Usual, unsurprising, predictable. These are some words that come to my mind when I hear about the mass molestation that took place in the IT capital on New Year’s Eve. The country expressed its shock and horror while reacting to the incident. Social media went on an outrage while bloggers and writers threw away about India’s ill treatment to its women, and actors showed their condemnation. But undoubtedly, the award for the most productive reaction goes to the politicians of the city with their small brains and long tongues always quick enough for a remark here and there. But now, who is to judge any individual’s reaction? In the end, none of it actually matters. As much as I would love to be proved wrong, the truth is, until the women who were groped like animals come forward and file complaints, and until there is a change in the deep rooted psychology of the prey-hunters, no social media campaign like #NotAllMen nor any candle rally is going to make a real difference. The rage expressing articles and mannequin challenges will come and go like a gust of wind, and after a few days, or maybe even a month, everything will be forgotten and not be remembered until something worse happens.
Not one official complaint was filed by a woman molested on brigade road and MG road in Bangalore. The police justify the incident, or may I say attack on women, by saying they were outnumbered when they should have clearly anticipated the strength of the crowd, because molestation is not something new on those streets. But one’s outrage is easily transferred from the police’s statements to politicians’ remarks pinning the blame on the short skirts worn by women. And as always, it comes down to the fault being that of the women, because those revelers who were in thousands of numbers and had groped, pawed, and molested women in the presence of police force, were drunk and hence, thought they were invited by the women walking in high heels and short dresses minding their own business. The influence of such illogical and without-a-second-thought remarks made by such influential politicians is much greater than we decipher. The lack of action in the Nirbhaya case and in various other sexual harassment cases in India is what encourages these molesters to do what they do without a single ounce of fear in their body. The lack of action from the police and the lack of support from the government is what leads to origin of phrases like “Boys will be boys, there’s nothing you can do about it”, “Don’t dress in such revealing clothes, it’s them we don’t trust, not you”, “Don’t roam around late on your own. Take precautions”.
It is high time some of the people in the country understand that it isn’t the women’s dressing which needs to be changed, but in fact, the mindset of certain men that needs to undergo an evolution. It is the country as a whole which needs to be safer for women to have the basic right of freedom, and not only some city like Delhi or Bangalore, because these incidents happen everywhere, including the rural areas of India- they just don’t get reported like they do in the metro cities. Our men need to be educated about such moves and be taught about right and wrong from an early age, and our women need to be fearless and report such incidents. After hearing about such inhuman incidents coming up every now and then, India needs a little soul searching to do. Until then, the situation is going to remain just the same or get worse, even if each and every woman in this country starts wearing a burqa or salwaar kameez every time they leave their home.
- Nidhi Dave