How Indian women feel when they are being subjected to sexual crimes. How Patriarchy sees sexual crimes.

Here’s how an average Indian woman feels while she is being subjected to sexual crimes. (Some might feel the same fear and anger combined with guilt and shame for having provoked it by being at the wrong place at the wrong time, in wrong clothes and company etc)

1. Liju Kishore shared this facebook post. This could have been any woman, anywhere in India. All we have to do is step into a public space, with or without a male or female companion, wearing anything, anytime time of the day or night.

“Chal game shuru karein!”
“Kaunsa game?”
“Wahi jo propose karne ke baad, haan ya naa ka wait nahin karte, bas game shuru ho jaata hai!”

(Translation: “Come let’s begin that game.”
“Which game?”
“The game that begins after proposing without waiting for consent.”)

This is how the conversation around me went. I was the only woman in an overnight bus full of north Indian males (going from Dehradun to Delhi) and one non-north Indian male friend, who was just as cornered as I was.

We had the option of getting off the bus, finding another one, a state bus at least, one with one or two women in the least, we were still at ISBT. But after an hour’s mulling, I decided to stay and see this through.

The five men were drunk, the abuses kept getting louder – it was never directed quite straightforwardly at me, but it was clear what was intended. Every other passenger, except my friend and I, pretended to be asleep even though the abuses and laughter were too loud for anyone to fall asleep.

IHM: And how many of us wish we could do this?

“I tried to look straight into their eyes. Some of them may have been younger than me. It was menacingly hostile.

When the bus started again, I said to my friend: “Kya kar lenge? Kitni door jayenge? Maar dalenge? 5 min ki masti hai na? Ya usse zyada? Kya kya risk karenge? Jo bhi karein, agar zinda Dilli pohachi, I wont leave them alone. I will search out and destroy each of them. And if I dont get back alive, there are friends who know where I am, who I know will do the exact same thing for me. Log darte hain, so yeh sochte hain kuchh bhi chalta hain.”

(Rough translation: “What can they do? Kill me? For five minutes of fun? Or more than that? What all will they risk? Whatever they do, if I reach Delhi alive, I won’t leave them alone. I will search out and destroy each of them. And if I don’t get back alive, there are friends who know where I am, who I know will do the exact same thing for me. People are afraid so they think anything goes.”)

Do read the entire post here, https://www.facebook.com/trina.n.banerjee/posts/10152690728415004

2. Here’s another example of how sexual harassment affected one young woman, and how it was (is) dealt with.

“Sometimes it seems like every single thing I do has the potential to be something ‘provocative’.”

3. And yet another,

At 8:00 P.M., on a major street in Gurgaon, walking a distance of some 2 km, I came across a lot of men- in cars, on two-wheeler, on foot- but just one woman- in a car with her husband.

***

And this is how Patriarchy views sexual assaults.

1.

Oasis shared this link:

Joginder Singh, a deputy general manager with the Oriental Bank of Commerce, was booked by the police for allegedly molesting a 16-year-old girl in the lift of his residential building … He was charged under section 354 (assault or force on woman to outrage her modesty) and sections 7 and 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

The girl’s father had filed an intervention application opposing Singh’s anticipatory bail plea. Addressing his lawyers, the judge said: “Let’s take everything in your favour. But why do you need (police) custody? We are not speaking of being absolved.”

And here is the part that I find difficult to understand.

“He is already humiliated. He holds a high post.” She added that there is more humiliation at the workplace in such cases.

The court also questioned the girl’s father for letting her file the complaint. “Why do you want to expose your child when she is suffering? She will have to face trial… not fair,”

And,

“There are so many stringent laws and still there are such cases. Is it really a deterrent?”

2.  And this link and comment shared by Sandhya.

“The Delhi bus gangrape accused, Vinay Sharma, demanded healthy food because he would be appearing for an IAF exam on Apr 7th. Apparently, he has been provided a tutor to train him for the exams!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, most commentators thrashed him for his demand but one guy writes:

“Stop making these young men a scapegoat. Yes, they committed a crime, but their motivation was shiela ki jawani, munni badnam hui…when your kaif, leone and bipashas can spread vulgarity for a packet of money….how do you expect young impressionable minds to keep away from such dirt. It is all around. Punish the real culprits, the movie makers, the page 3 promoters…because if respect of women is not from within, no amount of law, no amount of punishment will matter.” [Link]

Ever heard similar excuses for murderers? What does this commenter mean? That continuing to make excuses for gang rapes is going to discourage rapists from raping?
More examples:
And why there is hope.

