The disturbing Unnao molestation video which is circulating on social media highlights the indemnity of filming and sharing women’s plight. A woman can be seen pleading in the video, to let her go, while her assailants proceed to cheerfully announce that they were going to make this video viral. The sheer audacity with which these men have filmed and circulated this video is spine chilling. Have men in our country, no moral compass anymore? Do they not have an iota of fear regarding the consequences of such actions?

Maybe it is the lack of consequences which is indeed responsible for this brazen behaviour. Or maybe it is the knowledge that in our country, the shame of sexual assault lies more with the survivors, than with the perpetrators.

Are we ashamed yet?

The male entitlement in our country has reached a point where men have tossed their moral compass altogether, because they know that no action of theirs will bear them any repercussions. They know that the society and their peers have their back, even if they abduct a woman, take her to a secluded area and film her being molested. Even making the threat of making the video viral bears no fear, of having their deeds exposed on the Internet.

Isn’t the society’s propensity to victim blaming responsible for this brazen attitude?

The threat of filming molestation or rape is used as a blackmail by many youths today because the burden of shame falls singularly on girls and women in India. She must feel ashamed for being filmed naked. She must feel ashamed for being raped or molested. Not her assailants, or the men who film such videos. They will grin into cameras as if this video is their middle finger to the police authorities, and so-called liberals who demand to curb the rising crimes against women.

Only people who know they are invulnerable would resort to such behaviour.

The Unnao molestation video doesn’t just question the morality of Indian men. But it also questions all of us who watch this video. Even if the police arrest these youth and puts them in jail, will it change anything? Will it discourage men from molesting, raping and filming women in compromised situations? These men, if they don’t face the social consequences for their actions, will go around living their lives. But the woman in the video, what will become of her? How will the society react to her “infamy”?

The truth is that our silence and defensive approach towards male aggression is responsible for this mess. Today, we have fallen in this puddle of muck face first, because yesterday we were advocating “boys will be boys”. We stayed silent when patriarchy was insinuating parents and peers into endearingly embracing every mean streak in their raja betas.

This lurid display of machismo and manhood in the form of viral videos of rape and molestation won’t stop until men start facing a social backlash. It is they who deserve the shame along with legal punishment, for their conduct. Moreover, stop sharing such ghastly videos and giving these criminals their fifteen minutes of fame. Our aggressive sharing no matter how well intentioned ends up giving these men what they want. Why give them the sadistic pleasure of victory both over law and our social morality?

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

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