Guest post by Nitin Aggarwal, on starting the dialogue on crime against women and raising awareness on women issues:

 

I was travelling in the auto rickshaw the other day when this incident happened with me. The driver was pretty talkative, the likes I am really fond of usually. He talked about the fog, the politics, the traffic, even about his family and what he should do to get his son an engineering degree. He was one of those guys who didn’t care a tiny bit what the world thought of him. And he spoke continuously non-stop during the entire ride.

Till I decided to talk about the crimes against women. Then he fell silent. I was expecting to hear what an ordinary citizen of Delhi, a rickshaw driver had in his mind about the most pulsating topic of recent times. I probed him further asking “aapka kya maan-na hai, kyun hota hai yeh sab? Kiski Galati hai?” (What do you think, why does all this happen? Who is at fault for all the violence against women?) He said only a few words probably knowing why I was asking him this question: “sab ladkiyon ki galati hai sabji” (It’s all the girls’ fault sir). I was not surprised at all, after all many of my elder relatives have a similar thinking. However I was not going to let him go without explaining himself and letting him hear my piece of mind.

I asked him many things after that about why he thought women were at fault? Was their western dressing the issue, or their sense of confidence? Was it because that today’s men felt insecure and jealous of the success some of the women have got? What was the reason he so very easily blamed the victim in a violent attack for the attack itself? But I got nothing from him after that. It was very mysterious indeed. Whether he had some past personal experience of some sort and didn’t want to talk about it or was offended by me in some other way while I was asking these questions, I would never know.

Since that day I have done this with many others, with varying results. Some have willingly talked about this issue with me, some have not. But by doing so I have been able to understand the mentality of general public as well as made at least some folks aware about how wrong it is to think that the women victims are at fault for them being targeted. If we all did this with our drivers, maids, newspaperwallahs, doodhwallahs, and even with our friends and colleagues, it will only help to create that much more awareness all around us.

Of course we need the laws against such crimes and we need a better infrastructure for reporting and dealing with such cases but why cure something that can be prevented. Through this post I wish to request all the readers to go out and ask people you meet “Whose fault is it anyway?” and make them think about it too.

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