Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Open letter to Mumbai top-cop Jadhav

Dear Mr Jadhav,
I just saw you on TV. It was quite an enlightening experience. I did not know molestation was a small thing. Hmmm...that's news to me. I did not have an inkling about that.

You see, I am quite dumb. I did not have a clue of how your yardstick works.I did not realise how small the crime is before you clarified it. You know, I am molested quite often on roads. In fact many of us are. But well, now I know, it is such a small thing. We will definitely ignore these occurances from now on because we know how small and insignificant it is.

So Mr Jadhav, tell me one thing. How do you classify various crimes? Is attempt to murder a small thing? Well, i assume since it is just an attempt, it will be small. the deed's not done as yet, right? Tell me, what do you think it needs to classify molestation as a big crime? Will you wait for the rape to happen to classify it as a big one? Do you wait for the deed to be done?

I am eagerly waiting for your reply. I don't know if you will ever read this. But I will try my level best to get the message across.

Regards,
Shobha



I just kept staring at the TV screen. My first reaction was of absolute shock and disbelief. Later anger took over followed by helplessness. Mr Jadhav, you shock me completely and I am ashamed of you.

How can you classify molestation of 2 girls by a mob of 70-80 scum (I refuse to call them men) as small? I really want to know your yardstick because I really don't get it. I can't believe that this man is the commissioner of police of Mumbai. He is responsible for the safety of the citizens out of which half of them are women. WOW!

I quite agree with Mr Jadhav, molestations happen everywhere. But what doesn't happen everywhere is your reaction to it. Unfortunately not everyone can be as clinical as you are. You have no right to dismiss it as just another small case. Your primary responsiblity is the safety of every citizen in the city. Now that everyone knows how miserably you failed in the duty, at least have the grace to accept the mistake. I know how capable you are especially since this is a repeat of what happened last year in Gateway of India.

Continuous exposure to various kinds of crime on a daily basis can make anyone a tad indifferent. One tends to become immune to even the most serious of crimes. I say this because, being a journalist, one experiences the same. Many friends of mine who cover crime, talk of
rapes, murders as if they are discussing prices of vegetables. Well, we can't do anything about it. However, as a commissioner of police, one needs to be extra cautious. You should never let the cynicism affect you. You have no business being cynical and insensitive. This post comes with some responsibility and Its your responsiblity to ensure safety of every citizen. The numbers don't matter. You should be careful enough to note that the crimes aren't just bland statistics for
you.

I am in talks with many friends who are completely outraged by this man's comment. For starters, please write an open letter to Jadhav in your blog. Some of them want to file a PIL against this man too. Many of us are also looking at filing an official complaint with the
Maharashtra State Women's Commission against this man. Only if action is taken at the top, will the bottom rung understand that molestation is NOT A SMALL THING. I will definitely post about the developments here. Keep watching this space. Besides, if you have any ideas, please keep them coming :)

Looking forward for it.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Technically speaking, whatever this Police commissioner says, could it matter at all? After all, there are well laid out laws to be followed post-crime and if he doesn't follow them then he can be fired again (according to some other law). In case, one feels that the punishment for this particular crime is below the mark, that's entirely different issue.

This may sound naive but just would like to know people's opinion based on their experience. To summarize all I am saying is that he is not *Commissioner Jadhav* but just *The commissioner of Bombay* (i.e. he ought to be identified by his job and not name irrespective of his personal beliefs).

Anonymous said...

(continuing from above)...

Why doesn't media try to pin-point the things which actually could help in reducing such crimes. Instead of having vague and extremely sexist discussions such as 'moral character of males in india' all over blogosphere, why not have some straight talk:

1. Were the people who committed crime were underage consumers of
alcohol? If yes, that's *good* in the sense that we have something to work on (i.e. actually implementing the alcohol policy) and hope that it might work positively.

2. What about having a policy of 'tagging' offenders after they are released back to society (only in the case they have been caught successfully). Do we have such a thing in India as 'high risk sexual offenders'. If not, why?

3. Did police who didn't 'want' to register the case (as some reports say) had some grounds to do so? If no, suspend them. If yes, what were those reasons and what could be done in future to make sure that genuine cases are registered.

4. Why couldn't the offenders be photographed in a better way before they ran away? A camera was certainly there. In case they were (and photographs are confidential) then I take this crib back.

And to all those people who are talking about 'killing these offenders', all I would say is that it sounds somewhat self-consistent to me (i.e. proof of a violent primitive society where such incidents are bound to occur).

Manan said...

Truly shocking. The worst of it is, this actually hasn't been blown up at all - this issue needs far more attention than it is being given right now. We only worry about the public and most demeaning incidents; but this problem is insidious and may be happening on any bus, train or public place with any girl anywhere in India.

Yes, this happens everywhere (including in supposedly "safe" cities like Singapore), but that is no reason to accept this. Poverty happens everywhere, murder happens everywhere and we don't just sit back and do nothing.

I don't know if there is a central place where such incidents from all over India are reported - it would certainly help in increasing societal awareness. We should be aware of just how often such incidents happen, and where. Let cities not count on their "reputation" as safe havens but let numbers speak. When society is forced into awareness that it simply cannot provide safety for women, maybe that will spur the people and authorities into action.

Incognito said...