42 thoughts on “How Indian women feel when they are being subjected to sexual crimes. How Patriarchy sees sexual crimes.

  1. “because if respect of women is not from within, no amount of law, no amount of punishment will matter.”

    this is the only part he got right. Unless and until respect comes from within, people will continue to commit crimes against women. If the punishments get severe the crimes may reduce, but will still exist.

    And obviously this person doesn’t have any idea of consent, when he says that movie makers and page 3 promoters are the real culprits

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    • “And obviously this person doesn’t have any idea of consent, when he says that movie makers and page 3 promoters are the real culprits”.

      I find the introduction of Bollywood as the main culprit (by the media and by that commentator) extremely problematic. It seems like a subversive form of victim blaming- since the latter will taboo in this particular case, an alternative scapegoat has been found.

      Funny how Bollywood is never blamed or praised for other things- imagine the defendants of a murderer blaming his actions on him watching too many ‘gangster’ flicks! Why then, is it acceptable to trot out the tired cliches of our movies , while discussing ANY topic related to women?

      Discussion about depiction of women in Bollywood films is just that-a discussion.It is ridiculous to use as an argument to defend a rapist.

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      • Bollywood is a part of the problem but not the whole problem. It cannot be used as a scapegoat to justify the rape.
        But yes, it does objectify women. We have generations that have grown up to that brainwashing and the thought it now deeply entrenched in our psyche.

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        • I would say that Bollywood is the least of the problem.
          Blaming Bollywood comes easily and natural to us, because we consume it, but what’s far more damaging (IMHO) is the material that we don’t really take notice of.
          Take porn for instance- most of it objectifies women. And it is something universally consumed by many Indian boys and men, across the board. An impressionable mind viewing porn in a country where women are already second-class citizens doesn’t make for a good combination- where is he going to learn to respect women? The Bollywood-style objectification is a ‘lite’ version at best.
          Also, take television content. For every ‘regressive’ movie Bollywood has made, there is a serial which is even more regressive!Again, the young of the country are bombarded with a very glamourised version of the worst parts of our culture. It either converts a young mind into accepting the status quo- or makes them rebel against every aspect of the culture- even the good bits.
          And finally , the biggest culprit is us , as a society. If regressive and misogynist content did not sell, it wouldn’t get made. A return to clean, wholesome entertainment is not going happen-unless we ourselves become clean, wholesome people🙂

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  2. “There are so many stringent laws and still there are such cases. Is it really a deterrent?”

    Laws without consequences are useless. There’s no point in making a law if someone can commit a crime and walk away without facing any repercussions. “Humiliation” by being branded a child molester isn’t remotely enough.

    Some of the laws are so ridiculous–like having to have a liquor licence of some kind to serve alcohol in a party in your own house!

    As for the guy saying actors and movie promoters are somehow responsible for the Delhi gang rape–he’s either a troll or a criminal who’s capable of committing rape and blaming it on something remotely unrelated. People like this should be treated as social outcasts–but the only problem is, I don’t think people in his peer group would see his views as anything out of the ordinary. I think there are more social factors (like disenfranchisement and economic obstacles) at play here than just patriarchy.

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  3. I read about the account of the first incident shared on FB,and yes though the presence of mind of the lady is appreciable ,the fear and the insecurity the lady and her friend felt is what Indian women are subjected to every where.The other day I was sharing with my husband how being in crowded public places also as a woman you never really relax or enjoy so to say,you constantly have to be on guard,in a deserted public washroom,alone in an elevator,in changing rooms,in movie ticket queues,in public transport and every where else.

    So while we claim that women are more free due to their moving out into the public sphere more than ever,the truth is we have thrust them into more unfriendly places and uncomfortable situations.Freedom would have been true if we could be in public places,wearing what we want to wear,eating/drinking as per our own will and free of the fear of “how we would be perceived” and more alarmingly of “not provoking” any one.

