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What really gets my goat these days is the bull in china shop approach to women's rights, which has a male dominated state and society trying to fix everything (sexual assault) - for women. I am a woman and I agree that there is vast gender inequality in India. I believe that women need to be empowered. I don't see our methods as useful. I have started calling the gender ghetto.

There are two lobbies in conflict determining women's rights that result in actions somewhere in between - usually what is acceptable to both. The "feminist" lobby - which seeks to create sensitivity and ease of justice for women - particularly for rapes. The "patriarchy" which would prefer to control women. Most of the women of India fall into neither of these two influential groups.

The feminist lobby (as per my observation in INDIA) looks to show humanity the right path - regardless of whether change results or is immediately useful for women. In less polite words, it is an upper middle class hijack of the female gender that appreciates itself and interprets "victories" against patriarchy as empowerment of women (which isn't necessarily true).

Patriarchy is on more comfortable ground. They have control and it is about managing so that no women actually get into bastions of power. The best way is to create luxurious ghettos for women, sold to feminists as special attention to women's rights.

As a result, there is an abundance of measures taken specially for women that do very little to change the ground situation. There isn't a single place where women can claim to feel safer after all the agitation, in spite of a steady stream of laws, schemes, special facilities, forces... Unfortunately, this doesn't cause the women's rights activists to pause and wonder if more of the same would be useful either. On the other hand, the special provisions cannot be made for all women - too resource intensive. So you create nice ghettos of women's rights where the loudest voices are - and keep peddling the idea that "something is being done". Unfortunately, Indian feminists ARE gullible enough to fall for it as long as their egos are stroked well.

Human rights as a special grant for women

Safety is a fundamental right. It isn't something that is a favor granted to women. Women only banks, women's credit cards, women police forces (more on that later)... You create a new breed of men who "know how to treat women". You have morally upright people criticizing social media abuse of women "Is this how you speak with women?", as though abusing men is fine... in the ghetto. I'd call it bubble, except it is really a psychological ghetto. Not merely isolation, but marginalization peddled as women's rights, confining women to "safe" spaces with "better" rights that "appreciate" them.

So, your pub going woman getting molested is an outrage, because that space is supposed to be safe for women - indeed, less "inhibited" women are part of the appeal - besides, don't the passes say "couples entry"? On the other hand, the woman getting molested in a seedy country liquor bar should have known better than to be there. Because, the pub is an official gender ghetto. Women are supposed to be in that space. On the other hand, the seedy bar is the "real world", where no concessions will be made to women, and they must know "men will be men" while walking in.

Put your hand on your heart and tell me this is not so. That this is not how your perception works too, even though you'd like to respect "all" women?

The problem is the same. Drunk louts harassing women or worse.

Any woman who has asked a husband, male partner or male friend to escort her to a dance bar (if you're around Mumbai) or red light area will attest to reason for refusal - or at least serious caution - being "it isn't safe for women". In spite of the dancers and prostitutes being girls themselves. Think about why one kind of woman wouldn't be safe in a place where women are the star attraction otherwise.

In essence, this is a class phenomenon, mostly limited to the upper middle class. Very rich people can do what they like to women and get away with it through money power or connections. Lower middle classes hover on fringes, knowing that this protection is very unreliable if the perpetrator is from an upper class. Lower classes get routinely harmed and no one gives a damn beyond stray newspaper reports or the occasional case that has enough TRP value to elevate the victim to a more deserving category of human.

The ghetto can also be layered and existing in the same place as the "real world". In other words, your pub goer getting raped will be news. A pub employee getting raped may be news depending on job (no sweepers, please), but if the woman security guard in the mall the pub is in gets raped by patrons of the pub? Forget it. Brief mention somewhere if at all. News item, not women's rights issue. You don't want unnecessary restrictions on the patrons of the pub over a nobody. It is the same reason that in spite of alcohol being a factor in many crimes and routinely in rapes, you will never find the elites bringing this up. You do not want to create an aura of shame around alcohol if you drink yourself - as a vast majority of public figures do.

