I do not think any person in the country is not following the recent rape and its aftermath.
I often write about women, and how strong they are. I admire the spirit of women who live, laugh, love and nurture. But the recent events have shaken me. The thing is – bloggers like me are fortunate. We were born to educated people, nurtured in – maybe not gender equal atmosphere, but were given some opportunities, and since our families loved us, we were not suppressed – not much at least. (Here I am talking about my generation.)
And we were lucky. We did not climb into a wrong bus and got raped.
But we got groped. We encountered sleazy teachers, certain cretins who visited our homes and touched us inappropriately. We went out to buy vegetables and got whistled at, we also had fellow students who tried to – as is euphemistically termed “acted fresh”.
And we were told by our mothers that our brothers and fathers would set the person right – if the act was dastardly. If not, we were told to ignore and move on. Just don’t provoke men. They are “like this only”.
The list of provocative behavior is endless
1. Do not laugh loud
2. Do not talk sweetly … but do not be rude and cold
3. Do not react angrily
4. Do not sing … the servant may be listening.
5. Do not sit outside and read
6. Do not comb your hair in the verandah
7. Do not hang out your underclothes to dry in full view of public
8. Lock your room door before you enter the bathroom, on the chance that the servant may be in your room when you emerge
9. When you talk to your school friends on the phone, do not talk loudly. Your voice should be low.
10. Do not mingle with your brother’s friends.
1. Do not go out alone
2. All the above rules 1-10 have to be observed with suitable modifications.
3. Do not be over familiar with any boy and with girls who have brothers of the same age as you
4. If you have to visit your school friend’s home, your brother will go with you.
Mind you this was the sixties and the seventies. I obeyed. There wasnt much choice.
But did that stop anything? Boys would follow and whistle. There would be cat calls. Me being what I am, I would turn my cycle and charge at them. I would throw stones and shout gaalis. It encouraged them. That was not a deterrent at all.
So behavior as per the above listed rules did not work. Reacting angrily did not work.
What did I want?
Just to live my life …
Forty years have passed. Has anything changed? No.
Sure we are more educated, our girls have been “granted” more freedom. But has the country changed? Have the men who walk the streets changed? No and they won’t. Because they do not think they are responsible.
It is the woman’s fault. She is the instigator, she asks for it.
What did the girl who got raped want? What was she asking for?
She bought a ticket on a bus and wanted to go home. That is all she was asking for…. She was not asking for rape.
She was wearing decent clothes. She was accompanied by a male friend.
This, as per Shiela Dixit and Delhi Police is appropriate behavior, and falls within the norms of safe practice.
But the rape happened.
CLOTHES DO NOT GET A PERSON RAPED, BEING OUT AT NIGHT DOES NOT GET A PERSON RAPED.
A MAN FORCING HIMSELF ON A WOMAN GETS THE WOMAN RAPED.
A MAN FORCING HIMSELF ON A CHILD GETS THE CHILD RAPED.
Men who do it are the rapists. They are the violators. Men rape women and children. That is a fact.