Slut Walk: Instead of focusing on the issues the media focuses on how women must protest.

What is Slut Walk?

A Canadian Police officer stated that women could avoid sexual crimes if they did not dress like sluts. Such ignorant statements encourage criminals. In India, The rapists often don’t see their actions as crimes, the police said, and don’t expect the victims to report them.” [Click to read] Because they are confident that the victims would be blamed for ‘sexualising their environment’.

Women in Canada protested by marching, dressed as they pleased to convey that they expected ‘Those charged with our safety should have a true understanding of what it is to be a survivor of sexual assault — slut or otherwise

Why call it Slut Walk?

“The name was meant to be provocative. The protests that followed around the world wanted to show continuity with that protest, so they kept the same name.

By using that name, women are saying, if I’m a slut (i.e. a woman who sleeps with many men) you still don’t have the right to touch me, unless I say you do. That prostitutes have the right to refuse sex and be respected. That however provocatively I dress or my sexual conduct in general does not give you the right to act on your misguided assumption that I am up for grabs.” (Bride’s comment on Chandni’s post)
So do not use how a woman is dressed as an excuse to harass/rape/molest/abuse women.

Why should it be safe for a woman to be seen as a slut?

Because Slut Excuses continue ignorance about sexual crimes. Educated, well read people are known feel  that sexual crimes are caused by victims and not the rapists.

Also because many other problems women face are linked to what is seen as dressing or acting or living or walking or socializing like sluts.

Who is a slut? Does a slut rob, kill or break any laws?

The term applied to an individual who is considered to have loose sexual morals or who is sexually promiscuous. The term is generally applied to women as an insult. [from Wikipedia]

Slut Walk questions the assumption that a woman’s personal life should have an impact on how crimes against her are dealt with. In India a woman’s lifestyle has been used by rapists, the society, the media and the police to justify sexual crimes against them.

* * *

An article in The Hindustan Times claimed that slut walk in Delhi doesn’t make sense in a country where, 10 million babies have been killed in the womb because they were girls.

I disagree. We can’t wait for female feticide to stop before we make this world worth living for those who have not been killed in the womb. Every issue needs to be taken seriously.

Also, one of the reasons girl babies are killed is that many parents feel sexual crimes make it difficult to raise daughters. It frightens the parents that no matter what happens, the victim is likely to be blamed. These little girls, babies, young and old women didn’t dress like ‘sluts’.

The same article complains about Slut Walk protesting insensitivity in handling sexual crimes “while women are being burnt for dowry?”

Well, not only are all issues important but also sometimes they are connected.

Why don’t women just walk out of these marriages instead of being burnt alive?

Because they fear living alone.

Why do they fear living alone?

Same sexual harassment. And same excuses for the criminals. Many like Sweety choose to die pure and honorable.

Why is it so easy for a woman to be unsafe? And a rapist to be safe?

Another objection by media, Slut Walk is frivolous because, ‘women are being murdered in honour killings”

Slut Walk is Khap Panchayat’s night mare. It conveys, women do not need to fit into everybody’s ideas of what is honorable.

Also the rural women who roll bidis for Rs 30 a day, face the same risk of being called sluts  and there are  words in Indian languages that convey the same.

Since the protest aims to create better sensitization towards sexual crimes, the dalit women in remotest parts of Indian would also benefit from it.

A recent global survey  found India to be the fourth most dangerous place in the world for women.

And why is India so dangerous for women? One of the reasons is misguided actions. Instead of focusing on the crime and real issues,  the media and the law enforcers focus on how women must protest.

I feel every step in the right direction should be welcomed and supported.


Related Posts:

Chandni - Yes means yes, no means no – The Slut walk

Indian Homemaker- Those charged with our safety should have a true understanding of what it is to be a survivor of sexual assault — slut or otherwise.

106 thoughts on “Slut Walk: Instead of focusing on the issues the media focuses on how women must protest.

  1. Something to think about for sure …

    But pardon me for being a idiot and asking the question will this walk really help.. or has it helped ..

    I think its more important to TEACH the MALE , Teach the males in the family .. in your own family if we begin from inside our own rooms thats when things will change ..

    Sorry if i hurt anyone by saying the above .. but then thats what i think till the basic mentality of a MALE is not changed things will not change .. tell me if I am wrong

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  2. A question for all men kind and the likes – What does a rapist or an eve teaser look like or walk like? Is it safe to assume that all men have potential to be one of these and then is it fair to put them behind bars just as a safety precaution.

    I completely agree with this comment – “So do not use how a woman is dressed as an excuse to harass/rape/molest/abuse women.”

    It wont be long then that purdah system will be back and those in favor of it will find another excuse to propogate it – not that those women who follow this are at any lower risk of being raped or molested.

    i think the article in question was written without an absolute understanding of all issues mentioned are in one way or the other related, call it a slutwalk or call it a satyagriha – it has been done in protest of the hypocrites who always think its women who provokes and that should be noticed.

    For long now women have in bred in their DNA the gene of being a victim and allowing society of victimising them.

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  3. I have just one question, Once the “SlutWalk” happens or happened in a place how does it make world a better place or make a difference.

    Lets say the organizers of the SlutWalk sat in a formal environment and listed on bullet points what they achieved. What it would look like?

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    • 1. The participating women feel supported when they see that there are others who agree with them
      2. The people involved, and the people who hear about it, feel better about raising their voices against injustice the next time
      3. Some few people start with berating the people involved directly or supporting indirectly and after discussions, actually change their minds.

      The entire concept is to say “Victim blaming is unacceptable”
      There are also several activities organized by “Blank Noise” group in India. Lots of people also think they are stupid, wasting their time, rude and abrasive. But even if one person changes their mind, it’s all to the good.

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      • Good God, does our Country stand beside countries like Afghanistan?????? That country is a total wash out to be honest. Reading Khaled Hosseini’s “A thousand Splendid Sons” gave me sleepless nights and we often hear about the desperate situations faced by women in such countries but to think India is in the top 5 out of 196 countries in the world is mind boggling!!!!!

        IHM, what is the percentage of women in Rural India as opposed to Urban?

        Urban women in India have better facilities (compared to Pakistan, Afghanistan), freedom to study, work, live-in, marry out of will, divorce, adopt, abort. Despite ‘better freedom’, not a day passes without wolf-whistles, eve teasing etc even when I go for a walk!

        It is cool to address women as chick, babe, figure, item..It is cool if you are known for your ‘long legs’…It is cool to ignore certain men who ‘compliment your gorgeous shirt/top’ with all the wrong intentions..it is cool to get a million likes when you wantedly put up a pic of you lounging by the beach ( yes, I know some ex-classmates who will do anything for attention. They are still insecure like hell. The funny part is they are showered with attention only when they put up such pics. I am in no way supporting ‘it is women who provoke men’ policy but I am convinced it is because of low self-esteem and insecurity that is making them stoop so low. I have also come across men who have asked them to think again.)

