By Varun Grover:
“If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.” – Spotlight
We all are guilty of letting creeps like Vikas Bahl and Arunabh flourish. Failure of organisations, people close to the assaulters who keep silence, and society plus systems at large that normalise such behaviour by either condoning it and in some cases even rewarding it (boy-club machismo).
Just speak to ANY girl around you and you will be shocked by the number of times she has had to face, endure, avert a sexual assault. In all my naivety I still ask them, ‘Then how can you look so normal in your day to day life? How come you are not a ball of rage and fire?’ And every time I have gotten a wry smile in return – one that has made me feel stupid. I am the perpetrator, I am the one tied in a bro-code of silence, and then it’s me again asking why this is normal.
I hope something positive, reassuring comes out of these new cases in the news. Hope there is some justice for the girls involved. Till then, the least we men can do is acknowledge the disgustingly huge elephant in the room. Acknowledge that male entitlement over female body and soul is what makes people like Arunabh and Vikas and Pachauri and Tejpal and Mahmood Farooqui stray into criminal territory.
That entitlement resides in all of us, not just in the people outed in recent years. Becoming more aware, sensitive, feminist, is always a work in progress. In many cases, it’s a daily struggle against so much conditioning. Patriarchy is the first and biggest religion on the planet and its followers don’t even realise that they are devouts. Hope we men wake up and burn down our holy books.