Rape/Molestation is Victim’s Fault and Other Bullshit

[mood| Appalled]
[music| She Wolf: Shakira ]

Just read this.

And. No words. *fumes*

Excerpt: The poll of 1,000 adults found that 54 percent of women believe rape victims should be held accountable for their attack and women were more likely than men to blame victims, with those aged between 18 and 24 the most likely to judge, Daily Mail reported.

I mean, seriously? Seriously? D:

I can’t believe that there are people who think like this. Ah, humanity, you fail me yet again. :(

Although this does remind me of this conversation I once had with my uncle. We were watching a 70s Hindi movie starring Amitabh Bachchan and Zeenat Aman. The scene went thus: Zeenat was dressed in a skimpy outfit, and had come to the police station to lodge a complaint of an eve teasing against a man who had wolf-whistled at her.

Inspector Amitabh looks her up and down – most insolently – and says, ‘Madam, aap kya sochti hain, aap aise kapde pehnegi to log apko dekh ke seeti ke badle mandir ke ghanti bajayenge?’

[‘If you’re dressed the way you are, what did you expect? That people would respect you and not whistle at you?’]

The dialogue is paraphrased, but the general gist is the same. If you wear something that the other party considers ‘revealing’ or ‘sexually attractive’, you have left yourself open to these kinds of remarks, looks, actions – whatever. It isn’t the fault of the perpetrator, because hey, you’re the one who wore the clothes, did what you did, looked in his direction and just generally existed in the same time and space as him. Which is, of course, reason enough.

I felt the same outrage at that moment that I do now, and what was most shocking – for me – was that my uncle didn’t really find anything wrong in what Amitabh’s character said.

His contention was that Aman’s character should have worn clothes according to the situation and the place. And of course if she were to be walking down the main road in a place like Mumbai in a skimpy costume, she would be open to be whistled at. If she would have worn such clothes in a pub/club/disco where people are used to seeing such clothes – and the kind of people who visit those places would not be the type to whistle/molest a woman wearing such clothes – it would have been fine, according to him, but not on the main road. So it is technically her fault that this happened.

Which is bullshit, said I.

I tried to tell him that it doesn’t matter what a woman does/wears, if something is done without her consent – and absence of denial does NOT imply consent – it should still be charged as a crime. And it is absolutely not her fault.

I remember a similar kind of thing on that game show hosted by that stupid Salman Khan a while back (‘Dus Ka Dum’) where he asks contestants questions based on a survey. The show does a survey and find out how many percentage of people do/think such a thing. The contestants have to guess the percentage, and the most accurate one wins.

So, one of the questions was, ‘What percentage of Indian men think a woman encourages eve teasers with the dresses she wears?’

And Khan goes on about how no one would tease/molest a woman who was walking ‘modestly’ down the street, but if she were to be ‘provocative’ then of course she’d be teased.

I got so angry I had to change the channel.

Who the f*ck is qualified to say what is provocative? There are people who might feel a woman completely swaddled from head to toe is provocative simply by the way she walks! Do they want all women to simply give up as a gender and sit at home to be ‘safe’?

And how dare anyone blame a victim for the crime perpetrated against them?

This kind of argument, I feel, is analogous to blaming a murder victim for his own murder. Because hey, he/she was born. They existed at the same time and place! Of course they’re at fault! [/sarcasm]

Ah, I need to go cool down now.

Thought I’d enter this contest, since this post was already all written up. Besides, any extra publicity this issue gets is always good.

Thus, according to contest rules I tag: Amul, Ag, and A-hem. Post, I say! :P


  1. Indu

    i know you are a bit enraged in this matter but can you spare 2 mins with cool mind. first tell what is the most tempting thing which you cant resist. (can be anything). Suppose you are in a situation with that thing so close that you can grab it but its not yours. You have to stop yourself with difficult but isnt it provoking you? so some cant control myself…. its not that i was trying to support the article but want you to realize real life situation.

  2. Sudha

    Okay. Okay. Going by your analogy – suppose one of my friends has a shiny new laptop – one that I most desperately want. She forgets it at the office one day.

    Now, if, as you said, I cannot resist the temptation and I take it for myself knowing that it belongs to someone else, how can you say that it's my friend's fault she was robbed?

    It was not an involuntary action – I CHOSE to steal the laptop. The thief is at fault here.

    Similarly, whistling/eve teasing/molestation/rape are not involuntary actions that cannot be controlled – the perpetrator has to choose to carry out the action. So the perpetrator is the ONLY one at fault here, and not the victim.

    And that is all.

  3. a-hem

    :) I like your response to that comment. Mine would've been along the lines of… "This a joke, right?"

    No offense to the poster, but the fact that you've had to explain rape in the context of stealing and taking what isn't yours speaks volumes about the way people see women.

    And until I read that article, I honestly thought that attitude was prevalent only amongst Indians, but then most of the Daily Mail readers do not fall under that demographic. So yeah, stunned silence.

  4. Sudha

    @a-hem: Thanks. To tell the truth, it took me a moment to get past it, too. :/

    until I read that article, I honestly thought that attitude was prevalent only amongst Indians

    So did I! And I would have expected better of women, too. I was always very disparaging of the whole 'women are the toughest on other women' thing, but I see now it isn't just a stereotype, sadly.

  5. a-hem

    Ai! I only just saw your addendum… :S Dunno if there's enough time to participate, but will go see if I can vote for your post! :)

    Side note: I'm slowly making my way through the second season of Saiunkoku Monogotari. (I keep getting sidetracked by other things, namely library books) But yeah, it's quite good so far. I remember you mentioned it in a post or two, when I stalked your archives. :P)

  6. Sudha

    No worries, and thanks anyway! =)

    I'm slowly making my way through the second season of Saiunkoku Monogotari

    Colourcloud Palace! (I like the English dub name more than the Japanese one, for some reason. :P) I remember that! I have a soft spot for the Emperor (Ryu Shi?). I guess I have a thing for long haired bishies, really. :P

  7. Pingback: Clouds in my Coffee •• Trayvon Martin: Victim Blaming •• coffee-clouds.com : coffee-clouds.com

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