If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. – Bishop Desmond Tutu
So when my eyes fell upon this news article according to which girls in Kanpur have to adhere to certain ‘safety’ measures taken by the colleges to discourage sexual harassment, my first impulse was a bewildered laughter. And what are those ‘safety measures’? Well, its quite simple and basic actually. They can’t wear jeans in colleges anymore. One clean sweep and we have taken a giant stride towards freeing our country of rapists and molesters!
Run! Quick! Cover the girls!
It reminds me of an ostrich, digging a hole and burying his head as soon as he senses danger.
This isn’t something new. Women have always been accused of inviting rapes and harassment because they were wearing ‘provocative’ dresses(how jeans is provocative is something beyond me). And its not just women. Recently, Indians in Australia were told by the authorities that they invited the attacks because they carry laptops and mp3 players openly(this was something not even worth a bewildered laugh from me). And haven’t we blamed the poor for their conditions instead of the socio economic structure and how the rich suck their blood? So, what is it with us? Why is a victim the culprit?
Since our birth, we are seasoned to look at the world with rose tinted glasses. Good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. God works in black and white, there are no greys. So, when a man is stabbed in a deserted lane, he is accused of inviting trouble by going there in the first place. He must have done something wrong for God to punish him with the lightening of his wrath. Death, rape, robbery, molestation does not happen to people who are good. Who remain in their limits.
Believe me, I know people who supported the recent beating up of girls in a pub in Mangalore. People are living in a fairy land created by God and they will go to any extend to maintain its sanctity. It does not matter to them that they are breaking the very laws which they have created to guard the sanctity. It does not matter to them that they are shielding the thief who stabbed the man.
Aha! A scapegoat!
Incompetency is a huge albatross to carry. Law enforcing agencies are full of incompetent people who are there just to collect money or with people who don’t have a clue about their responsibilities. And too bad if your vote bank is full of religious fanatics. Even if the government try to think about amending the age old laws which were made to curb the freedom of an individual, the fanatics will be at their throats talking about God’s will and the holy shit.
So, what happens when an illiterate housewife named Zafran Bibi goes to the police claiming that she was raped and was pregnant? She is accused of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning. For a rapist to be convicted, the crime has to be confirmed by four male eyewitnesses and the rapist must confess, they said.
Suffering and Happiness
We feel relieved and in control of our lives when we see someone suffer or when we spot a fresh scapegoat. Its a human trait. Nothing to be ashamed of. We feel more close to God.
‘Thank God, It was not me.’, we say. God has blessed me and I must be good. Relieved. Happy. Unscathed.
We forget the fact that the whole society rides on the same wave. There is nothing disjoint here. We all go up together and we all come crashing down together. Its like cancer. You can’t tell your hand that everything is all right when you have a brain tumor.
Good old Fate
Its funny how while explaining the action and its outcome for other people, we tend to emphasise on their psyche but when we find ourselves in that situation, then its all about the situation. Its threatening to our ego to accept our internal failures. Its safe to say that you were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Oh God what did I do? and all that crap!
Well! You were riding the wave and it came crashing down!
When a team wins, its skills and hard work and happiness. When it loses, we burn effigies. Suddenly from being the victims of our over-pressurization, they are now the culprits.
In the End
And so you ask, ‘What about the innocent bystanders?’ But we are in a time of revolution. If you are a bystander, you are not innocent. – Abbie Hoffman
Maybe its easier to blame someone who is weak. Its less trouble. We live happily in Neverland till tragedy is at our doorsteps. We need some sort of a vicarious brain machine to wake us up. We need to live ‘those’ moments which pull you to reality and make you realize that a victim needs the whole helping hand instead of a finger pointing at him.
Maybe we need to realize that the girls in Kanpur need a free distribution of chili powder and Karate classes instead of a ban on wearing jeans.
Maybe we need to realize that stoning a woman to death will not stop the next rape.
Maybe we need to realize that every culprit was once a suppressed victim.