This blog contains material I wrote and posted on multiply.com between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).
Tuesday, 27 November 2012
They call it “eve teasing”. Sounds like it’s a little game.
If you’re in India and you happen to turn on the TV, you can’t miss the thing that’s overtaken Benazir Bhutto in hogging media attention.
This is the stripping and roughing up of two young women, both American citizens of Indian origin, in the early hours of January 1 by a mob of up to eighty men. This happened bang in the middle of Mumbai (Bombay), which loves to pretend to be the one city of India where women are always safe.
The whole incident was copiously photographed and it was only much later that the police arrived. They didn’t do much except rescue the victims, who chose not to register formal complaints. (According to victims of previous abuse, complaints would not have helped them anyway. One said her assailant was arrested and released on bail, after which he turned up on her doorstep to threaten her and demand a refund of his bail money, He could have got her address only from the police.)
Only after a media outcry was the police forced to register complaints against the men involved, some of whom have reportedly been arrested. I’m curious to know if any action will be taken against them, even though the evidence (in terms of the photographs) would seem to be conclusive.
The police chief of Bombay had gone on record (Freudian slip and all) to say “Don’t make a mole…a mountain out of a molehill. Such little incidents can occur anywhere.”
Little incidents? Around the same time as the Bombay incident of this year, foreign women were forcibly groped in Kochi in South India, and I’m sure many more such assaults have gone unreported. And a friend of mine reports that all her female classmates had to withstand the sight of a man fondling himself while watching them climb the stairs of their college. Complaints brought no action whatsoever.
And I'm not even mentioning the rapes going on literally every minute somewhere in this land...
The reasons aren’t all that far to seek: a sex-starved country with an extremely high level of latent violence which puts no price whatsoever on the dignity or well-being of women. But this will never be admitted by a society where women are counselled by police to cover up if they want to avoid being raped or molested and where a rapist can say “You must understand – sometimes a man has no choice.”