ByÂ Shivesh Bhatia:
“My Maariamma bays for blood.My Kali kills. My Draupadi strips. My Sita climbs on to a stranger’s lap. All my women militate. They brave bombs, they belittle kings. Call me names if it comforts you. I no longer care. “Â Writes Meena Kandasamy, celebrating the loud, slutty sensibility and the newly discovered power in women. Recent cases of eve teasing, rape, violence and physical assault have created an unsafe atmosphere for women in our country. Many women have developed a justified fear of stepping out of their houses late in night, the fear of wearing short dresses, the fear of using public transport and so on. The families of these women are equally scared of the consequences the girl might have to face if she goes out alone. I know families of my friends who do not want their girls to travel by auto any more or go to late night parties.
What we, as a society, have to do is to create an environment where women get freedom from fear. Freedom from fear is paramount because this fear curbs her right to free movement and the right to make choices about herself. We need a society where women should feel safe to go anywhere, at any time, with anyone, wearing what ever she wants. Rather than restricting her freedom, we should concentrate on creating safer societies.
I am taken aback when people say that wearing short clothes is akin to ‘inviting’. Do they mean to say if all the women of our country start wearing salwaar kameez, there will be no rapes? That means rapists look for the shortest, the brightest and the tightest clothes!
Dear people, women are not raped because of their clothes; they are raped because of some disgusting mind sets. Let the women decide how they want to dress up, tell your boys to respect women.
We often see people and our leaders declaring long list of dos and don’ts for women. They do that because it is easy to tell women to call the rapist ‘bhaiyya’ than to stand up and accept that there is a major flaw in our safety and security system! And yes, stop blaming Bollywood. Look for better excuses. Hollywood films have more scenes that ‘objectify’ women than Bollywood films and yet, the number of rapes there are much less there than here.
Let us attack the criminals and not the victims. We need a change in mindsets. If we cannot change mindsets of people today, we can at least make sure that the future generation has an upbringing where they are taught how to behave with women.
We must teach our boys to respect the dignity of women and tell this to them again and again while they grow up into men so that it becomes an important lesson of their life. Children should grow up in an environment where women are given the respect they deserve. Do we expect a man to respect women if he has grown watching his father beating her mother? We need a major shift from patriarchy to a balanced system in households so that women are not treated as objects. Its time we empower women, give them the freedom to live like men do, to make decisions for themselves.
Many women were raped and killed while returning form work at three in the morning, yet hundreds of women work at call centers, BECAUSE SHE IS STRONG. Drunk men harass girls at bars, yet many women work there and serve them without any fear, BECAUSE SHE IS STRONG. Short dresses are a ‘come and molest me’ signboardÂ for millions, yet women have the courage to dress the way they want to, BECAUSE SHE IS STRONG. Domestic violence and demand for dowry still surface, yet every women wishes to marry and live peacefully. BECAUSE SHE IS STRONG
“There is light at the end of the tunnel and she will feel it one day
she will rise up, beyond harassment, worthlessness and slay
She has the right to live the way she wants, and she will
call her a slut or whore, her lips will stay still
If a man can go to bars and discos, so can she
time is changing , today she is equal to he
Let our tongues unite, not to call her names
but to give her respect and uncover her from shame
She has arrived to prove every man wrong
that She is not weak, she is STRONG!”