Slut Walk Delhi: A Fight To Reclaim Dignity And Rights

Posted on June 9, 2011 in Specials

By Alam Bains:

What is the most common reaction to a woman who is dressed ‘provacatively’? That she has no morals, she is loose charactered and is inviting trouble. Isnt it? Women and girls who become victims of sexual abuse are often told that they must have courted undue attention by dressing inappropriately. Does that mean that women are to be blamed for the conduct or rather misconduct of men? Is it that only women who are “inappropriately” dressed are raped and abused? Haven’t we heard of scores of women clad from head to toe being raped and molested as well? Is such an attitude implying that women who dress in a way not acceptable to the society can be raped and molested and then be blamed for it as well?

These are some of the questions being raised by the members and supporters of a protest movement called the Slut Walk, which after successfully conducting protest marches across the world is coming to Delhi on the 25th of June. The movement started in response to the comments of a representative of Toronto Police who said that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”. Being sexually assaulted or raped is not about what you wear but using it to rationalise inexcusable behaviour creates an environment in which the blame falls on the victim.

The Slut Walk has had its fair share of supporters and cynics. The women who are supporting it believe that its high time that women reacted to the vulnerability they are subjected to owing to the onslaught of baseless judgements of the society and that women should be free to wear whatever they want without being held accountable for other people’s behaviour. The criticisms are basically directed towards the name i.e Slut Walk. People feel the name is not appropriate. It is seen as insulting and derogatory. The founders and the supporters of the movement have justified the name by saying that “we want to reclaim the word ‘slut’ and use it in a positive, empowering way. Historically, it has been used by misogynists to degrade women who are sexually assertive — whilst men in the same position have been hailed as ‘studs’ or ‘ladies’ men’. We wish to make it know that women are well within their rights to have consensual sex and to display their sexuality however they like”. Moreover, in a city like Delhi, it is felt that the protest march may become a visual with no or little impact.

The Slut Walk is a good initiative and is addressing an important issue but what is required to make movements like these successful is sensitizing the society. Women should be respected and so should their rights to live their life the way they want. If you feel that this issue needs your support then participate in the slutwalk which is scheduled on the 25th of june, 1 p.m- 8.30 p.m around Connaught Place and make yourself count.

You can also mark your attendance on the Slut Walk Delhi Facebook page here.

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CLEOPATRA

Using the word ” SLUT ” for a lady is definitely not in taste. If you want respect one has to earn it. Just because we have people who tend to have popping eyes every time they spot a female doesn’t mean we can edge them on or in other words LOOK but DONT TOUCH. I do not support men treating women insultingly or demoralising them. It is said that a man can rape a woman just with his gaze…… without even touching her ! wearing whatever you like is anyone’s choice be it a male or a female. However the choice of dressing reflects our emotions , upbringing, background, our thinking, what we try to project about ourselves, what we try to silently convey to the world about ourselves.That is why we take care to dress well when we go for an interview! Never is a well dressed person criticised for the clothes worn by them. Yes , rape has occured to fully clad women.. but that doent mean we forget we come from respectable families . BESHARMI MORCHA is no way to correct a sick man’s mind .Rape is an ancient disease which exists whereever Society is. Can you find anywhere in the world ,one society where rape has not been?. Offcourse Dress as you like, but remember you may be fighting for rights which somebody might misuse.! Next think we know some might strut around in see through or bikini, or even worse STREAK down the roads. Would you as a bright future citizen approve of it ?

    anindya

    i agree wid u cleo… but u knw the funny part its only females but many times even males who gets hit..

Harminder Singh

I would first congrats to all the people who participated on Slut walk for the protection of women from sexual harresment,abuse.Well it is good to be part of these kinds of problems which is for each and everyone.I would recommed to change the titile or your march but rest would be fine..Raising a voice againnst women sexual abuse and harresement is really good.its not the men’ responsiltiy it is the responsibilty of each and evry one in this soicety to control the ..our selfs..from be spoiled.

Salwa Yahya

The entire issue of the “SLUT WALK” should be viewed as an attempt at CHALLENGING CULTURAL MINDSETS . The movement aims to remove this age-old tradition of branding women on the basis of what they are wearing. If a woman wears shorts then she is a “slut” while if a man goes around wearing exactly the same thing he is neither branded in a derogatory manner nor fears any sort of victimization . Many over here have suggested that ‘good’ , ‘modest’ and ‘proper’ kind of dressing is the path to follow but this whole concept of what is ‘decent’ ‘ or proper’ is so relative !! I may consider something as appropriate but a man might not , so what does that mean ? Should he pounce on me because I am dressed ‘indecently’ according to him ???? Nobody has the right to dictate mine or any person’s choices. What may appear ok to me might not appear ok to someone else. So who decides the boundaries ?? How men view women is NOT due to innate tendencies but due to the result of a large amount of cultural conditioning . So in patriarchal societies movements like these which are high on the shock value are needed . This movement gives a cultural jolt to those who are conditioned to view women as the so-called “modest” beings. India is overwhelmingly patriarchal and as most people have rightly pointed out that the dressing sense of Western women is different than that of Indian women. Majority of Indian women do not wear very skimpy outfits BUT THE HEIGHT OF IRONY IS THAT INDIA STILL EXTREMELY UNSAFE FOR WOMEN . Large number of women are eve-teased, molested, raped and harassed regardless of what they are wearing. I myself have had such UNPLEASANT experiences and i can assure all the prudes that I dress mostly in Salwar suits which is considered quite a ‘decent’ dress.So in the light of this tendency SLUT WALK becomes quite suitable. The moment you bring in the aspect of provocation in crimes of sexual violence you actually strengthen the blame culture surrounding the victim which is SO UNFAIR AND UNJUST. (and let me remind you that wearing short clothes on the streets are NOT the same as leaving your house open at night for burglars. That is a VERY petty and derogatory comparison to make. Women are NOT the same as inanimate objects) The whole idea behind this radical movement is to tell society not to sexualize a woman’s independence . Any expression of freedom be it in clothes or movement should not be taken as an invitation to sexual violence and of course a woman has the right to say a firm NO to unwanted sex . The right to say NO to sex should be recognized and a woman can say NO to sex irrespective of who she is saying it to, what she is wearing, where she is and at what time she is at. Any body who violates that right must be severely punished. Slut walk aims at spreading this notion as it is completely clear from their slogans’ placards and clothing. Though some may find it morally offensive because it strikes at the very root of the wrongly glorified stereotype of ” the modest and submissive woman” but when degradation, humiliation and victimization of women takes such an extent such radical attempts are welcome ..

    kaushik

    i cannot object at men looking at women if they don’t lick their lips and get ready to pounce
    that women object to it is because women only want the attention of certain men who are evolutionarily most desirable
    if you think cultural conditioning makes men look at women as sexual objects (and the other way round, only women’s criteria are different and they are SO visually dependent) then I can only marvel at your blind adherence to dogma and rejection of the facts of evolution.
    When the issue of personal liberty comes in, of course women have the right to wear anything they want but to expect rape cases to reduce because of the movement is dumb

    kaushik

    The point is we do not live in an entirely rational world
    And the reason it is not rational is due in some measure to ‘cultural conditioning’ but more due to the fact that ‘irrationality’ at some point in the distant past was beneficial to survival of the species
    Today however we make personal liberty a right and we should to reduce instances of rape as far as possible but to expect that our actions do not have consequences is to fool ourselves.
    The point always raised is that rape is about power. It may be about power but the desire to exert that physical power is because the rapist feels totally incapable of being with that women with her consent. That is what fuels his anger.
    This is not to say that he is excused however.

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