Chief Minister on Goa gangrape: Every time a gender-based crime is reported in the country, people look toward those they have elected to power with expectations of urgent, stringent action that would ensure safety reform in the future for women, deterring repetition of the horror.
Instead, what we get from our leaders (each time without fail) is a load of sexist drivel checking the survivor or victim without holding accountable the perpetrators of the crime – those the state needs to be policing within its responsibilities of law and order.
But no. Telling young girls to cover up, blaming parents for poor upbringing, admonishing the youth for living the way they do is a prospect far more convenient for our political heads than getting down to brass tacks charting out effective citizen safety measures.
The response the horrific Benaulim beach gangrape – in which two minor girls were raped by four men, and two minor boys were attacked – has evoked from Goa’s Chief Minister Pramod Sawant is truly characteristic of how many people in the country still view gender crimes.
“They were on the beach the whole night, two boys and two girls,” he said. “Teens, particularly minors, should not be spending the nights on beaches… When 14-year-olds stay on the beach the whole night, the parents need to introspect.”
Four people were immediately arrested and among them, one was a govt servant who has been suspended. Parents should also take responsibility while sending minor children out: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on gang rape of two minor girls on a beach pic.twitter.com/ZH6x40jpo5
— ANI (@ANI) July 29, 2021
Chief Minister On Goa Gangrape And Other Politicians Laying Bare Sexism
Victim-blaming is common culture in India, beginning in local environs where nosy neighbours and relatives question women’s ‘morality’ every time something untoward happens and going towards upper echelons where politicians display the same opinions, only repackaged for public forums.
UP women’s commission member Meena Kumari, for instance, recently said girls should not be given phones since they “talk with boys and later run away with them.” Meanwhile, last year deeply misogynistic commentary clouded the Hathras gangrape, with leaders like Surendra Singh saying that to prevent incidents like these, “parents should teach their daughters good values.”
Is it acceptable to us when our leaders contribute to rape culture with careless statements only to be allowed to go scot-free without facing consequences? If our elected heads in decision-making seats readily hold the sufferers in gender-based violence responsible for the crimes, giving the accused room for justification, then does any hope at all remain for women to feel safe in the country? Must the onus be put on the youth or their parents for the responsibilities administrative powers have been entrusted with? How many more rapes will it take to kickstart real action?
Views expressed are the author’s own.¬†