Dear men, a short skirt, bikini and even a naked female is not an invitation

Published: January 5, 2017
SHARES
Email

An Indian man helps a woman (C) leave as police personnel try to manage crowds during New Year's Eve celebrations in Bangalore on January 1, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

India is in the news once again, and for all the wrong reasons yet again. An instance of mass molestation in Bangalore on New Year’s Eve has put the country under the radar. An estimated 60,000 people gathered on MG Road and Brigade road to join in the celebrations ushering in 2017. Reports state that members of the crowd turned unruly and a large number of women were harassed and groped.

And as has happened previously, ministers have been making asinine statements while trying to shift the blame from the perpetrators of the crime to the victims. Ministers have been known to blame western clothing and western culture for incidents of harassment and rape, while the prime reasons remain unaddressed. While victims are blamed and shamed, molesters are let off the hook.

As a woman who has been harassed multiple times, I can assure you that women are harassed irrespective of their attire. How else does one explain raping an 11-month-old baby in diapers for two hours? A woman clad in a sari is as vulnerable to an attack as a woman wearing a skirt. It’s not the attire that is to blame – it is the patriarchal and misogynistic mind-set that is responsible for the sorry plight of women in this country. The responsibility needs to be placed on the perpetrators and not the victims.

Taking it a step further, even social media patrons took to different platforms to express their disgust and disappointment towards the incident, and while all the women were up in arms about the shameful incident, some men took it upon themselves to state that all men are not rapists or molesters, making the hash tag #NotAllMen spread like wild fire.

We are all aware that all men don’t harass women, but such social media trends are distracting and take away from the issue at hand. The focus needs to be centred on the fact that instances of molestation are on the rise and that our cities are becoming increasingly unsafe for women. Their security should be the prime concern at this point in time. A man who protests his innocence and claims to have a good moral character at a time like this comes across as an apathetic individual unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation. What such men don’t realise is that they are speaking from a place of male privilege, a privilege that comes with an inherent set of benefits that make it difficult for men to comprehend and empathise with the lot of women. This unearned privilege is a part of the reason why women face violence and abuse and also the reason why men remain indifferent to the sorry plight of women.

A short skirt, bikini and even a naked female is not an invitation to men. A woman who enjoys having a drink is not asking for it. Bollywood might try to convince you otherwise, but no does indeed mean no. Unless a woman explicitly expresses her desire to have a sexual relationship with a man, it is safe to assume that she is not interested. Molesters ought to realise that they can’t control what women wear or how they behave and use that as an excuse to justify their actions and twisted mind-sets. Doing so only makes them come across as barbaric individuals with little to no self-control.

Indians (and I suspect most of world) are busy teaching their daughters ways to avoid getting molested when what they actually need to do is teach their sons not to rape. Lessons in consent need to start at an early age. Instead of teaching girls to dress appropriately, boys need to be taught that permission needs to be sought before they attempt to touch another individual and that consent can be withdrawn at any time. It doesn’t matter if the woman is a girlfriend, a friend or even the wife. A woman has the ultimate right over the body.

Karnataka home minister, G Parameshwara’s reaction to the Bangalore incident was disappointing to say the least. “These kinds of things do happen” was what he had to say by way of justification.

Sure, they do.

But should they?

Instead of brushing off incidents of this nature as inconsequential, authorities need to take the perpetrators to task and address such security concerns. Incidents of sexual violence are laughed off because they are perceived as instances of boys indulging in harmless fun. This widespread apathy towards victims of sexual assault only perpetuates the problem further as it normalises and trivialises sexual violence. Patriarchy is so deeply entrenched in society that our collective mind-sets have legitimised such treatment that is meted out to women.

A large chunk of the populace believes that women ought to dress, behave and live according to guidelines set by the male members of society and any deviations / transgressions from the standards set should result in punishment. It is appalling that subjugating women is still considered acceptable and is normalised by many around the globe. Newer generations will only imbibe the values we disseminate.

Unfortunately, the unsound and unreasonable voice tend to be the loudest.

