Some believe hippos sweat red when angry or sad,the analogy is weird here I agree but apt for what we do so often after a crime against a woman in India. Their is rampant outrage in media,social networks ,there are candle light protests and then there is the strong undercurrent of shame and immorality that we heap on the victim,irrespective of whether she is a teenager found murdered in her house or a victim of gang rape in a bus in the national capital.Then something else grabs eyeballs,TRPs and mental space and we go back to our utopias or our shells.
A reputed fellow blogger asks "What do you think made these rapists in Delhi so fearless?"
The character of the victim is questioned,her upbringing is analysed and criticized and we conclude that she will live a hellish life afterwards if she is lucky to survive.Not wrong but instead shouldn't the afterward be made shameful for the perpetrators of such crimes instead of the victim.
Generalizations are easy to make but most often I believe men involved in such crimes and women who patronize such men or blame the women victims are brought up in social environments where a girl child is often killed even before she is born and if born a daughter or a sister is always considered to be a liability for the family and the wives just owned objects.
So that leaves only two options for thousands of educated women in Indian cities:
- Go outside,use public transport,work,study,watch movies,meet friends but constantly in the fear of getting teased,harrased,molested,raped or killed
- Stay inside the four walls,maybe in purdah,do not work,do not study and still be vulnerable to violence of the worst kind.
As a woman,as a mother this is not a society I want to exist in.There are two Indias every where here,the imaginary new and shining only in terms of malls and colleges and the medieval and real inside our minds where power equations haven't changed much.Where the responsibility of IZZAT is still heaped onto the shoulders of the girls and it is enjoyed only by men.
Instances from every day life of being just elbowed in a bus or leched at in public places,of patronizing advertisements,films and TV serials where women are either devi or devils,where men have a right to presume NO as yes and we just laugh at "boys will be boys" need to change.
Crimes like these are not only about sex they are always about weak men trying to assert pseudo power,men who use abuses pertaining to daughters,sisters and mothers at the drop of a hat,men who believe women need to dress up and act in a certain way and they will teach a lesson to those women who do not confirm.
They are supported by a system where they use violence in their own homes and the culture of silence prevails,where numbers of women are declining so fast that they are rarely seen and never ever heard.A set of politicians and experts who never use public transport,never walk on a dark street alone to and from work debate it in the comforts of news channel studios and then do not do anything about the lame laws that allow the criminals in such acts to find a way around the legal system easily.
The rape capital is not going to change till we change our bedrooms,our kitchens and our classrooms.