Big Question: For what/whom are we responsible?

On October 4th, an Indian girl was gang raped, set on fire, then died later in the hospital from severe burns.  In an ideal world, all members of society would be responsible for each other and their actions, and this 13-year-old girl would never have been violently assaulted because her rapists would have held each other accountable, as would her parents, the police, their family, their neighbors, etcetera.

Unfortunately, reality demonstrates the impossibility of making sure that everyone plays by the same societal, humane, and moral rules.  Taking this into consideration, it seems that the most logical and successful way to dole out responsibility would be for everyone to be responsible for only one person: oneself.  However, what happens when a rapist refuses to be responsible for the damaging effects of his own actions?  What happens when a girl is too young and naïve to be responsible for her own personal safety?  I struggle with finding a solution that doesn’t involve multiple exceptions, contradictions, or unrealistic expectations from individuals or groups of people.

Still, as Susan Bordo notes, one of the most powerful normalizing mechanics in our society is “insuring the production of self-monitoring and self-disciplining” (Bordo 186).  In other words, it is our responsibility to conduct ourselves in a disciplined manner to the best of our abilities, but in my opinion, we shouldn’t take it so literally as to ignore community responsibility for the well being of others.  Maybe if this balance of responsibility had been achieved, this poor girl wouldn’t have had to suffer.  More importantly, is it even possible for such responsibility to ever be balanced?

Bordo, Susan. “Reading the Slender Body.” Unbearable Weight. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. 185-212. Print.

Singal, Jesse, and Melanie Eversley. “Indian Girl Dies After Being Raped, Set On Fire.” USA Today. Gannett, n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2013.






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