I came across this link (pdf) on the India Uncut blog a few days ago. Actually, it was more like a few weeks ago. I have been so busy with training, classes and what not that blogging has unfortunately taken a back seat in the past weeks. To cut a long story short, the newspaper projects an innocent murder victim as a "characterless" woman who deserved to be raped, murdered et.al. On a similar note, the Times of India reports that cops dismissed a rape complaint by a woman on the grounds that she was of "loose" character and that numbers of the accused were found on her mobile phone. I am sorry, but I don't get it. If I have someone's number on my mobile phone, and if I meet the said person a few times, or get a gift from him, he assumes I consent to have sex with him? What the f***??
Did you know that most of the time, the rapist is a close acquaintance of the victim? It could be a family friend, a relative, or even the husband. Does that mean that women must stay away from all contact with male members of society? This is simply ridiculous. If, as a woman, I fear rape, I must be protected. I must not be victimised and isolated because not being raped is my responsibility. Secondly, the cops in question have no business judging the case. Their job is to file an FIR and arrest the accused. Next, they must produce the accused before a court of law. It's the court's job to decide if the accused is guilty or not. The police has no business taking the moral high ground and preaching to a woman how she must behave in her personal life.
This brings me to the question of moral policing. Sunday's edition of the Anna Nagar Times carried a lead story on a police raid at the Anna Nagar Tower park. The said park is a public park maintained by the Chennai Corporation. The police acted apparently on a complaint by a few "senior citizens" about couples indulging in "inappropriate" behaviour at the park. The police, thrilled to get a complaint like this, promptly swung into action and picked up anyone sitting with a member of the opposite sex and looked under 30 years of age. After "questioning" they released the couples, many of whom turned out to be married, to each other that is. And pray, what is so inappropriate about holding the hand of the man you love in a public place? Why do these esteemed "senior citizens" find it so galling? I am sorry to sound harsh and disrespectful, but if they are so upset by seeing a couple hold hands in public, perhaps they should just stay at home. They have no business harassing people who want spend a few minutes in a public park with their loved ones. Even if the couple are not married, I see no harm in allowing them to spend time together in public. Times are changing. The sooner these people learn to accept it the better. I do accept that they must be treated with deference, but when they begin to assume the role of moral police, I am only tempted to tell them to go to hell.