        I think daughters SHOULD be taught from a very young age to be self reliant . Parents can do this by encouraging the girl child, involving her in creative activities, praising her, joining her in sports, get her brother to fill water etc. I think this is possible when parents themselves are confident individuals. Many times I have observed parents yelling/bossing over their kids but not uttering a word or standing consciously in their own peer group. Healthy parents = healthy kids!

        I think everyday people like us can start by communicating to our brothers/boyfriends/men in our lives about experiences we have gone through in the past or women friends with such stories or showing them incidents on roads/bus stands/stations/footpaths etc which the public overlooks. Eg- eve teasing in the bus stop or strangers rubbing our shoulders while crossing etc. I think over time they will understand that taking a stand will help not only women in trouble but also it gives them a sense of helping/giving back to the society. Why don’t we tell them it is social service to stop women from getting harassed in their presence?

        If you have never planted a tree or taught poor kids, why don’t you start by stopping an uncle from touching your young niece? I would definitely consider this act ‘Social Service’.

        p.s- I think my comment holds good for an Urban set up. Kindly enlighten me about what can be done for women in rural areas and how we can help men.

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      • I liked what it says above .. “It is cool to address women as chick, babe, figure, item..It is cool if you are known for your ‘long legs’…It is cool to ignore certain men who ‘compliment your gorgeous shirt/top’ with all the wrong intentions..it is cool to get a million likes when you wantedly put up a pic of you lounging by the beach ( yes, I know some ex-classmates who will do anything for attention. They are still insecure like hell. The funny part is they are showered with attention only when they put up such pics. I am in no way supporting ‘it is women who provoke men’ policy but I am convinced it is because of low self-esteem and insecurity that is making them stoop so low. I have also come across men who have asked them to think again.)”

        Totally my views ..

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      • @ M.O.M, I am curious to know what you think of men who post (if at all) pictures of themselves lounging on the beach. Would you say the men were stooping low or that they have low self-esteem issues?? Just asking.

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      • @ Shail:

        What an interesting question. It got me thinking. I don’t think I put in the right words in the above paragraph. Let me rephrase it.

        There is nothing wrong to lounge on the beach, please do not mistake me. I am sure you might have come across many young girls with self esteem issues. You can always spot one if you are observant. All I am trying to say is, since the topic is about women, I think our conditioning to always impress, to quench this thirst to be liked is sometimes portrayed in ignorance. I think the intention behind such pics and comments stem out of low self esteem. Else why would people comment ‘hawt’ ‘sexy’ ‘finally a good one from you’ etc? If you have seen reality shows like Roadies on MTV, splitsvilla etc most of the women are expected to be skimpily clad. It is a symbol of ‘modern thinking’. Would you consider them smart? They are making quick money but ignorant youngsters are easily influenced. I have seen examples.

        As for regular men, I think the expectations are different. My eyes might not pop if he’s in a speedo on the beach but I’m sure I’d raise my eyebrows if he poses in them and puts it up expecting everybody to comment. Don’t you think this behaviour is wanting to impress?

        I wouldn’t mind looking at a spontaneously shot pic. Isn’t there a difference in both?

        Let me know your point of view! :)

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      • M.O.M, you have some point there, women portraying themselves in a certain way – a way to seem modern, liberated, attractive to men, only at a superficial level – but I think when you use words like “stoop so low” or “all the wrong intentions” or generalise about self-esteem problems, the tone of the comment is a bit off. What they are doing may be silly and attention-seeking in a boring way but what is “so low” about it?

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      • The Bride, where am I generalising? I have clearly mentioned words like ‘ignorant/’some people’/ certain shows etc. I have merely spotted a bad apple among the good bunch. What is wrong in pointing that out?

        I might be terrible at framing English sentences but you seem to get my point. Don’t you think such people deserve a sound round of counselling to get to help them understand they are not merely shadows of misunderstood ‘western culture’?

        Infact an uncle in my family often stares up and down at young women including me (his niece) and comments about how ‘beautifully fit’ the kurta is or how low the jeans are. He even offers to give soap before I go for my bath! Please tell me what his intentions are (if not wrong)!

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      • I thought you were generalising because you seemed to say that the women who put up pics in a bikini or whatever are doing so because they have low self esteem. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they all have self-esteem issues. So I don’t think they need counselling, if you mean professional counselling.

        I think they can all introspect about why they want to project a certain image of themselves, but at the end of the day they can be free to project whatever image they want, even if that involves a westernised image. For years we have been aping tradition and the East, so maybe this is just that phase that happens when you finally have a choice.

        I assume you are talking about Facebook, and that is a whole other discussion, how people are creating images of themselves on facebook, not related to just putting up pics of being scantily-dressed but generally the obsession with image-crafting through facebook. You mentioned that these girls don’t get comments when they put up other pics… so they do put up other pics of themselves. I don’t see a problem then – lounging on a beach in a bikini is one aspect of their lives, why should they hide that aspect away. Now if people only comment on the bikini pics, that is the commenter’s issue no, not the girls who are putting up a variety of pics?

        I don’t see people commenting appreciatively on her pics – skantily clad ones or others – as a problem. I guess you could argue it is objectification, but then when I put up my son’s pics and people say ‘so cute’, that would be objectification too. Or are only women capable of being objectified?

        Your example of your uncle is an interesting one. I remember a Blank Noise project where they did some presentation overseas about harassment of women in the streets in India and some asked why the women didn’t see the comments as appreciation. Like if a well-dressed person in your office comments on your looks it’s a compliment but if someone on the street does it’s not appreciated. I think this does deserve more discussion.

        I may have completely missed the point here and if so, I’m sorry.

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  4. Slut walk is an important form of protest. It should increase the focus on harassment of Women on the Streets.
    Should the name be changed?
    May be yes if it ensures more wide spread participation.

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  5. Pingback: Clothing the women | Shail's Nest

  6. This is exactly what I was thinking when I i read various media personalities reaction to Slut Walk in India. I thought it was a great idea to cock a snook at people who called us Sluts because of what we choose to wear and to say to them – ‘ You think I’m a slut? Ok then – here it is – get used to the look.”
    There is far too much opinion around what women wear, and how that leads to us being viewed in a certain way and so on and so forth. Stop repressing us. Our clothes are an expression of our creativity and NOBODY can decided what we should wear – not men, not men who are beasts and not other women either, in the name of dignity.
    Please. Dignity doesn’t come from scraps( or reams) of fabric. Its an inner quality.

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    • +1. “There is far too much opinion around what women wear, and how that leads to us being viewed in a certain way and so on and so forth. Stop repressing us. Our clothes are an expression of our creativity and NOBODY can decide what we should wear – not men, not men who are beasts and not other women either, in the name of dignity.” Exactly. Enough of this.

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  7. Accusing a rape victim of “sexualizing the environment” by dressing a certain way is kind of like accusing of a car theft victim of criminalizing the environment by using an expensive car.

    One of my favorite Supreme Court judgements in India is State of Maharashtra V/s Madhukar Narayan Mardikar . On that occasion, the court observed that:

    […] even a woman of easy virtue is entitled to privacy and no one can invade her privacy as and when he likes. So also it is not open to any and every person to violate her as and when he wishes. She is entitled to protect her person if there is an attempt to violate it against her wish. She is equally entitled to the protection of law. Therefore, merely because she is a woman of easy virtue, her evidence can not be thrown overboard. At the most the officer called upon to evaluate her evidence would be required to administer caution unto himself before accepting her evidence […]

    A lot of people (including some High Court judges, apparently) don’t seem to understand this relatively simple concept. If a woman is dressed a certain way, it does NOT mean that she’s looking for sex!

    The HT article’s argument is almost childish. Quite apart from the fact that the issues are interlinked, by their own logic, protests against inflation and corruption are frivolous because hundreds of people die in road accidents every day. A protest against dowry deaths is meaningless because so many women are dying of heart disease. Why protest against khap panchayats when cholera is decimating certain rural populations? It’s all a waste of time, isn’t it?

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    • In spite of the correctness of the judgement, how infurating is the term “Woman of easy virtue” ! So much wrong in there… sigh

      “If a woman is dressed a certain way, it does NOT mean that she’s looking for sex”
      Even if she is looking for it, she is not necessarily looking for it from you! Can’t someone dress provocatively to excite a boyfirend, or even husband for that manner? Does it mean that if the man leaves his ‘property’ unattended, it gets ‘stolen’?

      (I grossed myself out writing that !)

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      • SS,

        I agree that the phrasing is unfortunate, but it’s worth noting that it was originally used by the defense, and found it’s way into the High Court judgement from there. The Supreme Court judgement basically overturned the HC judgement and in doing so, reused some of the original terminology employed by the defense (“unchaste woman”, “illicit intimacy” and so forth).

        As well, the significance of this judgement can hardly be overstated. Before this judgement, your entire testimony could get thrown out of court if the defense simply managed to prove the existence of any kind of extra-marital physical relationships! Our rape laws are already antiquated and are riddled with huge loopholes. We don’t need this sort of Victorian era junk. I’d be willing to overlook a LOT of crappy phrasing to get rid of such an “exonerating” factor

        As for your second point, I agree unconditionally.

        Perhaps I should rephrase:

        If a woman is dressed a certain way, it does NOT mean that she’s looking for sex from you. Mind your own business.

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  8. Like everyone else, prostitutes also face a lot of challenges in life. Its not that they get things easily or even if they do, its not that they keep getting that forever! So a slut (if it refers to a prostitute) may not be a derogatory term at all, technically speaking. Its a way of life, which some people have thought was the best for themselves!

    Secondly, about the dressing choice – I think it should be left to the people concerned. For example, (Being a male) I have walked into a vendor conference with a half shirt and a tie when my boss insisted that Tie is compulsory :) I was more bothered about the Heat! The next time he said come with full shirt and tie, I walked in with a bright checked shirt with a bright tie :) I have a strong doubt, if my appraisal was less than usual because of this.

    See, even men are not immune to harassment. You might see me in that walk with a T-Shirt and a Tie – I too need to register my protest. There is a good chance that my (former) boss will be watching it :)

    Destination Infinity

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    • I believe prostitute is a woman who is paid for her sexual services. A slut is a woman who is simply promiscuous. Also, referring to paid prostitutes, some have chosen the way of life by choice. The majority due to some kind of pressure or poverty. It is not an easy job to sleep with strangers,

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    • “See, even men are not immune to harassment. You might see me in that walk with a T-Shirt and a Tie – I too need to register my protest.”

      Indeed. There is no reason that I should ‘look professional’ in that that blast furnace of a suit in the middle of summer, while software engineers across the street lounge around in funky T-Shirts. “Professional attire” sounds suspiciously like the sort of nonsense that is meant to line someone else’s pockets. :/

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    • THIS.

      This is exactly why there needs to be a slutwalk. Because to some men, getting a less than great appraisal because THEY CHOSE NOT TO FOLLOW THEIR EMPLOYER’S DRESS CODE is comparable to rape or sexual harrassment.

      I have four questions:
      1. You chose to work for that firm, didn’t you?
      2. You chose to go to that conference wearing the clothes you did, didn’t you?
      3. You do realize it is YOUR responsibility to be aware of and follow your employer’s or client’s dress code, don’t you?
      4. Your boss didn’t molest or rape you, did he?

      How can you compare it to rape, then? I’m sorry if this sounds too livid but get real, men!

      Are you implying that all women in the world are the menfolks’ EMPLOYEES – just because you woke up one day and decided that was the case – and therefore subject to whatever dress code men decide upon? And if they don’t adhere to it, they’re inviting harassment, right?

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      • Very well said. I am a women and I work in office too. I know how it feels to not get an adequate appraisal (or face non- sexual harrasement at office) and I also know what a sexual harrasement feels like (travelling in DTC buses for years you see!).

        It boggles my mind to see some such insensitive men.

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  9. I agree with Bikram. The basic mentality of a male needs to be changed. And the best place to teach them is at home. A girl is taught and instructed about social conduct, given guidelines about how to dress and behave in public in general. But a boy is seldom/never taught about these things at home esp with regard to conduct towards girls. He learns from his peers, from the media which shape up his misguided notions which slowly get entrenched. Something needs to be done in this direction too.

    If changing the name helps clear confusion about the purpose and point behind Slut Walk, then it should be done.

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  10. I agree that male attitudes in India (and most of the world) towards women needs to improve but I can’t help but notice women’s attitudes in India also.

    Another great Indian Enigma-

    At the macro level in India, women rule. The President of India is a woman, so is the leader of the ruling party, the speaker of parliament, the leader of opposition in parliament, 4 major states (Delhi, UP, WB, TN) have woman chief ministers, & 3 states have woman governors (these are very powerful women at that). Fortune’s Asia Business Leaders lists always have plenty of Indian women (Kochar, Mazumdar-Shaw, Indu Jain, Bhartia etc).

    Yet all these women in power in India are either unwilling or unable to affect the widespread social practices & injustices that adversely affect large numbers of Indian women.

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    • “Another great Indian Enigma-” I think it’s just patriarchy that breeds that attitude. If you can get in the good books of the men that rule the household, to get some privileges in return, why not? The same reason why smaller kings ratted on the larger ones in British India. Same reason why average performing employees gang up against a better one. You can’t match them and out do them fairly, so get at them in underhanded ways.

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  11. Don’t know what to say.

    I am reminded about Bra Burning, during the sixties when the Women’s liberation movement started.

    It is now Slut Walk.
    Frankly, I am not comfortable with this form of protest.

    If the intention is to be provocative then, yes, it certainly is provocative.
    Society will see red.

    I don’t know if this walk will be even allowed by the authorities.
    It all depends on just how skimpily the participants are dressed and the location of their march.
    I think the law will swing into action.
    One thing is sure. The media will have a field day.

    I remember a girl in the early seventies who wanted to shock the elders.
    She came to college dressed in a tea shirt emblazoned “Virginity causes Cancer”.

    She was sent home immediately by the college authorities and barely escaped rustication. Her parents were summoned and warned.

    I support the stand that eve teasing or rape or molestation cannot be justified just because a women dresses “provocatively”.

    I support the stand that Males need to be counseled and steps taken to prevent this from happening. Stringent punishment is necessary for the offenders and this menace needs to be eliminated.

    However I also realize that is an ideal that we can only hope to achieve in future.

    Till that is done, if I were a woman, I would not dress provocatively in the wrong place at the wrong time, because I know the law cannot guarantee my protection. I am merely being practical.

    I will not comment on any woman who chooses to dress provocatively. I concede that it is her right to dress as she pleases and merely hope that nothing untoward happens to her. I will also step in to protect her within the limits of my strength and capabilities if I see her being teased or harrassed by rogue males.

    Shail had blogged on a similar topic some time ago and I had responded with my comment which wasn’t received well. If she had “thumbs up/down” ratings for comments in place on her blog, I am sure I would have got several thumbs down ratings for that comment of mine. We finally simply agreed to differ.

    That’s all for now. Let me start counting the thumbs down ratings that I am going to receive for this comment.

    Regards
    GV

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    • What would you count as provocative dressing?
      What are right and wrong times and places?
      Do you think the way a woman dresses is in some way connected to sexual crimes against her?

      I collected information about rape cases in Delhi and found nearly all happened at right places – many at home and around, many by someone known to the victim, many in broad day light.

      Do take note of the ages, clothing, life styles etc of the victims in this post,

      http://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/the-attackers-often-do-not-see-their-actions-as-crimes-the-police-said-and-do-not-expect-the-women-they-attack-to-report-them/

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      • + The term “provocative” itself is, um, provocative. It’s highly subjective. One person may feel that even a burka is provocative because it makes him wonder what might be inside. Hence, as said by many others before, obscenity lies in the eye of beholder.

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    • “I concede that it is her right to dress as she pleases and merely hope that nothing untoward happens to her.”

      Why link what she’s wearing or not wearing to untoward incidents? I was walking through my upcoming apartment complex with hordes of labourers y’d. Wolf whistles, X-ray eyes and gangs of them following too close behind me, singing loudly.

      I would describe this as very UNTOWARD. I was wearing a dowdy salwar kameez with a fully draped dupatta. So? Were they harassing me because of my clothes? Or my gender?

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    • GV, the term ‘provocative’ is very relative. That is the whole point. For the Taliban, a woman showing her face is provocative. For my college principal, sleeveless clothes were provocative. For my office colleagues, a skirt is provocative. And let me tell you this, the same people have different opinions on what is provocative at different points in time. For instance, my mum was very anti- T-shirt during my teenage years. Now, however, she buys me T-shirts herself. The reasons for this, as I see it, are two- she has traveled abroad since then and has seen a lot of different cultures and I believe that this has had a positive influence on her. The second reason is that I’m married to a man who does not tell me what to wear and what not to. Neither will I let him do that. Since he does not have a problem with my clothes, my mum does not bother me about them now either. I’m more woman now than I was during my teenage years. What changed was my mother’s definition of ‘provocative’, not my way of dressing. The point is, I could be wearing clothes that I’m completely comfortable in and the person opposite me could think I was being provocative. There’s absolutely no way I can prevent him from thinking that and neither do I think that it is my job to do so. I don’t care what he thinks about me as long as he keeps his hands to himself and his eyes off me. That is the point of SlutWalk- that as a woman, I will wear what I want to and you, as a man, had better lay off me. Because of the simple reason that if you behave in a contrary manner, it’s against the law. The aim of SlutWalk is not to transform perverts, it is to tell the perverts that they will go to jail if they dare to do anything to me. Whether they think I’m a nun or a slut.

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    • “I support the stand that Males need to be counseled and steps taken to prevent this from happening. Stringent punishment is necessary for the offenders and this menace needs to be eliminated.

      However I also realize that is an ideal that we can only hope to achieve in future.

      Till that is done, if I were a woman, I would not dress provocatively in the wrong place at the wrong time, because I know the law cannot guarantee my protection. I am merely being practical. ”

      But, GV, how much longer should I wait? Apparently, I am not allowed to walk on the streets of Chennai wearing a full skirt and T-shirt without some good for nothing ramming in to me. Full skirt. Not allowed. Why?

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    • Till that is done, if I were a woman, I would not dress provocatively in the wrong place at the wrong time, because I know the law cannot guarantee my protection. I am merely being practical.

      That’s just it, though. I mean, you can whatever steps you want, but it won’t curb sexual assault. I’ve been whistled at and eve teased by males and I would have on a sweatshirt and jeans. This didn’t stop them. Like IHM says, what counts as being at the wrong place and the wrong time? What counts as dressing “provocatively?

      As someone who works with sexual assault victims I can tell you, half of them were assaulted inside their own homes! Were they at the wrong time and place? Also there’s the belief that sexual assault is done by strangers, I don’t know what the stats are in India, but in the US 75% of victims were assaulted by someone they knew.

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      • It’s the same in India RenKiss – but media, movies and culture have created the myth that rape is always about strangers on dark streets attacking careless/daring/provocatively dressed/attractive/modern/young women.

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    • @GV,
      //”Till that is done, if I were a woman, I would not dress provocatively in the wrong place at the wrong time, because I know the law cannot guarantee my protection. I am merely being practical.”// Your words.


      And so are 99.99% of the women, way more practical than any man can EVER imagine because of the way society treats us. Being practical about our safety is second nature to us women. Even little girls know what ‘impractical’ and ‘practical’ mean way before boys know such words exist in any language.. Not that it has helped as any, which fact escapes those who advice.

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      • GV’s arguments are simply untenable. He should reply to the comments his long comment has spawned and enlighten us who think otherwise.

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    • @GV,

      How a woman dresses is not what makes a man rape her. Children, old women, beautiful women, women with pimples,fat women, ultra-thin women, women with perfect figures, women in mini-skirts, women in burqas are ALL raped. The theory that covering up oneself would not invite harassment holds no water. Rape is a crime of power. If our clothes would decide whether or not we get raped, then your advice would be correct to follow. The issue we are addressing is the treatment meted out to normal women in normal clothes, victims of rape, who have to be subjected to questions about what they wear and how many boyfriends they have. It is not clothes that cause the crime, but the clothes certainly make it difficult to get justice.

      Read this link: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/youth-held-for-raping-90yearold-woman/434719/ and tell me whether the 90 year old woman was wearing a bikini, and provoking the man, thus leading to rape? She was, in all probability, an ugly old crone, swathed in a sari.

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      • Just wanted to add to this:

        rape and other forms of sexual molestation occur because there is a license for them to occur. An Indian man who ogles a woman wearing a sleeveless top in a bus in India and harasses her will not dare to do the same if he’s in a bus in the US. I’m not saying he will look at the two women differently- he may well have the same perverted thoughts in his head. But his actions are decided by the circumstances he is in.

        In the first case, he knows it’s a given that in India, women who dress like this are sluts and can be treated any which way. In the second case, he knows he will get into trouble if he does anything. This is not to say that there is no sexual harassment in the West, but the kind of free run we have in India is simply unacceptable.

        SlutWalk demands that laws in this country be enforced strictly, that lawmakers and executors take these issues seriously and do not further victimize the victim. If a few perverts want to ‘reform’ along the way, well and good. But it will be a long time before we change the mentality of millions. In the meantime, we will have our rights and laws, thank you very much.

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      • Wanted to add my two bits to the discussion. GV, the reason you will find it hard to convince us is that we have heard your line of thinking before, most of us from our parents who have fed us exactly this ‘be practical’, ‘be careful’ mantra, with the best intentions, and which we conformed to practically our whole lives. However, to no avail. I have been molested in the street in a salwar kameez, jeans and a t-shirt, jeans and a kurta, shorts, and my school uniform to name just a few. I have actually never been molested when wearing a miniskirt but that is probably just coincidence. The fact is that women in India are fair game regardless of what they wear. The only time I have been harassed in the street by men in Hong Kong where I live now is by two desi construction workers… when I was pregnant! This clearly shows that it is not what we wear but the mindset. To avoid being harassed in India one would have to hide oneself at home – though as the examples quoted have shown – we are unsafe at home too or ensure we are surrounded by a male escort (and even that is not always effective). Why should we live like prisoners like this? So, having for centuries tried to be “practical” about what we wear to no avail, we – and numerous studies – have finally concluded it is not about what we wear and so we are going to stop feeling guilty about what we wear and focus on changing men’s sense of entitlement and their conviction that they can get away with anything.

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  12. Slut walk, I think is a wonderful way of telling the society that the blame needs to at the perpetrator, and NOT at the victim.

    What is wrong with the word Slut? I might be wearing clothes that are totally acceptable to one section of society, but a certain section might still consider me a slut? A khap panchayat guy might think I am the perfect example of a slut given the fact that I married someone by choice? By the different standards that people in society employ, almost every woman could be branded a slut by one person or the other. Does that justify crime against women, rape?

    That is what Slutwalk is all about for me. No matter what a person wears, rape is always the fault of the rapist. It is funny to see so many people up in arms against the word, or the mode of protest. People talk about changing mentality, this is one powerful means to get this issue out in the open. At the very least, people will start talking about the issue. Hopefully, one day, a ‘slut’ would not mean an invitation to rape.

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    • Smitha, good points. But do note (I said this in my other comments too) that the cop never said it is the woman’s fault. He wrongly asserted that if women stopped dressing like sluts, they may not get raped so much. His point (however incorrect it may have been) was that by dressing like a slut, a woman increases the risk of being attacked, not that she was at fault and the rapist wasn’t.

      Again, this is statistically inaccurate. How you dress has no effect on the chances of rape/assault.

      But now the more important question here is this. Hypothetically speaking, if it was ever statistically established that dressing scantily increases the chances of being raped by X% (assuming X is non-trivial). Will it then make practical sense for women (and young boys) to take a few precautions? The idealistic answer is that all rape should be prevented before it can happen, but that does not happen in the real world.

      As a comparable parallel, assume you live in New Delhi, and that police case files show a marked increase in gun-point attacks between 2 AM and 5 AM at night. If the Delhi police chief requests Delhiites (men and women) to try and avoid being outside during those hours, what will the reaction be? Again, being out between 2 AM and 5 AM is every Indian citizen’s right. No question about that. It’s never anyone’s fault that they were out at night at a time when attacks are known to be most frequent. But will the police officer be justified in making such a request?

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      • “But will the police officer be justified in making such a request?”

        No. The job of the police officer is to solve crimes, not find justifications for it. Don’t go out between 2-5, don’t go out after dark, don’t go out at all, where does it stop?
        When we find this cop’s words reasonable, it is because it agrees with our own deeply ingrained learning about what invites attacks. However, it should be clear that NOTHING invites attacks. The fault lies with the attacker – full stop.
        Think about these:
        – Don’t go out late at night or after dark, lest you get attacked
        – Don’t wear provocative clothes lest you get attacked
        – Don’t wear jewellery lest you get robbed
        – Don’t carry an expensive cell phone lest it gets stolen
        – Don’t buy a big house lest you invite buglars

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  13. Quite honestly I’m really torn between whether I support Slut Walk, it’s received a lot of support and criticism from feminists in the US. I think my issue is, on the one hand I feel it reinforces the belief that sexual assault is purely about sex. Then again, it could just be my perception. Perhaps I have a bias :P because I prefer Take Bake The Night (Reclaim the Night). Which also marches against sexual assault. :)

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  14. The whole purpose of the slut walk is to dispel the notion that “It was the woman’s fault.”

    Objections such as “we have bigger problems like female infanticide” are so predictable no? Whenever someone protests against something, someone always says “but what about this?

    No one is saying we can’t protest about female infanticide. We can and we do. But that doesn’t mean all other issues have to take a backseat. We have two hands after all. Each hand can hold a different object. It’s called multitasking

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    • The whole purpose of the slut walk is to dispel the notion that “It was the woman’s fault.”

      Perhaps, but do note that the cop in question never said it was the woman’s fault. He said (incorrectly from a facts perspective) that not dressing like a slut will reduce chances of being sexually attacked. The statistically inaccurate theory here is that women increase their chances of getting raped by dressing provocatively – and this is unproven, and most experts believe it to be untrue.

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  15. Pingback: Slut Walk « Me and My Random Thoughts

  16. There are no statistics that show that dressing scantily (showing skin) increases or decreases the chance of rape/molestation in any observable manner.

    That said, dressing scantily will get you more looks from people around you. But that’s perfectly okay and should probably be encouraged. There’s nothing wrong in a man or a woman looking at another man or woman that they find attractive or interesting in some way.

    The slut walkers are not protesting about the extra attention they get. That part goes without saying. Their primary issue is that not dressing like a slut will not reduce the chance of any woman from getting raped (statistically).

    Again, the cop never said dressing like a slut deserved getting raped, he just ignorantly said that dressing like one increased the chances of abuse/rape. I bet he’s regretting ever saying that!

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    • It is not just that one cop, is it?? This has been said a million times over by people down the ages and continues to be the main argument to force women into following dress codes.
      There is always that last straw on the camel’s back that makes it buckle, however weightless that straw itself might be.

