The recent “mass molestation” on the streets of one of India’s biggest cities, Bengaluru, on New Year’s Eve makes me angry. I wonder why it is that Indians (both men and women) have a problem with their sexual expression. Am I being cynical or is it a truth we rather deny.
We try hard to portray a very prudent society which believes that children are a blessing from God and of course nobody has sexual intercourse in India, and definitely not hedonistically! The blessings are so potent that we are an over populated nation. And not to forget that recently the Gods have been favoring us with the sex selection test that allows our mothers to conveniently be blessed with sons rather than daughters. (The declining sex ratio confirms the same.)
A mystical fantasy of lies and deceit, we weave a carpet which carefully hides the clandestine perversity of our dual standards only to occasionally purge as acts of sexual violence. A fantasy we want to perpetuate about moral values and a discerning society.
Yes, we are a society of convenience, when it comes to patriarchy and sexuality. We conveniently fall back on values and morals that predominantly are the onus of the female gender to uphold.
Unlike the western society, where women misbehave and have loose morals and values, we are God fearing Indians, puritanical extremist to the sense of ‘desire denial’. Born from a mystical and spiritual process, our girls behave themselves and shun any forms of public display of individual expressions.
Of course nobody says this out loud but it is the norm and expectation. Isn’t that why our girls get shamelessly molested by a mob of repressed sexual perverts. Is it not the same reason why our politicians can be so blasé about the incident and blame the western morals for the brazen mass molestation of young women?
The disgust that overwhelms me is the fact that Mr. Home Minister had the audacity to voice his skewed opinion on national media. The taking-for- granted attitude that women will get molested and it is no big deal. Where does such attitudes originate?
Human sexuality is a science in itself, the expression of which contributes to our survival. As humans we are sexual beings, and all of our behaviors are guided and molded through this basic natural desire. These expressions are culturally and socially governed. So for example when a politician makes a statement such as the above than he is guiding an expression. He is encouraging the fact that women who dress the way they want and express themselves (being western! ) will get molested.
Much of our sexual behaviors are innate and desires need to find expression. When we live in a society, where nobody is encouraged to consider themselves as sexual beings, sexual expressions are rarely discussed and we never truly understand our true nature.
Who were those men/ boys on the streets of Bangalore? Were they mentally disturbed sick patients left out of the hospital wards diagnosed with strange mental illnesses or were they just Indian men! Can I generalize?
Every women knows the touch that she gets when she travels using local transport. There is a line which gets crossed. A line, which highlights the extent of sexual violation and power. These are the same men who might be ostentatiously against rape but will let their hand slid in just the right fashion so that it might seem accidental. Imagine how hypocritical we are as a society?
But what is also heartening is that there is another India that is raising a voice. Another India that has reached its pinnacle of tolerance and voicing its opinion.
To believe that such a voice will actually stop and we would witness a happy ending is far from real. It’s like a fictional ending that we hope for. But what is important is that the journey has begun. We need to openly protest and more importantly we need to let our own children find their voice.
When it comes to fighting for justice against sexual violence of women and children, we need to learn to understand our own sexuality. Learn to be comfortable with it. Touching and hurting someone without their permission is wrong. This is not rocket science, but about basic human respect and dignity.
The carpet that we have been hiding under has to come off. We have to bare ourselves to the truth. Ask ourselves how long we can truly survive this hypocrisy. The dirt that lies underneath the carpet is so filthy that only once it is out in the open will things change.
We have to discuss and confront the sexual abuse of young children that happens at home, we have to talk of the sexual insensitivity that happens between couples, and spouses, about sexual variants, abuse and dysfunctions. We have to talk about the compromise that women face every day at home, on the streets and workplace. We also need to speak of the violation of human right that our sex workers face, human trafficking that happens in our villages, and slums.