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“Don’t talk like that, she has two young kids!”

“Show some respect, she has a family at home!”

“Don’t make jokes, her children could have lost their mother!”

Every single response that I’ve read about rape has been about pleading for empathy for the woman… except that they’re not really asking you to respect HER, are they?

They’re always saying:

“She matters because she is a mother”,

“She matters because she has people that like her”.

But there was no “She matters because she is a woman, because she is a human being, and women matter.”

And this is the most common trope when it comes to rape and violence against women; we only matter when our abuse affects someone else.

Every white knight brings out the “what if it was your mother or your sister, or aunt or daughter?!”, as if my worth, the factor that should stop men from raping me, is my relation to a man, and not the fact that I am a human being and no person has the right to hate me, hurt me, or abuse me.

Whether my words are heard by millions or none, I matter just as much. My impact upon the world does not increase or lessen my right to be respected as a human being. I don’t need to be a man’s daughter, a boy’s mother, a person’s anything, to be deserving of respect and empathy, especially in the face of violence.

A woman does not deserve empathy because she is a mother, because she is someone’s daughter, someone’s wife, someone’s sister, or cousin or aunt or godmother or friend. Every woman who faces rape, exploitation, violence and has that violence trivialized by others, matters because she is a woman.


-Nishtha Gugnani 11A


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