Mankind has travelled a long way to reach where we are today and live in luxury and the possibility of the same like we experience it now. Technology began from nothing and has over the last two decades developed to become a force that dictates most of our lives today. In the process of progress and development of material things we have failed to ensure the most basic things central to each one of our lives and that is safety, especially the safety of women and girls. The statistics of crimes against women in India are ever rising, leaving the women in India insecure and unsure of their safety for a large part of their travels within the country.
Recently, the villagers living in Baldiyapura, Rajasthan were told to bar their daughters from wearingjeans or use and carry mobile phones. The council of the village that functions as the self righteous ‘father figure’ of those residing in this village said these products were extensions of the Western culture that was ruining the mindsets of the girls and women that use these products. This apparent ‘Westernization’ was recognized as the sole reason for crimes against women in the area. The council also went out on a limb to say that this new rule will forcefully be implemented, to contain and dismiss anybody thinking otherwise. There have been instances of women being beaten up for supposedly being dressed ‘immodestly’. This mentality that determines a cause and effect relationship between what women wear to the crime committed against them highlights the inherent patriarchal and misogynistic values that still supported by many in our society. The leader of the village council in Baldiyapur went on to say that this was an effort to put an end to the ‘bad habits’ of these women. These habits, according to the leader, were the reason why crimes against women like rape and molestation were on the rise. In addition to the restriction placed on women’s dressing, the council also banned alcohol consumption in the village. While people have appreciated the alcohol ban, the council’s decision on banning jeans for women and regulating what they wear is being condemned nationally.
Stories like this bring out a number of things we subconsciously ignore. There is a dire need to spread awareness on crimes against women and educate people to realize that the victim is not even remotely responsible for what they are subject to, crimes are committed by criminals because of their own mentality. As an organization that has been working for the rights of girls and women for the past 35 years, we urge everybody to promote and stand up for gender equality, raising their voice against anything that treats women as second grade citizens. Women have an equal right to wear, live and do as they please as much as men do. We must all do our bit to break through from these constructed differences.