From announcing that he had left every vice “like cigarettes, alcohol and coffee except women” and that his punishing training routine for the film Sultan, where he essays the role of a wrestler, left him feeling like a “raped woman”, actor Salman Khan was doing what he does so effortlessly — no, not Being Human, just himself.
Unfortunately, he is not the only one.
Rape is a word tossed around casually, often by men, sometimes by women. Sometimes to compare a violation, sometimes just to evoke a few laughs. When the boys in the hugely popular Aamir Khan-starrer 3 Idiots play a prank on their irritating and weak-in-Hindi South Indian classmate Chatur, they replace the word ‘chamatkar’ (miracle) with ‘balatkar’ (rape) in his speech welcoming the education minister and praising his college Dean. Balatkar was mentioned innumerable times in the speech. “Seeke inse seeke…dika denge sabko jo balatkar karne ki kshamtaa yaha ke chaatro mein hai wo sansaar ke kisi chaatro mein nahiii (Learn from him. We will show everyone that no other students have the power to rape as we do).”
It was harmless fun and entire families laughed helplessly as an oblivious and chuffed Chatur bumbled on but it comes from a culture, the world over, where such words are used casually, robbing them their actual meaning.
We hear such phrases in conversations on streets and in homes all the time. Unfortunately, much of the abuse refers to women — and women often mouth them with equal ease. Everyone draws their own line but sometimes aggression and violence in language crosses all limits, spilling out into the realm of action.
So, when a superstar uses a simile in public, it should show us all up in the mirror reflection. It should also be the starting point for a discussion about serious issues that concern women, especially in a country like India where crimes against women have only been on the rise.
Also read: Oops! He Did it Again
No one but those who have been raped knows what it is to be raped, However, people will use the term casually, use it to compare a situation that just doesn’t compare. Like Salman. The next time you are tired and your muscles hurt and you want the world to know, just try painful.