I am so with you on this. I am tired of the victim being blamed for molestation / rape / sexual violation time and again. Women should not go out, women should not wear this, women should do this, do that. I am sick and tired and it is high time that such assholes are humiliated - in a way that they can't turn back.

Anonymous said...

Its Shameful. The comment by the cop is not even worth responding to ..the only response is to remove him from the post. He may justify all he wants but a casual comment like that actually shows how seriously (or lack of it) he views the crime and how ineffectively he will be able to tackle it.
Ashwin

Athi said...

I too strongly condemn the irresponsible speech of the Commissioner of Mumbai. And, the scum(as per ur words) should be punished. There is no doubt in it.

But, I wanna say one another thing, which most of the ladies/girls dont care.
Here in India, especially in Mumbai, Delhi areas, in the name of western culture, women started to wear westernised clothes. (BTW, I am not a male-chauvinist. I do respect women's feelings. But, dont give any justifications(or in the name of "women's freedom) for wearing such dresses.)
First understand onething... Unlike women, men's 'feelings' (Hope u get what feeling I meant) towards women increase suddenly after seeing them. Its human nature. So, once a man sees a gal with very little dress, his feelings will be aroused which will lead to certain type of molestation. By saying this, noway I justfy the crime done by those scum. But, what I wanted to say is women also should realize that they are also partly the reason for this type of crimes.

sumedha said...

@athi: Did you say you're not a male chauvinist?? Because you are so wrong! Your comment has made me more angry than the whole incident with the police comissioner. How dare you say that women are partly resposible for such crimes? Are you out of your mind ??

You just don't see that in such cases, where the guy's "feelings" (as you call it) "increase", the arousal is in the guy's head. It's his responsibility to control it. Are you saying that guys have no control over their actions? That they cannot control their arousal, and so, are compelled to grope every female in a low-cut shirt? So, just because you men can't control themselves, we women have to think carefully about what we wear so that we don't get molested??

I read an excellent piece once by a guy who said that he was offended by people like you, people who implied that he was some kind of a primitive monster with no control over himself. I can't find it now, but as soon as I do, I'll send you the link. You need to read it.

vilakudy said...

MOLESTATION is too small a word to describe the event. Those who have seen the pictures splashed on HT's front page will agree. HT also tried to over sensationalise the series of events. Especially, the pictures could have been blurred further. Anyway, DN Jadhav can get the sack if there is a strong administration. Had that girl been his daughter..........

Jag said...

Slightly off-topic Shobha: just wanted to wish you and yours all the best for 2008!

Dusty Fog said...

as long as we have people with the attitude such as 'Athi's', how are we going to ever be able to try and control the sort of atrocities that keep occurring. I understand that everybody is entitled to his/her opinion, but somewhere doesn't one have to get a bit of common sense going on for themselves.
Let me quickly narrate an incident. i have this very good friend who is extremely high on the corporate rung...he, his wife and myself were going for a wedding.As we reached the venue, as was the case at socail occassions, the dress code was extravagant. There was this one lady, who passed in front of our car in a very tasteful backless choli - i think thats what it is called, forgive the ognorance - when my friend just said to us that, that looked very nice on that woman. It was complimentary. The wife shot back saying perhaps she ought to start wearing stuff like that. And i was quite surprised at this friend's reaction. he went quiet, and without a smile simply said NO.
I guess what i am saying is if the educated ones have such an attitude, where is the hope of trying to get the not so fortunate ones to understand, respect and dignity of women...!!!
Apologies to all women for the incident, and to make it worse, comments and attitudes of so called responsible people.

Sudharsan said...

The commissioner's remarks are totally irresponsible without any consideration for the feelings of the victims and millions of others who empathise with them. It's shocking to see how people at such high posts make thoughtless comments. The culprits should be punished harshly and only then it can act as a deterrent for others.

Having said that, I dont find anything wrong with what Athi said. I find people react to their emotions without being practical. Whether the 'arousal' lies in the head or eye or wherever,the point is, if you dress in a mini-skirt or tight jeans to flaunt your body, you attract more attention. Demanding attention this way sometimes becomes dangerous. We can at length talk about controlling the mind or inhibiting the hormonal flow but it isn't a wise idea to test anyone's control on his mind by being provocative. Why do we lock our house door when we go outside,even when we live in a decent locality? Many of us are moral only for the public eye. However man is advanced, his instincts are still basic. This is not the only reason for all the sex-related crimes but many incidents make you think that this is also one of the reasons.

All sort of people exist in this society - people who respect women, people who abuse women,people who consider them as only sex symbols, male chauvinists, feminists etc. You cannot arrest anybody for having a wrong mentality or holding a wrong opinion unless it manifests in bad actions like these kind of molestations. There definitely should be strict laws - to reduce these sort of crimes. But they cannot do anything in numerous other not-so-obvious cases where women are victimised. Statistics say that most rapes are committed by husbands on their wives.

Women are commodified. In movies, we show women mainly as glamour dolls cashing on the testorone levels. Take a hit movie like 'Dhoom-2'. What do we remember ash and bips for? performance?

It is not anyone's prerogative to impose the dress code on women but until we bring about a collective change in mentality of the society to respect women - and the responsibility lies with both the sexes - they should not only be more prudent in what they wear,but also in where they go,
and whom they are with for their own safety; Because fairer sex is also the weaker sex.