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      • Nish, why do you keep saying he never said it was the woman’s fault? By saying that women should dress responsibly, he implied that we are in some way responsible or that we actually can influence whether we are attacked or not… which is what half of society thinks it seems. Whether he came right out and said it or not and that is where the outrage lies. That a person who is supposed to be an upholder of the law can be so misguided.

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      • @TheBride

        I keep saying that because I feel it deviates from the core issue. Too much stress is on what one guy said. For more on my point of view, please read my longer reply to Smitha a few comments above.

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  17. I’m tired of people asking me why I support Womens Day when it does nothing to the women on the streets or someone who is getting beaten up somewhere by her husband.
    I’m tired of people asking me why I support Slut Walk when there are 1000s to whom this may not mean anything at all.

    All I have to say is – everything is a movement. If Martin Luther King thought that just by him raising his voice alone against racial discrimination did nothing, don’t think we would have seen this day. If those Freedom Riders (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_riders) did not take that brave stand and ride the bus with the whites, maybe we wouldn’t have had that awareness at all. If Gandhi thought that just by him doing a salt satyagraha at Dandi, it would not make a difference to someone somewhere, today we wouldn’t have had the freedom we boast of.

    Everything is an awareness movement. It doesn’t guarantee success or mass awareness instantly. It is work in progress; just like all other movements India has seen.

    Just fyi – I was dressed in full salwar kameez with the dupatta neatly covering my breasts (or the lack of it, at the time) when a man groped me from behind while traveling in a bus! I definitely did not ask for it.

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  18. I whole-heartedly support the “Slutwalk”. It’s high time. My teenage years and early 20s have been filled with “uncles” and “aunties” telling me how to dress so that people don’t tease me on the road. My father was the only person who wanted to lodge a police complaint against the vagabonds who tried to harm me ( a bunch of guys on a scooter thought it was really funny to drive their cricket bat into the spokes of my two wheeler. It’s a miracle I was not run over by another vehicle as I slid from one end of the road to another ).

    I am tired of having different attires for public transport vs driving in my car to the same event. I am tired of people who tried to grab my breasts at the bus stop and being shouted at by the police man I complained to because apparently my jeans and t-shirt were “provocative” and I would anyways have been better off staying at home.

    And this is not rural India. It is prime urban India. I hope Slutwalk will show them the other side.

    Other commentators have raised a question as to whether it will affect rural India. It may not. But it will affect the way I live in and the way lakhs of women will live in urban India (hopefully) and thats good enough for me.

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  19. I fully support Slut walk. But I think more women would want to identify with the movement if it wasnt termed as Slut walk. Think about it, a lot of the women who get touched, abused, molested, “cat”-called, in India are the lower and middle class in society. These women probably never told anybody about what happened in their lives and need a movement they can identify with. Most of them wont know what slut means, but if they find out they would disassociate themselves from this movement by misunderstanding it. Plus, more men would come out on the street if this was a march against sexual abuse. People could be told to wear/bring along the clothes they wore when they faced such harassment.

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  20. I just read that the slut walk in Delhi has been toned down due to public reactions. It’s been renamed to ‘Besharmi Morcha’ and the ladies have been asked to dress “sensibly” (meaning no mini skirts or tights). I guess this says it all. It’s being done all over the world and the one city where they had to tone it down is in India!

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    • Nish I think from the beginning they were asked to wear whatever they wear everyday because in India even wearing a salwar kameez can mean you are fair game for men. Actually, we in India prove the point so forcefully that what you wear makes no difference because we are molested wearing anything, just by virtue of being women. The Besharmni Morcha is the HIndi translation – I think they could’ve gone with a more provocative HIndi words too.

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  21. IHM, Ajay and fellow readers,

    I read all reactions to my comment till Saturday morning 8 am
    Some time during the day I hope to find time to post my replies.
    I however have no hopes of convincing any one
    I have the willingness to be convinced by all you.
    Regards
    GV

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    • Well GV the reality is, as pointed by IHM and I, what many people fail to realize is most rapes aren’t committed by strangers. I applaud you for at least coming here to read what everyone has to say.

      Rape/sexual assault isn’t driven by sexual needs, many of the people who commit these crimes have access to consensual sex.

      *enters teaching moment mode*

      Also as I pointed out above, I work with victims of sexual assault, my job is to go to the hospital and sit with the victim while they’re reporting their assault. The overwhelming majority of these victims were 1. assaulted by someone they knew, and 2. weren’t wearing “proactively” (doesn’t matter how they were dressed).

      The reason why bloggers like IHM and others have these discussions is because she and other like minded bloggers see that myths about rape continue to be accepted, as shown in your comment. You accept the myth that rape happens because women weren’t being practical about how they were dressed, even though you acknowledge it wasn’t the victim’s fault (which I applaud you for acknowledging).

      This is also known as “Rape myth acceptance”(RMA) which is defined as a number of stereotypical ideas an individual (or society) believes about rape and sexual assault. The problem with these myths is they dictate how people respond to victims of sexual assault. That’s why the victim is often blamed.

      My point is this, if you want to continue to believe that women should be dressed decently in order prevent from being sexually assaulted, I’m just telling you, you’re buying into the myth. Also your belief doesn’t line up with the reality of what’s happening. That’s why I pointed out that most victims are sexually assaulted by someone they knew, sometimes it’s by a family member. That’s why it doesn’t matter how a woman is dressed, rape/sexual assault is a pre-mediated crime.

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  22. It’s a stupid event, this will never create any awareness of anything, these women just have nothing better to do, they should ask themselves whether they are supporting women or making up for some sort of hidden oppression, control and repression in their lives.

    The police should have said that these women should dress appropriately so not violate the indecency in public law that exists in most western soceities. Not much hoopla would have been created then, the tabloids ofcouse want to make a buck of anything. Can’t believe so many people waste time on junk news.

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      • Awareness of what IHM? Where is the awareness in all of this? All this sort of protest does is provide fodder for tabloids.

        How a bunch of grown women can walk around making a fool of themselves, this is just like teenagers wearing silly tatooes thinking it is going to better their lives. Rape is about control and power, it is very little to do with how a woman dresses.

        It would have been better if there was anyone discussing on what to do when rape is attempted on the victim, self-defense? prevention strategies? instead of walking around dressed like clowns.

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      • Do you feel this way about other protest marches also – candlelight vigils, gay pride marches etc? What makes you think they will be “dressed like clowns”? They will just be wearing what they like to wear, which is all we are asking for, the right to walk peacefully on the street wearing whatever we please. Rape has very little to do with how a woman dresses but clearly society has not yet got that message because the discussion around this Slutwalk proves how bigoted so many people are, including many in the media (that Anil Dharkar column was such a disappointment). The idea is in fact to provoke discussion – but I don’t see why the discussion should focus on prevention in terms of self-defense. Making people aware of the gaps in their logic is also prevention of sorts.

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  23. Excellent Post, Have been itching to write about it but lack of time has been a major hurdle.