Amrita Singh

Amrita Singh

Passionate about trekking and travelling, the writer has just moved to Belfast, UK. Her obsession with the Himalayas grows every passing year and she keeps going back for more.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Salman Shareef

    Would you please elaborate whether the clothes are worn to cover up the body or show off the body ?Recommend

  • Alka Rim

    Eve-teasing has been occurring since times immemorial. Mahabharata has a reference to Draupadi’s ‘vastraharan’ (thanks to Lord Krishna, a knight in shining armour who rescued the damsel in distress), and Ramayana has anecdotal ‘Sitaharan’ scene where Ravan in the guise of a deer entices Sita to transgress the Lakhsman-rekha. Unfortunately, in this Kalyug there are no Lord Krishnas and no Lakhmans to safeguard chastity of contemporary Draupadis and Sitas.
    One of the major culprits is movie celabrities like Sunny Leonis, Rakhi Savants, et. al who try to compensate their lack talent with glorification of cheap sex. They send the sex-starved youths’ testosterone raging. Their minds become foggy and they lose all sense of discerning right from wrong. Some of these guys will not even stop at incest. As such you can imagine, not attacking nonrelated women is a far cry. So it is not the provocation by women’s attire but the uncontrollable basic instinct of Homo sapiens. And because most cases get forgotten without any consequences, men are emboldened. The need of the hour is stringent laws, criminalization of these nefarious activities, and implementation of the laws regardless of the culprits’ social status or being related to high-placed influential persons.Recommend

  • Khalid

    Molestation becoming a signature of Indian societyRecommend

  • hp kumar

    You r writing this blog where women’s right is abysmal. women dressed in western clothes at 2’oclock night boozing,partying with their boyfriend out on streets among 60,000 people ,can you imagine this scene in pakistan.I m not defending what had happened on new yr’s night.But pl understand that we have come long a way.Women r breaking new shackles..thats good thing..In india if there r men who oppose them ,there r crores of men who support individual freedom and liberty.Pakistani women have yet to claim their basic right.Recommend

  • Allah Rakha

    It depends how you think and view someone who is wearing clothes, because the ladies wearing burqa are not safe if such type of people are around.Recommend

  • hp kumar

    Growing problem?Rather I see growing freedom for women..As far as pakistani women r concerned they cant walk alone on streets i suppose..One Indian women who travelled to pakistan ,she said she was forced to wear shalwar kammez and dupatta.No Bindi and saree r allowed.She couldnot wear clothes which exposed here neck bone..should i write more.??I often objected to indian author writing blog here…You r not serious and you would never be..It provides rather an opportunity to bash india..You have more pressing issue of honor killing and women empowerment.I have never seen an article from pakistani people.Heck even you laws based on hudood prince support crime against women.Recommend

  • hp kumar

    And your county is a failed state ..Do you know that?Recommend

  • Fahim

    Keeping a part what should a women wear just wearing some thing odd is definitely not an invitation and rape has no justification.Recommend

  • Milind A

    You mean to say nothing of this sort happens in your country??? Let me break this news to you – its far more, except that its not reportedRecommend

  • Asad Khan

    Dear Blogger,
    a short skirt, bikini and even a naked female is nothing BUT an invitation.Recommend

  • Sane

    India is falling morally and economically. Shame on people of India specially those who try to justify this mass molestation.Recommend

  • Sane

    Matter and subject is related to morality of Indian nations, which is on nose dive. You must be ashamed. There is no discussion about Pakistan women, so limit yourself to Indian people.Recommend

  • Sane

    Shame to Indians specially those justifying this shameful incident. The mass molestation in your country happened coz my country is a failed state?!!! You yourself is a failed state. In failed state only there are such incidents and people are killed on beef eating. India has become NO GO COUNTRY and people have become beast. The RAPE COUNTRY, the India is NO GO PLACE for tourists specially women.Recommend

  • raj

    go to karachi or lahore and u will be amazed by freedom and the way women go out alone and the way men cant even touch themRecommend

  • Sane

    Are you an investigative journalist? Or reports in whole world comes to you only.Recommend

  • Sane

    Forget about Pakistani women, talk about Indian women. What you have done with them? Aren’t you ashamed?Recommend

  • BANA POST

    wow look who is speaking ? pakis are speaking abt India what to say Its all about out bad time or Bad karma What else ?Recommend

  • BANA POST

    I think you are talking about your Father and brother No problem as long as you talk about IndiansRecommend

  • abhi

    Not only in pakishan but even when they go to other countries as refugee they do it.Recommend

  • hp kumar

    Go sell yourself to china…India is doing fine..lolRecommend

  • Sarah

    Why do you keep saying women are not visible on streets in pakistan? Have you first hand experienced this or is this the same woman giving you false information?Recommend

  • hp kumar

    Oh yeah ..Let me come straight to you..R pakistani women allowed to wear Jeans and walk around the city.I m not telling that pakistani women dont wear thoses dresses.You cannot walk around on streets and in market place with such outfit.who cares what you r wearing inside home by the way.Thats the crux of matter.Pl dont bug us.Women like you r doing more harm to themselves then rising against prevalent misogyny..Recommend