Identifying a risk factor in rape is not as important as retaining elite freedoms. Not even as a minor caution point like - "Avoid being alone with one or more men you can smell alcohol on, as alcohol is known to reduce inhibitions. Particularly if there has been the slightest unwelcome flirting or sexually crude behavior or short temper." This gender ghetto is selective about risks it protects from. Only some are to be prevented. Others can be condemned in hindsight, as preventing will be inconvenient.

It is also an age phenomenon, where this insistence on safety is largely relevant to young women, but kids get harmed routinely with little protest, as do older women. So it is basically a phenomenon of nationwide statistics of enormous inequality against women used to give select women a carte blanche - which is also an illusion. It is given only as long as it doesn't inconvenience any of those with power. Rape convictions are overwhelmingly more from lower classes. No one has a problem with the nameless louts being taken out of the equation.

Feminism in India is not into hard wars. It prefers moral elegance and the high road. Patriarchy is not going to give up controlling women and treating them as primarily existing to serve the male will. Their interests do not converge on issues like domestic violence and marital rape. So we have some talk about it, but no serious challenge. The gender ghetto is that golden area where feminism and patriarchy agree and create a special safe zone where those who belong can expect safety to be their right.

Patriarchy prefers handouts to sharing power.

Patriarchy sees power as a male domain. It may be allowed to others - within limits. Misogyny actively seeks to exclude women from power. For the misogynist mind, it is better to give women a gilded harem than let them sit among the men as equals. Creating these gender ghettos works very well for them. Political parties having women wings with duties to support but very little control on party policies. Women only banks - even if they are not economically viable. Women's credit cards - why give them male ones when we can tailor features and cashbacks to define their identity with shopping, groceries and so on?

And of course, women to provide security for women, women only police stations... pitting women police against men who are highly likely to be threats to women, rather than create an overall gender sensitive police force. Risks to women were never the problem. The problem was complaints about it. This looks like a grand gesture. See! We gave women power to bring men to justice! Now vote for us please. Yet, do women only forces find it easier to deal with criminals? Why would bringing criminals to book be a gender issue? What are male cops supposed to do if they get a complaint of crimes against women? The same thing as the women cops. Yet, rather than increase the representation of women among the police force at large, it is more misogyny compatible to give them their corner to occupy.

Laws that "protect" women.

While women are overwhelmingly more harmed by men than vice versa, creating laws that institutionalize a bias against men does not help anyone. It is the legal ghetto. That sanctuary for women where they only have to name the justice they need. Of course, there is the "real world" where cops refuse to file cases - or worse to make them go away rather than exercise their rights. This successfully fudges the idea of justice for women, turning it into something that is specially granted for them in a very dramatic and unreserved manner, whereas the reality is different. Nor is creating a special issue out of the right of women to seek justice as generous as it sounds. It is the fundamental right of anyone harmed by another to seek justice.

In our grandstanding that wants to make sure we leave no space for any crime against women to slip through (regardless of applicability in real world), we make laws so unreal, that it is easy to show how a man accused of rape cannot be innocent short of an act of God - effectively turning a rape accusation into something women do that men have no defense against - when it is not true.

Consider a woman filing a complaint that she was raped a week ago by someone when they were alone in the office. Give me any possible way the man could prove his innocence short of proving he wasn't in the place at all. The man is presumed guilty - unless he can prove his innocence - yet, how does one prove an absence? It is a logical fallacy we have enshrined through reckless law making that only aims to deal out grand punishments without a view on the larger picture.

There is a strong motive to do this. To enshrine dramatic punishments as an exhibition of "doing something" to "fight rape". What is essentially a social problem - the inability of men to court women or take no for an answer - gets dumped on the legal system where it can reside happily, out of sight of a misogynist society, which is not required to face how it treats women. Naturally, for this, the law has to sound like it really knows what it is doing. Even if what it is doing is creating the provision to amputate a decade out of a man's life and reputation on the basis of an accusation he has no real way to disprove. A provision - which like India's thousand grey areas will usually be ignored and conviction rates will remain low at the discretion of judges - who must face their varying levels of conscience on sentencing a man for ten years on the basis of the crime described. Some misogynists will let all kinds of rapists go, others will let only a select few go, but the law if implemented to the letter will let no one go unless there is evidence of innocence. This is the legal system basically reduced to the level of a service for women to do anyone in. Non gender ghetto women won't be able to pull it off, because cops will simply laugh them out of the police station.

