From personal experience, in Chennai at least, I’ve found that making a scene and calling a molester out, especially in a public space, works, because in this city, if there’s anything men like doing more than groping women, it’s playing hero. So do your best to gather a crowd, bring their attention to what’s happened and ask them if they’d stay silent if the same thing happened to their sisters or daughters or wife. Rest assured, they won’t stay silent. When an individual molester gets jungle justice in a public space, it sends out a very clear message to everyone watching – if you molest, you’re going to get mauled. At this point, women, if you see another woman calling out her molester, go and support her right then, right there instead of hesitating/thinking/coming back home and blogging about it or whatever.
So before you teach your son to not rape, teach your sisters to fight back. All these years, we’ve been letting molesters violate our space, simply because we didn’t stand up to them. If there must be change, then this is where it starts – stand up for yourself,because you’re not some delicate wilting wallflower, you’re a woman. And just how progressive are you if you still need a man to fight your battles?
It seems a few people have an issue with a couple of statements in this post. I hope the following clarification will help.
A. “95% of actual/potential molesters can’t read this, or can’t be reached with this.”
I did not claim that 95% of molesters are completely illiterate. I merely claimed that they cannot read and comprehend an argument in English, which this post is. According to the census of India (the latest official stats are 10 years old), only 3.7% of Indians have a college degree, and only 7.7% of Indians have finished 12th standard. (http://www.censusindia.gov.in/Census_Data_2001/Census_Data_Online/Social_and_cultural/Educational_level_and_Age_groups.aspx) Even assuming very liberally that this number has grown by 50% in the last 10 years, that puts graduates at 5.5% and 12th pass-outs at 10%. While several news articles claim that many of our graduates cannot even comprehend English (http://www.deccanherald.com/content/266674/four-10-indian-engineers-cant.html,http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703515504576142092863219826.html), even assuming liberally that 100% of all people who have a 12th+ education can comprehend English language adequately, that still means 90% of Indians cannot comprehend written English. Assuming molesters are equally likely in every educational segment, then it means 90% of molesters can not read this blog either. Sorry for stating 90% as 95%, but my point is that when you write in English in India, you write for a very small section of society, certainly <10%, unless it is something that an educated person can freely pass on to another less-educated person within the confines of normal social interactions.
B. “Thankfully, rape as such is a lot rarer than the sexual harassment and assault that we have all been subjected to.”
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, there were 24,206 reported cases of rape in India in 2011 (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-07-03/india/32522876_1_ncrb-report-cases-cognizable-crimes). Against a population of 600 million women, that makes about 0.04 incidents per 1000 women per year. We all know that most rape victims in India are afraid to report cases to the police, and even very liberally assuming that ONLY 1 OUT OF 100 of rape incidents were reported to the police, that caps rape at 2.4 million potential incidents a year. Against a female population of 600 million, that is about 4 incidents per 1000 women per year. Compare this statistic to sexual harassment in the form of groping on a public bus, having lewd comments passed on or being threatened/ stalked by strangers, or even having your trust betrayed by a friend/ relative/ employee who touches you in perverted ways. I do not know even one girl who HAS NOT been harassed in such ways, and I am shocked to know that there are those who believe that this form of sexual harassment (which this blog post is about) is not significantly more numerous than rape. In other words, how can you possibly believe that the number of women sexually harassed per year in India is in the order of 1’s/1000 or 10’s/100 instead of 100’s/1000, when almost every girl and woman you know tells you that they have been sexually harassed at some point in their lives?