Dear Media, Ban the usage of 'Rape Victim', instead use 'Survivor'
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Dear Media, Ban the usage of ‘Rape Victim’, instead, use ‘Survivor’.
People have started raising their voices against sexual harassment, rape, and molestation. While these are encouraging signs, the negativity that surrounds the media hype is deplorable. Sensationalizing the issue has become the order of the day. Most of the crime shows on television highlight the sufferings and the horrors of such incidents. The backdrop is always negative.
After several interactions with women who have gone through such tough situations, 'Victim' is the last word that one can think of. They are ‘Survivors’ to say the least. They would be more than happy to be recognized that way. A woman is victimized for life first by the criminal, then by the media and the society in general.
The media reporting instils fear in the minds of people and seldom inspires. Data suggests that 95% of sexual crimes are committed by a person known to the victim. Most of the cases go unreported due to societal pressure and lack of trust on the system. Women have to fight negativity at every level. Sadly, that is precisely what the media serves. In other cases such as murder, they report - the person was killed. In rape cases, the 'person' goes away and makes way for the 'victim'. Double-standards?
Media, unfortunately, is responsible for reducing a person's identity to just being a victim. By repeatedly using such demeaning terms, the message we are sending across is that the attacker is always more powerful. Such a display is pathetic to the core.
The women who have successfully come out of trauma and emerge as winners despite the system are able to do so because of immense optimism and warrior-like strength. The stories of Bhawari Devi, Dr. Sunitha Krishnan, Suzette Jordan, Sita are inspiring and have triggered the women empowerment movement in India. Thanks to The Better India (TBI) for the article here.
We should have nothing but respect and regards towards any person who has survived the storm itself. If they go on to be successful in life, they deserve a medal.
By simply changing the narrative, we can make a huge difference. Stop sympathizing with them as ‘Victims’ and start empowering them as ‘Survivors’.
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