I read this news article recently and was thinking really this is what we want to teach our kids? I see news articles about jeans ban, skirt ban or some other ban (even burka or veil ban) in many schools and colleges, all over the world, specially in so called conservative or traditional societies and cultures, these bans are more about girl's clothing and behavior compared to boy's so there is also issue of gender discrimination here. But issue of gender discrimination is not the whole point here, the issue is what type of message we are trying to give to our kids? Do we want to tell them that women are responsible for (or they control) man's behavior? Do we want to tell women and girls that if these so called men get 'distracted' by your dress and do something inappropriate it's 'their fault' as they were not dressed 'properly'? Do these people who are so enthusiastic to implement these dress codes know the consequence of this practice?
Putting restrictions on women (about their dressing, behavior, etc.) or on any section of society by dominant class is not a new phenomena, it happened many times in our history and sadly it's still happening, this is how one group or gender tries to maintain its hold on other group or gender. We need to stop this as this is not a sign of healthy society where everyone should have equal right and opportunity. People who defend these dress codes and want to control freedom of women defend their actions by saying that these type of dresses and behavior provokes man's feelings and force this poor creature to commit a mistake or crime, so the offender is somehow painted as a poor victim and surprisingly blame is entirely placed on real victim in this case, strange but this is how these people think. This also gives an impression to all men and young boys that it's OK to loose your control under certain cases where women violate boundaries set to them by our society or religion, it's OK to violate their rights, attack their bodies just because they didn't follow 'the rules'. Most of these rules are heavily biased and targeted towards controlling women's behavior, I feel this is terrible and also wonder how people can recommend something as primitive like this?
Sexual harassment is a very serious issue and we need to take it very seriously, always blaming females for crime committed on them is not going to help at all. We also need to educate males how to control their emotions and behave with opposite gender, this has to be part of their education. Nothing should be taken for granted just because of external appearance of someone, be it a man or woman. I think we as a society are civilized enough to understand that we should not judge anyone based on their gender, race, nationality or external appearance, as a human we need to respect other human being and this means respecting their freedom, choices, etc. I agree that we are also animals inhabiting this planet like many other animal species but there is a huge difference between us and other animals and we should always remember that before justifying some cruel behavior as animal instinct. Always putting blame of victim the way she was dressed (or saying she was too much drunk, walking alone, etc.) not only shows how insecure place our society is for women but also shows our tendency of not to search for real reason of this problem. By putting blame of these type of incidents on victim people are indirectly encouraging or protecting the offender which doesn't help to stop these type of incidents. These type of comments convey a indirect message to all males that it's not their fault if they misbehave or lose control of their emotions under certain circumstances and I think this is very dangerous and this is what I mean by teaching rape culture and we need to stop this.
We need to educate both men and women about their rights and responsibilities, teaching only one gender about their rights and putting whole burden of responsibility and morality on other gender is not a solution as it creates very unbalanced society in many ways (it might have worked in past when structure of society was totally different from today). We need to change this attitude no matter how difficult it is, don't always teach not to get raped to girls, at the same time teach boys not to rape, then only it will work. Both genders are part of this problem so both of them should be equally involved to create the solution otherwise it won't work, there is no weaker or stronger sex here, both are equal and should be treated like that, when everyone of us will understand this then only we can dream of safer world for women, till then we need to work to educate people around us, just by making laws and punishing few criminals won't solve this problem.
Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.
(Copyright: Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing)