By Shweta Madaan:
We live in a nation which is nothing but great. We are the citizens of a country which is one of the most civilized countries in the world. It is a land of great people who have always shown us the right path and are always there to tell us the difference between right and wrong. Ours is a country where women are considered to be ‘Goddesses’. But there is a different picture that needs to be looked at. India is a country with the highest rate of violence against women – domestic violence, female foeticide, sexual assault and harassment in the workplace. Women are tormented for not bringing enough dowries and brutally raped and murdered. Yes, this is our very own incredible India!
This is the plight of our country. It is a well known fact that in our society, women are always blamed even when they are victims themselves. They face eve-teasing, they face assaults and people vindicate that it is the fault of girls, that they wear provocative dresses and then get attention. They think that such justifications are obviously supposed to be authentic and consider themselves to be civilized. They are the firm believers of a philosophy that man is a naive, gullible creature and woman is from a sin-committing clan, they do not know what to wear and how to dress.. They think that such women themselves wanted to grab eyeballs and man should not be held responsible for the same. These people are supposed to be well-educated, knowledgeable and broad-minded but the reality is quite the opposite. They are narrow-minded and orthodox. Here are some examples for proving the same:
According to an MP Minister, “Aisa shringar karna chahiye ki dekhnewalon ko mahila ke prati shradhha utpanna ho… uttejana nahi’’ (“Women’s fashion, lifestyle and conduct should be in accordance with Indian culture … women should not wear clothes which provoke others to misbehave with them“)
And then, the NCW (National Commission for Women) Chairperson also said, “Be comfortable, but at the same time, be careful about how you dress… Aping the west blindly is eroding our culture and causing such crimes to happen.”
There is a large chunk of people in the society who are blaming it all on a woman’s dressing sense. They say that the attire arouses innocent males and they thus want to satisfy their sexual urges. But no, this is absolutely baseless. Research data clearly proves that a way a person dresses and/or acts does not influence the rapist’s choice of victims. They do not want to satisfy their urge, rape is an act of violence and power, not sex. Let us assume for a moment that girls get raped due to their ‘modern’ dressing but what about the rape of little school girl of the sixth standard, by her school bus driver? Was she dressed inappropriately? No, not at all! A school uniform is considered to be the most sensible form of dressing. And then, what about the poor old woman who was sixty-five and was raped by a burglar in her house. Was she in a very attractive attire? No, it is not the question of clothes. Rapists’ decision to rape is based on how easily he perceives his target can be intimidated. They look for available and vulnerable targets, all they seek is an opportunity and the rest is like a smooth task for them.
I am wonderstruck at how brainless people can be. It is a point that has no grounds. There is a myth in society which is advocated by most people that women themselves ‘ask for it’. How can they possibly make such a stupid remark? No one wants to get humiliated and no one deserves to get raped. It is the mentality of men that any woman on the streets is a fair game, any woman walking alone in dark is a great opportunity for them. This shows the mindset of people. For a long time, the patriarchal society has been blamed, but this is just an easy escape for the culprits. They commit crimes and they say, “We were deviated by the misconceptions seeded in us against women by our patriarchs. We will not repeat this again.” It is the psyche of man that woman is a weaker sex, they can dominate her, harass her, rape her and she will not raise a voice because she is a meek puppet. This clearly shows that there is no link of a woman’s clothing with the molestation she faces. There is a great diversity in the way targeted women act or dress. Rapists choose women based on their vulnerability and not their physical appearance. Women are raped from the age of three to ninety-three.
It does not matter whether women wear a pair of jeans, are clad in a saree or covered from head-to-toe in a burqa, they are never safe from the prying eyes of these beasts. They gape at a woman like she is a creature that belongs to a very rare species. If the dress is the base of such unfortunate happenings, then why do the women who wear burqas become victims? Why is a woman in a saree harassed when it is supposed to be the symbol of our Indian culture?
These narrow-minded people do not have any right to tell women what to wear and what not to wear. It is totally her concern and that of her family. The rapists target a woman, who can be oppressed by them in spite of the dress she happens to be wearing. These ‘preachers’ spend most of time in telling a woman, what to wear so that they do not get raped do not care to ask a man not to rape. Rape is an unforgivable crime. No excuse can be given for it and these animals must be given the harshest punishment possible. A girl’s dress never gives an invitation to men to harass her. It is time for such men to learn to take responsibility for their actions and to change their mindset and pre-conceived notions about women.