And it happened again. It wasn’t unexpected, was not at all shocking, was neither a surprise nor something that makes the mouth hang wide open. All it did was, add to the feeling of disgust, contempt and loath that already is present in the minds and hearts of a large number of people.
Recently, Gauhar Khan was slapped while hosting a reality TV show. The man in question first tried to touch her inappropriately and when failing to do so, slapped the actress stating that a woman of her faith should not be wearing such revealing outfits.
This incident should have been handled in a mature manner by the Indian media by showing their support to Gauhar and coming together to condemn this act of violence. What followed was a bizarre, immature and ridiculous display of the Indian mentality. Huge debates erupted on what a woman should wear,how much of her body should be covered, how Gauhar is insulting her religion and is nothing but a body selling good for nothing woman and how she deserved to be slapped. While this happened, the news channels made sure their TRPs sky rocketed by telecasting bikini pictures of the actress, telecasting a story on her ex-boyfriends, by naming her Gauhar “Scandal” Khan, not shying away to choose this moment to show the clipping of her wardrobe malfunction on the ramp and as these stories floated , using a bikini thumbnail of her during news breaks.
The media has been especially cheap as far as reporting a female is concerned. When the news of Bipasha Basu’s break up comes, the news channels compete with each other in showing her pictures in revealing outfits with programs getting aired about how happy her ex is after they broke up by getting hooked to a “nice homely” girl. When Deepika had a row with the Times Of India, her cleavage controversy lead on to reveal the shocking mentality of the majority who think a girl who once has her pictures published in bikini is hence forth the property of the public and obviously is nothing less than a slut. Shweta Basu, a child star, winner of a film fare award got entangled in prostitution. Was arrested, apologized, and is trying to move on. The social media came forward with such hate and contempt for her that it would not be surprising if someone tried to personally harm her and then justify it as a befitting punishment. (Here, one can think what about the so called “respectable” men who in spite of having families are not ashamed of indulging in such activities? Not a single statement of hate towards them!)
Cut to this Sunday morning. A Delhi girl was raped when she took a cab home. Some reports suggested she was in a party, had a few alcoholic beverages and fell asleep during her cab ride. When she woke up, the driver was molesting her, beat her up when she resisted and threatened to “insert a rod in her stomach” if she screamed. As expected, it started various debates, blaming the society, the influence of the “western world” on the so called Indian culture and blaming the victim.
This blaming the victim is something that the majority of the society enjoys. Maybe because we as a society, as masses, enjoy blaming someone, putting the blame on someone, insulting someone so that we can look good, feed off the pain of people in order to enjoy our happiness.
Few things that people think make a rape inevitable are surprisingly everything to do with the spirit of a woman,the freedom of a woman. There are far too many people ready to pounce on a woman. Scrutinizing her dress, judging her by the clothes she is wearing, how deep is her neck or is her skirt too short, whether or not she has any male friends, if she takes some alcoholic beverages etc. and once the check list is over, all hell breaks loose on the girl. People suddenly come to the judgement that she deserved to get raped or is a sinner who is being adequately punished. One might then wonder what exactly was a 6 month old girl wearing when she was raped or what did she do to deserve the heinous crime.
Blaming and shaming the victim has become a culture, our culture. Rapes, sexual assaults, molestations, violence are not spicy stories that we read while sitting on the shit pot or while taking breaks in offices. They are the ugly reality that we have to deal with. By shaming the victims, we are doing nothing but paving way for becoming the next victim.
Rapes and crimes against women do not happen because of alcohol, short dresses, male friends, late night parties and pubs. They happen because somewhere, someone has the audacity to think they can get away with it.