Are women to blame for sexual abuse?

Abuse on women in India has been hitting the headlines for the past few years, especially after the horrific Delhi gang rape in 2012. Since then many people have come forward and blamed women for wearing provocative clothing or being out ‘too late’, thus attracting such behaviour. On Sunday, actress Gauhar Khan was slapped by an audience member, thus refuelling this argument.

She was hosting a TV programme when a young man, 24-years-old, accused Gauhar of dressing inappropriately as a Muslim woman and then slapped her.

This is a notion echoed by many who accused the Delhi gang rape victim of being out too late thus putting herself at risk of sexual abuse. Likewise, another Indian girl who was filmed being inappropriately touched by a group of men as she left a club was blamed for this treatment.

I have one question to people who blame the victims: rape takes place all over the world, even in the most conservative and remote communities where women will cover head to toe – are they provoking sexual abuse?

Rape is the worst crime against a woman. Her honour, self-respect, confidence are all violated and scathed forever. Rape leaves mental and spiritual scars that last forever. In a country like India, there is a domino-effect of being shunned by society so your personal, family, social and career prospects are ruined forever.

And now another question for those who believe women provoke sexual abuse: imagine if it was your mother, sister, daughter, wife, girlfriend – how would you feel?

India is a democracy. Or at least that’s what its constitution dictates. How a woman dresses, acts, talks, where she goes and at what time is personal choice. Equality and human rights are legislations that reinforce this.

So why are women expected to cover in sacks, be hardly seen and never heard, remain in the background and not dare dream of a bright future?

Why is their morality questioned if they choose to wear a skirt yet a man who will perversely look or attempt to touch a passing woman is commended by his friends?

When will we grow out of a patriarchal, chauvinist world where a woman is blamed for whatever ill treatment she received whereas a man goes scot-free?

Grow up narrow minded, ignorant people – you have mothers, sisters and daughters. Deal with the filthy animals who can’t keep their flies zipped before you question a woman’s liberties.