Athi said...

@Sumedha.. U call me male-chauvanist or whatever. But, what I said is the situation currently in India.

U cant expect everyone to control their temptations. See.. leave some silly ppl who are more fond of gals and seeing them as sexual icons. They will be ready to go any extreme to satisfy their sexual desire. But, take some ordinary ppl, who are grown in some remote village like areas, coming to cities... They may not be that much matured what u expect. For them, these type of things will surely tempt their temptations. Be practical ya... We are not living in an Utopian society. (Anyway, still I am clear in my point that, whoever commits such crimes should be punished. No question in it)

First understand the biological nature of man. No man is gud(I include myself too) But, what I can assure is, I can control myself.

@Dusty Fog.. See... The husband knows how a man will look @ a girl, how he will think and all. Thats why he said NO. If u find anything wrong in his statement, then its upto u to decide.

@All.. One can talk like anything regarding women's rights and all. But, surely wearing some little clothes or backless cholis certainly should not be brought under those rights. If a girl wants to go for work, then u allow... its women's freedom. In some unavoidable condition, if she has to stay in some other persons home, u should allow. Its women's freedom. If I am a husband, I should also share the work in home. Its women's freedom. She should be allowed to express her views, desires, etc like men do. Its women's freedom. But, not reducing the size of the dresses.

Okay... My question here is... Why do u wanna wear such dresses? U wanna catch the attraction of most ppl... rit? U say I am a male chauvinist. But, I am asking u a question... How many men dress like women?(ie: wearing less dress) Even, when they are not wearing such dresses, they attract to ppl... rit..?? Then think... The attraction lies in somewhere else. U should be a Jansi Rani... U should be a Mother Therasa. U should be a Saratha(Cancer institure, Chennai). U should be a Sudha Moorthy(Infy). U should be a Calpana Chavla. To get the attraction, there are lot of other ways to do so.

Manan said...

Its sad to see the argument being diverted to a completely irrelevant issue.

The law, or morality, each have their standards of provocation. In this case, both are clear. Means of dress does not constitute provocation for sexual assault. If I try to shoot a person and that person shoots me back, that constitutes provocation under both law and morality, and can to some extent explain or even justify my crime. A revealing dress on the other hand is no excuse for molestation. Men are creatures of reason, discrimination and intelligence. We hold that standard deeply violated if they commit acts like these, no matter how the victim is dressed.

Thankfully, most people agree on this, however they should take this to the logical conclusion which is...

The issue of how girls should or should not dress is irrelevant to this debate. It may be a problem to some people, but is a problem of far less importance than women being molested on the streets by mobs. I too would like to see women I respect dressed respectfully. Thats merely a preference that I may state, but in a free society I would do nothing to enforce it. Crimes like these, on the other hand I would like to do all I can to prevent, and to punish the perpetrators to the fullest extent possible. So it's a compeltely different ball-game, and the issue deserves to be treated seriously enough without being diluted by arguments of what constitutes decent dress sense.

Athi said...

@Manan... at first look it may seem that the discussion is irrelevant to the topic. But, if u see it in some other perspective(ie: which might be the so called causes for such crimes), this is relevant. (I do agree that the wrong-doers should get punished, irrelevant of they are in sense or non-sense. Even our law also tells that unawareness of law cannot be shown as a reason to escape from a crime)

Here I see the problem in a different manner. As a responsible citizen, we should not stop our discussions by just pin-pointing the crime or by condemning the criminals. But its also our responsibility to think about how to stop or reduce or atleast how to avoid the crime in the future.

Anyway, I leave it to the moderators/owners hand reg the continuation of the topic.

Blessen said...

Ur frustration comes out very very well on this one.... sarcasm at its best...

but ya, terrible incident... shameful behaviour... not jst from those 70 odd idiots but also by our 'beloved' Commissioner!!!!

Shobha said...

Anon: Hi :) I would have rather you mentioned your name. Anyways. You say...
Technically speaking, whatever this Police commissioner says, could it matter at all?
It does matter very much. The reason being, if someone who is the head of the entire police force of Mumbai makes a PUBLIC statement like that, can you imagine what message he's giving to the officials spread across the city? If for instance, I get molested and I want to file a complaint, if the police official does not take me seriously, he will have an alibi ready saying...'when my chief himself doesn't bother, why should I? Its such a small matter after all..." The statements issued by the Police Commissioner should be responsible ones giving out the right message.

Besides, do you think rape happens only under the influence of alcohol? There are so many factors in play apart from alcohol. Its a matter of exerting one's power at the end of the day. It's just not alcohol at the end of the day.

Tagging people as High risk sexual offenders...hahaha...sounds so cool :) But is such kind of labelling fair? I don't know...

Why couldn't the offenders be photographed in a better way before they ran away? A camera was certainly there. In case they were (and photographs are confidential) then I take this crib back.
I think only the photographer would be able to answer this. I think what was paramount on his mind was to call the police first and then subsequently he began taking the pictures.

Manan: There is a place where all the cases field are compiled together. National Crime Records Bureau in Delhi does that. But only at the end of the year.

Shobha said...

Incognito: YUP! :D YO!

Ashwin: I know ya. I onyl wsh it was so easy to chuck him out of hi

post...sigh!

