s smiling, friendly, public-service-announcement demeanor creates a sharp contrast with the brutal and provocative content of the video. At the beginning she says, “Ladies, do you think rape is something men do out of a desire for control, empowered by years of patriarchy? You’ve clearly been misled by the notion that women are people too.”

The actors appear more and more beaten-up—sporting bruises, black eyes and even a head wound—over the course of the 3 1/2-minute video. Although they never break character, the tone changes drastically at the very end when a montage of clips of Indian women saying “It’s my fault” reminds you of the seriousness behind this farcical look at sexual violence and victim-blaming in India.

Gursimran Khamba, co-founder of All India Backhod, told  Al Jazeera:

The notion behind this video was pretty simple. We wanted to attack patriarchy as it exists in India. It sort of comes out every time there is a sexual assault case or a rape case. The first thing that happens, instead of focusing on the crime and looking at the perpetrator, the default for some reason is that the burden is always put on the woman.

Although the video is at times quite disturbing, especially when it shows Koechlin and Pande being grabbed and harassed by masked men, it makes a point about the absurdity of official responses to rape investigations in a country where an estimated two women are raped every minute. However, India isn’t the only place facing an epidemic of sexual assault and lame excuses for it. Although American victim-blamers are yet to cite something as ridiculous as Chinese food as a cause of rape, many are guilty of using a victim’s past and her alcohol consumption to cast blame off the rapist and to imply that maybe, just maybe, it was her fault.

The video has received overwhelmingly positive responses so far (ignoring, of course, the inevitable few who don’t understand satire) and there have even been requests for a Hindi translation to allow for wider circulation in India.

 

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Melissa McGlensey recently graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.A. in English and Spanish with a minor in creative writing; she is currently interning at Ms.

Comments

  1. Sarah in Texas says:

    Wow, this video is really powerful. And that it stars a famous Indian actress is even better. Kudos to her for boldly speaking out on this issue.

  2. Excellent article and video satire. This video hits close to home and abroad!

  3. Love it !

  4. Magnificent. Well done!

  5. It reminds me I’m glad to be single and NOT with some sexist pig anymore that thinks he’s a real man. Real men don’t act like that and they’re hard to find as it is. The jealousy, insecurity—I won’t put up with it anymore. I’d rather be single or be friends with a guy until it’s a good match. I’d rather have a dog anymore. I haven’t completely given up on men, I still like my freedom and not being questioned and need an alibi where ever I go. F**** That!!!

  6. Kazandra Schellenger says:

    One small step for the empowerment of the divine feminine! I’t's amazing in India with their countless Goddesses they are still so archaic! Well done!

  7. I love good satire! You go, girls!

  8. WOW. That was amazing. Please share far and wide, Ms. Readers! Great post.

  9. More attenstion needs to be brought to this important issue. This media presentation is a great public service. Keep up the great articles!

  10. I was molested by my brother, so won’t watch the video… Own it ladies…here’s an idea, send the excess of guns in America to the women of India, (or any nation struggling with seriously ancient sex roles concepts) and teach women and girls how to use them and instill in them why they have a right to defend themselves.

  11. So if a man gets raped by a group of men is that his fault?

    • Of course not. If Indian rape culture is anything like American rape culture, “men can’t be raped”. (Quick tip; if anyone is trying to make a reason for why rape isn’t an inhumane,horrendous crime that can happen to anyone of any sex,gender,race,religion,age,sexual behavior,sexual orientation or anything that makes them them,punch that person in the face. )

  12. Thanks for posting this. I wish someone in America would do something like this.

  13. This video is amazing. I’m not an MRA guy by any means, but I am am a (gay) rape victim, and I love this sort of vid.

    Yes, I’d been drinking; I suppose that have him the right to go on while I cried and said no.

    Kudos to the star!

  14. Deep Chakra says:

    People can talk about preventing rape all they want but unless and until the issues dealing with why men rape are not addressed its never going to stop. Rape is more in cultures where sex is taboo, men don’t rape as much in sexual cultures because everybody is having sex but when you make sex ‘illegal’ and ‘wrong’ then you have hordes of men who will rape because asking a girl out is wrong, casual sex is wrong, having a girlfriend is wrong, hooking up outside of marriage is wrong. If people in India can accept sex like their ancestors did before being brainwashed by the Victorian era’s prude sexual notions I’m sure there would be more consent to sex and thus reduce the rape statistic. When you have a culture that kills infant girls and creates a gender imbalance what did you expect to happen. If there are 10 men for 1 woman, then 9 men have reason to rape that 1 man’s wife. If the root of the issue not dealt with all these attempts to reduce rape will be in vain.

  15. Great article!

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