Friday, January 18, 2008

Am I safe ? No easy Answer...

I read a very impressive article and here are the tidbits… I guess it might sound as if it’s overrated… But the problem still prevails. It’s about Violence against women. This means violence which can range from Unwanted Stares and comments to Touching, Pushing, Groping to Rape and Murder.

The reality is that crimes against women occur and have been occurring. It has not stopped just because there is more money, more education, more urbanization, more globalization or more liberalization. The difference is that more of them are being noticed and reported.

Safety for women is an unfulfilled wish most of the time, depending on how you define it. If by “Safe” you mean that a women should be able to walk on street, travel or a train or bus, go shopping, go to cinema, go to restaurant, go to pub, go to college or school, go to an office, drive a car or scooter, work in a factory, work in a field, play any sport – in other words do what any human being would wish to do – without being pushed, hit, abused, attacked. Then all Indian women are unsafe. Millions of women are not safe even within their homes.

When such assaults occur, it is easy to shrug our shoulder to say our men will never do that kind of stuff. It’s the guys from that place or who speak this language etc, etc. How does the origin of a man, his religion, the color of skin, level of education, where he works and whether he words, his caste or his nationality matter when it comes to the question of sexual assaults? Are such crimes committed only by the poor, the lower caste, the unemployed or the uneducated? Unfortunately the answer is no. It happens in all level. The degree might vary but the basic attitude is the same.

The real solution for this sick ongoing problem is that we must grapple with when such incidents occur has a name, it is “Patriarchy”. It includes that inability of men to accept that women have rights, that they are human beings, that they should be left alone, that they have the right to occupy space in a public arena.

Time and again, Deep seated Patriarchal attitudes are laid bare when an assault on women is reported. The time worn arguments about the way women should dress in public are doled out. Women will be safe if they stay away from certain places, we are told. Women must not go out in the middle of crowds of men, we are advised. Men will be men, so women must be careful, we are warned.

The basic attitude that still prevails irrespective of caste, class or creed, can be summed as follows. Men know, Women don’t; Men must teach, Women must learn; Men can behave as they like, Women must conform. Need to say more? The exceptions do not make the rule, as we have seen time and again.

How do we change these patriarchal values? There are no easy answers. Women all over the world have been struggling to do just this.


shiva said...

Transformation period is going on.We will have to wait. Everybody should understand and execute their role in this society. I wont say that we should be saints but we should never interfere in other's freedom.

Anonymous said...

read similar kind of article in junior vikatan, last week, is dat article inspired u to write this post?