Monday, January 07, 2008

Behaving irresponsibly

Just in case you haven't already seen this, I've been involved in a protracted and frustrating debate over a post by Sakshi linked to by Desi Pundit - a post where she argues that women should "behave sensible and make wise decisions" by "being careful when picking places to celebrate a night out" in order to avoid being victims of sexual harassment. You can see the discussion on DP here (a link to Sakshi's original post is also provided). The post is ostensibly about the molestation incident in Mumbai on New Year's Eve, though I've long given up on finding the slightest connection between the facts of that specific incident and Sakshi's claims.

It's been a frustrating discussion because, as you can see by clicking on the link above, the defenders of Sakshi's 'argument' consistently refuse to engage with any of the questions / issues that I and others are raising, choosing instead to play an entirely defensive role by explaining (read re-interpreting) Sakshi's original post and supporting it with a combination of shape-shifting definitions and logical sophistries (apparently, women can avoid being subjected to sexual harassment and violence by behaving sensibly and responsibly, but saying so is not judging those who don't do so in any way. Go figure).

It's an object lesson in the convoluted ways by which people rationalize their own biases to themselves and others. It's also an object lesson in how abstract platitudes and superstitious generalizations can come to seem like a point of view if you stick with them long enough.

So. If you're one of these people who think Sakshi has a point, here's my challenge to you. Give me one example, just one, of an incident of sexual violence that could, according to you, have been avoided if the victim had followed Sakshi's advice. That's not too much to ask, is it? After all, if what Sakshi's saying makes so much sense there must be hundreds, even thousands of such cases every year. It can't be that hard to find one.

To be clear: I'm not asking for some half-baked analogies, dime-novel fiction, fuzzy generalizations about women who "guzzle it down like a gutter", or superstitious nonsense about what might have happened to so-and-so if they hadn't been careful. I'm asking for a real incident - name of the victim, place, time, description of the event. Remember to explain why / how you think the victim could have foreseen that she would be in danger - why you think the probability of an incident at that time and in that location was greater than at other places and times, and how the victim could have known this ex-ante. And assuming you can make this argument (and I'd love to see you try) don't forget to explain why, given that the victim was acting in ways that you've just demonstrated to be irresponsible, she is not to be judged as being stupid and therefore not at least partly at fault for what happened to her.

Go ahead, the comments section is open.

I'm not even going to go down the whole loss of freedom / giving in to the fear line of argument on this one. Before we even ask whether giving up on freedom to ensure our personal safety is worthwhile, we have to ask whether 'behaving sensibly' can actually be done and will actually make a difference to the problem. And I'm unconvinced it will. All these arguments achieve, as far as I can tell, is create an atmosphere of fear while allowing the people making them to feel smug about how sensible they themselves are. This would be silly in itself - what makes it harmful is that sooner or later victims of sexual violence start to believe this nonsense and start to wonder whether they could, in fact, have done something to avoid it and this makes them feel worse about themselves. Even if you don't take the obvious next step of saying "she deserved it / she was asking for it" (and you can be sure someone will - by making this argument you're playing straight into the hands of the patriarchy), you're still achieving nothing but giving victims a sense of guilt that they neither need nor deserve.

59 comments:

Anonymouse said...

*Delurking*

Not a supporter of that half-arsed (if you'll pardon the French) discussion of theirs but I certainly am very curious about why you persisted with it on DP. Or here. One comment in (each) and you could have seen both the absurdity and the futility of arguing with them.

Falstaff said...

anonymouse: Oh, I don't know. Maybe because I'm an optimist and kept hoping they would eventually see sense. Maybe because I could see the arguments against them so clearly and it was easier to just set them down then carry them around in my head. Maybe because I just like arguing. Maybe because I was bored.

Why I persisted with it here is a different story. I figured, if I've spent so much time and effort on that argument, I might as well at least get a post out of it.

polybiotique said...

Thank you falstaff.. for making a blogpost out of what I endorse and have always wanted to blog about and yet, never found the eloquence.

Anonymous said...