But surely it helps women? Even if it is an unfair service that caters to a few women, at least those women get empowered, right?

In my view, it doesn't. Judges who are often notoriously misogynistic will protect rapists for "small mistakes" when 10 year sentences seem to be disproportionate for an act that leaves no trace. Number of rapes on record will go high, but conviction rates will drop so dramatically that filing an FIR for rape will be rendered a joke. This will additionally provide fodder for misogynists to trivialize the act of filing a rape complaint itself, and it will be very difficult to debunk, because they will use the impossibility of proving innocence as their argument, even though lack of convictions will prove that "impossibility" false in practical application. All in all, a whole avalanche of controversial rapes will crop up, giving great boost to the feminist industry, but will lead to increased perceptions of danger limiting women, as well as increasing hostility from men once they start looking at cases. It will do a grave wrong to women whose PROVABLE rapes will now be further competing with scarce legal resources for justice.

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It seems we identify an ideal that should be, and start acting like it is fact and simply ignore what doesn't fit. We want uncompromising punishments and we also want every single wrong to be punished and we would rather a few innocents get punished than a few victims fail to nail their abusers.

Yet, is all this hand holding resulting in more assured women? More confident, more safe, more purposeful? Or merely more reckless? What is it that we are achieving, and how long is this supposed to continue and at whose cost? Why is it that we are choosing a hyperbole laden decision making process rather than something more scientific, measured and balanced?

Who will it hurt if women stop getting special favors and instead get their rights?

 

Logged in to Twitter this morning to see a flood of wishes for a happy women's day. I replied "Thank you. For today and every day." which people found witty. Actually it wasn't so much witty, as it was a statement of intent.

Awareness for women's rights - at least in public is growing by leaps and bounds and I think it is time for the women of India to move to the next step. To leave the narratives of victimhood for addressing specific wrongs, and write a new narrative where it is NORMAL for a woman to exercise her rights freely, and any obstruction to it is what is abnormal. This is how it should be. Enough headlines of "brave girl" confronts her molester. If there is a molester that got away with it, it must be treated as the exception.

Is this entirely true? Not really. But then it is about as true as the narratives of victimhood. There are women getting devastated for women, and there are women who wouldn't dream of limiting themselves to being equal with men.

Here is a quick exercise. Look around you. Notice how many green things are there. Remember the smallest detail. Now name three blue things with eyes closed. We notice what we are paying attention to. And the more we notice the helplessness of women, the more we trap women in a perception of overwhelming lack of choice.

Something odd I found over the last year... which is also when I started distancing myself from mainstream media narratives of women's empowerment is that women who read news faced far more severe sexual harassment on the street, while women without access to much news usually responded with domestic restrictions, inflation and an overburden of responsibilities being the worst thing about being a woman in India - this was nearly every woman I spoke with in real life - strangely, across classes. Some had added issues like domestic abuse and alcoholic husbands. This was odd. How many were really bothered by the burning issue on women's rights in media? None liked it, but it wasn't on the top of anyone's pet hates about being a woman in India. So where was this priority for the media coming from? More importantly, what was it doing to the perceptions of those exposed to it?

I saw dangerous dependence building on male approval for the rights of women. Be it a male controlled media, or petitions for a male dominated government to provide a 33% reservation for women. So it isn't even as though we are demanding equality. The state of knee jerk "protection" of women by condemning any and all criticism in my view started working as yet another protective and patronizing cage around them. "Don't worry little girl, we won't let them say bad words to you." ... "Even if you earned them". In another words, still an isolation without women engaging as equals on their own steam.

