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Women across the country are blamed and shamed for practically every atrocity against them! Will we ever truly become feminists?
India is a land of endless ironies. On the one hand, it is the largest democracy in the world with the largest written constitution to protect democratic values. And on the other, justice is often denied to the common person while the wealthy have easy access to the corridors of power.
We have always idolised omen as superior beings in our mythological texts and our culture even personifies the country as ‘Bharat Mata.’ However, it is also the same country that is incredibly unsafe for females – regardless of their age, gender identities and sexual preferences.
In our country, women are continuously and systemically oppressed since the dawn of time. Even today, a majority of Indian women are trapped in the shackles of patriarchy, under the garb of customs and traditions.
Violence against women in any form is often trivialised and women are gaslighted about it. Victim-blaming is always the go-to in every atrocity against women – be it physical, mental, domestic or sexual. How long does society plan on shifting the blame on women?
I remember being catcalled in one of the safest cities in this country on my way from work on a Saturday night. And I still remember the cab driver who saved me from those monstrous men and safely dropped me at the train station.
I remember the numbness I felt while the driver tried to ease my mind by talking to me. And I also remember how offended I was when someone I shared this with trivialised it as a normal thing.
No. It isn’t normal. This will never be normal!
Fast forward to six months later when I was invited to a party at a friend’s house which was less than half a kilometre from my place. I was scared to go alone at 7.30 in the evening. That’s when I realised that the so-called ‘not–so- bad’ incident has scarred me for life.
I don’t dare to get out past dusk, even in the comforts and friendliness of my own neighbourhood. And what is the one and only solution society brings in for the protection of women? Don’t go out. No, don’t wear revealing clothes. Always depend on a man.
I mean, seriously?
Also, we consider home as a ‘safe space’ for women, but in reality, they are brooding points of sexual and domestic violence against women. While I am focussing only on the violence against cisgender women, the atrocities faced by trans people in India are a topic for another time.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown it followed saw a glaring rise in domestic violence against women. While various penal provisions for the protection of women are enacted from time to time, their efficiency and effectiveness need to be reckoned.
Sexual violence and the trauma that entails are not competitions with medals attached to them depending on the ‘performance.’ It’s high time that we rethink our approach of restricting the women inside the four walls to ‘protect’ them from the outside world.
We need to address how messed up our society is! Especially when half its population lives in the never-ending fear of being violated by someone, especially from the other gender!
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Ranjhaana
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