The recent Delhi gang rape case has lead to many discussions, most of the discussions start of about what the government/society should do, but end up proclaiming what women should NOT do.Here are a few of the Don'ts that I have come across in the last few days.
Thou shalt not titillate men. When I informed the nurses at the hospital I work at about the rape incident, after the customary sympathetic noises, these ‘independent working women’ said “Madam you should always wear dupatta when you go out.” What if I am wearing pants or denims, how can I wear a dupatta with that? And more importantly do we have a study where we have asked rapists,”excuse me but do you find a dupatta a deterrent to raping women?” Infact even women in Burkhas get raped! Women at 80 get raped in their homes, and prepubescent girls raped on their way back from school. Is the school uniform not a deterrent to rape?
Thou shalt not stay out late at night. How late is late? Is 9 o clock at night late, because that is the time the girl in Delhi got picked up. That means you can’t go out for a 6 o’ clock movie, because that will end at after curfew hours .No dinner out for you girl, no music shows, no shopping after sun down, no overnight bus or train travel, no life after 7.Who decides this? Again I ask, have you asked the rapists “excuse me, but do you have fixed timings for raping or is it a 24/7 facility? If I go out at 10 in the morning am I guaranteed safety?”
Thou shalt not challenge the men who eve tease. Ever since the Delhi gang rape incident I have been contemplating carrying a swiss-army pocket knife so as to ‘protect’ myself. Incidentally that is not an option. If a guy whistles, passes sleazy comments or even manages to feel you up, the accepted mode of conduct is to ignore the perpetrator. “Ignore him and he will go away, if you answer back, then he might get angry, come back with more of his guy friends and…” The answer is loud and clear “you are a girl, you must suffer in silence’. Just yesterday a man in a lungi passed a comment at me as I entered the hospital. I was in the doctors coat, wore a salwar kameez with dupatta mind you, and here was a 20 something no-good-loser in a lungi which is no more than a wrap around skirt folded upto the knees, and I get wolf calls! I wanted to turn around and give him a piece of my mind, my hands itched for a resounding slap, and yet I walked on silently seething. I am still seething in anger. I wish I could have walked upto him in my wrap around skirt, folded it at the knees, snapped my fingers at his face and said “yenna rascalla, mind it!” But alas, a female rajnikant is yet to be born.
Thou shalt not roam around without male companions. Another oft repeated surmon “don’t go out alone”. The girl in Delhi was not alone, did that protect her? How many men are required to protect one woman? No one ever says that 4 or more men should not gather/roam around in public, since it has been proven that men in gangs are more prone to cause mayhem. No. The onus of getting raped is solely the woman’s fault. ‘Why did she do, what she was told not to do?’
Even in the 21 century, the rules and laws are blatantly regressive, and this will not change until we start asking some tough questions and the right questions. We must start questioning the motivations and intents of the men at fault, and not the unintentional ‘faults’ of the female victims. Why do some men stoop to such heinous crimes? Stop blaming movies, and western society and women at large, and start pointing the fingers at the right direction.
Yes the movies have objectified women, but the movies also have a Rajnikant or a Chulbul Pandey who will stand up and fight for women. The hero beats up the villains and never ever says to the girl “you brought this upon yourself.”