Shah Rukh Khan at a recent event joined a line of actors who have been expressing their concerns against Sexual Harassment prevalent in the Film Industry. The actor spoke in the light of the recent explosion of harassment cases happening in Hollywood and also regretfully commented, ‘It could be happening right under your nose’ about the existence of similar cases existing in Bollywood.
The fundamental question one must think about is, “Why are women hesitating to report cases of sexual assault against them?”
“Are they fearful?”
“Or do they think that they are themselves to be blamed?” as agreed by Angela Lansbury in her famous controversial interview with the Radio Times Magazine.
Maybe, this could be it. Every time a woman shares the horrifying experience with her closed ones, this is the typical question from them, “Were you dressed appropriately? Was your top sleeved or sleeveless? Did you have some eye contact?” Apparently, the society still believes that a girl’s skin is the culprit behind the uncontrollable desire by men. We are in a community where a girl speaking eye to eye with a man confidently does not receive appreciation but raises eyebrows. Maybe because females are supposed to be shy, not pressing on any of her influence that is, she is supposed to exist but not be.
It just does not happen in India, a recent study by the EEOC in America found that in some industries, more than 50% of the women face sexual harassment and 75% of the women who report them have faced some sort of counter-pressure or threats.
Women are taught to let go of the smaller incidents at the workplace, at college etc which would otherwise ‘spoil’ their career or the identity of the organization. It should be a shame on all of us that we put the ‘dignity’ of an organization and career as the sole purpose of life apparently, before the self-respect of a woman. This is perhaps the most convincing proof that she is still considered as an object.
Just like any other stigma in the society, this too is a result of our poor thinking. Even today, if a girl narrates an incident to the police, the shrewd mind of the officer would first investigate the facts to somehow chalk out a mistake of the woman. Was she drunk? Yes! She was. Now judge her and haul a ton of embarrassing questions which would shut her down.
And indeed she becomes silent. Because she is not brave. No further is she able to creep out of the emotional trauma she has fallen into and she prefers to stay and cry in the dark.
What should be done? It is our responsibility to first STOP JUDGING HER. There are enough rights and duties in the books of our Government and our women must be educated in that.
They must be encouraged to raise their voice and not be constantly told, ‘You should not have done that’. Lastly, as men, learn how to see a girl with eyes that don’t assault and teach your male friends/relatives to BEHAVE. We are though making some progress in this regard in the bigger cities but still 8 out of 10 women in India prefer to stay quiet and bear all the pain. Why? She has realized fully that she is an object and an object does not speak.