This is a far cry from women taking out marches protesting lack of water in which many of our mothers participated. Openly, on the street. Furious with rolling pins and buckets in hand. Today, women marching for water would probably be seen as a sexist thing, with intellectuals going "Is it only women who need water?" and ignoring the reality that regardless of ideal conditions, fact remains that women do suffer the worst of water shortages, because their responsibilities require them to use a lot of water as well as be the ones having to reply to someone needing water that there isn't any. It is as though we have adopted some ideals as reality and lost touch with what is actually happening around us. Worse, we are telling men that they must make those ideals come true and in effect, declaring a lack of trust in the ability of women to LIVE on their own steam.

This is beyond absurd. While women still face horrendous treatment, conditions for them have never been better. Look at the population of the world and understand that women have managed to thrive in far more adverse histories without any special favors. Today, when they can, why is the easy war being handed over to men to win on their behalf or grant to them in an orgasm of benevolence?

It is important that evils be confronted, but it is also important that the confronting not happen at the cost of possibilities available to women. If our idea of women empowerment were working our generation would not be expressing insecurity so bad. We cannot adopt everyone. The need is to let women CLAIM their space - to what extent they think they need or can sustain. We can support. We cannot gift it to them, or all we see is a lack of value for it.

Today, if we look at media, the loudest voices decrying the conditions of women are women who never had to face the kind of adversity the women of India at large face. They are men who haven't had to face anything women face (d'uh). What access do we have to actual issues?

Rape? Our system has failed on rape. Nor can it succeed. It is impossible to do court cases faster than rape. A ten minute rape takes a decade of court time. And there is a complaint of rape every seven minutes, not counting systematic exploitation of disadvantaged communities, widows, economic misgovernance pushing women into the flesh trade,cases not filed, cases refused and more. Yet we are so addicted to "strong punishment" as justice, we fail to call a spade a spade and keep pushing one victim after another into the limelight and taking some kind of morbid satisfaction in retelling their tale and demanding justice for "this" one. Then we pat our halos, and satisfied we are saving the world, sleep peacefully.

Yet the fact is, violence against women is going to need a solution that will eventually look remarkably like the Khap Panchayats. Where a crime happens, it is taken to a group of people responsible for the community and gets instant verdict based on known facts and the victim is free to LIVE again, leaving the bare minimum of complex cases for the courts to dispose off as fast as possible. But our Khaps as they stand would be more likely to lynch the woman than get her justice and we have no plans for engaging with them and improving social thinking beyond banning Khaps, which are informal gatherings and as such impossible to stop. At best the name Khap will stop being used.

We are not able to create a society where domestic abuse gets condemned by the neighbours before it festers into a life spent in abuse. What is worse, we are barely trying for it. We want the courts to micro-judge all we do. And only for women, because they are specially powerless. That is what we are saying, because we make the woman about the vagina when we demand huge punishments and hangings. We are not able to see a sexual assault as an assault because we are not ready to let go of judgments that say women touched by men other than their husbands (and now boyfriends) are somehow rendered less. So if it was non-consensual, we look at it as destroying the spirit of that person forever.

We talk of divorce settlements where only the husband pays alimony to the wife so she can afford to live. What about her parents? They washed their hands off her when she married? Why are they not legally expected to help support her to live independently as well? This still sees the woman as a property that got transferred from parent to husband and is now attempting to be self-owned (which will be seen as "society" - read opportunistic exploiters - as public property, because women owning anything is so absurd).

This women's day, I am hoping for power for women. Where a rape victim is able to dust herself off and get on with life just like the victim of a mugging. Perhaps more jittery in dark alleys, but most certainly not imagining judging eyes stalking her through life. Where the punishment of a rape is about the crime and damage done more than outraged modesty.

I am hoping for a world where more and more women openly do things previously off limits so that another woman at risk of being refused for her gender can point to commonly seen examples and say "of course women do these things".

I am hoping for a world when we can empower women with knowledge for her safety instead of a cottonwool cocoon that says, "Don't worry, baby, this business suit will make you look professional to all, but a strapless dress invites only those you intend" and leave it to the woman to discover the hard way, when we go "But this isn't supposed to happen!"

