The 9th July Guwahati molestation and groping incident has shaken the whole city. For us, molestation and groping was for big, bad cities like Delhi.
Guwahati was never like this.
But the incident has brought to fore an ugly face of the city, and society at large – that of hypocritical moral policing and gender inequality.
When the news first broke, the news channel in question gave it a quite different headline. It was : “Mohanagarit mataal juboti!” (rough translation : Drunk girl in the city).
The whole molestation and groping angle was out of contention. It was given a different colour altogether – “A drunk girl was creating ruckus outside a pub, and hence the ‘morally conscious’ public took her to task by giving her a public thrashing”.
The whole molestation angle came up atleast one and a half day later, when the video of the incident started to created public outrage. Heads rolled. The news channel in question swiftly swung into action. Headlines were changed. And the channel tried to save face by running a ‘nab the culprits’ campaign. ‘Wanted’ posters were put up in the city at the behest of the channel.
But parallely the channel also made attempts to slowly revive its arguement of the girl being drunk and that she asked for it by dressing in a ‘revealing’ way.
What is shocking is what a tweet of the channel editor said – “Major chunk of girls visiting pubs/bars are prostitutes”.
Nothing can be more outrageous, unfortunate, and pathetic than this. When a senior journalist makes a statement like this, it reflects a lot about the society and its hypocrisy.
A day or two more, and slowly the incident began to attract national attention, with the National Commission for Women sending its team to Guwahati. Facebook groups started clamouring for justice for the wronged girl. People started putting up status updates condemning the incident.
But atleast 30% of the updates were still in the borderline, confused with whether they should condemn the girl’s attire, or the men who violated her.
And some of the confused people are my friends, people I’ve known at some point in my life. And I was livid with their hypocrisy.
I tried to reason with them. But they gave me a discourse on Indian culture and how women should dress. They asked me if I would ‘allow’ my girlfriend/ sister/ wife to wear a revealing outfit and drink in a public till late at night. I said I was none to ‘allow’ and that it was perfectly fine if they did so. They called me a ‘lost case’ and said that nothing can be done about me. I asked them this morning if I could quote their status updates word to word in a blog that I’m going to write. They refused.
And slowly I began to wonder if this was the Taliban.
There can be no justification for rape or sexual molestation. Girls don’t ‘invite’ rape by dressing revealingly in a pub. Perverted men are simply not man enough to behave themselves. Lets face that. The slighest show of flesh turns them to beasts.
If a guy can drink in a pub till late at night, so can a girl. And if her revealing attire gives someone a free pass to attack her, then that guy needs help. Serious help.
We have made a mockery of ourselves as a society. Our false sense of morality is now laughing stock of the whole world. If Indian culture doesn’t teach one to dress provocatively, neither does it teach you to rape . We need to stop making ‘INDIAN CULTURE’ an excuse for our perverted selves. We need to grow up.
We shouldn’t preach our girls not to dress the way they want to. We should teach our boys to be men and that the length of a girl’s skirt is not their business..