I don't go out drinking with people I don't know VERY well. So doing, I avoid rape by said Not Known Well person. I also probably miss the chance of getting to know them very well. But, I would be responsible for getting harmed if I just indulged in my own wishes, wouldn't I?
The loser who jerked off on the back of my dress(molested / harrassed me otherwise) while I was walking down the railway platform(dark lonely road / crowded fair) couldn't have done so if I had been responsible and not been there in the first place. Or maybe if I had been responsible and not worn a fitted Salwar kameez(jeans / short skirt).
Women should understand their place, and just remain covered and at home ! And if someone at home molests them, they should just kill themselves - it must be HER nature that caused it, since it does not happen everywhere.

All these women are saying is this - "I am responsible. It cannot happen to me ! Are you telling me that it could still happen? Lalalala Not Listening !"

There is a difference between what we actually do, and whether it is our(everyone's) responsibility to do it. It's a slippery slide to call it responsiblity. I was there once, with those who spoke about responsibility. Took some amount of reading to figure out where that argument went wrong.

Yes, I do avoid doing things that are apparently likely to put me at risk. No, it is not right, and I hate it.
~Sunbeamz

Anonymous said...

Hi
Let me make a disclaimer upfront, do not agree with the views expressed in the linked article. Do not have an example to give here, real or otherwise.

So why am I commenting? Mainly because *your* article has got me wondering. Especially
"...that the victim was acting in ways that you've just demonstrated to be irresponsible, she is not to be judged as being stupid and therefore not at least partly at fault for what happened to her."

Arent you mixing cause and effect (perhaps I should say action and consequence) here?. Let us assume that someone can give such an example (i.e. x was behaving irresponsibly) why should that naturally lead to them labelling "x" as stupid or partly to blame for the action of SOMEONE ELSE?

Let me take the already-beaten-to -death example here: drinking yourself senseless. I contend that doing so is stupid. Why? because it ends with my head in the toilet for the rest of the night and a blistering headache the next morning. But my stupidity is NOT an invitation to someone to molest me. Drinking too much does not naturally lead to someone raping me.
I guess what I am trying to say, is I can blame myself for drinking too much but that is not the same as blaming myself for being assaulted. So how does that make me"play into the hands of patriarchy"?

SK
PS: I suppose I am "delurking". I hate that word btw, it seems to have a negative connotation! But anyways, nice blog!
PPS: I see you have read "what was lost" I am curious, how did you manage to get it? I tried getting my hands on that book, but was told it is not yet published in the US.

Sakshi said...

Thank you for persisting with this. Hopefully some of the defenders will see the logic in what you are saying! I am not holding my breath - but hoping that they do :)

Space Bar said...

(trying to comment today is one frustrating experience...what the hell is the matter with google?)

i'm surprised no one has invoked the Ideal World vs Real World argument yet. It goes as follows:

In the Ideal World, every woman will be able to wear what she pleases, go where she pleases, at whatever time, in whatever state of dress or mental (dis)equilibrium, and be safe.

In the Real World, (the argument goes), dressing in certain ways, behaving like you're enjoying yourself, hell - even working, you know, like anyone else - is an invitation to be assaulted. So, given that this is how the world is, given that men are boors, barely able to contain themselves, what women have to do to be safe is Be Sensible.

It makes me sick.

Every time a woman compromises and says, 'let's be safe because this is how the world is', they've lost an opportunity to push for their cities and their public spaces to be safer; to demand that they have a right to be where they want to be without being punished for someone else's crimes.

This is not to say I don't empathise: it is easier to back down, not be in the public eye, not fight battles on behalf of an entire gender.

I've done it: had men friends drop me home if it's very late and driving back alone doesn't feel possible (regardless of dress; and I wouldn't drive if I was drunk, yes?). Avoided smoking in public. Backed down when people were harassing me on a road in daylight because to continue would have definitely meant physical assault.

However, let's be very clear about this: the point is not whether women do these things to be safe. Of course they do. The point is they shouldn't need to. And when an opportunity arises to raise one's voice, it's odd that so many women should raise it to say to other women that they should restrict their freedoms, instead of calling for the creation of safer environments for them.

Sunil said...

Dear Falstaff,

We need no introductions.

It is quarter past two in the morning and I have driven half the country to open up my mail box and find your post as a forward. Over the past twenty odd minutes I have read your insouciant mindless typing on all the links posted. I am sorry to say it can only qualify as a spam. I loved the way you slipped in the seat belt links.


The problem is your just in love with your ideas and totally removed from world. Not having one speck of a clue what you are talking about. Which is why I always insist that you go out more, something I am sure sakshi does.