When we care about the women we claim to lead into new thought more than the ideals we are trying to peddle, so that we teach them that while the freedom is their right, it is a right currently under dispute by idiots who do not wish to give up exploiting and it is a good idea to play safe and have back up, but push boundaries as much as they can anyway.

I wish that empowered women can engage with younger girls getting their first taste of freedom to be the mentors that are missing in the earlier generation, that speak of freedoms, but not only from patriarchy at home, but also an exploitative patriarchy outside that would enjoy exploiting "free" women for entertainment without the least interest in their freedom. To prevent many women walking into traps we navigated without a guide.

To recognize that denying that women often attract the attention of men - even random men - is not doing millions of vulnerable girls any favors when they get exploited for their HEALTHY INTEREST IN SEXUALITY THAT WE DENY. The knee jerk defense of virtue of women leaves behind those most at risk. The hundreds of thousands of young girls who flirt because they are just learning the intoxication of male attention and have no idea how much promise or threat is really there. We were that woman too, once. We went through those giddy behaviors too, once. And we aren't bad people, are we?

I hope we can become secure in seeing women as people where we can restore their right to make mistakes and be burned for them without needing to prove their "innocence", as though guilty women should be burned. So, she was slutty and unwise and she got raped. She was foolish, but the rapist is a criminal. You don't have to deny her right to make a mistake to call a criminal a criminal.

It is high time the idea of women empowerment put WOMEN first. Regardless of whether their conditions are ideal or not. In recognizing that the conditions of each are unique, as are their needs, and the fight must be for keeping possibilities open for all regardless of culture, character, broad/narrow mind or whatever.

Here is to hoping for an India and a world where women are only limited by their abilities, and there are always ways around adverse conditions. We throw the world open and walk into it as is our right. Halos and warts and all.

Media outrage has succeeded in filing an FIR against Tarun Tejpal against the wishes of his victim herself. Many are looking at this as rule of law. I am terrified of laws that have no regard for the victim when it comes to filing the case, as it is a "crime against the state". Assuming the "sense of justice" rampaging in the media wins totally, and the victim's cooperation is not required to sentence him, as the emails made public already have enough material, you can have Tejpal in jail for 10 years with what has already been done.

Here is why that is a horrible thing.

Firstly, whoever thinks that drunk (or not drunk) molestations and gropings in office parties or even in routine workings of offices are rare have been living under some rock somewhere. Not only is it exceedingly common, it usually faces no justice. A woman who makes too much of a noise gets fired. And this is true in media as well. Rajyasree Sen points out in Newslaundry how media's response to sexual harassment among themselves has been and how it is easier for a woman from similar class and circles to demand that the perpetrator account for his actions, than the many unknown professionals. It is important that such behavior have organizational accountability if all sexual harassment at work is a problem and not just Tarun Tejpal harassing this journalist. Which is what the victim is demanding.

Instead, we have something very worrying. We have frenzied calls for arrests and FIRs and political protests outside Tehelka's office and political interference out to nail Tejpal for his crime against the state. Goa police has registered an FIR against him for crimes with a minimum sentence of 10 years and maximum of life in prison. So I am just going to assume that Tejpal is not going to get away now, and focus on the larger picture.

What we have here is private communication being made public that has fueled a media frenzy and an FIR against the explicit wishes of the victim that will lead to her testifying in court leading to a punishment of at least 10 years for someone whom she wanted an apology from along with a workplace sexual harassment committee intervention for. If she refuses to stand by her accusations, she will forever be on record in court documents as someone who made false accusations (MRAs are  going to love this one). Or she has to nail Tejpal.

At this point, it is important to note that relationships are not black and white. If you respect someone who wrongs you, it is not unnatural to want the violation acknowledged and denounced without wanting to destroy the person. It is not unnatural to not want to harm the person who created a space that means a lot to you. A relationship has many aspects - even a working relationship - and no, this isn't any attempt to paint a "consensual sexual relationship" here - which it obviously wasn't. But it is not a unidimensional thing.