  • hp kumar

    you r made believe that Islamic republic of pakistan is the holiest place to live??good luck to you…someday you will come to believe that there is a world outside paksitan as well..Recommend

  • Sane

    Terrorism? What happened in your city Bangalore is wort kind of terrorism and never occurred in any part of the world. This has terrorized ALL WOMEN OF INDIA including TOURIST that India is not safe for women. India is the country where WOMEN ARE RAPED IN PUBLIC. Read foreign newspapers and come out of shell.Recommend

  • Sane

    What a logic. Instead of accepting a heinous crime worst than terrorism of its nature which has shattered whole women population of India in general and other parts of the world, Indian trolls justify this a normal (rather nothing) coz Pakistan is this….that…. ha ….ha,,,,ha,,,,Same on you.Recommend

  • hp kumar

    It doesnot concern me anyway coz my country is already a failed state..All we pakistanis exist to harm and bash india?Recommend

  • Sane

    It this burning? Your great nation of rapists and murderers with a terrorist PM. Wow….. A Hindoora says Paki, ha….ha….ha…..Recommend

  • BANA POST

    Dont wish to answer u I can type better than u But It would not be meaningful discussionRecommend

  • Sane

    You have ill knowledge and propagandist.Recommend

  • Sane

    Yes, there is world outside Pakistan, excluding India free from beasts and tyrants on roads.Recommend

  • Sane

    Wow…..all Indian trolls do meaningful discussions on these pages. Surprised as you don’t know what meaningful is meant for.Recommend

  • Sane

    I agree that Indian movies are one of the cause of immorality in masses of India.Recommend

  • BANA POST

    I stand by my opinion I have to decide to whom i should and not. Coming back to Indian trolls which are far better than your side .My conclusion is drawn on the basis my interaction with -Pakis and am regular reader of almost all Pakistan english news papers. “Pakis” thats how Americans called you Hope ET do not edit my commentRecommend

  • raj

    at least we don’t brag abt what they say…Recommend

  • raj

    your perspective is bound by your media and therefore i think you are one of the least informed nations.. get out of your skin and see the truthRecommend

  • hp kumar

    What you will brag when you r citizen of a failed state?Do you have anything to brag about?Recommend

  • Agha

    Of course and keeping money in your wallet is nothing BUT an invitation to get robbed. Good going smart aleck.Recommend

  • raj

    We don’t lie to ourselves.. we accept we have problems.. India on the other hand always hide it from the worldRecommend

  • raj

    Ignorance is a bliss.. i read the first line of your comment and thats it.. just got to knw for sure that even though you have interent, you seem to read lesser and lesser and spend your time on fb.. lets just not discuss on this when you even dont know if pak women work or not..Recommend

  • raj

    You need to read more my friend.. Check NDTV and IBN… so obsessed abt pakistan. I have ample idea how indians live as many of my friends are indians and they are cool.. unlike you. If you don’t know that pak women work, how do you expect me to believe that indians women work too and are capable. you have to listen first and then say. and yes India is number one country with most interest in what is happening in pak.. see your papers. Don’t even talk abt education status in india.. majority dont even go to school in villages still.. and u talk of plastic money.. lol.. jokersRecommend

  • raj

    that is the thing i am talking abt.. least informed nation. I have been to northern areas in pak and those people are very educated and brilliant.. not to mention Nagaland in india which is so low on everything. urbanisation is happening in big cities only and that is happening in pak .. nothing big abt it. least informed abt muslim women too.. there are cases of this discouragement in hundu families too.. so if you say this is just a muslim problem.. then you are ignorant.Recommend

  • hp kumar

    “Don’t even talk abt education status in india.. majority dont even go to
    school in villages still.. and u talk of plastic money.. lol.. jokers”Fools r people like you who r made to believe.actually its not your fault.I believe religious education is part of pak education.Mosques r built inside schools and colleges.You get sermons fro mullas and that became universally accepted truth for all of you.Google enrollment rate in Indian and total no. of children out of school.You will be disappointed since its almost 92%.In some places its 96 to 97% .Also read about Indias mid day meal program.If anything you should know about total no. of children out of school in pakistan.Its worlds largest.I say it again,you peope r best in making assumptions.And thats the reason for your demise.Recommend

  • raj

    you are giving me all this stats on indian education.. you shud read full then.. india literacy rate is still less than 60% and Pak is around 52% and you still giving me stats abt your primary schools… lolRecommend