What happened in Mumbai

One of the victims of the recent incident in Mumbai where two women were harassed by a mob of men has spoken to the press. Here are some excerpts from an interview with CNN-IBN:

… We did not think it would turn this big and media would constantly take it up. We just wanted to get over it. That’s why we didn’t bring it up. But when media took it up, we decided public needed to know. However, I am very upset. …

CNN-IBN: Are you upset with the way the matter has been highlighted?

I am very upset. Though people need to know what happened, I don’t appreciate people making up stories. Several newspapers reported that there was a rape and my dress was ripped off, it was very upsetting. I repeat: no one was raped and my dress wasn’t ripped.

CNN-IBN: Would you be filing a complaint against the people who harassed you? Are you going to the police?

Well if could we would but there were so many people there. We don’t even know if there were five guys or three guys. Well, it was us who did not want to give any statement.

I don’t know if all the people were together or more public joined in later. We don’t even know how many people were present. We are looking at the pictures trying to find out who was helping us and who was not. We are also trying to figure out things with the Commissioner of Police.

I feel that the media should’ve exercised some restraint and not thrust the victims into the public glare like they did. It was the victims’ prerogative to decide whether they wanted to file a complaint or not, or even if they wanted the story made public. Some sensitivity from the media would’ve been nice.

The bigger question in all of this is about how we can make cities safer for women. Endeavours like the Blank Noise Project are needed along with education, better policing, and increased sensitivity to the problems women face. It’s all very nice to talk about our culture’s respect for women and then tell them not to go out after dark, not to party, or to dress appropriately (whatever that means).

Maybe we should be telling the men how to act appropriately instead.

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