Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Slut Walk

Swami Nikhilaananda said:
"Prevention is better than cure, it is better to avoid than to lure"

Today's newspaper article showed that the Slut walk campaign that was due to be held in Bangalore got cancelled because there was opposition from some groups against the campaign. I posted a link of one of my previous posts on Facebook, citing that the protest in itself was silly. Since were there were several discussions on that, I thought, let me put a clearer picture, solely dedicated to this protest here.

== Note ==
Read the whole post, do ample research. Knee jerk reactions will be not be commented upon

So, what exactly is Slut Walk?
On January 24, 2011 Constable Michael Sanguinetti spoke on crime prevention at a York University safety forum. He said: "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized." (wikipedia)

Then what happened?
This had happened in Canada. So people protested against it, saying that wearing provocative clothes is not an invitation to rape.

Ok, I got that - So, what's your problem?
Take the following situation - It is a lonely road late in the evening.

  • There is a woman walking alone on that road wearing a lot of jewellery. 
  • There is a couple walking, woman has a lot of jewellery
  • Big group of people walking, one woman has a lot of jewellery
  • It is a busy road, lone woman has a lot of jewellery
  • It is a busy road, many people walking as a group. Woman has a lot of jewellery
  • Same cases - only difference is, woman doesn't have any jewellery
My question to you is - What are the chances that she will be mugged? And which case has the highest chances?

The answer is - all cases can have mugging. Depends. There can be a big group of rowdies with weapons and they would have robbed you no matter which case. But the chances of that happening is less. The chances of chain snatching is still a possibility in all cases. However, the chances of a full fledged robbery, and that too by a lone man is highest in the case where she is alone and has a lot of jewellery.

If you don't agree with this argument - stop reading.

If you agree, let's analyse. What are the factors that brought about the robbery?
  • She was alone (no company)
  • She had jewellery
  • There were lesser/no people on the streets
Now, notice that point one and point three are nothing to do with the woman herself. They are merely companions who can defend her in case of problems and also serve as a scare to the predator. However, if she didn't have jewellery (lots of it, as specified before and on display) on her, chances of her being robbed is a lot lesser. It is not that she won't be robbed at all, but is lesser. Why? There is no direct lure.

It is common sense that if you are luring someone - there is bound to be a repercussion. This is also the reason why we lock the doors. It is an attempt to thwart an attempt. What you can call, as a first level of precaution. It is also the same reason why we don't go around advertising how much money we have kept in the safe, or discuss financial matters in front of servants. It is common sense that a prevention is better than cure, and this is why I said that it is sane advice - Avoid wearing skimpy clothes.

If you wear skimpy clothes, there is a higher chance that you will be ogled at. So that brings us to the question, why wear skimpy clothes?

Why wear skimpy clothes?
This is a question I would really like the girls to answer. What I feel is that they are trying to attract male attention and/or show off their body to attract attention. But yeah, mainly, you are trying to attract attention. As discussed previously, keeping a lower profile is more likely going to avoid an unnecessary attention to you.

Heck, I will wear what I want. It's the rapists fault!
Yes, the rapist is at fault at all points of time, and nobody is denying that. However, the question is, does wearing skimpy clothes really draw the attention of a rapist? So typically people say "Studies show that...." and therefore I decided to do a bit of looking up.

According to statistics (and there were loads of them) you can say that there was a 25% chance where rapists raped due to the clothes. Oh see? Not something like 85%, it was just 25%. Fine, I agree, it is not a very high percentage. But those 25% could have been avoided by following a simple precautionary step. Note, for you it is a statistical number. For those women, it was 100% and that is what I am saying. Every little step is a step towards the goal.

Still, what about the remaining large percentage?
The remaining large percentage was partially faults on both sides. Some cases, men wanted to show control over the women and thus they raped. Some cases, women went to bars, got  drunk and chatted up men, danced provocatively and teased them, didn't strongly say no, etc. And men were also in a drunken stupour. That said, the questions is - can we prevent this? Yes, this can also be brought down by a large extent by strongly cutting down the pub-culture, something that people are strongly against in Bangalore.

Dude, Bangalore's night life sucks
What happens is - When people get drunk, they lose inhibition. This coupled with the darkness makes it easier because of lesser people. This makes it a lot unsafe for people. You may not be the types who will cause trouble, but not everyone is as gentlemanly or lady like like you are. Think about the perverted punks who booze and have no inhibitions at a time where you, a decent guy are out with your girl friend, sipping breezers at a time when there are no people around to help you defend against a pack of wolves? Isn't it better to shut down parties at more human hours? It is, again, a precautionary measure and works a lot better than having to fight it subsequently through protests.

Ella ok, slut walk against yaake?
Now that I have told you all of this, let us see what it is that ticks me off.
  • Clothes are a trigger in a certain number of cases. It is sane advice to not wear skimpy clothes
  • Liquor is an agent that weakens inhibitions, results in all kinds of damage if unchecked
  • In cases where men wanted to dominate women and thus raped, these protests make no sense.
So should I protest?
Yes! You must. But you don't have to do a slut walk. A slut walk has no relevance here. First, write down what you are protesting against. 

