DhakaTribune
Monday September 25, 2017 06:24 AM

Banani rape: What matters and what doesn’t

  • Published at 11:21 AM May 17, 2017
  • Last updated at 06:44 PM May 17, 2017
Banani rape: What matters and what doesn’t
From left: Shafaat Ahmed, Shadman Sakif, Nayeem Ashraf, all three stand accused of raping two university students after luring them to a hotel in Banani on March 28. 2017COLLECTED

It is pointless to dwell on where she was, what she was wearing or what time of the evening she went out

Why did she go to the hotel? It does not matter if she went to a restaurant or a hotel.

Wasn’t it almost dark when she went? It does not matter what time of day or night it was.

Did she have someone older accompany her? Did she at least have a friend go with her? It does not matter whether she was alone or with a gang of friends.

Was it at least a public place where they went? It does not matter if she went up to the poolside restaurant, rooftop bar or the honeymoon suite.

Was she high or drunk? It does not matter if she was drinking or smoking up or doing drugs.

What was she wearing? It does not matter if it was halter neck and mini skirt, a saree or a burqa.

Is she a virgin? It does not matter if or how many men she had slept with before.

Does she have boyfriends? It does not matter if she has a string of them either.

Was she married before? It does not matter if she has been divorced or is currently married.

Did she stay out at night often? It does not matter if she did not come home for days at a stretch or if she never strayed out of home.

Did she bring male friends home? It does not matter if she socialised with men, women or hijras.

She was asking for it when she agreed to go to the hotel, wasn’t she? No she wasn’t.

Was she giving vibes that could mislead him? That does not matter either.

Is she religious? Her piety, or the lack of it, does not lessen or increase the chances of being raped.

Just similarly it does not matter what the boy was wearing or if he was under the influence of drugs.

It does not matter if he has a string of girlfriends. It does not matter if he had been married once or several times. It does not matter if he is religious. It does not matter what his father is quoted to have told the media.

The question is whether Safat had forced himself upon the girl. The question is whether she had agreed to sex. The entire exercise hinges on finding out whether she had protested against intercourse. The entire exercise should hinge on establishing that single point. Everything else is irrelevant.

It is pointless to dwell where she was, what she was wearing or what time of the evening she went out. It is not like the law applies any less to scantily clad women lounging about hotel rooftops in the evenings or that the law is stronger in case of pious women. It is not like hotels become hubs of lecherous men by night where becomes okay to manhandle or rape women there. There is no point of time of the day rights as a human being cease to be in effect. These do not matter at all.

It takes a lot of courage and resolve for a woman to come out and allege rape in this society. Regardless of the outcome of the case, the fate of these women is bound to be bleak, at least in Bangladesh. Yet two women have done that, perhaps even at the risk of alienation from their families. Instead of seeking explanation from the two women and asking about their morality, the least everyone could do is look for the relevant answers that would see the end of this affair swiftly and justly.

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