A response to: Why we think women activists should change their attitude of “wear what you like”

The post linked below explains that rapes are caused by men turning into rapists after being sexually aroused by women they find attractive, after which they go and hunt for victims and rape children. And that’s a valid reason for asking women to wear clothes that don’t make them look attractive to men.

Let me make a quick attempt to explain why I disagree. (Will edit and delete the repetitions)

Link shared by Manasa and Janaki D.

Quotes from the original post is in blockquotes.

Why we think women activists should change their attitude of “wear what you like”

Here’s why we think women activists should change their attitude of “wear what you like,” and should ask the young people and media moghuls to tone down.

IHM- Objectifying women means seeing women as legs, lips, skin, womb, uterus, goddesses, witches, honor, shame and ankles, and not as people with feelings and rights.
Feminists/activists have been asking media (and society) not to objectify women for a long time.
Go slow, relax, you aren’t proving anything by dressing provocatively. Okay?
IHM: Actually, women’s clothing not being controlled by random people does prove that the society has started understanding sexual crimes against women and seeing women as people.
But what is Provocative Dressing?
Women have been asked to stop wearing sarees [Link] [Link], salwar kurta [Link], jeans [Link], nightie/maxi , half sleeves blouses [Link] and school uniforms [Link]. In other parts of the world men are said to be at risk of being helplessly provoked into committing sexual assaults at the sight of women’s eye lashes through veils.
What kind of clothing is not provocative?
In Kerala around a 150 years ago women did not wear an upper garment and in the Nagaland, even today women do not wear blouses and men are used to seeing women as people not body parts, this is the only thing that would prevent men from being provoked into committing sexual assaults.
Also consider, are men in regressive societies where women are not respected or valued more prone to ‘losing control’?
Think about it. How much covering up is possible?
Take a look at women in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan [Rapist said that coming from Afghanistan meant he didn’t understand what ‘consent’ was.]. A Saudi Arabian father raped and tortured his five year old (very disturbing, reader discretion advised), and this is not a rare case.
Which provocatively dressed women did this and other such fathers and cousins see in Saudi Arabia?
What if the man finds his own wife attractive? It’s okay to rape her if she doesn’t consent, or attack some other woman or child? 
Finding a woman attractive does not naturally lead to rapes. Most men are not rapists – this despite the way society encourages men to see sex as an entitlement, and to view rapes as sex.
Men (and women) need to be taught about consent and consequences.
You find these girls so scantily clad on the streets and think whether it’s fashion or a deliberate attempt to provoke.
IHM: What is scantily dressed? Most women are constantly worrying about what they are wearing and trying their best to stay safe but there is little effort to teach men not to rape. The rapists often don’t see their actions as crimes, the police said, and don’t expect the victims to report them.
Most sexual assaults are preplanned and the rapists are known to believe they would not face any consequences, and the victim would be silenced with blaming and shaming.
It has been seen that provocation thresholds come down when women’s arms, necks, knees, faces etc become invisible, then even their feet become provocative. If all women decided to cover up completely, then men would not start being provoked by their voices or foot steps? (payal ki chanchan, and kangan ki khan khan etc)  And what about porn? What about babies?
The more women and men interact as equals, the less women are seen as objects, or as ‘v*ginas’, or as ‘different species’ created for men’s use, the less they will be seen as provocations.
Look at it as a fashion moghul’s attempt to degrade the female of the species. No, it’s not just the streets, look anywhere: movies, television, print ads, hoardings, we don’t realise how much raw sexual pull is being exerted by all these mediums on young minds, especially those of underprivileged males living alone in cities.
IHM: It’s a myth that all rapists come from underprivileged background.  In fact power and the knowledge that the crime would be blamed on the victim’s clothing (etc) encourages rapists.
When we ask women to cover up, we are telling young men that they are potential rapists and it’s natural for them to sexually assault someone they find attractive. How do these men treat their wives?
What ‘young minds’ need to be taught is that no matter how much they want to have sex with a woman, they need her consent. The society needs to accept that – No consent, no sex. Sex without consent equals rape. And only Yes means Yes.
Certainty of consequences (imprisonment after a quick trial) would put the idea of being provoked by a woman’s clothing out of most rapists’ minds.

