“Scientific studies suggest that women who wear skirts are the leading cause of rape. Do you know why? Because men have eyes.”
That’s a factoid about rape given in “It’s Your Fault,” a digital short by SUP Comic Tanmay Bhat and his Indian comedy troupe All India Bakchod (AIB). The information is, of course, horrendously wrong. That’s the point: The short satirizes the way Indian society excuses rape as being the fault of anyone but the rapist. In the short, two Bollywood actresses list the various causes of rape — including wearing skirts, working late, chow mein, Bollywood movies, cell phones, spending time around men and not spending time around men — and while it sounds ridiculous in context, the kicker here is that any of these could be seriously suggested as a cause for rape, in India or elsewhere.
As the video progresses, the two actresses exhibit increasing signs of physical distress, and it closes with the message “STOP BLAMING THE VICTIM.” It’s a powerful satire — not funny by any extent, but nonetheless effective in exposing the consciously and subconsciously misogynist attitudes people can bring to a discussion about rape.
Indian news publication FirstPost interviewed AIB co-founder and SUP comic Tanmay Bhat about the troupe’s motivation behind making the short: “It was was something that had been on our minds for a long time now. It’s a sensitive topic, which makes it hard to talk about in a comical or satirical way. As comics, we walk on eggshells when we tackle such topics. But despite that risk, we thought we should address it beyond our live shows. It’s an important issue, and if we can trigger some conversations on it, then why not?” Fellow AIB member Gursimran Khamba adds in an interview with Al Jazeera: “We wanted to attack the patriarchy as it exists in India and … the first thing that happens is, instead of focusing on the crime and looking at the perpetrator… the burden is always put on the woman.”
Since being published on YouTube on September 19, the video has racked up nearly 3 million views. Pro tip: Don’t read the comments on the original YouTube posting. Really.