Lame statements - Helplessness or Social Conditioning?
Instances of women being molested/raped/harassed/abused make it to the news, almost every single day. Be it an independent young, educated woman who gets brutally raped by a group of drunk men, or a woman who had just given birth to a child and is recovering in the ICU after a C-section delivery when the horrendous act gets caught on a CCTV camera, or a five year old, playing in her backyard who gets molested by someone her father's age, known to her and her family. Cases of groping are rampant, and their videos, viral. Harassment/molestation/stalking, you name it, and you see it in the news, all the time.
At one point in time, I stopped reading newspapers because the news disturbed me too much, but gradually I realized that closing your eyes to the reality will not stop it from happening. Being aware is better than being ignorant.
Or is it?
Every single time there is an instance of molestation/harassment of a woman, a plethora of lame statements start emerging from every sphere of the society, and at times blaming women for the horror they were subjected to. Women should wear "appropriate" clothes, should not "roam around" after sundown, or should not visit "bars and pubs" are some of them. Some of them even claim that if a woman had worn "proper" clothes or "had behaved in a certain manner" she could have probably avoided the turmoil and the "shame" that comes with it. It is never the culprit, but the victim that has to deal with the shame. It is hardly a surprise then that some women agree to marry their rapists because they cannot deal with the shame of being a woman who was once raped.
I wonder why these statements emerge out whenever there is an instance of molestation/harassment of women. Are we helpless? Do we think we don't really have a way to address the situation, and therefore, try to find excuses instead? Rather than telling men to behave, we tell women what would help prevent them from being in danger. Rather than pointing fingers at the wrongdoer, we point fingers at the environment that "gives rise" to such behavior. Maybe a part of us has given up, maybe a part of us feels that this cannot be controlled and therefore we resort to lame statements.
Or has the society conditioned our minds? Why do people blame women when they hear about their harassment? Maybe the society conditions us to think that men can probably get away with whatever they want. That women are supposed to learn to deal with it, and the best way to deal with it is to be protective about their so called dignity. If women fail to do so, if they step out of the doors and want to live their lives on their own terms, the society blames them because "they had been warned"?
I don't know if it is helplessness or social conditioning, but the bottom line is that these statements are lame, they don't make any sense. They scream of the double standards we have in the society. Women have made tremendous success in stepping out of the boundaries of their homes, they have come a long way from just being imputed/indirect contributors and support system to becoming active contributors to the economies. To provide them with a safe environment and healthy surroundings is the least the society can do to help them excel. It has been a long and hard journey for us women, let's not make it any harder on us.
Let us all open our eyes and see the reality- to the need to take responsibility for our actions, the need to hold people responsible for their wrongdoings, the need to provide a safer and healthier environment to women, and the need to be more aware and less ignorant - because believe me, ignorance is not bliss!