Athi: *Taking a deep breath* I don't tknow Athi if you will ever get my point, but I will try nevertheless because I think its paramount to change the belief system that you have.

Ok first things. Athi, you know what, most of the people here believe in absolute freedom. as a woman, I think I have all the rights to live however I want to. I willw ear whatever I want to. Simple, I want to enjoy rights just as any other man. Do you think its asking for too much? If you feel, women don't have a right to live a life they want to lead...then please don't read anything beyond simply because there is no point. But if you are with me till here, I will continue further.

See different societies have different dress codes. One society might find a saree to be decent but at the same time, some other society might find the same outfit to be indecent because of its so called revealing nature. Do you really think women should adjust to how different societies think? You know what, there might be different
kinds of people staying in the same locality. One guy might find saree
decent whereas another guy might find it indecent. we can't adjust to everyone's whims and fancies. How do you determine what a majority thinks like? Besides, women dress for themselves. How would you feel if women were to tell you to stop wearing mundu/lungii because it is revealing or that it arouses women sexually? The reason i am asking
you to compare is because most of here truly believe that both MEN
and WOMEN SHOULD enjoy equal status and equal rights. It is unfair
if you tell that a woman should dress appropriately (who decides whats appropriate or not?) just because she runs into a risk of arousing men sexually. Well, i'm sorry to say, men should learn how to control their sexual urges. THEY HAVE TO. THEY HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE. If a woman is violated by someone because she dresses inappropriately, then I will blame the man only. This is because he has no right to violate a woman at all...PERIOD. This sounds like a stupid example, but I will go ahead nevertheless. assuming you have worn a
lungi/mundi or shorts and someone comes and beats you up for that,
how will you feel?

Athi, wearing something is a personal choice. We definitely don't wear DRESSES (minimal esp) to attract men. Hello, don't we have a life of
our own? We wear whatever we feel like. I don't think anybody has a
right to question our personal choice. Even if a woman wants to
ATTRACT men (lets go by your saying) whats wrong in that? There is more to us than just attracting men you see. That still doesnt not give anybody any right to violate us or molest us or rape
us. Nobody has any right to be physical with her unless she gives her CONSENT. One can't assume the consent just because she's
wearing one type of dress. I hope I make my point very clear.

At the end of the day, WOMEN dress for themselves just as you
dress up for yourself and not for anyone else. And that can't be held
against us, because we live in a democracy and have all rights to do
things that men have. Fundamental rights you see...!!!!!

I am practical Athi. I'm fighting. I'm fighting a rigid thought. I'm fighting for equality at the end of the day. I'm fighting for my fundamental rights? I'm being practical no? You know there is no connection between what a woman wears and molestation. I was molested for the first time in school when I wore a school uniform which was a long skirt by the way. Do you think I was provoking someone to do it? I was all
of 12 then. I hope you realise my point. I don't know if we can prevent such incidents. But I (women) will keep fighting for what IS JUST!!

Think about it. I would be glad if I have developed a small change in
your thought process :)

I will reply to the rest of the comments later...

Gentle Whispers said...

Molestation happening everywhere definitely does NOT make it any less of an issue. And statements like the one from Jadhav make me wonder what kind of people we have put our trust and safety in the hands of. If they can't even support us when something terrible happens, forget about preventing it. They at least shouldn't dismiss it.

I was shaking as I read the Hindustan Times paper with fear, anger and outrage. I was out that New Year's Eve. So were a bunch of my friends. Something like that could have happened to us. Hell, it still could. Any day, anytime, anywhere. Bombay has fallen in my eyes. i no longer love my city as I once did.

That something like this should happen in my city. The one which i have always claimed to be one of the safest cities for women. I no longer believe that.

Gentle Whispers said...

I must respond to Athi though caue I find something fundamentally wrong with what she/ he has said.

Why should I or any other woman for that matter have to censor myself or my clothes on the basis that I may attract men or entice them to rape me. It's my freedom to dress the way I choose, wherever I choose, whenever I choose.

I agree with you shobha when you say that there's nothing wrong in dressing to attract men. I could be wearing the shortest skirt and the skankiest top you've ever seen. but that still doesn't give a man a right to touch me without my consent.

Thank you. And I have no intention of starting a war of words. i simply felt that I absolutely had to respond.

Sudharsan said...

1. It is the fundamental right of every woman to dress in whichever way she likes.
2. The culprits who do molestations,rapes and other sexual harassments should be punished.

Everyone agrees in these 2 points. So let me not waste any more words on that.

I here make a simple analogy to make my point.

You have a house. There is no rule that you should lock your house when you are going out. In fact, it is your right to do whatever you want to do with your house. You lock it, you dont lock it, or you dont even have to have a front door. When a burglar steals things from your house irrespective of whether it is locked or not, he is punishable. He has taken something from you without your consent and knowledge. You can make a police complaint. You can assert your right to keep your house door open. But the fact is you have been robbed. you are the victim. Worse still, you might have even induced a non-professional burglar(even your next door neighbour) to make a pass. If men are all sensible and cultured, no one should steal. We shouldn't have police stations or courts. Since the case is not so,the victim has to take some precautions - like locking the door. Burglary would still happen. They break open and steal. But that shouldn't be an excuse for not taking the minimum precaution. In fact, that should make you more careful. While you make a complaint and make police hunt for thieves, do whatever you can to track them, you also install an electronic surveillance system.

