India has been in the press for the wrong reasons recently.
A few months ago, a woman was raped and beaten and left (with her companion) by the side of the road to die. That poor young woman did die.
A few days ago another woman was gang raped in India, not that in between there weren't any other cases,just that this time it was a Swiss tourist who was travelling with her husband.
I had a conversation with a colleague on the plight of women in India and we talked about the rapes. This colleague is female, half Indian and close to my age. She blamed the Swiss tourist for getting raped. They were in an unsafe area she said and she went on to say that the woman was probably inappropriately dressed, as are all western women when travelling in India, and that's why she was raped.
I was stunned, dumbstruck, speechless for a full minute! I have been in India, I have seen how the western tourists dress, they are very respectful of the culture and most wear the traditional Punjabi salwar kameez, but that's not the point. A woman should be allowed to feel safe in the knowledge that she can wear what she wants without having anyone abuse her. Why should what a woman wears be the reason of why she is attacked. Why are we women the ones that immediately jump to that conclusion as well. And most of all why blame the woman and not the man!
When we were younger and when we traveled to India, my male cousins were always very protective of us and rarely let us go into town without one of them. They would do their best to shield us as we walked in town. My cousins would tell us to be careful of men trying to brush against us as they (the men) would use that excuse to grope us. The problem was always there, the rapes and molesting of women, its just that now the problem is being reported more as women are increasingly moving out of the homes and traditional roles, to work. Women are becoming aware of their right to be able to move about freely, their right to be safe in their own country.
It is an enormous uphill battle, to get men in India to see the problem and how to deal with it. For a society that supposedly places their mothers ( I did want to say daughter as well but with all the infanticide and abortion of female foetus's.....) on a pedestal, they still treat women abominably.
Its however not just a problem in India. I would like to see laws passed that castrate rapists. Harsh? perhaps not, as when a man rapes a woman, he asserts his dominance and hurts more than just her body, he steals and damages her respect, dignity and her right to be free.
I quote Abraham Lincoln " Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves"