I was thinking of writing a blog post on the recent Khap dectat that says that young women cannot go out unescorted. Then I came across the news of the Guwahati teenage girl being molested by a crowd of 20 men. Although I haven’t seen the actual video, but the footage shown on TV channels shows the disturbing expressions of those men who were gleefully molesting the girl.
Humans are strange the world over, but they are stranger in this part of the world, call it cultural backwardness, illiteracy, societal frustration, or whatever. They are not only big-time perverts, they are also cowards. They don’t have the guts to take a stand against oppressors, but whenever they get a chance to oppress, they never miss it. They are so eager to target a victim, a person who is not strong enough to protect herself or himself. The most sick aspect is, some of us relish the act.
And this is not limited to just men? Women, especially in traditional Indian societies, oppress other women more compared to men.
The Guwahati incident, and many more such incidents show how inveterately perverted our minds are. In a normal, functioning society, we may think that such an act is an aberration, so one, or maybe two people would indulge in such a hideous activity. In a normal, functioning society, publicly such an act cannot take place because people around you will take you to task and knock some sense into you. But if a mob of 20 boys is molesting a girl and nobody’s conscience rises, you cannot in any sense call it a normal, functioning society.
This is an urban incident so that’s why there is so much noise in the media as well as on social networking websites. Such incidents happen on routine basis in rural areas where small girls and women are often paraded naked in order to extract revenge or just for the sheer pleasure of perversity. The rest of the villagers just become passive voyeurists, and no, they are not helpless.
The same villagers are in total command inside their own households when they want to bully their women and their kids. So no, they’re not helpless. It’s just that, although they are not participating in the act, they actually like (except for the near and dear ones) to see the woman being stripped of not her clothes, but also her dignity.
Even when they are not being voyeuristic they are so shamelessly pusillanimous that they vent out their frustration on the victim rather than tackling the actual culprits.
The recent police raids on various pubs and parties is a stark example of how our society shows aggression only towards weaker people. They cannot control criminals, but they can control civilians. They want to bring down the crime rate not by arresting the criminals in a timely fashion but by curtailing the basic human rights of the probable victims. When Saumya Visvanathan was shot dead at 3 AM Chief Minister Sheila Dixit’s instinctive reaction was, “She shouldn’t have been out so late.”
The same can be applied to the Khap fanatics who try to act like “elders” but actually they are just a bunch sad losers. They cannot control those boys and men who tease their women but they can easily keep the women inside to avoid embarrassment and getting into an awkward situation. They don’t have the courage to confront the culprits, but they have the shameless temerity to curtail the victims.
To read more about to what depths our overall moral and conscientious benchmarks have fallen, read this blog post: http://doiwrite.blogspot.in/2012/06/in-her-own-words.html
Here too, instead of confronting the perpetrators, the people travelling in the metro start blaming the girl.
Why do people do that?
The Khap guys, and even the Talabanis who insist that their women shouldn’t move out unassisted and they should always be covered from head to toe can be easily explained. When a woman gets outraged, the entire family gets outraged. So when your family gets outraged, you have to take an action against somebody, the perpetrator. It’s not only inconvenient, you also end up making enemies. You may also get bashed up, or even get killed. So in case such an incident happens, the men feel angry at their own women for putting them in such an inconvenient position.
Women make them vulnerable. If you want to get at them, get at their women. If you want to insult a family, then get hold of one of the women and insult her, molest her, and if you’re shameless enough to do so, publicly rape her, implicate her and then get her stoned to death or hanged, and your job is done. The entire family is smeared. The oppressor is the enemy, so he was supposed to do that. The woman is the root cause of all the shame and vulnerability, and so she becomes the target of frustrated anger.
So it’s always better to keep them inside and eliminate the possibility of putting yourself and your family in an embarrassing, awkward and vulnerable situation.
But you may ask, in a reasonable society wouldn’t they punish the people who harass their women instead of imprisoning women themselves? They don’t do that, because given a chance, they will also indulge in similar activities. So whether they know it or not, they themselves endorse such acts and would commit them the moment they get a chance. And this in turn is what manifests in the Guwahati incident. Given a chance, most of us would like to have a go, something like, behti Ganga mei haath dho lein.