How do you fight rape when used as an intimidation tool?
Per RFE/RL Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hossein Musavi and Mehdi Karrubi have asked the Interior Ministry for permission to hold a rally on February 14 at Tehran’s Azadi Square in support of the recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.
Asking for permission every time you want to hold a rally gives the Islamic regime advance notice and the ability to crack down more effectively on the protesters. Then they take them to prison, torture and rape them. If you ask me, getting tortured is much easier to deal with than getting raped. Forget social taboos. I’m not even talking about that. We have to, as a nation, somehow deal with the concept of rape as a tool that the Islamic authorities are using to intimidate us. But what’s the solution? Wear chastity belts?
I’m kidding of course. But I do think that we should take some action to help rape victims deal with the aftermath. Some of you might think that what I’m suggesting is over the top but I’m a writer and I tend to put myself in other people’s shoes quite a lot. If I had been raped these are some of the things I’d like to have offered to me as a way to deal with such a horrible experience and recover:
1) Educate ourselves – we need to understand what a person who has been raped is going through. Rape survivors experience a broad range of powerful emotions and friends and family can help by understanding how to react. There are some good articles on this online that you could read to educate yourself. This is one article you can read to get started.
2) Never Ever blame the rape survivor
As much as I hate to say it we have bigots in our society who will say things and treat rape survivors badly simply because of sexual and social taboos which is a horrible thing to do when the survivor is most probably blaming themselves anyway to begin with. Please keep that in mind whenever you talk to or about a rape survivor.
3) Free therapy or counseling
Okay, I know this is foreign concept to Iranians in Iran but therapy does help. It gives the rape survivor an opportunity to talk to someone who is a professional and doesn’t judge them about their experience. We have plenty of Iranian doctors who could potentially step up to the plate to help those who couldn’t afford it. It’s about time we stopped thinking only of making money for ourselves without contributing to our society.
4) Network of support
Support groups can help rape survivors talk about their experience and realize that there are others who have experienced similar things. If you’ve been in a war you like to talk to those who have been there with you. This is no different.
5) Rebirth ceremony
Yes, I mean this. A meaningful ceremony to celebrate the courage of the protestor and her or his rebirth. This is especially essential in a society and culture like Iran where sex is taboo and people so easily judge each other. This should be done months after the rape survivor has been released so they can deal with it, but it’s important that the protester feels welcomed in the society and admired for their courage.
Main Page Image Source: Rape, Little Pretty