The Bangalore Slut Walk was supposed to take place yesterday to highlight the increasing levels of sexual violence and rape. In essence it heralds a new wave of feminism in the old entrenched world of Indian chauvinism.
For most people who are unfamiliar with the goals of these walks, the Slut Walk is an empowerment movement amongst women who are attempting to hammer home a simple point; that a woman is entitled to wear whatever she feels like and that blaming her attire for rape is an argument of rape apologists who are unwilling to realise the failings on the part of the society and culture that protects rape.
And rape is common in India, in fact marital rape is so common that there are no statistics for it. It’s regarded as “acceptable” and normal. There are women who adamantly state that the marriage contract entitles men to sex whenever they feel like without any opinion of the woman and so therefore rape cannot occur. I am sure that no part of the civil or religious ceremony goes “Do you agree to have sex whenever the man feels like it, till death do you part?”. In fact, I am actually considered quite weird for actually asking “Why is it acceptable”.
The Bangalore Slut Walk was broken up by police who used the “For your own safety” argument. The reason? Right wing Hindu religious groups threatened violence should the march take place. And these groups have support from politicians who are often indistinguishable in India from criminal thugs. The message of the walk was simple; Clothes don’t rape people. People do.
The organisers were threatened by far right Hindu extremists from a variety of sources including so-called women’s rights groups who threatened to “beat them with broomsticks”. For instance the Ram Sena (A Hindu Right wing group that can happily be called Neo Nazi and had a direct influence on me becoming an Atheist) offered the statement of
“I thank the police for taking these people into custody. They are spoiling the culture and are encouraging women to indulge in obscenity.”
|It’s okay! It’s an Indian dress! The cleavage
is cultural and not obscene! Unlike jeans.
Indian culture once glorified the burning of women in Sati. Indian culture still encourages the ostracisation of widows (men are of course free to get married). Indian culture treats women as a burden, so much so that gender selective abortion and female infanticide are rife to the point where there are roughly 900 women to every 1000 men.
1 out of 10 potential women either meet their ends as sex selective abortion or infanticide. In some parts of India women are nothing more than sex holes and beasts of burden. A drain on the economy of the family due to the practice of dowry and a source of misery to the point where killing a female child was often seen as necessary.
Frankly? These are parts of Indian culture that should die. I am sure Indian culture would be better off without the sexism. Do you know what spoils culture? Holding onto to things that are blatantly harmful to it until it corrupts the good bits of Indian culture. I don’t see these arseholes complaining about Indian movies whose heroines who could happily be replaced with a dressmaker’s dummy for all the difference they make to the plot. I say that denigrates women because it inculcates the cultural idea that women cannot be strong characters without a “man to tame them”, that a woman can only demonstrate her sexuality around her “one true love”. I don’t see these arseholes complaining about the sexual harassment that is rife within the Indian male population (which is playfully referred to as eve teasing) which is a mix of japanese grope culture and full on sexual harassment. What I do see is people blaming the victims of sexual harassment and rape.
And it’s insulting to both genders. That women somehow are at fault for being amazing and beautiful and all that to men. That Saris and Salwar Kameez are rape armour and that the Purdah stops rape? That men cannot control their gonads around women? That man’s attraction for women is based on how much skin they are showing? I am half surprised that the Ram Sena didn’t come out and say that women would be less likely to be raped if they stayed at home and wore paper bags over their heads rather than work in a man’s world where they would turn good, honest, hardworking young men into slavering rapists with their vaginas. Fuck it! Why not go the whole distance and scar women’s faces so that young men are never enticed by beauty!
Or you could stop encouraging a culture where sexual harassment and rape isn’t a big deal.
The ultimate irony is in arresting some of the protesters and breaking up the march, the Police of Bangalore proved the point they were trying to make. That slut shaming and victim blaming is rife in Indian culture and rather than punishing the perpetrators of crime, the victims are forced to acquiesce to their ridiculous requests.
|This is the purdah, an idea
similar to the islamic one of the headscarf
or the burkha
The correct option would have been to provide protection for these women and men who were willing to march for a better future. To let them march, to make the point that women have an equal role in India and that equality is coming. That the clothes you wear doesn’t change the person you are. The correct option would have been to tell the religious right to “go the hell away”. The correct option would have been to realise that victim blaming and slut shaming is the defence of the rape apologist.
All the Bangalore police have done is satiated male chauvinists and hindu extremists. It has proven that they are complicit in slut shaming and encourage the notion that it’s the woman’s fault if she is raped due to the location and the clothes she wears. In short, they have proven the need for such events such as the Slut Walk.
Show them some love, their facebook page needs it.