The most effective way to stop violence against women; in fact, sexual violence against everyone is to educate people about the concept of consent. The fact that no means no, that consent has to be express, clear and ongoing --- many men and women have not yet grasped this. We continue to witness shocking amounts of victim-blaming and shaming after crimes of sexual violence. Hashtags such as #INeverAskForIt and #NoDoesNotMeanConvinceMe help us understand and empathise with survivors and victims of sexual violence and to spread awareness.
Each time there is a crime of sexual violence, gaze is turned upon the woman: where were you, at what time, what were you wearing, who were you with? In this video, women speak about their experiences – of being molested or violated regardless of age or dress.
We as a society need to be very clear about a few things: rapists rape, molesters molest. The criminals are guilty and no one else – not the location, not the outfit, not the time and certainly not the victim.
Those who feel that victims should share the blame need to remember this. Women (and men) are entitled to safety at all times, wherever they are and at every age.
Men are never questioned about their clothing choices. If someone thinks that a woman is dressed provocatively, that is their subjective view. We have to hold human beings to a higher level of conduct than animals who merely follow their instincts.
Many feel numb when reacting to sexual assault. The feeling of being violated, helpless and anxious can mean that a person doesn’t react or reacts late.
If men were brought up to respect women, much of the problem would be mitigated.
That respect needs to extend to all women, not just women they are related to. It cannot exclude the neighbour, the house-help, the actress on the screen.
Every person is entitled to dignity. Every person has the right to decide who can and cannot touch them. A sex worker is not fair game.
Public displays of affection offend us, but we disbelieve and question the behavior of those who claim rape or molestation.
Recently, actor Abhay Deol shared this post on Instagram, calling out Bollywood for perpetuating the wrong mindset about consent. Movie after movie has shown the ‘hero’ stalking and harassing the ‘heroine’ who protests at first but invariably falls for said hero. So many Bollywood movies show the aggressive, commanding hero staking his claim and the girl obediently falling for his macho posturing.
This problematic portrayal has unfortunately informed the concept of consent for many boys and men. They cheer when they watch this on screens and become convinced that this how one ‘wins’ the girl; with very little idea of what constitutes consent or even basic decency. Until boys and girls are taught about these from an early age, we will continue to have hashtags such as #INeverAskForIt and #NoDoesNotMeanConvinceMe trending.
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