Is the violation right? No it is not. But the idea that a bunch of strangers can read a leaked email and decide that it was rape and thus needs state to intervene against victim's wishes is way presumptuous. Also, regardless of what Tehelka's original stand was or appeared, they are following procedure now. Perhaps this was forced by media outrage, or perhaps Shoma's initial reaction was about her figuring out what to do, beginning with accepting Tejpal's recusal and taking over control. The process now seems to be in alignment with exactly what the girl demanded. Which is how it should be.

Another aspect here is a right wing vendetta playing out at the cost of the victim. The people who see nothing wrong in excusing misuse of power by state by claiming that the one it was misused against hadn't complained are unbelievably traumatized by the wrong done to someone they would till a few days ago call a "sickular" for simply working in Tehelka - an organization they bitterly hate. Some right wingers leaked the girl's identity in social media - something that is guaranteed to feed the anger against Tehelka, at the cost of the victim's legal right to anonymity. They are apparently so traumatized that her seeking justice with demand for actions against the perpetrator don't matter, the perpetrator must be arrested right now. These are the same people that called rape allegations against Asaram Bapu a "conspiracy" and were defending him with all their might in spite of mounting evidence. So yes, I totally believe their humanitarian objectives. Particularly at the cost of a victim they don't much care about.

But this is still not so bothersome for me. The right wing is what it is, and however they are, they are an unfortunate fact of India that cannot be wished away. Tehelka is an organization well aware of human rights, and I have no doubt that they will have to institute a fair and transparent inquiry for the sake of their own credibility. Tejpal going to jail for a crime he did doesn't bother me. I have no doubt at all that an FIR is what will happen in the unlikely chance that the victim fails to find justice within the scope of that committee.

Media outrage tends to look at outrages as unique from prevailing crime patterns and magnify dramatic views to the point something special must be achieved for each case being showcased. We judge the case and advocate actions that would fit each case to allow the vengeance we want, without realizing the larger picture. For example, the hasty and little debated lawmaking post the Delhi Gang Rape have given us a law that allows a victim's private email to someone detailing her ordeal to be used as a proof of "crime against the state" that must be punished with full dramatic spotlight against her wish. Essentially, it forces an already traumatized woman to cooperate in getting justice for the state for a crime she suffered. But can we look at our recommendations and honestly say they will be useful or appropriate for dealing with most sexual exploitation in offices that anyone comes across? What does what is going on mean for thousands of women suffering from inappropriate advances at work?

What is alarming me deeply are the implications for workplace sexual harassment. Can a woman suffering from sexual harassment at the workplace confide safely in anyone, particularly if she is working at a place that has many critics, if one leak can change her status from someone seeking help and restoration of her violated dignity to someone forced into a long drawn legal process that still does little to restore her dignity at her workplace? Can she ask her seniors for redressal of her grievances without risking an escalation she may not want? Can seniors receive her concerns freely if they must be aware that they may be implicating themselves and their organization by anything they say? In a culture used to firing women for being inconvenient if they complain of being exploited, what does it mean for women to be forced into conflicts with people in their workplace? Will women be believed when they complain of sexual exploitation, if it can snowball into a legal nightmare before the organization can even attempt to address her grievance?

It is immature to dismiss the need for workplace interventions that can defeat the perpetrator in the space he abused to violate someone with a right to it. In my view, Tejpal having to step down - whether temporary or permanent, voluntary or pressured - endorses the victim's right to thrive in her workplace regardless of the crime against her and her confrontation of it and proactively removes what she found hostile. This creation of an enforced safe space for the victim (instead of the traditional sacking for complaining) is not being understood enough. This is immediate and important and sends out a message organization wide that you cannot get away with appropriating women's rights here. No matter who you are. What he is punished as a result of the committee or law is additional. What is more, the sexual harassment committee requires the EMPLOYER to file a case against the perpetrator if a crime is found. Would it not be a bigger punishment for Tejpal to be sued by the organization he created for his actions? It is not the "escape" that it is being termed.

This process is important to play out in the public eye. The responsibility of the organization to act on the grievances put before them cannot be stressed enough, because it isn't simply about punishing a perpetrator, but it is about work spaces that set the record clear that they will not tolerate wrongs against women. This social intervention is important to happen in any space where women get exploited, including Tehelka. If the high profile nature of this case serves to stress that, the impact may reach wider than Tejpal, Tehelka and this woman as well.

