The Bengaluru molestation case: Why aren’t women safe?
Waking up to horrendous acts of sexual abuse has somewhat become the new normal of late! Every time there is a molestation or a rape there is a big furor in the media, people from all fraternities vent their stomachs out in the social media in their choicest best, do their candle marches _ the more heinous the crime the more the outrage. Then there will be debates on sick mindsets, dress code diktats for girls and bringing up tips for boys and after enough lung drying polemics we all head back to our routines only to witness yet another crime even more brazenly!
Now why is it that in spite of an elaborate set of legal recourses under the constitutional framework there is neither justice done nor the fear of the law?
People can sublimely play the blame game of how unsafe it is for women to head out alone in the dead hours of the night in their westernized outfits or blame it on alcohol or that the very reveling area is unsafe, if so what is the need to revel in the first place in the open in the middle of the night amongst strangers where potential abusers are bound to be around, if the whole affair is so unsafe where it is anticipated that some kind of obnoxious acts might happen, that hundreds of cops have to be deployed, why then should such an event be given permission if the police cannot take control of the situation? They could simply ban the New Year reveling but then there are others who while attempting to save the city’s image by arguing that it is a one off episode and that such incidents do not occur in traditional fairs such the Kadalekai Parishey or Karaga and such other things but the fact of the matter which every woman will agree is that whether in Bengaluru or any other metro, whether in the buses, trains, flights, beaches, malls, offices, on isolated roads in broad daylight, in crowded areas or in tourist places, they have been through such ugly experiences where they have to constantly move in fear where puny hyenas await their preys to abuse and outrage with or without the influence of alcohol! And women, whether in western outfits or traditional ones go through the same, it is just that not many are comfortable speaking about it or reporting about it, as, in most cases there is neither a proof nor any support from people around and this is not a recent phenomena.
Be it a foreigner being raped in a parking lot or in her own hotel room or the recent video of a girl being molested by an elderly fellow passenger on a flight or the public molestation of a married woman alongside her husband in UP who was beaten by the same goons in broad daylight or a woman passenger molested in a bus by the conductor while she fell asleep, molestations have happened in the past in Delhi, Mumbai, elsewhere and now in Bengaluru but nothing has changed other than the news tittles, earlier it was “Delhi Shamed”, then it was “Mumbai’s shame” and now “Bengaluru’s shame” but what happens after these shameful incidents is that the shameless become nameless and get away right after the media limelight.
But why and from where do these road side rascals garner the guts to abuse a woman so audaciously? In most cases the culprits are from poor or lower middle class backgrounds, so who or what influences them to take to such violations. It has been endlessly debated that it is due to lack of education, poverty, varied backgrounds and upbringings but the truth is that there is no fear of the law and that is the only one aspect that can make a difference! No amount of rehabilitation or counselling of the mentally sick is going to make this world safe for women unless law extends its tough hands and the law keepers ensure the safety of women in all earnestness. After all why should anybody suffer and be made the victim of somebody else’s deficient upbringing or lack of values? If there are any human rights activists sympathizing with these scoundrels then they should take these rapists and molesters home.
There has never been a news story carried out in prime time saying that a molester was imprisoned for 10 years or that an eve teaser was beaten black in blue in public glare by the police or that the public supported the victim and thrashed the culprit! The glorified news has always been about how Kenan and Rouben were killed for standing up against the molesters but when did we last hear about those culprits being severely punished for the killing? It is this fear or perhaps a dead conscious stemming from the apprehension of getting into any police case that renders most people as mere bystanders.
Another important aspect is the shameless objectification and portrayal of women in Bollywood and various other woods with stereotype stories of educated well off girls falling for a poor illiterate Rikshaw driver, which has perhaps emboldened anti-social elements to see every other urban/Jean-Tee clad girl as an easily accessible object. The explicit sexual hints and offensively sexist portrayal of women in Indian movies and the hypocrisy of masking and marketing lewd visual content under the ratification banners of creativity and freedom are perhaps the most brazen hypocrisies in contemporary India that has diminished or scrapped off any moral values at all. And mind you, visual medium of communication has the most impact on the brain as 90% of information is absorbed straightaway. And whether we agree or not, cinemas have always influenced the masses be it the dressing, hairstyle or lifestyles, a large number of people blindly look up to their celluloid role models and vehemently try to imitate them irrespective of the realities on ground.
The cabaret that was solely meant for the bad seductress is now promoted as an item number where it is cool for the good girls to step into a sleazy dress as it is no more sleazy but bold or glamorous. And when that good girl is your role model it is perfectly okay to imitate them, isn’t it?
What is worse is the media taking stands and raising a storm about what passes as creativity and what should be censored. It is very convenient for any media person to cry foul about personal freedom when porn sites are banned and sound as if it is a very cool legal thing but will they ever dare to do a story on the crimes and harassment that goes into the making of such filth? In the Bangalore school where a nursery child was raped, the accused instructor confessed that he had been watching porn before committing the crime, will all those who cried foul upon the ban take responsibility for the child rapes that are happening largely because of such videos.
And lastly a stereotype point but definitely needs a thought by women without getting into any feministic spells _ how a person dresses is purely a personal choice but in a society that has people from various economic and educational and cultural backgrounds it is important to try and be a part of that real society without drawing attention as much as possible for your own good, not that it is going to glade clear the problem but you are drawing less attention from unwanted eyes. It is just like pulling up your casuals instead of a traditional saree when in the west so that you don’t draw undue glares or to avoid any racism. What I am trying to say is that you might be rubbing shoulders with the most elite class of people in glamorous societies but end of the day you have to encounter that 10th pass or 12th pass security guard in your community lift who has been watching various Bollywood numbers since morning! Yes change is required in the mindsets but that cannot happen without the urgency and stringency of the laws and its quick recourses towards a meaningful justice and a fearful punishment.
Mayura is a freelance creative writer and blogger at http://www.desiherald.wordpress.com