Barkha Dutt: "Dont let the Mob Win. Dont tell your daughter she can't go out alone at night. Dont restrict the clothes she wears. Teach your sons better."
Barkha Dutt, who is in many ways my role model, tweeted this around 7 this evening, when the news of a molestation case in Guwahati was doing rounds. The television channels were flooded with news readers and reporters sharing information, showing the footage of the incident and 'experts' opinion on the issue of human rights and women's rights being undermined.
I was disheartened by the issue. A 17 year old girl was molested in Guwahati around 8:30pm. What would the people who say women shouldn't keep late hours, say to this? She was not skimpily dressed. If wearing a skirt classifies as skimpy, my school uniform comprised of one! Her skirt, did not massively defy gravity, nor was it sky risingly high(read short)! The class 11 student stepped out of ar estaurant after celebrating her friend's birthday and she stepped into the blackest evening of her life! The very thought of 30 men molesting her gave me goosebumps. She was stripped and humiliated in full public view. That is the nation we have built, in so many years?
What disturbed me more was that when I sat back after wacthing the news pieces, I thought to myself what was the reporter thinking when he chose to stand by the sides to take the video, but not help the poor girl? Kudos to Times Now for not showing the video, choosing to adhere from voyeurism. I had read in books about the ethical conflicts faced by journalists. However, I never grasped the essence of those until today when I had an argument with my father about the role of the media in the whole scenario. They hype the issue periodically, harp on a topic to generate greater viewership, sensationalize it, forget the sensitivity of the matter and take the short span of public memory as the only constant amongst all other variables!
Their actions are surely debatable. Can someon give me a debate platform? A channel to voice myself? A means to share my thoughts?
Why am I so bothered, touched, affected and frustrated?
Because I am a girl, only littlle older than the one aggrieved, and I know what it feels like when your parents say- "Look what has happened in Guwahati! I'm afraid you'll have to drop your plans of travelling alone with your friends."
The phrase 'alone with your friends' is an oxymoron in itself, and to add to the irony, people treat girls as morons and apparently the onus of the fault lies on us, in some way or another.