And until when will we be blamed?

Popular social networking sites are an excellent platform for ‘good-will’ promoters and I see an increase in the number of men who offer advice on improving social conduct of urban women as a first step in curbing violence against women. One of my recent favourites is one such comment posted by my friend. To quote him,

Protect if its precious. We never flaunt a lakh of cash for it could be thieved. Not everyone around is a thief, but why attract one? We' not trying to curb your freedom or dictate. But we can’t be present at every corner to ensure you're safe. Dress appropriate to the context. In the interest of your own safety.

Do you understand what abuse is? Do you know what it is like to be alone at home and open the door to a huge man with his genitals hanging out? And what if you are a 11-year-old and don’t even know what this is all about. You shut the door and call your mother. That will probably be the day when you learn about rape. Have you ever been scared to cycle because the last time you did someone groped you? Have you ever had to strategically position your backpack before you boarded the bus?

Imagine getting used to all this and accepting it, learning from it and moving on?

Women are survivors of daily abuse. So when a man announces that we are to be blamed as we have been wearing the wrong kind of clothes, it’s infuriating. It’s even more maddening knowing that he will teach his son the same thing.

When I was a kid, I remember laughing out loud and being reprimanded by a teacher who said it would provoke unnecessary attention. He objected to my laughter; you question my attire; someone else might have a problem with my shoes and another with my face.

When will it be safe enough for me to start living?

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