Ban Galore

Bangalore/Bengaluru is such a happening place. Yet what it really needs is a ban. No,many many bans.

New Year’s Eve was a nightmare for most women in Bangalore. If you really do not know what happened, you have been nursing an apocalyptic hangover or you have been living under a rock. New Years Eve celebrations went awry when a lot of women who went out to celebrate were molested. There was a wave of mass molestations by mobs of men. When asked about the situation and the safety of women in their governance, the police and the state representatives were nonplussed. Some lame excuse, blame the victim etc prevailed. Of course, Twitter blew up. News channels went crazy as usual. On Twitter, there was #NotAllMen trending as well.

Yes, that is exactly what Mahatma Gandhi would have told – “I didn’t do it, #NotAllMen are violent”.

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Like they banned 500 and 1000 rupee notes, they must also impose a ban on people encroaching personal space. A ban on people appearing in public in an alcohol induced bravado.  In fact, like they do in engineering colleges here, impose bans on everything that could bring two genders within three feet of each other. Oh, and if you do enter personal, you should be able to spend a night in the bear cage or some such punishment must be devised. ( If Brienne of Tarth could do it, you in your brave state of mind would find it far too easy) But, I am sure it will just end up with all women being banned from appearing outside, dressed a certain way or after a certain time. 😐

Seriously though, while I agree that not all men are such criminals, we need to acknowledge that there exists a mindset in the world that we live in, one that makes it unsafe for women. Every woman you know has been catcalled/groped/pinched/teased/harassed or more. Every Woman!!!

What happened is not just shameful, it is a crime and must be treated as such. Why haven’t the police taken any action when they have themselves witnessed the incident? If not a crime against a person, it must be treated as a crime against society.

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The repercussions are going to be there for a long time. The victims may bear the scars of this, but so will all women to some extent. No matter where they were on that fated night, it is something that all women will fear. Everyone will now have doubts about the safety of women. Daughters, sisters, wives, friends, mothers – there will be a worry in their own minds as well those near and dear. Are we a society that will thrive only when women are stuck at home, and not be independent?

Fine, if that is the case, we can accomplish that as well. Imagine what would happen if, to retaliate against such pathetic circumstances of unsafe existence, all women decide to stage a non-cooperation and disobedience movement. If it worked against an empire, I am sure it would work against society as well.

Look around yourself, at home, at work, on the road, there are women around everywhere. If all of us women decide to boycott the existence of a patriarchy and all that entitlement that prompts scum to behave as such; if we decide to boycott the men who hide behind the #NotAllMen and did not step up to raise a voice against such incidents, what will be the consequence?

Life exists in balance – and incidents such as these threaten an already fragile fabric. Before you say anything, think how it would feel if someone did the same to your daughter, or your sister,  your wife, or your mother? Will you sit aside and watch her relive her nightmare every day, knowing this could happen to her again? How does it feel, to know that any man out there in the world today has a carte blanche and can get away with such depravity? How does it feel to know that your government and law enforcement don’t give a damn about your safety or that of any woman in your life?

While these sociopaths may not remember their victims, their victims will remember much of the night. Imagine living with the harrowing experience for the rest of one’s life. It is a scar that will never fade – and knowing that any moment some man can inflict more damage is not going to help heal anyone.

Gone are the days when India was known to be a safe place.  In the Ramayana, even Ravana did not touch Sita! While in the Mahabharata, Draupadi went through such shame, her husbands hung their heads in shame – just like we do now. Doesn’t matter if you are man or woman, we cannot be unashamed by the fact that we just went back on the evolutionary scale.

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