“Earlier if men and women would hold hands, they would get caught by parents and reprimanded but now everything is so open. It’s like an open market with open options.”-
Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal Chief Minister
“90 per cent of rape cases are (a case of) consensual sex between the girl and boy…The girl gets into an affair with a boy and she goes with him without knowing that he is of criminal mindset.”- Dharambir Goyat, Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee Member
And I won’t bother getting into what the Khaps say every day. If you think about it, the Khaps are actually doing us a favour, with the lack of good comedy shows, they ensure that we get our daily dose of over the top, nonsensical humour.
And now they have targeted one of my favourite foods - Chow mien!
But no publicity is bad publicity they say, and turning Chow mien into an aphrodisiac is sure to increase its sales substantially. My Chow mien is safe, albeit with a bit of a tarnished reputation, but safe nevertheless. What and who is not safe are countless women like me who go to work daily, travel, and get increasingly afraid as the dusk approaches.
But we appreciate the concern that is going around, from Mamta Banerjee to the khaps to the netas, all out to get their two minutes of fame. Never in our whole lives have we received such concern and suggestions to solve our problem. Come to think of it, even our parents allowed us to live our life as we saw fit, never advising us not to eat Chow mien, or not to talk to people.
But yes, our world travelled, erudite netas have the grip on the problem, never mind that they themselves have been embroiled in sex scandals (I just wrote the word sex, does that mean I am inciting the opposite gender, I wonder?). But no sir, they know what they are talking about.
And that scares me. As much as the guy who stands and leers on street corners, as much as the guy who thinks it is within his right to stare and make lewd comments. If the netas do know what they are talking about, then what can we say about our democracy, and our culture? I can only take consolation in the fact that these netas are a minority, and the general public knows better.
The mother, with a boy, I now talk directly to you. Don’t let women become an object in your son’s eyes, don’t let him think that the length of clothes is directly proportional to a woman’s modesty, don’t let him believe the women ever asked to be raped (if a woman wants to indulge in intercourse with someone, she has other ways than to get mauled in this way, trust me), don’t let him believe that a woman who speaks to men is loose. Most important of all, tell him that a woman is as much entitled to work and to be free as he is. Tell him that a woman has a right to say no, even if she agrees to talk to you and be your friend; tell him he need not become a beast in order to become a man.
And to all the men in general, well don’t you feel angry when your name is maligned in this way? When your fellow gender-mates turn rapists? When women everywhere ridicule and curse your gender? Why is it that women have to speak out against this? Isn’t it your responsibility too? Is this a gender related problem only? Why don’t you say that clothes don’t matter, that you don’t think there is any such thing as provocative dressing, that all of this is the making of a cheap mindset?
We need you to speak out, to rant and to feel angry. More than us, it is you who is being laughed at, because the netas are indirectly implying that our boys can’t control their libidos, and hence it is up to the girl to protect herself. Is it so?
Please don’t tell us about not going out at night, and lecture us about how to dress. You don’t get it because you have never faced it. It is not just about night clubs and clothes, it is about how you see and treat a woman.
Please do not shame our intelligence by chiding us for being careless. And how careless? For trusting you and thinking that you are not an animal? Well, if that is the case, then I ask every girl to apologize to you, profusely. It was indeed our mistake then.
And to girls everywhere, I salute you for living in this society that harbors such low creatures, I salute you for going out and being independent, and I salute you for fighting back…day after day. Fight on! They can’t crush us!
Proud of being a woman, and proud of having men around me who know how to treat a woman. To the men I know – thanks!