But we still agree in 2 facts.
1. It is your right to keep your house open
2. Burglars should be punished.

The point is while the culprits should be punished, the victim also should take more precaution and make himself/herself less vulnerable.

I am ready to accept your view if you have a valid point to say this analogy is faulty and doesn't fit for the dress code.

Athi said...

@Shoba... I think, Sudharsan has already expressed what I have in my mind.

All I want to say is, our society is not matured as u think. So, dont get into troubles. U have rights everything... But, once some bad thing happens, u cant revert it back. Life is not a software program or even a household article which can be purchased even after theft.

In tamil there is one proverb... "If a thorn touches a saree or a saree touches a thorn, the looser is saree". So, all my concern is "While in Rome, behave as a Roman".

(Anyway, I accept... we are responsible to change the society and to create the awareness)

/* If you feel, women don't have a right to live a life they want to lead...then please don't read anything beyond */

BTW... if u want to comment, u can freely go ahead without any hesitation. As u also said... there is no constant rule for anything, except scientific facts... We ourselves created everything out of our views and i believe that everyone can have different opinions/views abt everything. So, I am always open to accept/deny ur views. :-)

Shobha said...

Sudarshan and Athi: Firstly Sudarshan, you cannot compare both the things. See, the main reason why you hold views like this is because you inherently believe that dressing skimpily INVITES (uncivilised) men to misbehave. I would like to contest this very notion you have. There is no and I repeat NO CORRELATION between what a woman wears and the subsequent crime that follows behind it.
Do you think only so-called*skimpily clad* women are raped? What do you have to say when a 2-month old kid is raped? When a 63 year old woman is raped by a 18 year old man? Do you think the 2-month old baby was skimpily clad? Do you think the 63-year old woman was indecently dressed? (I am not cooking these stories up. Please search for these incidents on the web, you might find it aplenty.)
Please go to http://blanknoiseproject.blgospot.com Recently they had an exhibition where they invited women to give the clothes they wore when they were molested. You would be surprised to know that most of the clothes were baggy T-shirts, nighties, Kurtas etc. This is just a small sample but I can assure you that its quite a representative one.
We do not have to adjust to sick pervert people in the society because they are unpredictable. They will rape/molest us irrespective of how we are dressed or what our views are. I can vouch it out of personal experience. Well, I just want to ask one thing. Athi, you talk about being practical. When India was fighting for her independence, did we simply keep quiet and accepted the reality of harassment and oppression or did we fight for what is just? If the pervert men harass women who have worn whatever clothes, it is and I REPEAT, it is the mistake of the pervert men and not the women. I think by wearing what we want to wear, we are exercising our FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT to live the way we want to. We haven't caused any harm to anyone, so I think we are on a right track only. If someone finds anything offensive with us, it is their problem. they have no right to harm us. Do you even realise that by asking us to dress in a *safe* way, you are in a very subtle way ratifying what the perverts do? Its so easy na....to control people who can be easily controlled rather than control the oppressor!!
The stories of molestation will never end unfortunately. Meanwhile, our fight is for our RIGHT TO LIVE. You can't take that from us and blame us. I think it is immoral to ask us to adjust to these perverts. I rest my case.

Shobha said...

Sudharshan: I'm sorry that you believe that the fairer sex is the weaker sex. It is highly condescending. Both the sexes have their own strong and weak points. But they can't be compared because both of them are different.

Manan, Lyandra, Sumedhaa, Dusty Fog: Thanks for the support :)

Jag: Hey :) How are you? It's been such a long time :) A very happy 2008 to you and your family :D

Blessen: Yup...Very sad that he's the police commissioner.

Anirudh said...

Shobha, I read your comment and here is my response.

Firstly, I'm glad the tone isn't angry. Some of the other comments are self-righteously angry and poorly argued. (The persons commenting were probably not trying to lay out a cogent argument anyway.) The comments must have helped the them purge their anger and made them feel better about being on the "right" side. At the best of times, both of these are necessary for the commenter (at least I've felt the need) and help in building solidarity but not help in either changing the person you are addressing or in introducing fresh thoughts into the discussion. At the worst, they're self-congratulatory.

But instead of being angry, you have been condescending which is no better really. You have refused to take Athi at all seriously.

About the argument: you begin my talking of "absolute freedom", which is problematic. It leads to the conclusion that nudity, (consensual) sex in parks, to name a just a few things, are permissible. There is nothing morally wrong with them but they do raise the question of the observer's rights. Should I have to look at you having sex in a public space?

This is a complicated question and I don't how to resolve it but I do think it is not the correct vantage point from which to launch your argument.

(An example of the listener/viewer's rights is the rule that music should not be played loudly after a certain hour because it disturbs people. Of course you can avert your gaze but can't shut your ears so they aren't the same thing.)

In a basic sense, I agree with the rest of your comment. I have a few quibbles which I will address later (or which we can talk about).

Shobha said...

Anirudh: Gosh, you sound like a grandpa! It was a conscious decision not to be angry because I realise that by being angry I'm never going to make my opinions understood at all. I might just end up infuriating the other side.
Anyways, I do not think that I have been condescending towards Athi at all. Why do you feel so? Can you elaborate? I have tried to respond to his views with absolute seriousness.
When I talk about absolute freedom here, I refer to our absolute freedom to wear what we want to. I'm not talking about other things. I think I should have clarified my position correctly. I accept my mistake.

