Every once in a while, you have politicians, police officers, people supposed to prevent sexual harassment make public comments about women provoking rape.
Predictably, it unleashes a storm of criticism. Indignant feminists recycle their often repeated words from yet another perspective. Again stunning, because the issue IS so multi-faceted, and the comment about clothes and rapes is a total sitting duck. A kid can walk by with a stick and still knock it off. It isn’t even a comment that deserves an answer anymore, except for the fact that these are authoritative people, whose comments would set unsaid norms if not challenged.
So yeah, the weary and the furious get to the task of thoroughly discrediting the nonsense – which was nonsense to begin with.
A few people do try and explain how clothes do cause rape, etc but those too are largely going by what they have heard told rather than data. Their arguments are also knocked off, and so on. Not too difficult. Lot of outrage, lot of noise. The more simple facts are ignored in favor of insane claims again and again, the more infuriated every one is, the more chatter, noise, indignation and saturation of the public space with ONE aspect of the issue.
So what else is happening here?
There are rapes. There are molestations. There are a wide variety of crimes against women, most of which have nothing at all do do with clothes. Take dowry deaths for example. That is the larger setting that is narrowed down to provocation and rape while people don’t notice.
What else is happening?
These are usually people responsible and accountable for safety making such comments. Regardless of whether their comments are true or not, the smokescreen from the outrage conveniently distracts from the fact that not only have these people failed at their jobs, they have no serious intentions of making efforts to succeed.
What else is happening?
With the loud claptrap and the outrage over the claptrap and the defense of the claptrap, any voices asking questions that matter are lost in the din, or at least can be ignored in the pretense of focusing on the “louder” concerns. In the end, it is irrelevant whether the women provoked their attackers or not. What matters is that they were not breaking laws, their attackers were, and no one seems interested in condemning them, because condemning them will mean opposing them, and that will mean risk of inconvenience, effort and failure mostly, and possibly also danger to self.
It is easier to pretend there is no problem in the environment, and the problem is something the victim brings along, which is the load of rubbish. But by attaching controversy raising triggers like clothes, morality, being out late night, etc – these people are successfully able to state these things uncontested while people focus on a rubbish debate which they don’t care if they win or lose, as long as they can continue getting paid without working too much for it.
And this happens not only with women. It is happening with farmer suicides (since this is Sainath season). It is happening with health care. It is happening with education. It is happening with the freaking quality of milk you put in your tea. It is happening with religious bigotry. It is happening with stupid controversies about not trusting the person you trust National Security with to tell you his correct age – forget all the papers, which are there anyway. It is happening with E.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.
Ridiculous controversies providing smokescreens for abdication of responsibilities.
Distracting controversy is the last refuge of the incompetent.