Bringing “Victim Shaming” to the Forefront
In India, violence against women inflicts pain upon women on two levels- one is the actual violence (physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse) and the second is the violence of shaming. Women are often held responsible for all crimes committed against them, and are often told to dress appropriately, speak properly, not be seen in particular places, to avoid any untoward incident. Whenever crimes against women are committed, the first reaction is to blame her, saying that she wasn’t ‘careful’ enough or that she ‘provocated’ the perpetrator.
It is this aspect of victim shaming that Star Plus is attempting to tackle, via its new show “Kya Kasoor Hai Amla Ka”, which deals with the harassment a rape victim goes through in our society. As part of the publicity campaign, Amitabh Bachchan questions these culprits of the character assassination with one pertinent question “Whose fault is it?”. The campaign, titled “Victim Shaming” advocates that society needs to place the guilt rightfully with the perpetrators by putting them on trial instead of shaming the victims.
About the campaign, Mr Bachchan says, “The idea that a woman loses her dignity if she is sexually assaulted is instilled strongly in our cultural mindset. The shame should be on the perpetrators instead of the victim. We need to foster a safe, secure and supportive environment where victims can seek refuge especially from those who they turn to for protection like Authority Figures, Family and Society. There is a strong need to step forward and talk about this through stories which can trigger this change in mindset of the people. ‘Kya Qusoor Hai Amala Ka’ is an effort by Star Plus in the same direction.”
It is true that in India, we place the onus of a women’s safety on her own self. Our cultural ethos refuses to hand over the responsibility of crimes committed to the one engaging in such an act, which gives them greater freedom to keep on committing crimes against women. Thus, it is extremely heartening that Star Plus has chosen to deal with this relevant topic, and brought it to mainstream, primetime television. The fact that a star of Mr Bachchan’s stature is endorsing this campaign, adds to the credibility of the message, and will ensure that the message has maximum outreach.