Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Freedom For Women - Far Fetched? - I Don't Think So

Yet again, the women in our society are questioned on matters concerning their choices - dressing, in this case - and are forcibly made the cause of the most heinous and bone-chilling cruel acts of rape and sexual harassment.

The comments of Karnataka's Women and Child Welfare Minister, C C Patil, and Head of Committee against sexual harassment in Bangalore University, K K Seethamma, invites contempt because of the high positions they hold in office, and that they form a part of a community that stands for women's welfare and protection. Their prejudiced and archaic views truly reflect on the safety of women in today's society. For instance, the notion, among Delhi'ites or friends of Delhi'ites, is clear - the capital city is filled with young, capricious individuals with raging hormones looking to strike in the dark. It won't take much of a conversation before you hear from them - "You walk out after 8.30pm, and you are sure to invite trouble." With this menace hovering over, not just Delhi but, each city of India, people repeatedly find ways of shifting blame over to women. Rape or Sexual Harassment is a crime, and has no justification whatsoever.

The other point called into question is that of freedom. The two ministers seem to prefer a dress code which, in effect, restricts women from making their own choices. "Even when one wears saris, long-sleeve blouses must be worn. I tell my students they must wear long kurtas when they wear jeans," uttered Seethamma during her conversation with TOI. I think women have the right to wear whatever they wish and whenever they wish to do so. "Showing off their skin" is nobody else's business.

Time and again, statistics have proved that the type of dressing does not influence the number of rape cases. Women wearing saris in villages get raped; women wearing tube-tops get raped in cities. At the same time, you have little girls of age 5 to 8 years being raped. How does any of the prejudiced views account for the rape of little girls?

It is this kind of cheap, inconsistent and contradictory views uttered in public against the protection of women's rights that brings forth contempt. It is a deep insult to a woman's dignity and integrity. As people living in a free and open society, it is our responsibility to stand for its values by defending our stance against its opponents, and to uphold them with the deepest of passion.   

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