If you are protesting by saying that, it is my clothes, my body, I will show off or hide, what's your problem? Then I will say - Prevention is better than cure, you will see that it is safer to avoid trouble than inviting it and then confronting it.

If you are protesting by saying - It is my life, my money, I want to drink when I want, where I want - Then I will say that in a society, it is safer the way it is now in Bangalore.

If you are going to say - The people in Canada did it and people world wide are doing it, I want to do it too! Then I will say that you are doing it because someone else is doing it. You are not doing it because  you believe in it, rather, you are doing it because you want to feel like a global citizen.

If you are going to protest by teaching self defence, or by spreading awareness, talking about repercussions, or trying to bring about a stronger punishment against rapists, helping police catch perpetrators by investing the same time and money into something that will aid safety, developing neighbourhood watch systems, etc. then yeah, I would say that this is the way in which you can protest.

La Tomatina - Now wait a minute, what?
The feeling that I get from people is that, there is a tendency to bring about a globalisation of everything. People did La Tomatina somewhere, people decided to bring it here in Bangalore. People did a slut walk somewhere, people decided to bring it here in Banagalore. People did a flash mob somewhere, and they decided to bring it here in Mumbai, Bangalore and other Indian metros. This kind of globalisation is something that I see in all kinds of silly things, which ends up getting a lot of media coverage. These are participated by people who hardly give a damn about what they are participating in - In fact, the zest is to be a part of the global community, and it is frankly no different from KFC or McDonalds where you are participating for the brand - because it is recognised. Later you can say, there's no difference between that of the US and that of India. The World Is Flat, said Thomas Friedman.

You may say - Dude, how can you club a serious social offence like rape with a tomato throwing festival? The answer is that it is the same group of people who will support all these. And the moment there is a protest against it, the immediate culprits are RSS, SRS and right winged saffron parties. I never see the same kind of globalisation when it comes to dedication shown by people in the West for something worthwhile. Anything nonsensical is first supported, anything worthwhile is not.

Attacks against slut walk protesters - Justified?
I am frankly against any physical attacks. But, I really get bored when people say that it s their way of protesting, etc. Everyone has a way of protesting, true, and everyone should really have the freedom to protest against crimes or anything else that they feel like. I agree that we should not stymie protests, because, as in the movie Gangajal, tomorrow, even an honest protest can be stymied by threats.

However, I have absolutely no feelings towards people who protest using ways like slut walks. You may say that it is for a cause, a good cause, even. Frankly, I am all for a protest against rape, even if it is as simple as holding placards and shouting at the government, forcing to make stronger laws against rapists, or shouting to increase patrols (though it is hard due to lack of man power) but a protest like slutwalk where you are a person with no conviction but one who is doing it just to be under an umbrella protest, like a KFC chain or a McDonalds chain, just so as to get some media attention, then you are not a serious protester. You are one who doesn't understand this post.

***
Comments from Facebook


Abhishek Kodankiry: As always, awesomely written!! :)

Anand Bhatia: Thanks for holding sanity's fort..i'd pitched in the other thread if not for my exams.

Ashok Kumar: Nicely put but then underneath it all is the question of equaltiy of sexes and whether society is ready to concede that equality and if yes then how to go about it...

Lavanya Krishnamurthy: This is the consequence of the idea 'anything western/global is cool' without understanding if it fits in with our way of life or is beneficial to us in any way.

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Comments from cell phone

Poornima Rao:  Nice blog. U precisely put. I frankly dun think it applies in indian context. Coz vr more inhibited than west. Wont see many women in skirts even. Plus rare of

Thanks to govt. But if even expression s taken away. Then it becomes a land of powerful n rich in protests only. Common man vl literally hv no say

Minors is on a rise here. Need to address relief n speedy trial of cases. But wat got me upset was tat gangajal thing u said. As it is v hv few rights left

N blore has always been a tolerant city compared to others. Its shockin to seesuch weakness in e police. found it too cumbersome to put it up on fb :)

3 comments:

Sandy said...

very true.. totally agree with you..
U have put across the points in a very logical way. But unfortunately some people will never understand.

Rahul said...

A very well put argument. We Indians are complete suckers for anything globally considered as 'cool'. What was probably a level headed advice by a cop to not get yourself into trouble, has, thanks to media hype, turned into a brand of protesting .
On the other end, The La Tomatino was taking it too far, given out country's food security issues + inflation . Good that it never saw the light of day.
Coming to the pubbing culture, it's really gaining popularity, thanks to an ever growing affluent youth crowd. I agree that it's better to err on the side of caution and to end the parties early.

arb said...

"I never see the same kind of globalisation when it comes to dedication shown by people in the West for something worthwhile. Anything nonsensical is first supported, anything worthwhile is not."
I seriously don't understand how people miss this pattern.
We ape the materialism but not the patriotism.
Kudos on sticking to using English and not American auto correct.