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Blaming The Victim, Paving The Way For The Next Victim

Posted: December 16, 2014

Blaming the victim in cases of molestation and sexual assault makes us feel smug, but is only paving the way for the next victim to be assaulted.

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 loathing that is already 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 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-clad pictures of the actress, telecasting a story on her ex-boyfriends, naming her Gauhar “Scandal” Khan, and not shying away from choosing this moment to show clippings of her wardrobe malfunction on the ramp and as these stories floated, using a bikini thumbnail of her during news breaks.

When the news of Bipasha Basu’s break up comes in, news channels compete with each other in showing her pictures in revealing outfits…

The media has been especially cheap as far as reporting on women celebrities is concerned. When the news of Bipasha Basu’s break up comes in, news channels compete with each other in showing her pictures in revealing outfits with programs aired about how happy her ex is after they broke up and he got hooked to a “nice, homely” girl. When Deepika Padukone had a row with the Times Of India, her cleavage controversy led on to revealing the shocking mentality of the majority who think that a girl who has once had her pictures published in a bikini is hence forth the property of the public and obviously, nothing less than a slut.

Shweta Basu, a child star, winner of a Filmfare award got entangled in prostitution. Was arrested, apologized, and is trying to move on. The 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 justified it as a befitting punishment. (Here, one can ask, 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!)

Earlier this month, a Delhi girl was raped when she took a cab home. Some reports suggested she was at a party and had a few alcoholic beverages and fell asleep during her cab ride. When she woke up, the driver was molesting her and 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.

…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.

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.

The 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 women; Scrutinizing her dress, judging her by the clothes she is wearing, how deep is her neck or is how short her skirt, whether or not she has any male friends, if she has 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 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 the 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.

First published at the author’s blog

Placard image via Shutterstock


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  1. Good one Riti….
    One more point to add to your thoughts, which is though may not directly relate to this, is ours is a unique nation, which has ‘culture’ related only to women. Because nobody has done moral policing on a man who smokes or drinks. Is it our culture than men can smoke? Does ‘Indian cultural rules’ say that men can smoke and drink.
    Some women themselves accept comments from men as follows – “indian women should wear saris, blahblah….”. Haven’t we seen women (especially elderly), accept by nodding their heads, as if it is the current generation’s fault that men started behaving like that and otherwise these men are such innocent creatures….oh God.

    We should ask such men, ‘Fine so why are you wearing a jeans or pant or bermudas, and what about the spike on your head, is it part of indian culture too? Oh. sorry. there is no culture specifications when it comes to men, because they do the moral policing and are entitled to wear whatever they want…!!’

    If such thoughts crosses every woman’s mind and if she learns to question the men, then they would stop this sickening attitude. Women need to stop meekly accepting men’s comments and should learn to shrug it off and stay indifferent to it.

    • Thank you for finding the article relevant. 🙂 yes , moral policing is no more abt morals these days.. It should be called policing women.. I fully and completely agree abt the divide and the stereotypical attitude f the masses.. I had in fact written a piece on moral policing a few months back.. Titled a Vulgar Mind.. You can read it on my blog too.. This topic or issue is so vast and has so many facets enmeshed that its very hard to being all the elements together in one piece. Its was a pleasure going through a well crafted and well thought comment!!

  2. Pingback: Ways in which you can help a sexual assault survivor – DecodingLives

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