What does this frenzy mean for the men? Can a woman misunderstanding their intentions writing an angry letter to her friends get exploited by a competing organization to destroy their lives? For that matter, if a man misbehaves with a woman, will he apologize if his apology becomes proof of his guilt that can put him in jail for 10 years? Will the stakes of never apologizing no matter what be created?

What does it mean for organizations? Can they unhesitatingly accept complaints of sexual misconduct if this means that it will by default open their seniors to extended legal battles? Can their investigations fairly record wrongs or reprimand perpetrators, if those will be used in courts regardless of whether they succeed in delivering a sense of justice for the victim?

Finally, while it is important that victims are not silenced and thus, all wrongs known are investigated, how "just" is it to force a method of justice that is not acceptable to the victim, that reduces the likelihood of success of the method of her considered choice that she believes will bring her justice?

For women without powerful connections, what is our right to impose investigations that are not just lengthy, but have a long and known history of backlash against the victim when the victim does not want it? Or should this only be done if *we* are outraged enough? Has our state shown *any* competence at protecting victims from social backlash - whether of the "stigma" kind, or of the "problem complainer for organization" type? Who are we to say that in addition to her trauma, the victim must bear this for our sense of a justice, which may deliver nothing that she wants or needs?

Are we seriously saying that victims of sexual crimes have an obligation to further endure whatever is needed in order to get justice for "crimes against the state"?

Shaming the closet rapists.

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Do add your suggestions in the comment, and I can add them to the map.

t is no news that people in power couldn’t care less about the problems you face. At the same time, if they are to continue exploiting your votes for fun and profit, they must at least pretend to be doing something, so that they can later claim they tried and failed.

Seeing as how most of these people are chauvinistic pigs, it is no surprise that it is to their advantage that women get no real protection from rapists. After all, what would they do themselves, if raping became too difficult? Such people, with as much humanity as rabid dogs are increasingly caging women in, limiting their scope as humans, as professionals – which is something that they grudge anyway – in a pretense of protection.

The recent gangrape of a woman who worked in a pub has provided the Gurgaon administration with the opportunity to take state state sanctioned misogyny to a whole new low without actually doing anything at all to address the problem. ANYTHING AT ALL.

Here is how:

