The ‘S’ Word


Saru Rana has a thing or two to say about this unnecessarily taboo three-letter word

Hmm—Let’s talk about SEX…

Oh no….!!

Yes, we don’t like to talk about sex, even though we gave this world the joys of ‘Kamasutra’. It is so against our cultural and social norms, corrupts young minds and distracts people from the right path. In fact, it is perverted, dirty and something to be ashamed about. It ought to be something private. Especially for and from women…!!

Being a woman, I shouldn’t be thinking, let alone writing about this ‘S’ word. Half the readers might have, by now, branded some women CLs—’characterless’, of course. Now that I am openly writing about it, unlike any good, pure and chaste Indian woman who is supposed to be almost asexual, even within her thoughts. Our culture wants us to be sexual only in the institution of marriage, for purposes of procreation. Any deviation and you are a person of loose morals, harmful to yourself and society. Well, there goes the verdict of me being ‘CL’—a) because I am married, and b), married to a white man. So, is it okay to talk about s**, or lets still shush up?

What changed the culture of sex in India to a taboo, and why and when did Indians get so prudish and decided to ‘shush’ over this topic? The temples of Khajuraho are a living example of our candid and liberal society in the past. Why is the word ‘sex’ such a harmful subject matter for Indians? No matter what age, what qualification, we always consider each other not mature enough to make a decision on what is wrong or right from a societal point of view. The society formats this insecure concept in every Indian blood vessel and deeply chips this in every possible mind. But, surprise, surprise—sex, porn, rape and gang rape are top four searched words in India.

Thus, Indians don’t have sex, and all 1.3 billion come out of google searches or individual’s curiosity? Now that, of course, is not true! But the conspiracy of silence that surrounds the subject of sex pushes us to believe that it is. Strict cultural norms and social stigma attached to sex is making our youth reluctant to open up to families and people that can be trusted. In fact, our youngsters are either approaching friends with little knowledge or, even worse, ending up trying ‘sex’ without ones consent. Then we cry rape.

What is really behind India’s rape crisis?

Our privileges and double standards shape the rape culture within our communities. Shunning the victims that make an accusation of rape or sexual assault, and the multiplying of their difficulties, doubts from the society and alleged perpetrators being publically excused breed rape culture, and we are all guilty of it.

It is ridiculous but what is worse is not about the nature of the crime, but it is about the perpetrators of crimes against women blaming the women—it’s always her fault for being ‘provocatively’ dressed or it’s her fault for going out late. She’s a slut, but he’s just being a ‘boy’.

All these attitudes contribute towards shaping our generations and go a long way in shaping a society we condone the perpetrators to take on our own kids in future. And then we are so shocked when someone does exactly what we have been offering throughout our lives—blaming the victim.

Sit up and take a note of all behaviours that turn into daily verbal torture and violates a person physically and mentally. Crimes like female mutilation, sexual violence, rape and other physical assaults are horrific. But our day to day verdicts, slandering nature and looking down our nose attitude are the ones that don’t leave a very visible trail are scarring too.

The blame game, the rape culture, pushing things under the carpet will not end until we put a firm stop to it collectively in our own homes, families, in our neighbourhood, workplaces and our ‘special’ gossip groups.

We need to put an end to it sometime. And really, now’s the time.


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