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TN Governor’s ‘Pat on Cheek’ was ONLY an Expression of Affection

Rape Jokes Jim Sarabh

When a female journalist posed a question to the Tamil Nadu’s Governor Banwarilal Purohit, his response was to patronisingly pat her cheek. The journalist, Lakshmi Subramanian took to Twitter to share a picture of this incident, where the Governor can be clearly seen touching her cheek in front of a crowd. She also made it clear that the pat came without her consent.

Purohit’s action is both inappropriate and offensive, as he simply assumed it was alright to touch a woman’s cheek without her consent.

Did she ask for it?

Inappropriate touching in our country is often debated to be harmless, because it is contending against problems like rape or sexual assault. Whenever a woman complains about being touched without her consent, there is always one voice which asks, “But did you get harmed?”

We have all come across creepy uncles who graze their fingers on your arm or pat your cheek or knees without a smidgen of shame in their eyes. For them if it doesn’t leave any bruises, it’s not a crime. In a country whose threshold for outrage is a brutal gang rape, how do women garner attention towards something like inappropriate touching?

Men in our country do not understand what consent means. They themselves decide the gravity of their actions instead of asking themselves a very basic question. Did she ask for it?

Did she ask you to pat her cheek? Or to rub her arm? When will Indian men learn that touching a woman or a girl without her consent is an offence? While bruises and injuries heal, the sensation of being touched without consent never leaves a woman’s conscience. It gnaws at her soul. We know that no matter how loudly we say it out, people will not take our problem seriously. Even in this case, many people accused Subramanian of overreacting.

https://twitter.com/AnnakkavurKesav/status/986243237479301122

But it is essential that women “over-react”. How else will men like Purohit understand that it is never okay to touch a woman without her consent. The governor later issued an apology, in which he claims that he did so with affection and to express his appreciation for Subramanian’s performance as a journalist.

Lack of empathy towards the complaints of unwanted touching has normalised such actions for many men.

Whatever the governor’s intentions were, there are men in whose perverted minds, such pats and rubs ways of cheap sexual thrills.

They resort to them, because they know they can get away with acts which can be disguised as innocent or a display of affection. Thus it becomes a duty of all men to help us draw the line. An unwanted touch is not always a poke in breasts or a graze on the hips, it can be a pat on the cheek and a rub on arms. The cheat sheet for you dear men, is to not do it, if she hasn’t asked for it.

Also Read : Uttrakhand Teen Teaches Children About ‘Good Touch, Bad Touch’

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are author’s own.