  1. The administration has told all malls, commercial establishments and pub owners that they cannot have women employees working beyond 8pm. Are only women employees getting raped? No. But this effectively means that women will earn less, be less likely to get a job if they cannot work for the full duration ANY place in Gurgaon that is open at night works. This will be a big blow to not just women’s earnings and work opportunities, but will have an impact on countless households where working women spend their entire salaries on running the home and caring for children. [Update: Don't just think of this as bar girls and restaurant waitresses. What happens to a woman executive's job if she can't work late on projects in emergencies without "permission from Labour Department"?] What will this achieve that is worth this kind of damage inflicted on these women? ZERO. Women patrons of pubs, bars, cinemas, will still be there late night. Only they will be an even more extreme minority and more likely to be targeted.
  2. Gurgaon deputy commissioner P C Meena said permission from the labour department would be required for a woman employee to work beyond the stipulated time in these establishments. What is the track record of the Labour Department in addressing the concerns of anyone at all? Apart from a new outlet to bribe, what will this Labour Department do about permissions requested? How can they be verified? How can faking information be prevented? Will women who get permission be allocated security by the Labour Department? No. So what will be achieved other than a hindrance to normal functioning? Again, ZERO.
  3. For staffers permitted to work after 8pm, the employer would have to provide transportation for them to go home, he said. In case P C Meena hasn’t read the news, the woman who got gangraped WAS in transportation AND accompanied by her brother. Did the kidnappers abduct her because she was using a taxi and not a company car? What dies this guideline achieve? ZERO.
  4. He directed employers to maintain a log book to record details of vehicles used to transport women employees, their time of departure, name of driver, etc. But tracking her transport was not a problem at all. The taxi driver had in fact approached the Gurgaon Cops for help along with her brother. He is cooperating with the police, he is speaking freely with news media. While this is a good idea anyway – and most people do it, it actually does ZERO to address the problem or PREVENT rapes, because drivers on payroll may not be the ones raping women. In fact, this is a subtle and baseless accusation on drivers.
  5. Any information about women employees working after 8pm should be sent in advance to the labour department. During inspection, the permission received from the labour department for deploying women beyond the permitted time will have to be produced when asked for by district administration officials,” said Meena. Meena seems to  either be unfamilar with pubs or hasn’t bothered to read the case. The woman who got gangraped was not an employee of the pub, but someone who offered to partner men to gain entry into the pub. She was a kind of “freelance” companion on hire. For the purposes of any inspection this moron is planning, she was a client of the pub. What could something like this have done to save her?ZERO.
  6. Meena directed officials to conduct surprise checks to ensure the order is being implemented. Looking busy is important. Implementing useless orders achieves ZERO. Other than helping the police economy by opening another avenue for bribes.
  7. Owners of malls, pubs and commercial establishments have been asked to install CCTV cameras at pick-up points near buildings. This has already been asked many times. What is new? ZERO. Did the woman get abducted from near any such potential camera location? Nope. Did this recommendation for CCTV get enforced? Obviously not, or he’d not be telling this again.
  8. Expressing concern over incidents of eve-teasing, molestation and assault, Meena said it shall be the responsibility of pub and malls owners to ensure that these places are shut within the closing time indicated in their licences. It is perfectly legal to be out on the street all nights. What does closing pubs on time do to prevent rapes? ZERO. If anything, the more people are around, the less likely rapes would be?
  9. Pub operators have also been asked to maintain records of visitors. They should keep a photocopy of the customers’ identity cards and show these to the area SHO once every 15 days. Are you fucking kidding me? Why the fuck should I be treated as a criminal by default? Do I or do I not have a right to privacy? In any case, what does this do to prevent rapes? ZERO. It only gives the cops a whole new bunch of people to hassle for money.
  10. Malls have been directed to disconnect electricity connections of pubs that stay open after closing time. What does that achieve to protect women? ZERO. Wait, minus several. Who protects the women patrons from being groped in the dark by assorted drunks?

In other words, none of the actions actually address the problem, though they seem to have been issued as a solution. Not one. Women also get raped in the day. Women get raped or abducted in cars. How about banning cars?

The police are shirking their responsibility by vaguely making it about drivers, about the character of women. For example, Firstpost, challenging the cops breaking law by revealing identities and maligning victims quotes:

Take, for instance, Noida superintendent of police Anant Dev who told reporters that the victim “willingly went” with the accused “because she wanted an alcohol party from the boys,” helpfully adding, “She even mentioned she wanted vodka. She was involved in a physical relationship with more than one of the accused.”

In my view, what is happening here has nothing to do with preventing rape, and everything to do with disclaiming responsibility for maintaining law and order and punishing women for being raped and exposing their lack of law and order.

Why is there no comment on the inability of the police to track down the Maruti 800 used to abduct her in spite of being given its registration number? Why is there not the least apology that the Police van her brother and the taxi driver approached to request for assistance did not pursue the escaping kidnappers?

When Keenan and Reuben were stabbed on the street and onlookers didn’t do anything to help them, there was this hue and cry and massive guilt. There was very clear blame on the onlookers for not helping. When cops are PAID to prevent such crimes and are given the licence number of the car of the criminals and requested for help, and they allow the criminals to escape, in my eyes, the cops are accessories to the crime. It could not be possible without their active acting in contradiction to their duties.

In my eyes, the real guidelines here need to be issued to the police, not citizens. And I think P C Meena should resign, and any pension or money due to him should be distributed to people he is asking to do his job for him. In other words, pay for CCTVs in public places with his salary, for example.

Gurgaon should have a massive Occupy The Night Movement – where women remain out on the street all night, every night as protest – even if they end up simply sleeping on the street, before the police take away the city from them and hand it over to criminals to enjoy.