Monday, August 06, 2012
In the last few months, we have seen hundreds of incidents where a woman in India was molested, teased, sexually harassed, stripped in public, sometimes in the view of cameras and bystanders. One woman was thrown out of a moving train, another was attacked by acid, and others were physically molested.
One of the immediate reactions from the media is that it is a 'law and order' problem. What they mean is that we don’t have strong punishment to the offenders, that the law is vague on these offences, that the police officers are not very keen on registering the cases or following up on the case.
I, on the other hand, don’t think 'law and order' is the main problem. While 'law and order' is definitely one of the problems, it is not the primary one. There are few countries, like Saudi Arabia, where the law is extremely strict, so much so that a convicted thief’s hand may be cut, and yet there is rampant mistreatment and abuse of women in that country.
Also, I tend to think that most of these offenders, in countries like India, take a high moral ground because many people tend to sympathize with the offenders. In the recent past, many administrative officers, police officers, organization heads and elected political leaders have all blamed the woman when such harassment happened. They blamed the woman for inviting the man to molest her by dressing provocatively.