Gentle Whispers said...

Shobha, I totally agree with you. There is no justification at all for girls as young as 3-4 getting molested and raped. It's just all in the mind.

It's like saying that women who wear sarees and salwars don't get raped or even leered at.

It is unfair to even hint that it might be the woman's fault. It akes away the man's responsibility and no matter what the provocation no justification for his acting like an animal with out of control urges instead of a human being.

sumedha said...

Shobha, you have really said what I think so clearly... I cannot agree with you more. First, I really agree that when a woman/girl dresses up, it is/can be because she likes it. It's not meant to attract attention of any guy. I wear the clothes I wear because I like them, not because they may attract anyone else. BUT if I did wear something for that purpose, there is nothing wrong with that. And that does not mean that I am inviting any comments/acts from guys who think that my clothes are 'tempting'.

And yes, whether or not a girl is wearing revealing clothes, men HAVE to learn to control their impulses. Women should not and cannot live by the ideals that men set for them.

@athi: I am sorry I yelled... i just got very angry. And though I am very, very against what you said, you have the right to your own (wrong) opinion.

I agree that people here are not so mature. My point is that they SHOULD BE. I am not going to govern my clothing sense according to what kind of men will be present, and I should not have to. Men have to learn to control themselves. There is no other option. So yes, I CAN expect everyone to control their temptations. They have to!


And SHobha is very right.. your clothes more often than not don't influence guys who would molest you. The last time I was felt up, I was wearing a full sleeves t-shirt, a jacket and jeans (and not even tight jeans).

Sudharsan said...

@Anirudh - Your first paragraph is one of the best comment on comments that i have read. And am glad too that Shoba replied calmly.

about the sex in park - Is it morally wrong or not? Now that brings us to a question of what is moral and what is immoral. As oscar wilde says (in picture of dorian gray) "The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion,--these are the two things that govern us." So society determines it. How? it's the view of the majority. If you go against it, you are a social outcast. So in a nude colony, nudity is a way of life. If you are going to wear a dress, it is an aberration.

@Shoba:

"Fairer sex is the weaker sex" is not a condescneding statement but a fact. We are talking only about physical strength here since it gives a senseless man foolish boldness to sexually abuse a woman. We are not talking about emotional or intellectual strength.

Rapes on 63 old woman, young child, pregnant woman, dead bodies: Yes...Those sickening things do happen. You dont have to change your dressing style for perverts. But we definitely are not talking about perverts here. if you forgive the cliche, Exceptions are not examples.

I am not saying "Dressing (or the lack of it) is the only reason or the main reason. I just ponder could it be one of the reasons. Even if 20% of the incidents are due to it (which is 1 in 5 cases), it is something to consider. You are saying that there is no correlation between what a woman wears and what she is subjected to. But a statement by a police commissioner(not the mumbai commissioner) says it is also one of the reasons. My male psychology tells me the commissioner could be true.

Sight is the main form of perception. Most of the times, your thought process follows what you visually perceive. Sometimes actions follow the thoughts.

You are not provocatively dressed. I see you. I think you have a charming face and a pleasant smile. It stops at that. Now if you are provocatively dressed the case may not be the same. Something else might grab the attention. It might be a sexual stimulant. You argue - People should have enough sense to control it. They are not animals - alright. But not everyone has it. that's the problem. If a sage like vishwamithra - a brahmarishi - can fall for maneka, it goes to prove that the passion is powerful.
So combine a blinding passion and a senseless brain and physical superiority to a provocative target. Why should Ghandiji - when he went to England to study law - promise - out of all the things - "I would consider other women as my mother or sister". His mother had her fears,didn't she? Sexual urge is nature's way of bringing opposite sexes together for procreation and to sustain life. So when the intention is not procreation, why should be we do something to provoke it?
I still reieterate - That is not an excuse for sexual abuse. Neither am I rationalising their acts. But I am asking can't we reduce the number of crimes even by a small amount,by not wearing a provocative dress? Do you think it is your fundamental right and you'd rather not do it even if it would reduce the crime rate?

Sudharsan said...

forgive me for misspelling "Gandhiji"(in the above comment).

Anirudh said...

Shobha, I know (about sounding like a grandpa)! And I'm sorry about that. I realised only after I'd posted the comment.

More later.

Athi said...

@Shobha...
/*dressing skimpily INVITES (uncivilised) men to misbehave. I would like to contest*/
I totally accept with what Sudharshan told. You take the above commented lines from ur(ie:women's) point of view. But, we(men) see those things differently. This is neither my view nor just a stmt. Its science. Nor like women, men can be easily provoked by the opposite sex. Once I read ur stmts, the first thing came into my mind was Viswamithra & Menaka issue. Women may be weaker sex(debatable). But, men are weak in sex. Sudharshan too explained the same.

And, we dont talk abt some psychos who raped a 63 old or a 2 months old.

hmm... So, u r talking abt independence... Okay... I accept. As I pointed out in previous reply, we are here to accept/change our views. So, as u said, this(the ppl's mindset) can also be changed, like getting independence. But, dont forget its not only independence, but also a freedom 'struggle'. I am sure that u know how many Bhagatsinghs, Kattabommans, Nethajis, Gandhijis became victim for independence. U cud also be a victim for this protest. :-(

Anyway, dressing skimpily cannot be compared to independence at all. I again accept ur Fundamental Rigths. But, what is Right? It should not disturb others. Provoking is one means of disturbance only. (I donno how law is implemented. I am just telling my points morally)
@Anirudh... Thanx for the reply.

@Sumedha...
/*when a woman/girl dresses up, it is/can be because she likes it. It's not meant to attract attention of any guy.*/
I think, u r mistaken. Everyone in this world is thirsting for attraction. Again, this is science. Human mind is designed like that only. This starts from childhood itself. U know why a child stops its yelling once someone has picked him/her? U know why u wanna answer firstly, when the teacher asks a question? U know y u wanna finish off ur work b4 any other persons? Its all 'coz of getting attraction. U should be a saint to overcome this. And, I say that thr is nothing wrong in expecting one's attraction. So, certainly dressing(I mean both men and women) also falls in this category only.
/*And that does not mean that I am inviting any comments/acts from guys who think that my clothes are 'tempting'. Women should not and cannot live by the ideals that men set for them.*/
I again say that this is not set by men. Its fact. Men will surely tempt.
/*Men have to learn to control themselves.*/
For argument sake, I am asking the following question. So, by saying the above comment, u accept that men will get tempted by women's clothes?

/*I am not going to govern my clothing sense according to what kind of men will be present, and I should not have to.*/
See the following scenario...
In the place where u live is very famous(?) for theft. Mostly the streets will be empty in the night. So, the theives use it for robbery. And, u wanna handover some huge amt of money to ur friend. U have two options.
1. U can handover the money in the night itself.
2. U can hand it over in the morning time, where ppl used to be thr.

Which option will u choose? Will u choose the first one by saying, I have every fundamental rights to walk in the streets @ anytime, and, by saying, if everyone didnt raise any voice over slavery, we wudnt get independence?
Or, will u choose the 2nd option by practically analysing the scenario?

I leave this to u to take a decision.

Anonymous said...

Just trying to clear my thinking. All agree that

1. It would be great to live in a society where all men and women are allowed to lead there lives without any interference by others (modulo certain restrictions like those mentioned by Anirudh) .

2. There are certain people in our society (molesters etc.) who don't agree with 1 above.

3. No one, repeat no one, believes that women or men don't have the right to wear what they want and speaking for myself, I would say even if a girl/boy is wearing nothing at all, no one has the *right* to invade their privacy.

What Athi et al are saying is that given the constraint 2, women and men (yes, they are victims too many a times) need to take certain measures to avoid trouble. He is not saying that anyone has the *right* to molest (ofcourse!) but he is merely pointing to the existence of molesters and his belief that certain precuations could help reduce crime rate ala his burglar analogy.

On the other hand, Shobha et al is saying that such measures fly in the face of our aim i.e. statement 1 (and I totally agree).

So does it finally boils down to whether you really aspire to live in a society mentioned in 1 (the society which most agree would be great to live in but are not sure is really achievable).

If really yes, then where is any confusion as far as taking any action in day to day life is concerned (given that the law on paper also apparently desires such a society)?

Anonymous said...

continuing from above...

/*It does matter very much. The reason being, if someone who is the head of the entire police force of Mumbai makes a PUBLIC statement like that, can you imagine what message he's giving to the officials spread across the city?/*

I understand your point and accept my naivety.


/*Besides, do you think rape happens only under the influence of alcohol? There are so many factors in play apart from alcohol./*

I am not denying that. I am saying that it is one of the factors and I would consider it a big achievement if one could reduce crime rate by only few percents by taking one factor off the list (*if* it is a factor).

/*Tagging people as High risk sexual offenders...hahaha...sounds so cool :) But is such kind of labeling fair? I don't know.../*

Such labeling could be meaningful is cases where someone who has been a sexual offender (say an 'eve teaser') in past is released back. His future behavior could be monitored and he may be denied certain rights for a time contingent on his behavior.

/*Anon: Hi :) I would have rather you mentioned your name./*

I am not doing so as I just feel less shy posting comments anonymously. You may equate this being afraid of being held responsible for my beliefs though I disagree with that.

Sudharsan said...

Well, Anon, U summarised it well. Well, Many ppl in other blogs too(http://sash.blogsome.com/) seem to have the opinion that dress has no part to play in these crimes. Alright. Let's put that to rest. So why do ppl do it? What can be done to stop or even reduce it?

1. Deal strictly with these criminals. Punish these criminals harshly. If the victim is a child, the punishment should be nothing short of a life sentence. Such perverts are more dangerous and have no place in the society.

2. One of my friends said - Sex starvation is the reason for many of these rapes. will a man with a healthy sex relationship with his wife/girl friend go and commit rape? In western countries, everyone has a girlfriend. Pre marital sex is not a taboo. So they are not starved as much as we are. So the crime rate is not high. This seems to be a valid point. So what can be a solution for this? Should we advocate pre marital sex? Even then, is everyone having a girl friend? Have our society come to accept it? I feel we can encourage people to do masturbation. If you have such an uncontrollable urge, Take the shortest course to the nearest restroom. It is not the same but at least it is safe for everyone. looks crude but effective. But is this a practical solution? How do you tell any potential rapist about it? I remember a funny cartoon strip where this oldman with a gun stops a car and asks the guy to masturbate. After being threatened and compelled to do that 3 or 4 times, the guy finally pleads that he can do more. The oldman then calls his daughter who was hiding behind a tree and tells her "Go with this guy. You are completely safe now". I dismissed it as a crude indecent story then but looks like there's something to learn from that!!

