(4)Rape and Women’s Apparel ( Women’s Problems – No.1)

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Time and again, I come across the prejudiced view that women get raped,or rather, ‘invite’ rape by the ‘revealing’ and seductive dresses they wear.To make the case of these unfortunate,exploited women worse and weaker,a new and brazenly defiant approach of deliberate exposure has been adopted by some womens’ groups in India on the lines of the ‘ Slut Walk’ flaunted by some women in the U.S., in the name of freedom of dress,which has served to strengthen the misconception of orthodox people,particularly the ‘Burqah’ and Purdah protagonists, that women themselves are to blame for such atrocities against them. While I myself do not like or approve of such tactics like the ‘Slut Walk’ in the name of assertion of freedom of women,I would like to draw the attention of our prejudiced society to the fact that not all,or really speaking, very few of the Rape victims in India at least,are scantily or indecently dressed. For,the majority of our women belong to poor or middle class families who cannot afford the luxury of these latest fashions of dress. The traditional society of ours exerts a strong,inhibitory check on middle class girls in that respect.

Some people admit that in the case of rapes on small or properly clad girls, it is not because of any fault of the victims, but because of the revealing and provocative dresses of some other women which titillate and excite men to such an extent that they catch the very next girl available and vulnerable to release their ‘natural biological urge’. So again,     the conclusion is that the indecent and provocative apparel of some women is accountable for sex crimes on themselves and on other innocent women or girls. They refuse to concede the fact that there ARE some men who are   perverted or wicked themselves, so that they would rape even the most moral and pious girl,if she were to fall in         their hands!

Another tendency is to blame the Moral or Professional background of rape victims. However, it is a matter of fact that many of the victims are small girls even before the age of puberty, and are raped not while roaming alone on the streets at night in skimpy clothes, but in Schools, in the School Uniform! Why should they get raped and murdered?              This shows that there is some defect of male psyche in relation to the female body and individuality-a sad lack of    basic respect. This attitude needs correction by instilling respect in mens’ minds towards women by making them view the latter as fellow human beings of equal worth and rights,who are equally necessary to society,and not just as          sex objects or chattel to be exploited and downtrodden.

I also think that it needs to be checked if the Oedipus Complex plays some part in such perverted acts by studying     the sort of relationship the rapists have with their own mothers and sisters.

Some people have labelled Indian society itself as a ‘rapist’ society , which it is indeed,considering that It is easier to rape or ditch a woman in India and get away with it than to be faithful in love and marry her against the will of society,especially in rural,traditional regions. Yet, we boast before the world of our Indian culture and deification of women. Sheer hypocrisy this!

Another important fact that belies the supposition that it is because of provocative dress that women get sexually abused is that it is Mostly girls or women of ordinary middle class or poor families who become the targets of rape.   We hardly hear of girls or ladies of Socially or Politically Influential and Powerful families like the Ambanis or Birlas,      the Gandhis, or the DHAVALIKARS becoming the victims of rape or molestation. Why ? It is not that all of them are Paragons of Virtue. They too flaunt Western dresses. Still they are spared from Sexual molestation and attacks because of their powerful family backing, which eve teasers and rapists fear! So We hear Only about those cases of girls         from Socially or Politically strong families, who are molested or raped by a family member or a close and Trusted    family friend or employee, as for example in the case of Anushka Shankar,  who has herself revealed that she had      been abused by a close and trusted family friend who was a frequent visitor to her home, when she was very young. Otherwise, Rape is a social malady befalling mostly the common middle class or poor women, or the Labor class Dalit Women!

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