    So I am going to be content with commenting right now and write a post when the slut walk is done. I would love to be at the slut walk! (Its postponed apparently?!? is it?) I might not go to it in hotpants, spaggheti and high heels, but I would have been there yelling slogans all the same!

    Just the sheer number of times I have been harassed on the street since I was barely 12 tells me that every women who has ever walked alone on a street has been harassed irrespective of what clothes she was wearing. FYI Most times it happened I was going to a college that only allowed us to wear Salwar Kameez (Dress code to prevent Sexual Harassment???) May be I have a slut face!! (if that exists) SO I DON’T think it is even relevant to talk about what women wear.

    IMPORTANT issue because it affects the totality of women not just a part of them and everywhere in the world too.

    Here is an interesting post by Sarit at Feminist Fatale on her feelings after going to the Slut walk!

    http://www.feministfatale.com/2011/06/what-being-at-slutwalk-taught-me-about-my-activism-slutwalk-la/

    ‘Kickass’ post IHM! very relevant questions raised and discussed.

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  24. P.S:
    Oh! and for people who think Slut is not the relevant word for an Indian demonstration, I learned the word as a 13 year old when a man on the street called me a slut in my school uniform and I came back home to check the dictionary! So I think if it happened nearly 15 years back it still happens now!

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  25. One of the reason for the cynicism among some ppl here is the lack of ground work by organisers of Slut Walk.

    Slut Walk will be a huge success if it becomes a broad movement of all women from all social class religion and political beliefs. It should include prominent personalities from all walks of life like Politics, Show business, Sports,Academics etc. At least a member each from all Offices, Housing Societies,Colleges, Schools, Slums,Trade Unions etc should participate.
    IHM, do u have any idea of the Organisational details of Slut Walk?

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  26. Hypocrisy and double standards at its best display…

    Indian men have no qualms using the sleaziest terms which I better not mention here when they describe women (hot or not)…mind it, women who live outside of the premises of their homes!

    BUT when it comes to the idea of having a sister, a SIL, a wife, a DIL, a daughter step out of *their* house and proudly join a march that they feel strongly about…its provocative name garners all the attention rather than its objective….these men shudder at the thought of being teased as a slut’s brother, father, husband etc…and come up with the lamest of excuses to correct it.

    All those women that these same men call sluts once they step out of their homes…now are coming out of their own protected walls…THAT is what this march is about.

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  27. I knew you would be writing about this. And you are absolutely right, those babies and kids did not dress like sluts, then why were they targetted!!

    If a woman wants to dress like a slut, SO WHAT?! The thing is, I am normally conservative when it comes to dressing, BUT, on the rare occasion that I do want to wear an attractive dress, esp if it comes with a low neckline, I want to be able to wear it and walk down the streets confidently, without every roadside rogue stripping me naked with his eyes.

    I am all FOR the slut walk.

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  28. IHM,
    Sorry, for being late to respond today. I wanted to send this during the afternoon but my internet connection at home was acting up.
    I am sending this from outside my home.

    Looks like I am an incorrigible optimist.
    I failed to convince even one person (Shail) on her blog recently when a similar topic was discussed and I had posted two long comments which failed to cut any ice with her. We simpy agreed to differ and dropped the matter.

    And now, so soon after truce was agreed between us, here I am, trying to convince a battalion of ladies( and a few gentleman) who agree with her and who seem to be unanimous in their views.

    No harm in trying. At worst, the “thumbs down” count will shoot up. I can take that in my stride.

    Ajay: Glad to note that someone is expecting me to respond. Sorry for that long comment. Sorry once again for an even longer comment this time.

    Shail: Bra Burning didn’t actually happen? Okay, I’ll take your word for it. I didn’t know that. Good that it didn’t happen. I hope the Slut Walk also, at least in India, does not happen. I don’t want it to. Let there be a protest march by the ladies, (and sympathetic gentleman) by all means. I may even be willing to join it. But only if the ladies are decently clad. If they march past my house in improper clothing, I am going to avert my gaze. Such sights are not good for my health at my age.

    IHM,
    In answer to your questions:
    Provocative dressing is quite simply dressing that is easily noticed by lustful eyes and acts as a spur.
    Exposed navels and belly buttons, plunging neck lines, cleavage exhibition by well endowed ladies are some examples.
    Walking or conducting oneself in an intentionally seductive way, is another example of provocation.
    This kind of dressing or behaviour is okay at times, on occasion and at some places. Not anywhere and everywhere and everytime.
    Right places are the bedroom or in complete privacy.
    Wrong places are offices, temples, market places etc.

    Right times are when a woman wants sexual attention from a male.
    Wrong times are all other times.

    I don’t dispute your data on rape cases in Delhi.
    It does not affect my arguments. When rape occurs even if victims are properly dressed, or in so called safe places, it simply means, to me at least, that more rapes will occur if the victims are provocatively dressed or they exhibit their assets at all odd places.

    Chain snatching is an analogy I can give here.
    By all means wear and exhibit proudly your jewellery at weddings.
    Do not flaunt them when you are taking an early morning walk in a lonely neighbourhood. Of course chain snatching is wrong. Of course the chain snatcher should be caught and be punished. Of course the wearer of the chain should not be blamed for “provoking” the chain snatcher. Of course the police should not scold her for being silly. But if they advise other women not to go about flaunting their chains in unsafe places, I don’t see why they should be criticized for it. I believe this Canadian Police officer was advising something similar not justifying the act.
    Of course, in Utopia, you have a right to expect that you can exhibit all your jewellery any where at any time and not be victimized for it.

    Aurpera,
    I have defined above what I consider provocative. I agree the term is subjective. Gounder Brownie used the word “relative”. If even a burqa is provocative for a perverted lustful male, a hipster sari worn below the navel, with a low cut sleeveless blouse exposing more skin than it covers is even more provocative. And if the women is a stunner with a figure to match, the provocation is complete. (In Shails blog, I had quoted Menaka provoking Vishwaamitra)
    By the way, there are mentally sick males for whom anything in the world is a turn on, even a female cockroach, let alone burqua clad ladies. Leave these perverts out of our discussion.

    starsinmyeyes,
    They were harassing you because they are uncouth ugly uneducated and unaware rogue males out to have some fun and you came in handy. Your gender is not the only reason. If your gender was the only reason then why are all males not harassing you? Why are all females not being harassed?
    Is this happening all the time or is this just a one off incident. Not that it is okay just because it happened just once.
    Your problem would have been worse if you had been “provocatively” dresed. Your dowdy salwar kameez and a fully draped dupatta, limited their misbehaviour to wolf whistles and X ray eyes. Yes, I agree, even what you experienced was “untoward” and I would condemn their behaviour. Those construction labourers who bahaved that way need two more generations before they progress to the stage where they can even be counseled. Till then it is wise to be safe than sorry.

    Agnija Bharathi,

    Again your experience reinforces my argument. When even a full skirt could not protect you from obnoxious behaviour, imagine how much worse it would be if you were “provocatively” dressed. Who said a full skirt is not allowed. What is not allowed is that good for nothing fellow ramming into you deliberately. But try telling him that. A fat lot of good that will do. Again, I repeat, be safe rather than sorry.

