As per the Migration Policy Institute United States (2013), “There are 14.2 million Indian migrants worldwide; after the United Arab Emirates (2,852,000), the United States (2,061,000) is the second-most common destination.” The primary reason for migration is to have a better livelihood, income and better standard of material comforts. The secondary reason is to elevate the younger generation through better education facilities, health and career opportunities so that progress and growth steadies over a period of time. When people migrate for aspirations, they also hope to escape certain realities of their origin country. Racial and caste influenced lives, gender oppression, stifling academic environment and chronic bad hygiene and health maybe some of those realities. Although its manifestation is in varying intensity, the aforementioned are global phenomena. A glimpse of which was seen on AJ+ Twitter handle (@ajplus). It got close to a 1000 likes and equal number of Retweets. The Tweet was a video on Self-Defense Workshop for Women in the United States.
These women learn self-defense because it’s their reality. pic.twitter.com/LskzS7hjRN
— AJ+ (@ajplus) May 7, 2017
As per the video, “Every 98 seconds, a person is sexually assaulted in America.” On a parallel note, we find Sheryl Sandberg advocating for ‘Equal Work, Equal Pay’ through her organization Lean In. Hence, we are not only talking of physical violation but also deprivation of a certain sex to equality.
The aforementioned Tweeted video elaborated on the Jiu Jitsu technique where the opponent’s strength is used against him; as opposed to a full frontal attack. When Akshay Kumar expressed to the media that he would train his daughter Nitara on Self-Defenses because she should be capable of taking care of herself; everyone appreciated him and some also spoke on the emerging need to have a society where violence is not resorted for self-preservation. AJ+’s Tweeted video has an interesting quote which echoes the same vein of thought, “I learnt Self-Defense not because it is my responsibility but because it is my reality.”
“Why was she alone?”
“She should not have been out that late.”
“She was totally asking for it.”
Sounds familiar? The Tweeted video revealed that the aforementioned quotes are common attitudes when crimes against women are reported in the United States. This goes to show that it is not only India where society expects women to cower in the face of judgments that inflict objectification to her existence. Victim blaming is sadly prevalent in the one of the most aspirational countries of the world. If it is bad there, then surely it must be worse here… It indeed is. The conviction rate of rapists in the United States, as per the video is only 6 percent.
I am reminded of a stand-up comedian’s joke which I feel in hind sight was in bad taste. David Chappelle in one of his acts said, “If you wear the uniform of a prostitute, you will confuse the person who makes a pass at you. It’s the same as wearing the uniform of a cop and then being annoyed because people mistake you for one.” There was uproarious canned laughter and live audience laughter following the joke.