This morning, the first thing I read in the papers was about the court declaring voyeurism a punishable offence. Case in point was a man peeping into a girl’s bathroom regularly. While the report left a bad taste in my mouth, I was reminded of the girls I know who underwent the same trauma.
These were not the girls on street who had to go on the road or the bushes, but girls like me who lived in big houses protected by boundary walls and iron gates, and yet, they were vulnerable enough to be violated in the apparently protected environment of their own homes. While today, after twenty years of the incident, they may laugh the matter off, it cannot negate the fright, terror, and humiliation they went through at the time.
I was in a way happy that the judiciary is becoming conscious of the right to a woman's privacy, although not sure how much a law can change the mind of a man who views a woman only as meat.
The next thing I saw, this time on FB, was Kate Middleton's picture at Rajghat. Apparently the wind had gotten into her dress while she was paying tribute at the samadhi and the press went camera crazy. The picture went on to be published on the front page of a national daily, complete with a crappy headline. I will not be surprised if the photographer gets a promotion for doing a wonderful job and raking in the money for the papers, but will be pleasantly amazed if he is sacked.
The picture, which I refuse to share – for if I do, I would also be compromising the dignity of the woman – tells exactly what is wrong with our country. It is a testimony of our sexually frustrated society, our perverted minds (I can bet that at least 70% of us, who have not seen the picture yet, will look it up after reading this post) and our voyeuristic mentality, and the fact that a woman is nothing but a piece of meat. It does not matter if she is Royalty or the woman at the road.
While we pretend to be moral, chivalrous, modern people on the outside, specially when it comes to sharing posts on Facebook, re-tweeting tweets on twitter & circulating moral messages on Watsapp, in reality we ogle at the legs of the woman who chooses to wear a skirt, we strip the girls in sleeveless clothes & low neck tops with our eyes; we grope the women with dupattas and saris with our hands.
We also create advertisements that talk about grabbing buns, breasts & thighs; about providing, or not providing women at a pub. And we find this funny.
The saddest part is that it is not only men who do that. Women are equally at fault: have you seen a mother, mother-in-law, sister, or wife telling the man to look away if the woman is in a state of disarray? No, they have always told to women to cover up lest the man be tempted.
A few days ago, a well-meaning neighbour patronizingly told me how he is concerned about my daughter's safety. The daughter, who is barely eight, dresses is shorts when she goes down to play. And, according to him, it can be harmful for her. "You know how the men think, we need to be careful."
I wanted to tell him that I don't need to be careful of how my child dresses, a man who looks at her badly needs to be careful of me, lest I pull his eyes out. But I just nodded my head and walked ahead. And that is what is wrong with our society.