(This post contains strong language and adult content)

My insides convulse with rage and I grit my teeth in anger, every single time I hear someone say these words. I have heard many men pass such comments while giving their opinion about the sexual harassment women have to face in their everyday lives. So these sick men mean to say that every person who stared at a woman’s body, who groped her in a public place, who passed lewd comments on her while she walked on the road, or who raped her, was actually “invited” by the woman to do these things to her? Do they really think that a woman, by way of her dressing or walking or just by being good-looking, is asking the men to commit heinous crimes to her? Does this imply that every woman who covers herself properly and is not-so-pretty is safe from lechers? That further means that if you dress well and have a pleasing personality, the men have a right to commit sexual crimes against you? That’s how these sick bastards see women?

Some incidents, which I am sure have nothing to do with a woman’s looks or clothes or even her age:

  • A woman is gang-raped on a moving bus in the capital city of New Delhi. This woman is hanging between life and death while the criminals are at large.
  • A handicapped man tries to rape a woman in a moving train. When she resists, he throws her off the train, and then rapes her. She dies on railway tracks.
  • A minor girl is gang-raped by 12 men in Haryana.
  • A 50-year-old woman is ravaged by four strangers.
  • Girls are playing in a school near the compound wall, while a man approaches them, opens his pants, shows them his penis and starts shagging. The girls are too shocked to react while he is busy passing lewd remarks, pleased with his “show of his masculinity”.
  • A group of 18 men grope a woman, try to strip her clothes off, drag her by her hair, and all the while smile at the cameras that were filming them! The woman was abused for 45 minutes while the onlookers just captured the humiliation, instead of calling the police. To top it all, she was blamed as the authorities claimed that she was drunk and perhaps a prostitute.
  • A 19-year old rape victim is married to her tormentor since the family is unable to find a groom for her.

Did all of these women “ask for it”, “were looking for it”, “invited it upon themselves” or “deserved it”? Do you really think that they wanted to be hurt, physically and mentally, or they wanted to get killed in the process of asking for it?

These are just a few of the reported cases, there being many many more which are hushed by authorities, parents, society etc. And then, there are countless cases where a woman is asked for “favors” at her work place; she is groped in the crowded buses/trains; she is leered at, commented on etc etc. So the men who opine that the woman was asking for it really mean that a woman enjoys being molested, groped, raped/gang-raped and then likes being judged by the society for being the victim of such a crime! The emotions that I experience in hearing even so-called educated men utter these senseless words, is beyond shock and cannot be explained in words!

We Indians are probably the biggest hypocrites in the world. On one hand, we have many female deities and we perform elaborate prayers to them, however on the other hand, we treat our women like crap and then, blame her for “inviting it upon herself” or “a lesson taught well”. And above all, we have the guts to say this publicly and think it is such a macho statement to make!

I am sure such incidents are not unheard of in other countries as well. I am sure that women face many other crimes of violence against them, apart from sexual crimes. I am also sure that after every violence committed against a woman, there are at least 10 men proudly stating that the victim was responsible or deserved what happened to her. To such men, I have only one thing to say – guys, your mother is/was a woman too, and so is your daughter (if God has been kind enough to give you one)!

I think the men who accuse a woman to be guilty of making the crime happen, are actually themselves sick to the core and in need of psychological help. It is their frustration for not being successful in putting down women in general or a woman in specific that speaks when these dirty words escape their equally filthy mouth. Men, in general, are scared of women being better than them and hence, they find ways to curb their capabilities by destroying her dignity. And who the hell decided what a woman’s dignity is and how it can be rescinded? I am sure it must have been men who declared that once a woman loses her virginity, she is shamed and loses face in the society!

I challenge such men to dress up like a woman, cover themselves appropriately (according to their belief of proper attire for a woman) and walk the streets of any Indian city for a day. If they come back and tell me that not a single man tried to hit on them or touch them, I might reconsider my opinion. I am sure that though a man dressed up as a woman would definitely look hideous, yet at least one person will surely lech at him or ‘her’.

It gives me immense pain to admit that there are women who might have a similar opinion. But also on the other hand, there are men who lay down their lives in protecting a woman’s modesty. When Indian youth was organizing slut walks in the country last year, it was heart-warming to see men participate in these events, with as much passion was women did. Though there is a change in the thinking of the youth, the change needs to be more radical, and more penetrated to all the sections of the society. All men and women should understand that a sexual assault is painful to a woman not only physically, but also scars her mind for life. Many women commit suicide after experiencing a crime and many cases are not reported because of the shame associated with it. If women live in fear in a society, the nation cannot really progress, however strong economic resources it develops. All of us should learn ourselves and teach our children, respect for women. India is a country that boasts of women Prime Minister and President, it should not be anywhere on the list of the unsafe countries for women. I do not want Indian women to prefer staying abroad for the reasons of safety. I would love to see a day in my country when I will not have to fear going out alone even at night and I would have the freedom to dress as I choose.

To the men who think women invite it upon themselves – you are an asshole, so f*** off!

I end this post with my favorite quote by Rebecca West – “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.”

(P.S. If you are offended by the sentiments expressed in this post, in all probability, you are a man in the ‘sick’ category! In that case, I don’t care what you think!)

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