This morning the topmost item on the agenda was to write on the topic as promised. Sheer force of habit led me to the papers. The following headlines caught my eye'Eve teaser shoots at lawyer trying to save kin'. This occurrence , that too , today of all days, when a marathon is in progress, a blog a thon against it.
Apparently, the said lawyer 'Meher Bhargava' acted in retaliation to four hooligans who had passed lewd comments against her daughter-in law, Kavita. She objected to their behaviour. One of them took out a country made revolver and shot her on the neck. She is presently battling for her life. Incidentally the incident occurred right outside the house of the SSP. The police stationed there did not budge, despite being witness to the happenings.
While one cannot help feeling inwardly proud of Meher, the plight she finds herself in is shameful. The incident only triggers a host of questions and responses .There seem to be so many layers to the incident, that seem intertwined, the least not being that the assailants had a criminal record , alogside political connections. Manu Sharma has been unceremoniously ostracised in his own town Chandigarh apart from the mess of a retrial and the triumph of the citizen.Don't these kind give up?
To avoid deviating from the topic of the day, however, what needs to be noted is that the average woman today has decided to fight this attack on her space, tooth and nail. In this case, Meher, was protecting her daughter-in-law, which is such refreshing news,also the fact that she must therefore have been a middle aged person if not a senior citizen. But age was not a deterrent. Kudos to her for that.
The question is 'Are we ever going to be rid of this menace?' Even if it may not get totally rooted out, Imo there is a hope that it may dwindle in occurrence in cities and metros. For this to become a reality, we women, the police and the common man have to play an interactive and complementary role.
It is indeed pitiable that we have to implore for public participation , when it should have been the bounden duty of every citizen, regardless of gender to aid a victim. I have personally been a witness to a young girl beng harassed, at a so called elitist theatre. But apart from myself and another woman, no other male chose to involve himself. I leave it to your imaginaion to fathom how that male was shamed and browbeaten at his ludicrous games. I doubt he will ever venture that sphere of activity again. On second thoughts..who knows?
It is not so much about how these men view us. It is more about how they view themselves. Lack of self esteem is the basis of the problem . No self respecting man would stoop to such behaviour. Apart from that it stems from decaying moral structure, lack of social training , emotional delinquency, illiteracy. Of course, here one is not referring to the proverbial male who has not got rid of his wolfish animalistic cloak, even after aeons of rebirths. Some just refuse to evolve.
Here I would like to aver that it would be unfair to categorise all males as suspect. There are a number of men I know who balk at the idea as much as we do and have been vocal about it in circumstances that required them to be . It seems arbitrary to consider this a male compulsion. Suffice to say that it is a menace existing in our society which needs to be dealt with urgently and stringently.
Some self righteous males, often quote the dress code of 'women today' as the sole cause.What rubbish!!Its not as if women in the days of our mother were not molested. The topic itself was so taboo, that it was hushed up in embarassed silences.The idea that a woman who dresses provocatively and therefore inviting rape or molestation, is chauvunistic to the core, and can stem only from sick minds. Freedom , when it comes to women, becomes a matter of endorsement by males, therefore conditional. Can not a woman wear what she feels like wearing?
For the same reason the burkha is the classic example to my mind of male domination. Recently we were told of a case where a woman was found running in the road at 2am ,nude. Obviously it had to be traumatic. God knows what the circumstances were. Would a male, take off his shirt to cover her, or his pant to rape her, thinking that she is asking for it?? This is what society as a whole should answer., and males in particular
The role of law enforcing agents can not be under estimated. "Spare the rod and spoil the child' a maxim if interpreted in this context would be as applicable. The fear of police punishment has proven to be efficacious. It just needs to have more teeth and less red tapism. Much ease in the process, that a victim can walk up to a police station or a cop with complete conviction that her plea will be addressed and redressed. Not in doubt, as often happens now, as to whether the cross questionong is going to shame her further into regretting that she decided to seek redressal.
A three pronged attack is therefore a viable solution, with women believing in the 'shakti" they embody, the Police living up to their primary role of benfactors and the common man essaying the role of concerned and responsible citizen.
If all of this happens as envisaged,then the days of "adam teasing' are nearing. Soon netizen males will be thinking up means to stave off offending female advances.. Just Kidding.
Action Hero Kaveetaa Kaul