    For decades we have been telling our daughters to play safe,dress “decently” (whatever that means),do not provoke (absolutely sickening).I think its time our boys/men are taught to think differently about women,all women,not only just their own mothers,sisters and daughters.

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  4. I was very angry when I read that comment. This guy blames heroines for motivating those 6 monsters to commit the horrendous crime. We see Salman Khan, Hrihik Roshan and all the 6-pack, 8-pack, 10-pack heroes tearing their shirts off and dancing to either film songs or item numbers. So going by the same logic, this should motivate girls to commit crimes. We know this does not happen in reality. Girls are not expected to comment about bare-bodied heroes in public. But boys do have all the licence to comment about the heroines and can be forgiven if they commit crimes because they are motivated to do so. Girls – no no they cannot be motivated by any heroes. They can only be blamed – for provoking rapists by wearing provocative clothes or by making unwarranted comments. Sick!!!!

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  5. Thanks IHM. I shared it on FB too with this comment.

    “A WONDERFUL READ.When are men like these going to learn to respect women,to leave them alone?
    Should women be scared of even their own shadow, be scared of the stares,wolf whistles and lewd comments lest they turn into something much more horrible,be scared of when the next slap is going to come from the husband? Travelling alone or even with a friend has become a nightmare nowadays!! Be it home or the roads-there is no safe place!

    Bravo Woman! You did the right thing”.

    I don’t understand why it is that only Men get instigated by movies and ads. Is their brain so different? Does that mean they don’t have common sense and basic courtesy? Can’t they distinguish between decent behaviour and harassing people? After a few drinks and being in a group, they think they can do what they want. So seeing ads like the “Boom Chica wah wah” for Axe we women can also go ahead and strip off men’s shirts. Seeing heroine oriented movies where she kills and beats the villains to pulp we too can do that. Seeing ghost movies we too can go around ripping and slashing throats of men, right?. It just proves that women know what is right and how to behave in public.

    There are women too who have one too many drinks and get sloshed. They don’t gather a group of friends and go around harassing people on the streets. Do they? So what about all the good movies which show respect for others, doing the right thing, getting proper education, coming up in life etc? Why are these men not donning the super hero costumes and saving the world?? These movies also impress young minds right? Why are they not jumping from building to building and thrashing the wrong doers? So they do know what can be done and what cannot be. It’s so easy to blame everything/everyone else. Can’t even educated people understand that you are responsible for your own actions???

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  6. I am seething with anger…the bank officer holds a high post and so he is given bail. So anyone holding a high post can misbehave and the court lets them off…..what is happening to our judicial system? .

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  7. such a shame. My friend was sexually exploited by her senior who is supposedly a father figure to the company she worked for.

    Men have become opportunistic these days. Rape and eve teasing incidents are increasing everyday. There is so much of lawlessness. A woman gets raped and then she gets raped over and over and over again mentally in the courts.

    Look at the case of Nirbhaya, it would be 5 months and the case is still on. The rapists have got themselves a lawyer. One of the rapist cleared IAF exam and he is now preparing for interview. The court has acknowledged his demands of fresh food, fruits, and clean clothes.

    Why shouldn’t women feel unsafe?

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    • Its hard to reconcile myself to the fact that this man can think of fresh fruits and entrance exams after shoving an irod rod up a woman’s vagina. A woman is dead because of him, but he wants a career in the armed forces.

      Doesn’t he feel any guilt or remorse at all? I think of her almost everyday, so many months later. He seems to have no guilt at all.

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      • When I first heard about this news, I was filled with an infinite sadness. I was thinking how is it possible for someone to be watching Life of Pi one minute and the next minute be enduring horrendous pain. I still feel all shook up when I think about her. The callousness of these guys leave me speechless. I hope they receive the harshest punishment under the law.

