How is it that every rape, molestation, sexual assault that our country witnesses always happens to be the victims’ fault? Why is it that parents are always nudging their daughters to come home before 8 PM and never ask their sons where they were all night? Why is it that India has time and again failed to protect its citizens: are some questions for which many of us wake up every day to find answers to.
I still can’t wrap it around my head that the reason women are molested is because they are out after 8 PM for whatever reasons like working or partying. The entire logic behind associating short clothes with character, women attending late night parties with immorality, women having higher positions with physical appearance and women should stay home seems to go beyond my understanding, especially in the 20th century. The era where India is achieving great heights every single day seems to taken steps backwards when it comes to the gender mindset. Men can do night shifts and come late, but women are asked a million questions even if they think about long working hours. Men who smoke and drink are normal but women who smoke and drink defy the Indian culture and several other things where women are not treated as equal to men. Who really made these perspectives? I believe that the time has come where the society realises that women also have personal choices and can do anything they want to without falling prey to social pressure. Not much has changed when it comes to rapes and molesting women even after the #Nirbhaya rape case.
On January 1, 2017, another gruelling incident shocked the society. What agitated the nation, even more, was the CCTV footage that showed two men on a scooter in Bengaluru assaulting a woman, attempting to take off her clothes, molesting her and pushing her to the ground before leaving. What happened next was not very unpredictable. Many political leaders dismissed the incident saying that such incidents happen and they are bound to happen considering how young women copy the western culture not only in their mindset but even in their dressing.
This incident was bound to aggravate the youth leading towards the initiative #IWillGoOut by an autonomous group ‘Night in My Shining Armour’ whose aim was to get more people out on the streets and remove the stigma attached to women being outside their homes after 8 PM. One element that stood out in this initiative was that many men also participated. Under Touch Me Not, the plan was to raise voices through a silent protest which will involve placards but not slogans. Individuals have also started various online petitions on Change.org to demand justice and safety for women in Bengaluru. While one petition demands safety of women from harassment, another one has called for an effective 100 number helpline, safe transport services and street lights.
These marches, slogans, petitions and initiatives will not make any difference until the government comes forth and takes notice of such incidents, engages in making stricter laws for the safety of women and above all ensures their implementation. If one-day laws are strict and implemented properly, many women will sleep peacefully and go out carefree, if that is not too much to ask for.