On the Rape of Women

While India and (specifically) New Delhi are no strangers to crimes against women (and this is all the more sad and worrying because there is a resigned acceptance of this fact), the recent case of rape in Delhi has caused revulsion to cascade throughout the country. Indeed, the doctors treating the unfortunate victim have stated this is the worst case they have witnessed so far. 

The nation has miles to go in terms of the safety of women, and that is a different issue that has to be addressed in depth. Incidents of rape open up the age-old argument about “women dressing provocatively are asking for it”. This discussion is both a cheap way to buy peace of mind by indulging in coffee-table civic consciousness, and a re-affirmation of a regressive, medieval and chauvinistic society. Although any reasonably sensible mind can be expected to reject this argument as pure bull-shit, such minds, unfortunately, are in the minority. Hence, the following post –

1.       DRESSING PROVOCATIVELY IS NO INVITATION FOR RAPE

This is as fallacious as saying that a person who drives a fancy car or has a shiny new cellphone is responsible for it being stolen. Yes, dressed up women do look physically attractive. Yes, looking physically attractive is one of the chief aims of dressing up. But this does not justify rape. Period

2.       PROVOCATIVE DRESSING IS NOT CAUSAL TO RAPE

By extension of above argument, it would appear that women who do not dress provocatively are not raped. Hence, all a woman would have to do to not be raped is wear a salwar-kameez or sari (here, assumption being that tank-tops and shorts qualify as provocative, while traditional dresses do not. I am mentally incapable of discussing fashion, so please feel free to correct me on this point). A cursory reading of facts will blow this argument clear out of the water.

3.       WOMEN SHOULD NOT DRESS PROVOCATIVELY IN PUBLIC

Wrong. Dressing is a private concern. Yes, as citizens living in society, we should be sensitive towards the sensibilities those around us. The same way that we don’t wear shorts to temples, because it is disrespectful. But at the end of the day, it is a personal choice, and such personal choices have to be regulated by the law. Not rapists. The Indian Legal System does deal with public indecency.

For all those who shout from rooftops about women and dressing, how about we show the same desire for campaigning when it comes to smoking in public? Or littering? Or maintaining traffic discipline.

4.       PROVOCATIVE DRESSING IS AGAINST “INDIAN CULTURE”

Aside from the obvious fact that *culture* is not a static entity – it is continuously re-defined by society – this is just factually wrong. Visit the temples of Khajurao, or see the paintings of dancers at Ajantha-Ellora. Read classic Indian texts – and not just the Kama Sutra, the Upanishads have pretty “liberal” contents too. In over two-three millennia, our society has become more regressive and orthodox.

I do not wish to “appeal to my friends and colleagues who disagree with these arguments to see the light”. You, Sirs and Madams, are what the dictionary would define as idiots. Kindly step aside while we try to grapple with this leviathan of a system and try to make the world a little better (not just for women, but for the men-folk as well).

PS – Replace “provocative clothing” with “travelling at night” or “going to parties”, and it will still make sense. Women aren’t responsible for rape. A**h***s are.

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