The Blame Game: An Art Mastered by Women

Blame and Criticism. How often do we come across these terms? Not only on paper but also in our day to day practical lives, how easy has it become to accuse another individual of an offence? For instance, in a group project, if a member makes a mistake because of which your grades suffer, what do you do? You blame that person right? And how does that make you feel? Relieved because you were not held accountable probably. Now, altering scenarios slightly. You were working on a project with batch mates, out of whom someone made a blunder. Your grades suffer, but this time you are held accountable because you agreed to work with that individual. Taking this scenario into different contexts, if it is fair to blame a woman who gets raped or murdered for her own assault, how is getting blamed for that project any different? There are countless questions whose answers vary depending on the person answering them. How easy it is to criticize another individual after they have been convicted for a mistake they made. Let’s take the example of that group project again. The individual who made that mistake was reprimanded and your grade did not suffer. From then on, that member was criticized and not made a part of projects assigned to the batch thereafter. Here. there is a reassurance because the person at fault suffered the consequences. As discussed earlier, what would happen in the case where you were made responsible for working with that person in the first place? You will face the same music. Society’s wisdom works in similar ways and knows no bounds, again leaving us with several unanswered questions. Now let’s give all these scenarios a larger direction, something more prevalent in our society. News Flash: “A girl was found raped and murdered in an abundant field late at night. It was found that she was partying with her friends and was under the influence of alcohol.” Society: “This was bound to happen. Who told her to go partying with her friends late at night and moreover consume alcohol? Clearly, she was asking for it and deserved it. She should know that she will get raped. It was her fault.” Consequence: Girls should not go out late at night at any cost. If they do, they are bound to get raped and murdered. Especially if she is under the influence of alcohol. It was not the fault of the boy who committed the atrocity because "boys will be boys". News Flash: “A woman was beaten by her husband outside her home because she filed an FIR against him for forcing her into sexual intercourse and disrespecting the family members because they supported their son” Society: “How dare she file a complaint against her own husband? For God’s sake, she is married to him! She should do what he says. And disrespecting her elders? Is that how she was raised? She deserved to be beaten.” Consequence: From an early age the girl is taught to obey what others say. She has to obey her husband and his family members. whether she agrees or not. She is the property of her husband and if he wants to get sexually involved with her then he has all the right to. News Flash: “A woman was raped by her boss while working late at night” Society:” She was working? Who permitted her to work? She is a woman. She should be taking care of the household and her family. Why is she engaged in a job? This was bound to happen. And her clothes? Who wears revealing clothes unless they do not want to get raped? Clearly, it’s her fault. The boss got the signal and did it. How is he to be blamed? Consequence: Girls are told to cover themselves because otherwise, they are inviting molestation. Girls are taught that they should be skilled in household chores because of the routine hollers in almost every household- ‘koi shaadi nhi karega’(no one will marry you) or ‘ sasural walo ko kya muh dikhaoge’ ( what will the in-laws think). This mentality and these statements are not just made by common people. Turns out, our beloved leaders have made similar “statements” regarding the same. For instance, Abu Azmi, the leader of the Samajwadi Party, stated- “The ants will swarm the place where the sugar is. The more the nudity, the more the girl is considered fashionable.”By asserting that it is the responsibility of the "sugar", he is implying that the girl was not covering herself up suitably, tempting boys with her nudity, and therefore, holding her accountable, yet again. Another instance involving the former Chief Minister of Haryana, Om Prakash Chautalastated. He claimed- “Child marriage is a solution to rape and other atrocities against women". "Sex is a natural urge in men. It is sometimes said that after food, the next requirement is sex. In a conservative society like India, one can have sex only through marriage. But when there is massive and rising unemployment, a large number of young men cannot marry. Consequently, a large number of men remain deprived of sex, even though they have reached an age when it is a normal requirement.” Additionally, we have Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju, on the recent Hathras Gang rape - It’s not the fault of men you see. They are devised that way. Sex is a necessity and you have to fulfil the requirements that your body needs. Hence, rape is the ultimate consequence. And another instance, “Women with self-respect if raped will die or avoid being raped again” were the words of Kerala Congress Chief Mullappaily Kamachandran. With this, he is indicating that women choose to get raped. Well said, Sir. To all the women reading this, bear this in mind. By now, we have ascertained that women are to be blamed for the atrocities befalling them. They are the ones who have to be vigilant about what they wear, where they go, whom they hang out with and the like. We've seen how women are blamed, now time for the excuses society throws around for the same behaviour.

  1. They are lying.

  2. Let go of the past. It’s done. Move on.

  3. All this is for attention and sympathy.

  4. It’s not a big deal.

  5. He is a good guy who just made a mistake.

There you have it. The most common justifications for violence against women. In India, it is customary to hold women responsible. Whenever society hears of a crime perpetrated against women, the first few questions that come to mind are what was she doing? What was she wearing? Why was she there? Did she ask for it? Is this just a publicity stunt to garner attention? There are innumerable questions and they all point to women. it is well established that India is a highly patriarchal society. Women are seen as properties of the men from the get-go and unfortunately, that mentality fails to peel off. Even after countless laws are rolled out and movements and protests organised, the results persist. Article 14 of the Indian Constitution states, “Equality before law The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth”. But is this followed? And if it is, by how far? Ponder over that.

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