3. Every call center/ IT companies should have a self defense training as a part of induction training. Every girl should necessarily carry a cell phone, pocket knife and pepper/chilli sprays. (I have presented my friends with pocket knives myself). She should let her parents or friends know where she is at anytime. She should know basic defense moves - at least she should know to kick him in the groin. It would definitely take him sometime to recover depending on how hard you kicked. Every man attempting to rape should know that overpowering is not easy anymore. If it is more than 1 person,like in an auto or van, the best way is to threaten them. You have already communicated the auto/van number to your friends(you should have!) and if they dont find her shortly, they will definitely doubt the auto/van guy and he is sure to be arrested. This point, I feel, is definitely practical.

What else can be done?

sumedha said...

Athi, I don't think I've made my point very clear. Truthfully, I'm not completely clear in my own head. What I meant was that yes, short/revealing clothes may arouse men, but they have to learn to control themselves. No one can say that women are responsible for their molestations even a little bit because they wear short clothes, or visit bars, or go out at night. It may not be the most prudent of actions, but we should and MUST have that freedom. We don't have it now, and that's what my point is. You canNOT hold a women responsible for something a man did to her just because she exercised the freedom that is hers by right.

And I completely disgaree with you over the whole attention thing. Yes, people want attention. But you cannot compare me to a child, or make generalisations the way you did. Believe me, the clothes I wear have nothing to do with any guy. They have everything to do with me and what makes me feel good. If I wear a low-cut t-shirt (and I do), it is NOT meant to attract any attention. I wear it because I like low-cut shirts.

Athi said...

(I donno why my comment(posted sterday) is not appearing in the blog. May be some bug with blogger.com. I will try my level best to reproduce the whole lot of things)

Hi all... After a long gap... Pongal holidays. :-)

BTW... few days back I had a chat with Sudharsan and he sent some links which has proofs for skimpy dressing is not a factor for a rapist. As of now, I have to accept it. No other go. Anyway, I need some scientific analysis(ie: the former only "studies" the facts. But, I need a psychological analysis on this topic) So, I have to google for it.

Science may tell men will get impressed by the outerlook of the women. And, I can doubt the possibility of crime rate 'coz of this. But, according to the sites sent by Sudharsan, the reality seems to be different.

Anyway, still I am confused. Thou' dresses may not be a concern for a rapist, I am not sure how far dress will lead a man to tease(such as eve-teasing) a woman. Again I have to search for this too. Actually, I myself had an experience recently. Thats y I doubt this.

On 31st Dec, I went to Standard Chartered bank and saw a gal with very low cut chudithar. Thou' I didnt ask, the first thing came into my mind is "why dont I ask her to a party tonight @ a hotel?" Thou I dont use to go such parties, it sparked into my mind. And, the same thought didnt come, when I saw other gals over thr and in the road/busstop, etc. WHY?

I heard such incidents(ie: the thought process) from my friends also. Here its not only the case with Chennai guys. Everywhere boys are boys. Even I heard some of my friends(I dont mean everyone here) talking badly abt such gals, even when they used to talk with them.

Since, I neither rape(!!) nor molest(!!) anyone, I extended my view, and generalize this thinking to rape incidents also. But, again I cant tell firmly that this may lead to eve-teasing. 'coz, I have control over myself. I havent loosen my control @ any point of time. So, here also reality may be different. I have to search for this too. :-)

@Sudharsan... Ur 3 points to reduce/stop such things are valid ones. Apart from that, I have one another suggestion too.
My friend Sundara Kumar always says "If we wanna control something/somebody, we make it/them as sacred". Actually, this is what happening to women here.This one starts right from the textbook itself. So, the first place we have to change is our Textbooks. It shoud teach "woman is also one another human-being. She is having every right as man. so and so."

@Sumedha... I didnt point out my fingers towards women when such cruel things happen. All I said was why dont u stop giving them a chance to act like that? But, now, I take back my words, as the studies report that dresses were not the concern. I will search for it soon and come up with whether it is or its not.
And... reg attention... I certainly cant agree with u. If its like "we like it", then why we have seperate cloths for offices, parties, beaches, etc. Why dont u wear a nightwear to parties? 'coz, look does matter. 'coz, we need attention... and we expct the same, not only from opposite sex, but also from same sex. And, I say it again that thr is nothing wrong in attracting attention.

Sunil said...

Wow, new lows..

Lilu said...

Its Shameful. The comment by the cop is not even worth responding to ..the only response is to remove him from the post. He may justify all he wants but a casual comment like that actually shows how seriously (or lack of it) he views the crime and how ineffectively he will be able to tackle it.
Ashwin

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Tabrej said...

Hi Sobha,

There should be law for such kind of crimes but what the people's fault be girls wear such clothes in night.
Men will be Men accept it. I am not saying that dont wear such clothes but But see if you can protect yourself.

Tabrej
www.tabrej.com

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Cheers,

yamini nair said...

Hope ur message will surely reach Mr commissioner

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