“She should’ve been more careful”, were the words I heard when I tuned into a national news channel covering a story on sexual abuse ( I prefer calling it a sexual abuse and not rape for, rapes have become a so cliché ) in sub-urban areas of the capital city New Delhi. Only last month reported 6 cases of rapes and here we are talking about women who should be more careful, shouldn’t wear provocative or rather inappropriate ( which seems to be a better choice of word) clothing or may be not work after 8 PM. Paint me not shocked !
I love me culture. I love my traditions and values. I too personally dislike the idea of clothes that demonstrate and mock a lady’s humility, but if a lady chooses to shed the cultural barriers and adopt westernized ( or the way Indian like to call them, “modern” ) values, she cannot be blamed and this act can certainly not be a reason for her sexual abuse.
So are we solving a wrong problem here by trying to limit women wearing “inappropriate” clothes or discouraging them to work beyond 8 PM ( Interestingly a nice deadline that coincidentally also is a liquor brand ) ? So who is the culprit here ? If I think objectively, it occurs to me that some men with corrupt mind who do not value anyone but themselves and behave immorally before the beautiful lady, should be punished. But are they only one to be blamed ?
Statistics say that very few women report sexual and domestic violence as well as abuses and tend to adjust with the idea that the society is full of anti-social men. I fail to understand any social inhibitions behind, especially, sexual abuses. Frustrated, I sometimes question their seriousness to stand up against such heinous crimes. I have learnt that a woman is a symbol of power ( “Shakti” ) and per Hindu Mythology ( I hate this word, but thank you this limited non-scientific language, I have to, but stick with this word ) goddess Durga, a woman, is meant to eradicate all evils. Why have does a lady not stand up for herself ?
Pondering upon this question, for sometime now, I recall an absolutely vision-less and misleading TV show for youth on a national television. Although they claim to be respectful of women and completely demean any contestants who disrespect women, but when there are female contestants, the judges are on the different plane, especially when they are asked to entertain the judges. The females end up dancing most of the times, while the judges, drooling. Now this may seem normal, but what I’d like to point out is hypocrisy and unfortunately they are on the national television and clearly do not care about the implications on the youth.
I am a student of marketing and strategy. I understand how to influence consumers’ psychology. With constant bombardment of such television shows, music videos with beautiful women dresses scantily, and advertisements where females are being used as an “object” to attract consumer segment that owns a wallet in the house, men, in a society that is patriarchal and where hostesses are employed to host a show merely to hike the TRPs, how could one value a woman ?
Thus the problem is not smaller cops to citizens ratio( which is indeed very less, 1:1500 ) or late night work hours, but these immoral media which reflect the fairer sex’s use as object s of attraction and business.
But having said that, employing women and “using” them to attract consumers, to hike TRPs in a show etc happen in the west too. Even women enjoy being a part of it in the name of freedom, liberty and empowerment, but significantly less number of sexual abuses cases are reported. So what is the difference? Are the cultural perspectives are different ? My personal opinion multi-folded.
The incidents indeed reflect character of an individual to begin with but it does not end here. The media should also be accused of promoting such programs on national television (may be they do it because it is what men like to watch, but it seems more like chicken and egg), weak law enforcement on events that seem more likely to be causes of such events and finally social norms of not equating women with men. In my opinion we are moving away from our culture of respecting a lady and not being gentlemen.
Disclaimer: The author is neither feminist nor a male chauvinist, but generally concerned about society’s morals.
p.s. This marks my return after a long time. I feel happy to have removed it off my chest.