I wrote quite a long post on Facebook about this but I want to share my feelings on the matter here too, in the hopes that this cry may reach out to another handful of people.
BBC recently released a documentary film called “India’s daughter”. This is a film about the rape & murder of Jyoti Singh in 2012, the infamous “Delhi rape case”. This documentary was banned in India but has been released on YouTube. I don’t even want to comment on the ridiculousness of the ban – they fear that “it will spread the idea of rape” which is a guise for “it will evoke anger in people, open their eyes to the terribleness of the society they live in and perhaps invoke some kind of action.” There is of course the other side of the argument that the court case is still pending and it may affect justice. I don’t know how this film could affect justice but I do know that it should not be banned – if it cannot be screened now, it should definitely be screened after the court case.
I was in tears by the end of the documentary. These were tears of helplessness, of outrage, of disbelief and of pain. I could not believe that I belong to a country where men like the bus driver & the lawyer (filmed in the documentary) exist – where such a mindset exists. I’m even more ashamed at the fact that it is not just them that think this way, but many – perhaps the majority – have the same perspective when it comes to women.
“A decent girl won’t roam around at nine o’clock at night.”
“Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes. About 20% of girls are good.”
“When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they’d have dropped her off after ‘doing her’, and only hit the boy.”
“In our society, we never allow our girls to come out from the house after 6:30 or 7:30 or 8:30 in the evening with any unknown person.”
“A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy.”
This video has sparked a lot of debate on rape, rape culture and India’s position in such matters. However, what needs to be understood is that it is not just the driver or his lawyer or certain Indians with these views but a large number of people in Indian society and abroad feel this way. Some may not say it outright, but the thinking is the same. These men deserve to be shamed but at the same time it is not just them who are the problem – the problem is large among many. Condemning them and thinking everything is alright is not a solution. These guys are not the only ones with this mentality – the society, and not just Indian society, has this mentality ingrained since generations.
Watching this documentary was also an eye-opener. It opened my eyes to the fact that perhaps this society will never change. We live in the hope every day that change will come one day, but I ask, will it really? These ideas are so deep-rooted that it will take centuries to bring about any kind of change – and it makes me wish that we could go into the past to change the mindset that has been passed down through generations.
I am a woman, an Indian woman and I have never been so terrified of stepping into my own country than I am today. I am in fact glad that I’m miles away from such disgusting men and such horrible ideas. I am not saying that the entire country is buried in this rubbish – thankfully I know a lot of good men who definitely do not think like this.
Nonetheless, the good ones don’t balance out the bad ones. Nonetheless, there’re still a huge amount of people who do think like this. Nonetheless, a woman is not safe in her country, among her people because most of them see her, not as a human being with her own rights & her own will to live the way she wants, but as property that must be protected because it can be snatched & tainted any time. A woman is not safe in her country, among her people because if something happens to her, it is her fault – not of the person who attacks her. A woman is not safe in her country, among her people because she is a woman.
A woman should keep herself covered at all times, not go out after dark, in fact not step out of the house at all, perhaps not even get an education, not learn to speak, not raise her voice, not look at anyone in the eyes, not cry out because of injustice…. but be a slave to the society that calls itself progressive, to a country that is supposedly the “largest democracy”. After all, if something were to happen to her, it would be the biggest shame ever and it will only be her fault, not of the beast that attacks her. I say beast because if there were any shred of humanity in that beast, he would think twice before committing an abominable act such as rape or murder.
Right at this very moment, some people would want me to not write this blog post. To not speak out. Why? Because I’m an Indian woman and I should not speak against my own people. Maybe I shouldn’t even speak at all. But I will not shut up. And if they manage to shut me up, my tears will speak and my cry will rip the silence apart. I’m an Indian daughter and I protest against this mindset.