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      • Biwo, I am wondering how IAF is allowing a criminal to appear for the exam!!!! If he gets through, will they hire him? Considering what Nirbhaya went through, this guy should be locked in a dark room without any human interaction. But he gets a tutor, fresh fruits, food, milk etc… Wonder what Nirbhaya’s family must be going through after reading all this. A monster who kills their daughter is being treated very well in jail!!!! Forgive us, Nirbhaya. Instead of sending these criminals to gallows, our system is busy fulfilling their demands.

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    • Look at the case of Nirbhaya, it would be 5 months and the case is still on. The rapists have got themselves a lawyer. One of the rapist cleared IAF exam and he is now preparing for interview. The court has acknowledged his demands of fresh food, fruits, and clean clothes.

      Why shouldn’t women feel unsafe?

      I don’t understand.

      Are you suggesting that women would feel safer if the defendants were not given access to lawyers, denied healthy food and clean clothes, put through a show trial and simply hanged on public demand?

      Five months is a very short period of time indeed (internationally, not merely from and Indian perspective) for a case that involves the possibility of a death sentence. Well-meaning but misguided attempts at subverting due process help no one. The continuous demands for instantaneous, lynch mob style justice are tiresome and damaging to any country that aspires to call itself civilized. The comment highlighted in the post was condemnable because it trivialized the crime itself.
      I don’t find anything wrong at all in a prisoner (whoever he might be and whatever he might have done) asking for healthy food; remember, it is not merely a question of this particular individual, but rather a question of how we treat our prisoners in general, guilty or innocent.

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      • I completely agree with PT that prisoners should be given decent living conditions and a fair trial. There’s no need for mob lynch style justice and its repercussions on a society will be making it into some sort of taliban.

        When I read the news about IAF exam bit, I recalled the case where a rapist was pardoned (albeit after serving a part of his sentence) because he had cleared IAS exam and thus was considered to have ‘reformed’. ( http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090216/jsp/nation/story_10542339.jsp)

        I thought maybe the defense lawyers of this guy are also trying to cite this case as precedent if he manages to clear IAF exam.

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      • I know I will stir up a hornet’s nest here by asking the following question but I will go ahead and do it anyway.
        I am not favouring a public lynching of these men either. But, that’s an exaggeration. So hang in there. I have another question.
        We hang terrorists apparently. Why? Because they killed or conspired to kill Indian citizens, commoners and armed guards, remorselessly.
        I wonder, this 23 year old dead girl, who was just going back home after a movie, and the way she was brutalized, wasn’t she an Indian citizen? And aren’t these men, who asked for milk and fruits, remorseless? From wanting to transfer themselves to another jail, to deferring court proceedings, to claiming that her coffin didn’t have human remains, I mean, where is the remorse?
        Instead we are talking about Bollywood movies and their adverse influence on society. Pray tell me something. How different is it from saying that the hanged terrorists were brainwashed by a neighbouring country? They were innocent angels otherwise.

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        • But, that’s an exaggeration

          It’s not an exaggeration when applied to the mindsets of certain sections of society demanding ‘swift justice’.

          It is one thing to desire timely (and more importantly, time-bound) sentencing, quite another to claim that five months is somehow an unpardonably long period of time to hear a case such as this one. The alternative to the latter is a kangaroo court, and/or a lynching.

          We hang terrorists apparently. Why? Because they killed or conspired to kill Indian citizens, commoners and armed guards, remorselessly.

          Remorse, or lack thereof, isn’t really the critical factor. There have been plenty of terrorists throughout history (not to mention convicted mass murderers, war criminals and treasonists) who demonstrated genuine remorse for their actions but were still executed.

          The actual rationale for executing terrorists varies between jurisdictions. Many nations don’t execute anyone at all. Those that do execute, provide reasons ranging from simple retribution, to religious injunction, to establishing deterrence, to the idea that these people are considered un-rehabilitable, so to speak, and should thus be put to death.

          Instead we are talking about Bollywood movies and their adverse influence on society.

          I am not talking about any such thing, and have no control over people who are, so it is pointless to address this criticism to me.

          For what it’s worth, I believe that Bollywood has played at most a marginal role in forging the misogynistic culture that exists in India today, and is only tangentially relevant to a discussion of the Delhi rape case itself. Certainly, it is the perpetrators who must carry the burden of the blame.

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      • When I first heard about this news, I was filled with an infinite sadness and anger. I couldn’t believe that a man who brutally raped and killed a girl has got permission from the court to get good clothes and healthy food. I wasn’t in favor of Kasab being kept alive for 3-years. I don’t care about the human factor in Kasab all I knew that he should have been hanged in public and not kept alive and pleased his demands for 3 years. It is difficult to think rationally when you read about their crimes.
        No, women will not feel safer even if those rapists were hanged on public demand or hanged in public, or even castrated. The mindset has to change.

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    • Absolutely disgusting – fresh fruits, WTF. If that woman survived she would have never eaten a real meal due to what this animal did to her. Now he is nicely served fresh fruits, clean clothes and taking exams while the damn Indian justice system drags on. If I hear one more person sing praise of the “great Indian culture” is going to get my piece of mind. Violence and injustice against women is an embedded part and parcel of the “great indian culture” itself, there is no separating the two.

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  8. Seriously disturbing. What is so wrong with Sheila ki jawani anyway? She is in control, dancing because she wants to. How on earth does that ‘impress’ on someone that they should get in a gang, rape and kill a woman brutally? What utter nonsense! If they feel horny because of ‘sheila ki jawani’ then they can jerk off. How does the society just accept being horny as the reason for deviant serious sexual crimes?? Do we accept being bored as a sufficient excuse for murder?

    A ‘small mistake’ of gang rape and brutal murder. Are these people for real?

    I’m also beyond shocked that the legal fraternity’s sympathies lie with the molester bank officer rather than the 16 year old he attacked. Being on a senior post, he has probably molested countless women and got away with it and when one finally complains, he is let off anyone. Beyond belief. How can it be possible that we have such judgments? Why don’t they face disciplinary measures when they act based on their own prejudices instead of the law of the land? This reminds of the court bench that was ‘annulling’ marriages of over 18 year olds who had eloped.. because ofcourse adult women still shouldn’t take their own decisions, despite the constitution specifically saying they can. How can the legal system get away with this?

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    • How can the legal system get away with this?

      It’s unfortunate indeed, and as a member of the legal fraternity, I am deeply disappointed on a personal level.

      This is just another sad reminder that the law is not above imbibing the prejudices of the people that it serves.

      Like

    • Jerk off! Oh no, Carvaka, they are of the ‘scientific’ opinion that jerking off results in loss of sperms from their sperm bank. Or perhaps oh-the-one-time-in-our-lives-when-we-feel-useless – impotency! So no jerking off. Only raping 16 year olds in elevators and inserting iron rods into a woman’s vagina and pulling out her intestines with it. And after that’s done, why? Just be the hotshot banker, or else the oh-so-cool Army man. Then a week later, they’ll find another woman to rape and brutalize. Wife included.

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      • Oh and I should add here, our fantastic judiciary and lawmakers will then stand by and watch the wife being brutalized. Because hey, marriage is a ‘holy’ institution.

        Like

  9. And here is another part of the problem. Women complying with patriarchy’s definition of rape not as an act again personal consent, but against the social construct of ‘marry what you screwed’ or ‘buy what you broke’. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Intention-to-marry-rape-victim-gets-man-bail/articleshow/19391489.cms

    This woman filed a rape case against a man who she was in a relationship with but who wouldn’t marry her. Now that he has ‘agreed’ to marry her, he has got bail and it seems she to be the result she wanted – make him marry her.

    Can ‘rape’ be any more of a confused term? Is it forced sex? Forced sex with someone other than your wife? Forced sex by someone not rich/ powerful? Consensual sex but later the couple break up? Pre-marital consensual sex?

    Like

    • Just to be clear, I fully understand that as long as the law accepts consensual sex + break up as rape, someone will always file rape charges under that. It is the existence of such confusion in rape laws that I have a problem with.

      Like

      • There should not be ANY legal recourse for bad decisions- such as sleeping with a man for whatever reason- and subsequently regretting it.

        The problem with ‘consensual sex on the pretext of marriage= rape’ is the trivialising of actual rape cases. This sets a precedent where every rape case is now assumed to be a case of ‘sour grapes’ by the courts and legal system- until otherwise proved.
        This hurts defendants in real cases more than anyone else.
        It also encourages the belief that a rapist can undo his crime by marrying the woman he raped!