    Gounder Brownie,
    You can tell the perverts that they will go to jail if they dare to do anything to you.
    You can insist on your choice to be a nun or a slut.
    But do you have to take out a procession dressed as sluts to make this point?
    Why forgo the sympathy of society by resorting to gimmicks like this?

    Have you not considered banners, posters, slogans, fasts, dharnas, campaigns, etc?
    Let me assure you thousands of decent males like me would like to join your procession.
    If you take out a procession dressed as sluts, I cannot be sure of the quality of males who will offer to join you. Oglers will have a field day that day.
    The media will make a killing at your expense. I am afraid you will all become the laughing stock of the nation and a serious issue will become a tamaashaa.

    I also agree that to some extent “provocative” is a relative term.
    The Taliban will pronounce all Indian woman guilty of “full facial nudity” while we in India have a different definition of what is provocative.
    The West too have different definitions.
    So, keeping this in consideration, dress accordingly. You are either in Taliban land or USA/Europe or in India, not everywhere at the same time. Where is the dilemma in deciding if your dress is provocative or not?

    Charakan,
    I have noted your conviction. I am willing to join a street protest against molestation/rape/ etc and would gladly support another Anna Hazare type figure taking the lead. Would “Akka” “Chechi” or “Didi” Medha Patkar be willing to lead it? I will not join a “Slut” walk.

    To all who argued that even babies are raped and that rape occurs in familiar places, or by known persons when they were dressed properly, here is my answer, convincing or not, I don’t know.

    No dress can protect you against a rapist if you are vulnerable and he has an opportunity and decides to take advantage of it. A rapist needs no provocation.
    We are not talking only of rapists here. We are also talking about casual, cowardly gropers, roadside romeos, eve teasers, wolf whistlers, rowdies, bottom pinchers, peeping toms and the like, who I consider dregs of society and a shame to the race of human males.

    I am unable to appreciate the argument that since dressing properly is no guarantee against rape, dressing provocativly should be allowed. I am not arguing for disallowing of provocative dresses. I am only advising against it unless the occasion justifies it, and the place and time are proper.

    Shail dismissed these analogies that I am listing here. Let’s see if you share her views.

    A fully clothed person too can suffer a mosquito bite. But that is no reason not to cover up and wear long sleeved clothes as some protection against a mosquito bite during the evenings in mosquito infested areas and insist that society / government/ municipal authorities must protect me from mosquitoes. Don’t worry, I won’t blame you for being bitten by the mosquito. I will sympathise with you.

    Even if you your chest is properly protected, you can catch a cold and fall sick.
    But that is no reason to expose your chest and not wear a sweater when the weather demands it and insist that modern medicine must find ways to prevent catching a cold, whatever I wear. Don’t worry, I won’t blame you for catching a cold if you ignore common precautions. I will sympathise with you.

    Even if you drink bottled water always, you can still be down with a stomach complaint. But that is no reason to say, I will drink from water from any source and it is for the Government/municipality to see that I don’t fall sick. Don’t worry, I won’t blame you for an upset tummy if you drink from public taps at our bus stations or Railway platforms. I will sympathise with you.

    Likewise, just because rapists attack victims anywhere and everywhere, irrespective of how their victim was dressed, is no reason to say I will dress anyway I like any place I like and any time I like and society must make it possible for me to exercise my “freedom to dress”. Society does not prohibit provocative dresses. Society merely advises against it. Railing against those who give well meaning advice is not going to help solve the problem.

    This problem of curing the males of this malaise is something that philosophers, thinkers, social activists, educators, religious leaders and police and politicians must take up on priority. Till then let us do whatever we can to minimise these incidents.
    Slut walks will have no effect.

    To show our anguish and to lodge protests, let us adopt sensible and effective methods. Tamaashaas like “Slut Walk” are best avoided.

    Okay, I am done. You can all plunge your daggers into me.
    My head may end up bloodied but will remain unbowed.
    Regards
    GV

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    • @GV,
      Although personally I support the slut walk, I absolutely loved your very well-argued stance against it.
      I admit it has made me want to give the issue a rethink, and that’s saying a lot!!!
      Regards

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    • Valid points and very well said. The only problem here is that any definition of “Provocative” is highly subjective.

      The description that followed your definitoin is GV’s version. Each one has his/her own description of provocative (for some anything less than a Burkha is provocative) So, GV, what standard should women follow?

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      • GV, your response convinces me that some people will remain unconvinced and will keep citing the same logic in different guises. You cling to the belief that more rapes/sexual assaults happen when women are “provocatively” dressed despite everyone pointing out to you that studies have shown there is no correlation. You also cannot envision a society in which people are safe irrespective of what they wear (whether it is skimpy clothes or lots of jewellery) and that the onus is on the law not citezens to ensure their safety.

        In India, we have become too used to accepting these kinds of dictats from law enforcement officials – don’t wear heavy jewellery in lonely places – instead of them ensuring that places are safe. But I live in a society where I can wear what I want – be it jewellery or shorts or whatever and walk around secure and safe, and that is what we need to aim to, not being a society of endless compromises and excuses.

        Essentially, I see that you are uncomfortable with women dressing a certain way, and that is fine. You are entitled to your aesthetic sense of how women should dress. What you need to examine is your insistence that clothes in some way can provoke assault, which is what you continue to say despite all evidence to the contrary. Men are not wild animals or the weather, so unlike those two, they can be prevailed upon to control their baser instincts.

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  29. Very interesting post and comments IHM. Together, they cover a lot of issues related to SlutWalk and the ‘she asked for it mentality’. I support the SlutWalk. It’s a very powerful and effective way of saying “I shall dress as I please, and you have no right to put your hands on me”. Seriously, for how long do women have to scream themselves hoarse saying “We are not asking for it, so keep your grubby hands to yourselves” before they earn the right to dress as they please and go wherever they want and whenever they want, without the fear of sexual harrassment, verbal or physical?

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  30. In my humble opinion, Slut walk will do no good just because it fails to look at the problem from the most appropriate perspective. Women will not be empowered if they stop feeling ashamed. They will be empowered, when the men especially the Indian male get some shame in their eyes. So, this slut walk will just become a voice in the dark.

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  31. Who are all these beautiful people with such intelligent, thoughtful opinions supporting slutwalk?

    I’m shocked. Tears in my eyes. Trying to convince everyone it’s a good idea when everyone just gives me their own version of the infamous burglar analogy (“a woman wearing skimpy clothes is just like an unlocked house/bowl of food infront of a hungry beggar/Rs 1000 note left in the open…how can you not expect assault?”) has given me a headache, and the TOI and HT editorials did nothing to ease it. Thank you. Thank you so much for existing, beautiful people who have commented above me.

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  32. Pingback: Clothing the women | Shail's Nest

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