In the last two days, two incidents of women being violated went viral in social media. In one case, Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Shashi Tharoor slapped a young Congress worker who ‘misbehaved’ with her (read groped). She slapped him publicly, which is admirable reflexes in a crowd. Later, the youth was found, and he apologized and the previously outraged Tharoors did not file a case against him.
In other news, a few days before that, a boyfriend brutally beat up his girl friend who made a stunned blog post that in turn stunned thousands who read it. Roommate and neighbours saw the man attacking her and choking her. She has photographs of injuries and when I spoke with her, she said her ear is still not recovered. I assured her of any assistance that would help her including company while meeting police so that she does not have to face potentially misogynist attitudes alone.
However she seems to be decided against filing a police complaint. She thinks the bad publicity the boy got is enough. She has asked him to give her a written apology for the incident covering all the details, rejecting an earlier apology that glossed over the facts and attempted to show her as partially responsible for the incident.
What strikes me in both these incidents is that neither woman can be considered particularly helpless. Neither woman can most certainly be considered devoid of support if she needs it. Yet, apologies served to prevent police complaints that would lead to punishment.
Well, here is a no-brainer. What does a man do when caught squarely abusing a woman? Apologize of course!!! Anything else risks massive backlash!
Here is a second no-brainer. What does the guy who got publicly slapped for groping tell his friends within a month? “Are yaar, I didn’t do any such thing, I must have touched her by mistake, or someone else must have, but she started hitting me. What do you say to a woman at a time like this, so I said sorry!”
Here is a third no-brainer. What does the guy who wrote a full confession of guilt in assault say about it later? “You know our laws and how biased they are against men. She threatened to drag me to court and ruin my life. I had to write the letter to save my future! Here is my original letter. Read for yourself, it was a mutual fight, only I didn’t go crying to the public over the bruises she gave me!”
Here’s the last no-brainer. Will a guy call himself guilty of something publicly viewed as shameful voluntarily beyond the absolutely necessary period?
End result? A little inconvenience because caught. Be careful next time, grope or beat if the girl asks for it. It isn’t as big a deal as they make it, or they’d have gone to the police themselves! Wouldn’t you file a case if someone beat you black and blue?
The real question here is what makes women value themselves as so less that a highly predictable apology if caught, when caught results in the guy escaping legal action? Seriously, is that all the value women see in themselves? That if they are harmed, it shouldn’t be without apology?
One may argue that the men learned their lessons. In my experience, these are lessons in going scot free by using the right words, not in respecting women. Act as you wish, if confronted, apologize, act sincere and nothing will happen.
Would someone who stole your car be forgiven if he apologized for doing it? No! He would be caught by police and punished as per law. Appeals for forgiveness would meet harsh replies like “It isn’t like you didn’t know you aren’t supposed to steal, now bear the consequences”. Do women really consider their worth as less than that?
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