In the wake of a horrific gang rape which left a 23-year-old woman on the verge of death and inspired thousands of protesters to take to the streets, a police chief in New Dehli responds to the rising problem of sexual assaults in India. He recommends that women carry chili powder to defend themselves and stay home at night, you know, to avoid luring men into raping them by simply existing in the world.
What kind of ridiculous shit is that? You’re the police chief. How about making it safer for women to walk the streets by actually arresting and punishing rapists? From International Business Times:
An Al Jazeera video documentary indicated that in Delhi, a city of some 20 million, 80 percent of women said they have been at least sexually harassed.
Al Jazeera contended part of this apparent escalation in violence against women may be attributed to the fact that in past 15 years, the number of women in Delhi’s workforce has more than doubled. As a result, women have become more visible in public, and many are dressed in modern Western attire, having chucked traditional clothing.
This would suggest that part of the violence stems from men’s resentment of changing gender roles and the erosion of cultural and traditional norms.
Again, the argument that women are inviting this type of criminal, violent behavior by what they decide to wear. From a well-respected news organization. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that the actions of these men go largely unpunished. Rapes are severely under-reported in India, due to social stigma and a complete mistrust in a system that is reluctant to pursue and punish criminals. Protect you? Prosecute criminals? We don’t have time for that. You have a spice rack, don’t you?
Wouldn’t it have made more sense for the police chief to send a message to criminals, telling them they should stop their violent behavior because his organization would be cracking down on sex-offenders? Wouldn’t it make more sense to advise men that simply couldn’t help but attack every vulnerable woman they see to stay home? No. Let’s place responsibility in the hands of the victims instead, by suggesting they dress different, stay home, and carry cooking items to help protect themselves. That’s logical.
Sehba Farooqui, a women’s rights activist told the Huffington Post,”We have been screaming ourselves hoarse demanding greater security for women and girls. But the government, the police, and others responsible for public security have ignored the daily violence that women face.”
Hopefully the massive protests will help inspire some change in the way that violent sexual crime is handled in India. At the very least, maybe it will make officials think before they speak – and realize that they are placing blame and responsibility in the wrong place.