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All who blame women or West for sexual assault perpetuate rape

DailyBite
DailyBiteJan 03, 2017 | 21:22

All who blame women or West for sexual assault perpetuate rape

Exactly as the country grapples with the horror story that unfolded in Bangalore on the new year's eve, with mass molestation of over hundreds of women happening on the tech city's Brigade Road and MG Road, we have elected representatives in Karnataka and Maharashtra who have, in different capacities, played down the sexual assault. One has in fact gone to the extent of saying that women are like sugar syrup and men are like ants, hence sexual violence is absolutely expected.

Meet Karnataka home minister G Parameshwara, who, on Monday said that "such incidents do happen on New Year's day and Christmas". His response that about 1,500 police personnel were deployed in the area to keep a tab on the goings-on was brazening it out by saying that western wear-sporting women are practically asking for it.

The minister more or less blamed the women subjected to gross sexual assault as they were groped and touched in full public view in front of police personnel for bringing this upon themselves. Instead of promising swift action - not a single case of molestation or harassment has been registered despite CCTV and photographic evidence as well as eyewitness accounts to vouch for the same - the minister is busy explaining we must continue to accept this as normal behaviour by a bunch of drunken men since it's the New Year's Eve.

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G Parameshwara, Karnataka home minister, has said that women wear western clothes and therefore invite trouble. [Photo: Agencies] 

On the other hand, Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Azmi has told the news agency ANI that women are roaming around practically naked and therefore are to be blamed for the misfortunes of sexual assault. Azmi went on to say that scantily-clad women attract men because they are like "sugar syrup" and men are like "ants" drawn towards the source of sexual attraction.

Not only do these legislators, cutting across religious and party divides, betray the stinking and entrenched prejudices that cumulatively build what is known as "rape culture" - the pervasive, exhaustive normalisation of sexual violence by making it part of the manner women are dealt with in every situation - they, in fact, actively encourage and embolden the perpetrators on the streets because they squarely place the blame on women who get assaulted instead of men who assault.

Abu Azmi says women have embraced nudity as a fashion statement and he reflected the same mentality that was to be found among the trolls who viciously attacked Mohammed Shami and his wife for the gown that she wore in a photo uploaded online. Similarly, journalist Swati Chaturvedi's account of facing online abuse bespeaks not just random and omnipresent sexual violence that masquerades as trolling, but the fact that active encouragement is often to be found from the leaders themselves.

Covert and overt support of sexual violence comes from our legislators, even as India is shamed again and again as the rape capital of the world. The idiocy and entitlement of the Indian patriarchy manifests in myriad forms - whether as jocular apologia from leaders, such as the "boys will be boys" caveat, or normalising sexual stalking as romantic pursuit, to the extreme case in which the documentary India's Daughter on the Nirbhaya rape case was not allowed to be broadcast on a news channel last year.

G Parameshwara and Abu Azmi are just the most hideous faces of the acceptance sexual violence finds not just in India, but worldwide. Otherwise, it's difficult to explain why a sexual assault-accused such as Donald Trump gets elected as the president of the United States of America.

When elected representatives too refuse to understand the enormity of rape culture and in fact perpetuate it or brazen it out, anti-rape laws fall flat on their faces. If the police itself refuses to register FIRs based on suo moto cognizance on the matter which has more eyewitnesses than a film shoot, then the protectors of "women's safety" become complicit in robbing them of safe and secure experience of public spaces.

Both G Parameshwara and Abu Azmi should not be let off easily, and a public apology would be the very least that must be demanded from them.

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Last updated: January 05, 2017 | 15:01
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