I am a Delhi Woman. Apparently It’s Okay to Rape Me.

According to the Delhi and NCR Police, the equation is so very simple.  A woman who works (sometimes after 8 PM), wears anything except salwar kameez with dupatta, is independent and has male friends is definitely asking to be raped.

According to them, I love to be pulled into a car and have men force themselves upon me. I would (apparently) also get money at the end of it. Obviously, if I was to try and register an FIR, I would be put through a character assasination, asked if the ‘deal’ fell through and then subjected to the two finger test. If by the end of that, I didn’t want to commit suicide, I would be a slut. So, if I thought I wasn’t living in 19th century India or in a Taliban land, I am so wrong.

Every day a Delhi woman steps out of her house, she psychologically gears herself up for scrutiny on all her actions, judged by what she wears and how she behaves.

I have been ‘éve teased’ wearing a salwar kameez and dupatta as I was entering my office complex. And when I was 14, a drunk man grabbed me from behind as I was going home in a bus. There were no breasts to grab at that time. I was 18 when a man felt up my crotch while I was coming from college. I wasn’t asking to be violated. And yet, I felt like I had done something wrong.

Whenever I had to walk, I would not walk on unlit pavement, instead walking on the side of the road which had oncoming traffic. That way no one could come from behind and pull me a car. A can of pepper spray was always in my bag. And whenever I could, I would wear androgynous clothing. I would carry a huge rucksack, making it difficult for ‘gropers’ to feel me up from the back. I would walk funnily with my hands at an awkward angle, ready to shield the front part of my body from men who would accidently walk into me. And then I got a car. I never walk to any place now. I always drive. I don’t use the public transport anymore. That as a Delhi woman was my solution to the ‘problem’.

But the solution obviously needed upgrading when once I had a car full of men follow me in the most secure Lutyens Delhi area, window rolled down, all of them hooting. So now if I work past 9 PM now, I drive back home rashly, going over speed limit and overtaking as many cars as I can. I try to not use an indicator while turning or changing lanes. This is my way of creating an illusion that it’s a Delhi man driving the car. I don’t drive like a girl anymore.

I am instantly wary of anyone. I trust no one.

I would love walk down the old lanes of Chandni Chowk one day (without been groped). I would love to go for a jog in a sports attire. I would love to travel on the bus without worrying if some lecherous man accidently touches my butt or breasts. I would love to wear a summer dress when it’s hot. I would love to go to parks and explore historical monuments in my city. I would love to have a late or an impromptu dinner with my friends and drive back home without worrying if I would get there safely or have a male friend drop me home.

The thought that I could get raped, stops me.

People may call my fear irrational and my reactions over the top.  But when the system that keeps the society in checks and balances fails to accept that a woman can be a victim, it is a scary thought. The aggressor is considered right even though he cannot control his urge. So what really is a difference between a male perpetrator of sexual crime and a street dog? Even the dog is better. At least he chooses to mate with a bitch that is in heat.

And although my lament won’t make a difference but saying aloud that a problem exists is a step forward. A woman NEVER asks for it. She never says assault me, she never says – rape me. Even if she is wearing a dress instead of a sari and even if she is drinking wine instead of chai. Even if she is hanging out a male friend or two.

While you are at it, go read an account of a rape victim here.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “I am a Delhi Woman. Apparently It’s Okay to Rape Me.

  1. One of my friend has relatives in Delhi, and everytime she tells me she’s going there and how much she loves Delhi, i always have this sort of “How-can-you-love-Delhi?” expression on my face considering the disregard for the safety of women there. I am sure, i am not the only one thinking that way, the disastrous reputation precedes Delhi.
    I was reading this Tehelka report the other day and the only thing i thought about was, “Man, with cops like these, is it a surprise that Delhi NCR region is a sort of rape capital of the country?” Their justifications to rape and some really mind-numbingly wild theories as to how it is a business and women are asking for it, is just bloody reeking of some 16th century laws. I mean is there absolutely NO module in their training called ‘sensitisation’? The whole rule of women shudnt work after 8 is a load of crap. It is the bloody government n police’s responsibility to ensure safety of women irrespective of the time. But this report is like the final nail in the coffin that it is expecting too much out of those assclown police top brass. Despite a woman CM heading the state, it’s a real pity that on the road, it is every girl/woman defending herself.
    I guess the only solution to this menance is if the citizens pro-actively take a stand against it. how, i honestly dont know and I know it is asking a lot, but clearly the govt and the police have lost that trust already.

  2. Nimish,
    It could have been a wonderful city except that the social structures are such that it is alarming how things can be so easily misconstrued.

    You know, the Delhi police spokesperson said in the article that hey do have gender sensitization drives. But its so difficult to change mindsets and so many officers etc come from very patriarchal, male dominated households that they carry their prejudices to work. Even female police officers have been known to say that the woman was asking for it! You pointed out correctly that despite having a female head of the state since the last decade, the city continues to be called the ‘rape capital’ of the country.

    My only hope is that people make a lot of noise and are equally enraged and really shout from rooftops that this attitude is unacceptable. That would be one way to start bringing about a change. And all boys and men living in Delhi should be given mandatory gender sensitization tutorials.

    I am still so angry!

  3. Rex

    It’s sad to see this state of affairs, Delhi was definitely not so bad in the 90s.
    Blame it on liberalization or the influx of cheap labor from the backward cowbelt states or whatever.
    What I find utterly repulsive is the way people are trying to either use the same ‘revealing clothes = rape invitation’ argument, or worse, bringing up unrelated stories of women who get men into trouble by crying rape.

  4. Earlier, I used to tell my sister to take up some recreational activities after work as a break from the daily grind and she used to laugh back at me. In Delhi ? after work ? she used to ask. I am happy to get back safe home, used to be her reply.
    Slowly, I have started to understand it all. How naive I was to underestimate the state of the capital 😦

  5. Rex,
    More women are now working in public spaces which were traditionally male dominated. Suddenly men don’t know how to deal with it. Not that I am on a male bashing spree here.

    Its just that social structures have changed and negotiating those changes and accepting them hasn’t come about so easily.

  6. LO,
    Its sad. When I was abroad, I was doing a lot more (hobbies, socializing etc.). Its just harder to do other stuff here. But I guess, us women have to make ourselves heard and make our own way. Travails of being a woman in Delhi, I guess!

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