Lets take another look at rape. Its the ultimate violation of the personal right and liberty of a woman. Not to mention a child or an elderly lady (yes, strangely that happens, too). But I am not here today to discuss the rape of a child or an elderly lady, in fact I am here discussing the rape of young and middle aged women in the cities. Sadly, that happens only to often. In and across all metros in India one reads about rape cases with shock, horror and revulsion. We outrage about it and go on our way. Then some top notch cop comes out with a statement that women should not wear skinny jeans or revealing clothing or something to the effect that the women "asked for it" and we outrage even more!
To what avail?
No, I do not think anyone ever asks to be raped,I do not think showing some cleavage or looking sexy means that a man has the right to impose himself upon you. Yet I do believe that one can behave and dress appropriately so as not to attract unwarranted male attention. Before you condemn me, let me explain.
See that woman in a tight clinging spaghetti top and hot pants that reveal her bum cheeks for the world to see? Yes, yes, she's dancing with that other hot girl in a mini.They look like they are having a blast. They both look good, a treat for the eyes. Yes, yes, all male eyes follow them across the floor, most lecherously, some even try to get closer. They flirt a little maybe, even allow someone to buy them a drink! And when they leave for the night, they step into their car and zip off. I can find no fault with that. Girls will be girls and girls are entitled to their fun.
Then there's the other woman, dressed more conservatively falling over her table, she's apparently tipsy and she is sitting with a bunch of strange men she only met tonight. The friends that she came with are long gone, she preferred to stay back and enjoy the atmosphere. When she leaves, instead of relying on a cab which is abundantly available at this particular place, she decides to leave in a car full of strangers who promises to drop her home.
Um? Any guesses about who may be complaining to the cops the next morning?
I'm not taking anything away from the seriousness of the crime or the heinous nature of rape. Take a busy street like Park Street in Calcutta at say, 9 pm. We are stuck in traffic. Two impatient teenagers jump out of their car which is also stuck in traffic and wriggle in their tight mini halter dresses headed for the disco on the corner. All I see are the eyes of every driver, paan-wala, roadside romeo, taxidriver and the passers-by. Can you imagine the lustful thoughts going on in their heads? Men will be men, you say. True, and then again more men will also be animals. Could the girls not have the sense of remaining in the car till they reached their destination instead of putting up this display?
Lets not hedge here. Or act naive. We live in India where men in general and particularly the common man on the street are sexually starved perverts. How else can you explain the pawing in a crowded street, the wandering fingers on a crowded bus? Even children and girls on the verge of puberty are not spared. In fact they are often the targets as they are too shocked to react or raise an alarm.
I look around me. The women of today want to wear what they want and do everything that is so socially accepted in the West. I am not against that. By all means wear your hot pants and jeans and cleavage showing bustiers and boob tubes. but please do so responsibly. While we are free to act and dress in a liberated manner, please do not forget where you are. Unfortunately we may end up aping the West in thought and dress but the mindset of the common man on the road remains frustrated and deprived, their mind sets remain full of sati savitri images of women at home while all other women are available and/or sluts. You'll be surprised, I have had educated men tell me "if a woman goes out of the house to work, it is likely she is having an affair" Another one I know actually sits at his work place and imagines every woman colleague to be horny because their husbands cannot satisfy them!
Yes, punish those bastards, castrate them even, gouge their eyes out, have stringent rape laws and appropriate punishment. But after what? After you or another young girl just like you has been mutilated and scarred for life? Is that not too high a price to pay for one reckless night?
So stay safe girls. Party hard, have fun but stay safe. And play safe.