Here’s a rough list of all the titillation

Movies: item numbers: sheila ki jawani, choli ke peeche, whatever
Television ads: Deo ad in which man goes into a room and emerges with kiss marks all over, ad where a girl drags a boy into an inflated house and the house starts wobbling, whatever
Print: Open the supplement (glamour pages) and you find these celebrities all exposing their thighs, lingerie ads are another thing altogether
Hoardings: Well, too many, we lost count
Public functions: too many, we don’t attend public functions, award nights, but do see pictures
So on and so forth…
And, we hold our heads and say “My God” all these? How and when did these happen? It’s as if sex sex sex is everywhere and they are the only ones being deprived.
IHM: They need to be told, and repeatedly via every channel, that sex or ‘women’ is not their right. They are not entitled to ‘v*ginas’ (Link).  Not even from their wives. If they want sex then they need to get Consent. 
A man’s sexuality is such that he is easily aroused.
No, don’t misunderstand. A woman wants a man’s sexuality to be more like her own. But, that’s where you go wrong, honey. A man can’t – deliberately and consciously – control his sexual urge, it’s a natural thing. Even if he controls, it will slip up at times.
IHM: This does not apply to all men, most men say they cannot be provoked into committing sexual crimes. Many men find it offensive  that they are being accused of being potential child abusers and rapists.
Those men (or women) who do find it difficult to control their urges give enough indication of their condition. Like in most other crimes, they start with less dangerous crimes and that is why no sexual crimes or molestations should be excused as ‘eve teasing’ or moral policing.
We can’t expect sexual criminals to get themselves registered as potential rapists to protect women and children (even those in their own family and neighborhood). The government (or NGOs?) should maintain a registry, I think the women these men marry should also have the legal right to know that these men tend to lose control and might rape them or their children or other family members or neighbours.
And slip-ups are where assault and rape happen.
IHM: The solution is not covering up women. Only the certainty of consequences can control ‘slip ups’.
Most (90%+) sexual assaults are preplanned, and in most other cases the rapists are known to rape victims.{will link}
For example, in the 16th December Delhi bus gang rape, the rapists were looking for someone to rape, they were confident that the victim would be silenced with blaming, shaming and naming.
An illiterate man may see naked pictures but then may entice a 4-year old with offer of candy because he doesn’t know the law and never reads the papers. All he knows is he wants to do it, with whoever it is in his power to entice as victim. That’s how child rape happens.
IHM: Mr Balvinder Singh’s experience in Nagaland shows making rules about covering up a woman’s body, is the beginning of objectification of women, to ensure ‘excitement’ does not ‘turn into monotony’. [Please read]
Admit this. We are today a sex-oriented society. Sex used as a tool to bring in money for: products, services, favours, politics, even sex itself, and, now, sports, .
IHM: So long as it is consensual sex between two uncommitted, adult partners, it is their business. Maybe they need to know about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases.
But we are also a society that denies young people to mix and derive whatever pleasures can be received from companionship. So where does the desperate man go?
IHM: It might help to encourage interactions between men and women.
It would also help if the society acknowledges women’s sexuality.
Many men learn about sex from porn and from rape scenes in movies. “There is so little conversation about a woman’s desire for sex that a lot of people simply assume it doesn’t exist.” [Link1 “There is so little conversation about a woman’s desire for sex that a lot of people simply assume it doesn’t exist.”] [Link2 Romanticizing innocence, chastity and related taboos for women.]
To a brothel that’s fifty kilometres away? He is too lazy to do that. He hunts for his victims in the backyard.
 IHM: This is why smaller sexual assaults should never be excused, they are an indication that the man is likely to commit more heinous assault once he realizes that his crimes are being blamed on women’s clothing and lifestyle. 
And even if he goes to the brothel, he must have consent. Sex workers have the right not to be sexually assaulted.
Many of the rapes that happened recently in Bombay were involved minor girls and their neighbours. Read this story of a 13-year old girl raped by neighbours. And this about a 5-year old girl raped by her neighbour.
We rest our case.
IHM: Men who rape, and men who rape children need to be put behind bars, they are dangerous to the society.  These criminals are the ones who eventually are emboldened to commit crimes like the father in the link above.  The only way to control such crimes is to ensure that the potential victims are not silenced with stigma, shame, or blame. And the rapists should be aware of this.

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

Why do Indian women like to wear western clothes?

“So why do we wear clothes again??”

Weird, funny facts about Misogynists.

Do you think men in regressive societies where women are not respected or valued are more prone to ‘losing control’?

Why do some women see western clothes and being able to flaunt their bodies, without fearing being called sluts, as empowerment?

‘Maayka Chavi Ka’… sequel to ‘Sasural Simar Ka’ 😉

Nita’s post – ‘Sari an immodest garment?’

All teachers except Indian women can do their job well enough in Western clothes?

The way a woman dresses.

No Jeans for an Indian daughter in law.

Not just a pair of jeans.
Many of us view watching porn as a harmless activity…

A tag: But when a woman sees a hot man, nothing happens in her brain?

What kind of men are likely to sexually assault women?

Statistics have shown that most rapes/sexual assaults happen to women who are vulnerable, not women who are attractively (‘provocatively’) dressed.

More than 90% rapes are preplanned and the perpetrator is someone known to the victim, an older relative, a teacher, a neighbour, an employee, a landlord etc.

The victim is generally someone who the rapist does not expect to complain or fight back. An easy target. Someone vulnerable or weak.

Amongst rapes by strangers, a meru cab driver who raped a girl working in a bar in Gurgaon; a gang of village men from a village near Noida; rapists planning to make an MMS in a car looking for some victim on a lonely road; upper caste men raping dalit women; custodial rapes; the mob in this video in Gurgaon, these are criminals who knew they were unlikely to be reported, arrested or punished.

Their actions were not provoked after seeing an attractive woman.

In fact most rapists do not expect the victim to complain.

Also many rapists do not see rape as a serious crime, because they have always seen the victim being blamed for being raped (Honor, wrong clothing, being with wrong people, wrong time etc).

The only way to change this is,

1. Those who are charged with citizen’s safety make clear statements that convey that the crime would not be excused or tolerated.

2. Victims be assured that they can report safely. (the police is feared the most).

3. If women start reporting,

4. And if rapes start being taken seriously,

5. If we see more convictions,

– then there would be fewer crimes against women and children. No matter how they were dressed.

But, all the restrictions on women’s life styles and clothing have only made it difficult for them to report rapes, and thus encouraged the rapists.

So, do normal, mentally sound men get provoked into raping women, children or babies if they are provoked by the way the way they were dressed?

And, can men who come from backgrounds where women are respected also get provoked into raping? Does rape begin in a man’s mind and in his attitude towards women? (thanks for this sentence Sangeeta.)

What kind of men are likely to molest or rape women and children?

Related posts:

The night I was not an easy prey.

Bare Statistics of Crimes Against Women in Andhra Pradesh and Delhi : A few questions to the Police Chiefs

When they don’t even understand crime, how are they ever going to begin controlling it?

Do you think men in regressive societies where women are not respected or valued are more prone to ‘losing control’?

This was a comment on Bhagwad’s post, I have heard this before. What do you think?

“The provocative dressing sense and the profession (modelling) of these particular girls are making them as soft targets”

It doesn’t mean it is their fault!!
Yes, a woman has the right to dress however she wants. Obviously. The man’s actions are his fault, alone. Completely true.
So after she’s harassed you say it was his fault; is saying that going to stop that particular man from harassing other women in future?

Is wearing less clothing because you have the right to going to reduce your chances of being harassed by that very wrong and very perverted man? Maybe wearing a loose-fitting punjabi dress, for instance, might reduce the chances!

It’s not the woman’s fault, but she has to bear the consequences every time. Every woman knows that. Is wearing ‘provocative’ clothing just that necessary that you can risk bearing the consequences of a man’s mistakes?! To each his own, man!!

My response:

1. Do you think men in societies where women are not respected or valued are more prone to ‘losing control‘?

2. Making a man responsible for his actions would discourage him and other men from repeating the action in future.

3. Blaming the women has resulted in the society and the culprits taking  sexual crimes lightly.  The offender sees that the only person who is supposed to take any (real) measures to stop the crime is the victim. Her isolation obviously emboldens him, it’s not that he doesn’t realize his actions are wrong, but the society’s reactions assure him that his crime would not be taken seriously. [The rapists often don’t see their actions as crimes, and don’t expect the victims to report them.]

4. Sexual criminals also gain confidence when instead of dealing with them firmly, societies add more controls on women’s lives and activities.[Link] Women are asked to watch how they dress, laugh, walk, move, travel, socialize, work, dream, live, drink, eat, not watch movies, not sit in parks, not sing in public, not fall in love etc to stay safe from sexual crimes.

5. Following all these rules, sometimes having no lives worth living, have not made women safer. Fully covered women of all ages who break no such safety rules still get raped, inside their homes, at their workplaces, in broad daylight.

6. What if a woman likes to travel, earn, ride a motorbike, swim, sing, dance, dress, socialize…?  Fear  and mistaken ideas of honor  (more than safety and trauma) have made harmless activities into social crimes for women.

7. I think, not having a voice makes women more unsafe than going out after dark ‘provocatively dressed’.

And all this begins with women being asked not to dress provocatively.

So what would really help?

1. Women who look like they would not be easy victims are generally safer.

2. Sexual criminals are like all other criminals, generally cowardly bullies, if they fear being blamed, held responsible, convicted and jailed they would behave.

3. Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work! [Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!]

How do you think did blaming the victims of sexual assaults started?

Related Posts:

The rapists often don’t see their actions as crimes, the police said, and don’t expect the victims to report them.

Provocatively Dressed

She does not invite it.

The way a woman dresses…

Said Noodle strap to the Sari

Not just a pair of jeans

So why do we wear clothes again?

No jeans for an Indian Daughter in law.

Can’t end marriage over a sari.

What women ‘choose’ to wear…

What do ‘Modest’ women have that their ‘Immodest’ sisters don’t…

Written in a hurry, please excuse any typos! Will correct once I am back.