This comes about 2-3 weeks late; no excuses for the delay. I simply have to catch up on my blogging. I had written down some thoughts when I heard of the American student's rape in Mumbai:
Going by what some people had to say on prime time TV about the TISS American student rape, and going by everything that I have come across till date, we women folk always seem to be asking for IT.
We wear a chudidar, we ask for it.
We wear a saree-blouse, we ask for it.
We wear figure-hugging jeans and low cut t-shirt, yeah, we are craving for it.
We wear clothes that show more than hide, you bet, we are most definitely asking for it.
‘It’ can range from men leching their brains out, being groped, whistled at, elbow-to-breast bumped, being told downright insulting things, molested, and being plain raped.
This American student went out with a friend at 10.30 in the night. (When I was in Mumbai for a short time, I saw that this was a pretty common thing: I’d see families coming back from Juhu beach with sand in their slippers and colourful balloons in their hands at 1 or 2 in the night.)
After some pubbing, she went to the flat of a person, who was friends with her friend. There were other men, too, by this time. According to a girl on TV today, she should not have done this, that is, going to the flat. Another aunty said that she should not have gone out at all at that hour.
Yeah, of course, she shouldn’t have. She went to the flat, perhaps because her friend was one of the men; perhaps because she was tipsy, sloshed, and wanted to cool it off; perhaps because she didn’t know she was about to be gang-raped.
But she should have known better, shouldn’t she, than to be the only woman – that too white – around 5 or 6 depraved Indian men, for whom a drinking, pub-going woman who then accompanies them to a flat in the middle of the night can only send out one message: am here for the taking, the raping, murdering, etc.
Am not even talking here about what some men may have to say about why they think they can rape women. No time for that shit.
But what enrages me is the attitude of those women on TV. I don’t expect them to side with the American student just because they are women. For the same reason, I cannot accept them laying down rules for another woman.
If you wish to live your life wrapped up in a saree, or believe that distrust of men is a woman’s best weapon, that’s your prerogative. Don’t dump it on another woman.
I find this attitude very sick: these women do not see themselves as individual beings, independent existences. They have fallen in line, and expect others to. It’s a sad thing when the oppressed becomes the oppressor and doesn’t even realize it. I wish I had more time to write about this, but I must stop here.
Some related interesting links I found:
Sleepwalking no excuse for rape (Now, Indian men don’t need such lame excuses, do they? Women are asking for it all the time, you know.)
A feminist theory of rape defense