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The reactions to Zaira Wasim after her allegations of molestation only show us how willing we are to point fingers at women.
Firstly, I am not going to make any judgements about this particular case as I am waiting for more facts to surface to the top.
Secondly in this particular case, the facts don’t matter to me as much as the backlash that the actress has been receiving ever since she slapped sexual molestation charges on her co-passenger during her Vistara airlines flight.
Why is it that we, as a society are so quick to point our fingers first at the woman?
We should be pointing fingers towards the accused, the man here who was clearly not following the rules and regulations.
What was his business to put up his feet on his fellow passenger’s seat?
Instead, we conclude:
‘Oh she is an actress who’s pulling a fast one for garnering publicity!´
´I’ve seen her interviews…she´s too mature for an 17-18 year old. She can’t be innocent.´
But we, as a society bestow the crown of innocence and naïveté upon a middle aged man.
‘The innocent man was so tired that he needed a foot rest to sleep and let it wander magically on its own all over his front passenger´s neck and back.’
We are not ignorant of how our actresses are looked upon in our society. There are numerous reports and videos of actresses being groped and felt up by random strangers in a crowd; random men who would otherwise pass off as respectable men in the eyes of the society when compared to actresses who are looked down upon as selling their souls or trading their flesh for money.
Sub-consciously, we have painted the actress Zaira Wasim as a ‘not-so-innocent´ 17 year old actress and the accused man as the innocent regular family man.
Again, I am not pronouncing any judgement in this particular case. All I am doing is highlighting the prejudice that women face, how difficult it is to come out in the open and admit in public that they were molested without their consent.
Please note Consent is the key word here.
Why didn’t anyone ask the man if he asked Zaira’s consent to put up his feet on her seat’s arm rest? Hasn’t she paid her ticket for that space for a few hours in transit?
Why are all the questions being hurled at the woman in question, Zaira Wasim and not the man?
The accused is the regional head of the Sun group of companies that has radio channels like Red FM and other TV channels under them. Surely, he should have had some sense before putting up his feet like that.
Why are people not questioning his education and credentials and only pronouncing character judgements on the actress alone?
When women speak up either at home, the work space or any space, we have to answer a barrage of questions:
What were you wearing?
What time was it and what were you doing there at that time?
Why did you go out alone?
Why did you wait for so long to admit that this molestation happened?
Are you sure that it’s not your hallucination?
Are these false charges to defame or garner publicity?
Before questioning Zaira Wasim on so many issues regarding the case, why is the man not subjected to the same interrogation by the public?
Does a mere sorry vindicate him for making a fellow passenger’s flight experience horrendous and miserable?
In Zaira’s case, its her prerogative when she chooses to report the incident. So many women report issues of molestation much later after it has happened. In some cases, many years later. May be she simply said an okay that she didn’t mean at that moment of apology. And the apology didn’t help her feel any better later. Maybe she wasn’t convinced of his innocence totally on afterthought. We don’t know for sure.
But, why are we putting her under a microscope and examining her true intentions and letting the man off the hook without such similar character screening?
The backlash that the actress is facing is a classic example of why women don’t report such seemingly trivial cases of harassment in our day-to-day lives. Because sadly, it has become commonplace in our society and something that we women are expected to simply smile and bear up.
There is no point in having online #MeToo campaigns when we don’t show our support in action. Let the courts make the final decision after listening to both sides of the incident.
Meanwhile, please let women speak up fearlessly about how they truly feel. Let them claim their rightful place in society. Yes, even those few hours in transit on a plane seat that they paid for with their hard earned money.
Just show her some respect, will you! Not in mere lip service, but in action!
The biggest question is – can you?
Image source: By Bollywood Hungama (BollywoodHungama.com) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons, for representational purposes only
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Hi! I´m Tina Sequeira! Consultant by day. Moonlighting writer at ´The Tina Edit´(https://
Exactly, Mridula! But women like you and me should be able to speak up without such unwarranted advice. Only then, we can hope for some change….else these ugly incidents will continue to be normalized. 🙂
You are absolutely right Tina to be angry and questioning of society’s double standard when it comes to building a moral conscience in boys and men. Society seems to habitually be blind sided to gross incursions on women’s bodily space, privacy and comfort level, while on the other hand cosseting and being so overly protective about men whom they’ve ironically projected to be the “stronger sex”. Simple logic tells us this is incongruous. Like over indulgent parents of bratty kids, who choose to look upon their destructive or despicable kids with such benevolence regardless of their behaviour; society ensures that unlimited freedom and impunity is accorded to perpetrators of misdemeanours, crimes and violence against girls and women. Like you say Tina, we must assert our voices and expose such incidents. We must NOT deride or silence victims. Instead we must name, shame and punish the criminals who commit these offences in a way that it acts as a strong deterrent of such incursions and as a harbinger of the change we so desperately need right now.
Hi Sonia! So good to hear from you after so long. This article has been one of my most widely debated ones…especially from most of the menfolk and few women. You put it so well..As a society, we have become apathetic to rape, sexual assualt and other social ills plaguing our women. So, when women in privileged positions choose to speak up and men are taken to task, it creates a complete mayhem. Exactly, we must NOT silence women´s voices. Whether they are right or wrong is for the court to decide. I keep getting this cliched response from people that women are filing fake cases against men in the name of Feminism. And today´s feminism equals to misandry. They fail to see the larger picture that if any change has to happen, we need women speaking up fearlessly and claiming their rightful place and position in society. Thanks for reading and sharing your views. Hugs! 🙂
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