A woman’s worst nightmare

India seems to be fast becoming a woman’s worst nightmare. A couple of weeks ago a girl was molested by a policeman in Mumbai. The cop was apparently drunk but man oh man, these are the people that are supposed to be protecting us. And, this incident happened in a city considered to be the safest in India for women. Even more recently, a woman was dragged into a car and molested in Delhi. What is going on in our cities and villages?

That’s not all. What’s even more disgusting is the kind of sensitivity shown to the rape victims. The judge on another rape case actually asked the victim to show up and answer the accused’s intention of marrying the victim. She told the judge that she’d like to see the guy hang.

Shiv Sena, in response to the Mumbai rape, said the following in its magazine Saamna:

There seems to be a competition among youngsters to show their undergarments in the name of ‘below-waist’ fashion,’’ says the article. ‘‘It is no longer feasible for a family to roam on Chowpatty. To see girls dangle a cigarette openly is worrisome. If a man is incited by such clothes, who can one blame?

(I didn’t read the actual magazine but I got this from this article in the Indian Express.) Here’s more wisdom:

Another senior leader, Pramod Navalkar, said, ‘‘We are compromising with our culture. The manner in which girls behave and socialise today is exceeding all limits. In the good old days, girls from Ghatkopar would not venture to Chowpatty.’’

It’s disgusting to read statements like these. These are the same people who want couples not to display affection in public or probably even go back to the women being in the home, preferably in the kitchen. Neanderthals!

The person who’s committing a rape, he won’t care about whether a woman is wearing a bikini or a burkha. He’ll do it anyway. To say that a woman who’s wearing skimpy clothes is inviting a rape is sheer nonsense. And all this traditional bullshit doesn’t work either. I don’t think women in villages wear low-cut jeans or whatever else is “non-traditional” in our moral police’s views.

What we need to do is to make the streets safer for women in India. It starts with stopping the eve-teasing, the jostling in buses, and even the way rape and molestation is (disgustingly) depicted in movies. While the police have to do a better job, so do we as ordinary citizens. I’ve quoted this before and I’ll do it again:

All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. — Edmund Burke

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5 thoughts on “A woman’s worst nightmare

  1. I read the “RSS” people say that…..absolute CRAP!! All this in the name of HINDUTVA, CULTURE and TRADITION. What the hell?!!! The men who committed the crime are let off the hook. They are not blamed at all…..the victims are made responsible!!These women,apparently, had a tagboard “I’D LIKE TO BE RAPED!”
    God….I’d like to see them all die.

  2. Yeah, it’s the part of making the victims responsible that really rankles. I can’t even imagine the kind of trauma that a rape victim has to endure. Add to that this warped logic and it must be even more traumatic.

    The culture and tradition bit is quite ironic because you only have to visit a temple to see the kind of scantily clad sculptures that our ancestors used to make. I guess the sculptors and the kings who got the sculptures made were not members of the “moral police”. Plus, there’s this whole Kamasutra thing which is very much something from India. Conveniently forgotten.

    Ultimately, I feel that all forms of abuses are about power. At some level, the person who’s doing the abusing is showing that they are more powerful than you and that they think that they can get away with the exercising of that power, i.e. abuse.

    It’s time that this abuse is stopped.

  3. These rape cases are just the tip of the iceberg. What about the thousands of cases which go unreported for fear of public humiliation? I feel sometimes even the victims are to blame for not reporting the rape. Moreover, the Indian judiciary system has to become very strict and the rapists must be hanged to death immediately. This should be done to instil mortal fear in the minds of rapists. In most of the cases, the trial drags on for years and/or the culprit goes scot-free to commit more crimes. As they say, justice delayed is justice denied.

    Btw, Percy did you see the RK Laxman cartoon in today’s (or yesterday’s?) TOI regarding the Mumbai rape? It’s too good!

  4. Hemant, I agree about this being the tip of the iceberg. There are probably a significant number of cases that go unreported. But, I wouldn’t go so far as to blame victims. I don’t think that we can even begin to understand the kind of mental torture that a rape victim has to go through. The feeling of powerlessness, anger, humiliation, and sometimes even shame and guilt–there are so many complex feelings involved, it’s difficult to comprehend what the person is thinking. This is precisely the reason why the system must make it conducive for rape victims to come forward by treating them with utmost care and sensitivity.

    PS: I did see the cartoon but only after you mentioned it. I wouldn’t call it hilarious, but it’s amazing that he could take something so serious and make fun of it, without coming across as snooty. He’s truly one of India’s greats.

    PPS: Don’t worry about the comment, I deleted it, hopefully that works :)

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