        Like

    • I wonder exactly what kind of a marriage this woman is looking for. So long as the women continue to be a part of this problem, the real rape victims will continue being denied justice. And rapists will offer to marry them. And society will stand by that and then threaten you into submission if you refuse to marry such monsters.

      Like

      • There are umpteen movies which show that it is completely justified for a victim to marry her rapist. Thay way she would be ‘pious’ and ‘susheel’. Remember the movie Benaam Badshah in which Juhi Chawla tries to reform Anil Kapoor, who rapes her on her wedding day . The groom agrees to marry her but our heroine says ‘no’ and sets out to marry Anil Kapoor “jisne meri izzat looti hain, main usi se shaadi kar loongi aur is tarah main pavitr rahoongi’…..phew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  10. “…because if respect of women is not from within, no amount of law, no amount of punishment will matter.”

    He’s absolutely right about this. It’s easy to scapegoat item numbers or Sunny Leone, but who will bell the biggest cat of them all — our very own families?

    Who will teach brothers to respect sisters, husbands to respect wives and fathers to respect daughters? The next time a tired woman is ordered to fetch water for a man sprawled in front of the TV, think R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

    Like

    • So well said biwo, unless we stop expecting/teaching women to serve men (even a glass of water) as the ultimate goal in life, nothing would change, item songs have nothing to do with rape/street harassment, men need to learn how to RESPECT ALL WOMEN – not just their wife/mother/sister.

      Like

      • Exactly. Respect a woman. Not because she’s your mother or wife or sister or daughter. And yeah, why leave out daughter from this bracket? Respect has nothing to do with age. And yes, respect a man/a woman, dammit, respect a human, in the truest sense of the word.
        And I think true respect for others springs from respect for oneself.

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  11. Reading all this just makes me feel hopeless at times and makes me think when will all of this stop?! And the answer is it will stop when we all start changing ourselves. Not making anyone scapegoats, but realizing that ALL OF US are part of the problem. And also realize that we do have the potential to be a part of the solution as well. And, it starts with small (seemingly) things. Like, voicing your opinions against these issues at every chance you get. Whether it is in front of a chauvinistic senior colleague at work or in front of close friends who are taking all these things lightly. It starts with not going to the movie theaters and watching movies that are derogatory to women (and most of the bollywood masala movies are anything but just that). It starts with helping and supporting a woman (or a man) who is being harassed in the street or the bus/train by a mob. By not caring what will happen to me if I intervene. I know this is easier said than done, but things which work are always difficult to do. Yes, laws and rules should always be there, and they should always punish the wrong-doers but what about our responsibility, as a society, towards each other? We cannot simply rely on the laws by ourselves not doing anything. I am not saying we must take the law in our hand, but we must change our perspective about how we look at things. Whether we make our next generation (and ourselves) a part of the problem or part of the solution.

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  12. Accurate problem definition is crucial to finding effective solutions. In our country, we are still very much focused on the rapists. We direct all of our anger on to them. While swift justice and harsh punishments are good deterrents, this approach takes away the spotlight from the people who knowingly and unknowingly build and support an environment that encourages these crimes.

    These people are all around us. In our families, in our neighborhoods, in police stations and courts. They are there in the husbands who won’t let their wives work or won’t provide them with supports when they do. They are there in the fathers who let their sons hang out with friends until 10 pm but expect their daughters to stay home and ‘behave decently’. By not actively practicing equality, we are teaching our sons to (if not become a rapist), then to be a silent observer, detached, callous, or worse – to blame the victim.

    We are raising an army of people who may not be directly violent but who CONDONE violence against women. We are watering the soil that breeds men who may or may not become rapists, but who make it easier for rapists to thrive. Because – from the parents of the girl who was raped to the policeman who took in her complaint to the judge who decides her case – all of them, inside their hearts, feel that it could’ve been avoided, if only she had done something differently. All of them have repeatedly told their wives and sisters and daughters to tow the line, to avoid trouble – how can we expect these same people to deliver justice?

    Like

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