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Can one ever become inured to the preposterous so called diktat of self styled religious organisation targeting as always: women! What is infuriating is the ease with which they trivialise a horrific crime like rape. Version 2014 emanates yet again from Haryana states: “if women dress up skimpily, men will be attracted and mistakes may happen. It is better to look into the way you dress up. Rapes will not decrease if you wear such clothes. So, wear decent clothes.” May I remind you that 2 years ago the same kind of people said that eating chowmein increases the incidence of rape. We have just voted in a Government who promised to ensure safety to all women. This is not what one expected.

Women who form or should form 50% of the population enjoy the same constitutional and civil rights as the other 50% namely: men! These are enshrined in Article 19. All citizens have freedom of speech and expression and thus the right to chose what they wear. But it is not the right to dress in a certain way that is the moot question. The question is the linking of rape to a dress or lifestyle code. It would make us believe that all men are potential rapists and what stands between they becoming a rapist or not is the dress of the woman.

As if that was not enough, the UP police responding to an RTI query stated that western culture, mobile phones and lack of entertainment as reasons for rape. The article mentioned a bizarre medley of reasons for rape coming from all over the state.

This is nothing short of shocking and outrageous as it treats the horrific crime as a trivial reaction to external factors. That a small self styled religious outfit says so is bad enough, but when the police of a large state where rape is rampant takes the same road it is unacceptable, disturbing and reeks of patriarchy. If the ones that are meant to prevent crimes, in the occurrence rape, feel that these are due to a pair of jeans worn by a girl or to her having a mobile phone, then God help us all.

In both cases it is patriarchy at its worst. It is so easy to put the blame on the woman and white wash the man. From day one the girl is an unwanted burden. The boy is feted and spoilt and all his misdemeanours are covered up. One can understand a parent doing so but when institutions get in the act it is terrifying.

Rape is a terrible crime and cannot be forgiven or even watered down. It is the worst form of abuse imaginable and a  power trip. The victim, should she survive, bears the scars forever and her entire life is ruined because of that one rape. She can never forget. A rapist is a criminal with a sick mind that needs to be attended to.

The new breed of moral guardians want to underplay the rape issue by linking it to lifestyle. But then what about the 2 year old and 3 years old and eighty years old who are raped. Where did they go wrong.

Things will not and cannot change unless mindsets are changed. How can a proper gender equation be arrived at when the girl child begins her race with a huge handicap. As long as girls are not wanted in the same manner as boys; unless men understand and accept that they determine the gender of a child and not their wives; unless healthy and age appropriate sex education is taught in schools and homes and the word sex is considered just as another word; unless Godmen and social institutions start preaching the right values and expose social ills like dowry and child marriage, NOTHING will change in this country.

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To the manor born