Lets hear a bit from what she had found while out and about: (note she starts with another thing, nowhere in that paragraph has any allusion made to any incident).

Another thing that really pisses me off is to see women drunk to death. At the hotel where we were partying, no exaggeration here; there were more women literally puking their guts out in comparison to men. Zapped out of their senses; either dancing like maniacs or staggering around like zombies. And some couldn’t even stand on their own feet and therefore had to be carried off either with the help of their friends or the hotel staff. It’s distressing to see how daft these women can be, I mean it’s alright to have a night out with friends but one should always be in control and aware of their limit.

And this is you, when you are less absurd:

The question is whether ANYBODY should be whacked out of their minds”
Why shouldn’t they if they want to? Okay, so you and Sakshi don’t like people drinking. That’s your choice, and your personal judgment - one that I don’t happen to share. I’m all for everyone - men and women alike - having the freedom to indulge in whatever activities they choose as long as they don’t harm anyone else. Being “whacked out of one’s mind” is a lot of fun and not an experience I would want anyone to be denied.
At any rate, that’s not the point. The point is that being drunk neither makes you liable for things other people do to you nor absolves you of responsibility for what you do to other people.

Finally I am too old for these things, but your naivety is compelling. Moreover once in a while some play keeps me healthy.
You have asked me one, I can give you 13 from last year alone and two I personally know. Its my job. This is a lagniappe: a famous one from last year

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Crim/2007/804.html

This is part of judgement:
… where the complainant has voluntarily consumed even substantial quantities of alcohol, but nevertheless remains capable of choosing whether or not to have intercourse, and in drink agrees to do so, this would not be rape.

Take care. Kindly pardon any typos or poor grammar.
Shall come back again to see how you are when taslima hots up next month

Bye now
Sunil

Falstaff said...

polybiotique: You're welcome.

Sunbeamz: Hmmm...good point. I suppose convincing yourself that it can't happen to you because you're sensible is a defense reaction. But a problematic one at that - it does no one any good to be lulled into a false sense of security. Not to mention that it's divisive.

SK: I've been over this too much to go over it again. Put simply, if you could avoid being harmed by being careful and you didn't, you're a) fairly stupid b) almost certain to blame yourself and c) likely to be held at least partly responsible by at least some people. The point is that victims of sexual harassment don't deserve any of that, because they couldn't have avoided what happened to them, and nobody should be fooling them (or themselves) by claiming any different.

As for 'What Was Lost' - I got it from the University Library. And thanks.

Sakshi: Thanks. Not holding breath either.

Space Bar: Eloquently put.

Sunil: Clueless as ever I see. And no sign of the example I asked for. Figures.

Anonymous said...

Hi

It appears like you are saying, telling victims that there maybe ways to potentially safegaurd yourself is the same as blaming them for the assault. All I am saying is, I dont think that is entirely true. If I suggest (or even gift) a gaurd dog to a neighbour whose house was broken into, it doesnt mean that I am blaming him for the housebreak.

There I am done, sorry if I have missed your point entierly. Promise not to spam anymore.

SK

Falstaff said...

SK: I'm not saying it's the same thing as blaming them. Obviously the bulk of the blame still goes to the criminal. But it's sowing the seeds of the thought that they maybe they were at least in part responsible for what happened to them, that they could have done something to prevent it, which helps no one and only increases the misery of the victim.

Take your homeowner example. Someone's house gets broken into. Would you go to him and say "Now, if only you'd had a dog!". Would you write a post saying "if only people would be sensible and own dogs this kind of thing wouldn't happen". Would you suggest that more act wisely and stay at home so that their houses don't get broken into? Actually, getting a dog might actually help - a better analogy to Sakshi & Co.'s argument would be 'keeping an eye out for suspicious persons'. Or putting one of those chilli-lemon contraptions over your door-frame, to ward off 'the evil eye'.

the mad momma said...

Said it at DP, saying it here. I agree. She might not have said it.. but putting the two points together was almost like implying there is a connection. I am surprised when women - our generation of supposedly empowered women tell us 'stay home and be safe'. sure... lets not get an education either.lets sit at home and cook. bah

i wrote something abt it here.. http://thebratthebeanandbedlam.wordpress.com/2008/01/02/

Sunil said...

''No sign of the example I asked for..''

You are surely not kidding?
Did you check the Link I had pasted. Yes repetition doesnt help denial, but perhaps idiocy?

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Crim/2007/804.h

Patrix said...

Thanks, Falstaff for commenting and laying out your views so lucidly both on DesiPundit and here. The primary difference between the two arguing sides is a difference in perspective or maybe paradigms. But that still doesn't excuse the 'stay away from all places' arguments.

I hope to get back soon and laying down my thoughts as well. But you have done more than enough and if people still do not get it then perhaps they simply don't want to.

Falstaff said...

mad momma: Thanks.

sunil: What part of "don't forget to explain why, given that the victim was acting in ways that you've just demonstrated to be irresponsible, she is not to be judged as being stupid and therefore not at least partly at fault for what happened to her." did you not understand? The cases you point to do hold the victim responsible for what happened to her.

patrix: Thanks.

Sunil said...

Oh Falstaff.

Heres you : “…If you're one of these people who think Sakshi has a point, here's my challenge to you. Give me one example, just one, of an incident of sexual violence that could, according to you, have been avoided if the victim had followed Sakshi's advice.”


Sakshi has explicitly stated her views on excess drinking which I agree with. To which your schoolboy shout is why shouldn’t people drink to be whacked out of their minds if that’s what they want to do?

The case in question is why.


Now, I have no intention to educate you here about law. Just this quickly--The case doesn’t hold victim for what you call ‘what happened to her’ which I think is crude.

Where I live women are held capable of consent under influence of alcohol. So there is no question of ’anything happening to her’. she was held responsible for the ‘allegation’ which was found lacking and hence quashed.


Ha ! For once you have shown some bravery and asked me this:


“What part of "don't forget to explain why, given that the victim was acting in ways that you've just demonstrated to be irresponsible, she is not to be judged as being stupid and therefore not at least partly at fault for what happened to her." did you not understand? The cases you point to do hold the VICTIM responsible for what happened to her.”


Good. The question is basic, my love, is she a victim? A question you forgot to ask when you were busy typing this:

“..Being “whacked out of one’s mind” is a lot of fun and not an experience I would want anyone to be denied.”

In your whole challenging charade you have assumed that a person violated is a victim by statue. If someone is molested she becomes a victim in a social sense, which is what those patient women were trying to drive into you. And she is not a victim according to the law, only an alleger.

Finally,
I am not here representing any school like you do nor to challenge an ideology. I do not concern myself with the incident but merely replying to the lack of understanding exhibited here. In the incident there is no alleger and the only fortunate proof are the snaps and the cameramen. I think the debate should have started there: why despite of evidence there hasn’t /wasn’t a complaint?
Not your antics.

I understand this is no platform for sharing my views on women and their rights, but I think you should have known better that using phrases like things happening to them , which at best is your naivety and at worst crass. And also appallingly this:

I'm asking for a real incident - name of the victim, place, time, description of the event. Remember to explain why / how you think the victim could have foreseen that she would be in danger - why you think the probability of an incident at that time and in that location was greater than at other places and times, and how the victim could have known this ex-ante.

Thanks for letting me express myself

bye
Sunil

Falstaff said...

Sunil: Okay, I'm trying this one last time. If you still don't get it, I give up.

Patriarchal Mindset: If women acted responsibly (e.g. didn't drink, stayed at home) they could avoid becoming victims of sexual violence. Therefore, if a woman acts 'irresponsibly' (drinking, going out late) and is subjected to sexual violence she has only herself to blame (and therefore cannot claim 'rape').

I (and practically everyone else) is saying that attitude is morally outrageous. Women should have the right to live their lives the way they choose to, without being subjected to violence if they don't conform to social norms. And if the law says otherwise it's a patriarchal law that needs to change.

Sakshi is trying to finesse her way out of that position by saying that women can avoid becoming victims by being careful, but that saying so doesn't, in any way, constitute a judgment on their behavior. Your example doesn't support her claim, it disproves it, because it demonstrates beautifully how the belief that a woman could have avoided the violence she was a victim of by behaving 'responsibly' leads inevitably to the conclusion that since she didn't behave responsibly she has less (or in this case nothing) to complain about.

As for letting you express yourself - why would I deny you the obvious pleasure you take in listening to yourself talk? Feel free to prattle on. But don't expect any further response from me.

dipali said...

The arguments set forth remind me of my childhood- any kind of illness/injury to my person, was, according to my mother, my fault, either by an act of omission or commission.( Also, irrelevantly, occurring only to have her suffer my illness/injury)
The victim, who is suffering already, is apparently always responsible for her suffering.
Not fair.

A woman can be in any state of dress/undress/sobriety/ drunkenness/and at any location.
Nothing can justify her being molested or otherwise exploited. Nothing. No one has any business indulging in any kind of sexual activity with another person unless it is consensual.
The onus can only be that of the perpetrator.

Sunil said...

Falstaff,

Oh back to tantrum, boy!

I repeat for your benefit:

Sakshi has said watch your drink women. I agree. You don’t, to you its revelry.
The case verdict mentioned above overturned sentence of five years claiming the allegation was secondary to the influence and effect of excess alcohol. In essence it said, we acknowledge the event but cant do the same for the allegation.
Which is proof enough for the validity of sakshi’s view to watch yourself women when you drink, because even if you are violated, your allegation might not be legal and you may end up in a helpless position. Your view is women shouldn’t be denied to get munted, whacked, etc as long as they a re not hurting anyone. I can give your more links and complete case verdicts, but you have made up your mind that you will only have vanilla. Not worth it.

When I embarked on commenting yesterday I was expecting some straw-man comment like you have. Anyone with any sense can easily pick up how you have totally misread sakshi’s thoughts. ( those are not even arguments) and made a life out of it for two days, and more perhaps for just feeding your own vanity.

It is general knowledge that you lack commonsense, something which the girls have been telling you for a while now. You have just spawned a series of cottage comments to support your preset platonic ideas. For instance in your comment you continue to use your own words the validity of which have been discredited in the context - sexual violence , victim etc. Also, you haven’t conveniently replied to some of the other issues I have pointed out in my previous comment.



I have taken a few shots at you and you have at me, man to man. Unlike some times before when your uncles, aunts and distant cousins used to join to support you. So fair and fine.

Finally, The absurdity of your mind is for everyone to see in your last comment where you ask me to listen to you in the first sentence and refuse to engage with me in the last, a requirement that I haven’t anytime threatened or deprived in our exchanges anytime however useless I thought of them. That speaks for itself. Its called preaching.

Its clear that you have issues to sort yourself and for that, I disengage now.

Thanks again

Good bye

Sunil

Anonymous said...

this discussion seems 2 have become more of a battleground between Falsie and S and people rest of the 'junta' is quietly enjoying this rarity. Carry on you 2. Our best wishes.

Falstaff said...

dipali: Yes, exactly.

anon: No fear, I'm done. I really need to learn to stop getting drawn into pointless battles with random gnomes, don't I?

thistle said...

Erm...I'm hard pressed for time to research more into this, but why was there no case registered? Where's the law enforcement in all this? If the perpetrators get away with this, much like last year's incident, it would only make incidents like this appear somewhat (perversely) permissible in any future wrong do-er's eyes.

This is horrifying! What's worse? Getting sexually assaulted by a mob or not getting any justice when there's pictorial evidence to help with the investigation?

Suchi said...

Sakshi's comments about responsible behaviour and taking care of yourself do make sense in a limited way (and for both genders).
But you also have a right to experience freedom. So you balance these two needs however you want.

That's your call. No one should be allowed to question you on that, because it takes away focus from the actual issue--who the criminals are and why they acted the way they did. Why are they out late at night, roaming in mobs? Who did not teach them respect for others? So many questions here, enough to keep us occupied for years.

The other problem is this--these "sensible ways" might only make you *feel* safer; they are never a guarantee of safety.

In Indian society, molestation and harassment happens every day, everywhere and to women of all ages, dressed in various types of clothes. We only see and hear the incidents that happen to the middle and upper classes in public. What about the incidents in villages and slums, in houses?

Gaurav said...

I didn't agree with Sakshi's post when i first read it and being the lazy bum that I am i loathe getting into rebutting inherently flawed and supercilious posts of that nature. Which is why it was a relief going through ur post. I think you capture very well the core issue when u speak about the rationalization of their own biases.Put simply we are free to lead my life the way we like and no amount of 'caution' or sobereity is gonna save us from the perverts that throng our streets.
It is stupid to suggest that not drinking and dressing 'appropriately' act as disincentives to the animals out there. Mobbing and being shoved around are far less common in western societies. Its a state of mind, a perversion that has infiltrated society simply arising out of sexual frustration. Its got nothing to do with the lifestyle of the victims and to suggest that they take responsibility for the incident betrays a paternal and narrow mindset.

Anonymous said...

dear falstaff,
iam an regular at your blog and sometimes comment.

2 years back i attended a new year's party at le meridian , bangalore with my husband and a few close friends.
the womens room at the hotel is a sight i can never forget. teenagers rather 15-17 year old children dressed in the most provocative nonsense were throwing up, some had passed out. Their men friends were asking permission to be let in so that they could "carry" the youngsters out,
it was utter choas . i watched helplessly as the kids were carried away to god knows where. it was a frightening sight at 2 in the morning these young women being carried into waiting cars as if they had been delibrately drugged . i tried to contact the manager by the time we got back , they were gone.

i still wonder how many unconscious girls lost thier innocence to liquor and carelessness.


1.one needs to dress safe.
its important to understand that streets india has a mix of all people. dress dangerous when u are safe.

2.One should be prudent about the company.

3. dont Drink with the wrong people. I know at least 4 women who were harrassed when they were drunk.

??! said...

Would replacing the word "sensible" with "practical" help?

Falstaff said...

suchi: Yes. And the point is that every woman out there is already striking that balance. Which is why it's almost impossible to find an example of an actual incident where 'being sensible' would have helped. And which is why Sakshi's 'advice' is meaningless - it's like telling the starving to eat cake.

gaurav: Thanks

anon2: Again, that's not an example, you're just speculating. And do you really think that how you dress has anything to do with sexual violence? Or that it's possible to tell, ex-ante, what kind of company one should not keep? Really? Got any evidence of that?

??!: Ah, but you can't do that. The whole point is that all this 'being sensible' nonsense that Sakshi & co. are spouting is entirely impractical.

Sunil said...

Hmmm. Good.

Lets call this educating Falstaff. Or an attempt to.
I know many who have serious misgivings about it.


It makes me indignant that a man can put up a post in public asking details of any form of violation of a female which just stops short of asking the anatomy of violation. Esp. for feeding a cretin’s vanity.

But when you see it is Falstaff , all my anger turns to endless love.

If there are anyone out there who feel the challenge has been unanswered, ( that excludes Falstaff’s room temperature IQ which cant do better than misreading posts, running away to momma when bollocked and insisting that the lack of the comma in some corner is a crime ) are welcome for a meaningful discussion.

If there is one , I request them to read in entirety and put up their position here or send it to me or respond in a post that I am hopefully planning to put up soon on Mr Falstaff and my experiences with him.

I will not however, flirt with anonymous aunts craving for attention.
Regards
Sunil

Anonymous said...

Can't seem to log-in using my blogger profile.
Am I allowed to swear? I normally swear. I'm semi-censoring my swear words. And I have to comment, I can't help myself.
Sakshi’s piece did sound like she was blaming the victim. You seem to be at the other end. It’s not quite so simple. It’s also nice to see you uphold a woman’s right to booze and we’re probably all on the same side but I’m not exactly going to be an agent for change and empowerment if I’m going to go out there sloshed and get groped, I’m just another statistic and some sick f***’s entertainment. And I think Sunil has a point there over you demanding the info about how/ what/ when /where/ names/ dates/ nature of gropery that was avoided by the ‘precaution’ that said victim took to avoid said incident (I didn’t get most of the rest of what he said though.) I don’t think you listened much to what Suchi said either. You sound a bit smug with your assessments, so I think you ought to just listen, because you probably don’t know what lengths we’ll go to avoid the BS.
The point is that in spite of my (our) claims to the right to freedom of movement we are already modifying our behaviour at practically every level, whether it’s to combat sexism in the workplace or to avoid some ugliness every day by keeping your radar finely tuned and avoiding the places where these sick f***s tend to breed, or walking with elbows out to avoid the ‘accidental’ bumping in crowded sidewalks. I am taking ‘precautions’, switching to militant mode, keeping my wits about me, wearing sensible shoes and it HAS worked. I’ve never had anyone come to my rescue. I also won’t know precisely what situation I avoided because it obviously hasn’t happened after taking my ‘precaution’, but the proof is in the drastically reduced frequency of incidences, though I took a while to figure things out. I probably can’t always avoid it, but I’m going to try because it’s going to invade every aspect of my life when it does and make me wanna puke every time I think about it. I’ve also had my share of victim-blaming and belittling and seen the glorious change in attitude some women have had after going through the same thing, and I’ve even met some who thought it was cool to keep quiet about it.
It doesn’t mean I stop going out. It doesn’t mean I stop protesting. It doesn’t mean I don’t fight this behaviour whether is verbal or physical when I have the opportunity and move to change people’s attitudes about it, although some people are just not reachable. Above all else my safety is my priority, so if I see a crowd of men is coming my way I’m going to go around it if I can or hide until they pass by. Also if my clueless American cousin is going to come down I’m sure as hell going to tell her how deal with a situation like this if it has the vaguest chance of occurring, which places scum tend to breed, which people to hang out with, whom to trust, when to run. I’m also not going to stop her from boozing but I’m sure as hell going to tell her not to step out after dark unless she’s good and sober so she’ll be in a better state to deal with this sort of f**kery. In this particular situation I think it was the simple fact that they were outnumbered and defenseless and the crowd saw the opportunity and moved in for the kill. I sure know how that feels like to be groped by a crowd of sleazeballs (wasn’t drunk) and yes, I sure could have avoided it by not being there and saved myself some of that barfy after effect feeling that lasted for quite a while. Hence the male-crowd avoidance precaution. Yup, behaviour-modification again. Yes, probability of being groped by large group of anonymous men drastically reduced. And I’m more at peace for it. I wouldn’t be stingy with my advice to other girls either, especially if they don’t have clue of such things because I've found the advice of other strong women useful. I haven't won very many fans for it.
I like voyeuristic nature of the news article too and I can imagine some sick f*** jerking-off to the clothes being torn off. Yummy. It so reflects our penchant for gawkery. I dread coming back home precisely because of this shit.

http://vintagefan.wordpress.com/

Champs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

can we block the sunil bloke? he is just getting unnecessarily personal. Either he should learn how to debate or just get lost. He is increasingly getting closer to behaving like those rowdy mumbai people.

I agree totally with falstaff.

The folks who say that 'they do not imply blame when they ask womed to be careful' are kidding themselves. This argument assumes that not being careful is the cause of any incident that follows.

I also think that by arguing that the above is true, falstaff is not saying that "women should or should not be careful"! What he is saying that women are (and should) be allowed to chose for themselves what they want to do.

Their behavior (or lack thereof!) should not give the society a right to cast aspersions on their character/morality or condone anti-social behavior.

If people hate women being drunk, they can write a blog about it (or somebody like sunil might like to bang his head on a wall to get rid of his frustration). But that gives them no right to molest the drunk women or to blame her for the incident! Blaming the women for the incident is like thanking the molester for teaching the drunk women a lesson.

I think the women would probably be enough traumatized and we don't the "moral police" adding to her suffering.

Falstaff said...

vintage fan: Fair enough. The point is - who isn't careful or doesn't think they're being careful? Saying 'women should behave sensibly' is a bit like saying 'if they're starving, let them eat cake'. It makes sense theoretically, but only if you believe that people actually have uneaten cakes and haven't eaten them because they haven't thought about it.

The point of asking for examples is simply this - I don't believe that there are any cases of sexual violence that actually occur where the victim doesn't believe that she was being appropriately cautious when it happened. Are there cases of sexual violence that might have occurred if women hadn't exercised the caution they're already exercising. Probably, yes. But those aren't happening anyway, so talking about them isn't going to make any difference to the problem at hand. What posts like Sakshi's do is create the illusion that much of the problem is that women just aren't careful enough, which in my opinion simply isn't true. And asking for examples is the only way I can think of to break that illusion. Who are these hypothetical women who don't realize that they should be 'sensible' and cautious. What proportion of the cases of crimes of sexual violence do they constitute? And will telling women to be more careful actually reduce the current rate of these incidents?

You talk about telling your clueless American cousin about places / situations to avoid? What places? What situations? Sakshi certainly doesn't provide any. If you really think the problem is that some women don't know where the danger spots are, why don't you share that information with all of us? What places do scum breed? Who should women not hang out with? I'm perfectly willing to believe that information might be useful, because it might help women who are already being careful to be careful more effectively. But saying "be more sensible" without providing that information helps no one.

anon3: Thanks for agreeing, but you realize Sunil is now going to assume we're related, since clearly no one can agree with me unless they're linked to my blood?

And no, I don't believe in censorship. You learn to ignore him eventually.

Falstaff said...

vintage fan: P.s. My apologies for the fairly random punctuation in that last comment, especially the arbitrary punctuation marks. It's been a long day.

Sunil said...

How to have two types of fun with tea?

Lets see.

Type 1:

What a moron mine field! Sense? that’s it . You said it.

The great fun has been the lack of it.
My chosen tone is objectionable? And malicious ?

Precisely.

Even if had been remotely highlighted I would have accepted about that sense, as common as it can be found on this blog exists.


But no! the reason to disengage was this:

‘Okay, I'm trying this one last time. If you still don't get it, I give up.’

Which I will translate for you.
Listen this is what I believe in. if you don’t agree with me , I’m not going to talk to you. Okay?

Very well.


And this:
‘As for letting you express yourself - why would I deny you the obvious pleasure you take in listening to yourself talk? Feel free to prattle on. But don't expect any further response from me.’

To understand the beauty of it is an experience. I’m leaving it as an home work for you.

Type 2:

‘Okay, I'm trying this one last time. If you still don't get it, I give up.’

Some Blogger: what a debater, blooming marvellous!

Yes sakshi is wrong. Its all patriarchy? You know sakshi is a secret card holding member of patriarchy party.

Anonymous: What articulation! What punctuation! Bravo.

In the background: bravo bravo! We are blessed.

One another anonymous: Come to momma my boy! We will block sunil and everything will be alright, don worry, come here poor thing!

Thanks for the entertainment.

Shall drop by perhaps, mid next week. yeah.

KK said...

Sensible?

The mob got triggered off by a remark / aside from one of the women. The incident might have been avoided if she had not.

See? It's so simple.

How could she have known that beforehand?
She could not, unless there were someone who were to have told her / cautioned her. "Behave sensibly".

Ever gave yourself a nice electric buzz putting in a nail in a power outlet as a kid? That's the first time. You could not have known beforehand, other than admonitions from eagleeye mom ... and now you understand what it is like.

The point of such advice is that it delays the inevitable ( if you have to get onto the freedom highway ). Yes, you might never experience that buzz. But that's the tradeoff. And that's a choice women make ... for themselves. Give them respect for it.

Falstaff said...

kk: Oh wonderful. Just wonderful. If only the silly woman had been sensible and kept her mouth shut. The whole thing could have been avoided. Instead of which she has to be irresponsible enough to say something, actually venture an aside! A whole remark even! Imagine that! Terrible, terrible. Look at all the trouble she got herself into. Fortunately, now that women everywhere have read Sakshi's post and know that they should 'behave sensible', this sort of thing won't happen again, because they'll know better than to say the 'wrong thing' (whatever that may be).

Thank you for demonstrating more effectively than I ever could that no matter what the incident or how blameless the victim, someone will always find a way, after the fact, to claim that she could have avoided it if she'd just not done the wrong thing. Because there's always something, isn't there? If she's not drunk, she's in the wrong place. If she's not in the wrong place, she says the wrong thing. I suppose if she hadn't said anything you would have said she made a gesture which triggered it all off.

Frankly, even I have more respect for Sakshi than to believe she was implying anything this outrageous in her post.

KK said...

:)

Sonny Boy, do you, perchance, also suffer from a victimisation ( being "judged" { Oh! How Terrible!! } )complex?

And you being the one to first allege default on the driver who misses wearing a seat belt ...
:)
Since you were kind enough to point me to the Law, let me contextualise it a bit. It is NOT a law this side of the world. Not entirely.
In which case, the half-baked analogy that I threw up suddenly rises to full. In THIS context, it was a valid analogy and therefore begs the question - Would you blame the driver for not wearing his seatbelt?

And thanks for the compliment - Logical Sophistry is my specialisation.
:)
Also means that you will have no truck with logic whatsoever ...

KK said...

Thank you for demonstrating more effectively than I ever could that no matter what the incident or how blameless the victim, someone will always find a way, after the fact, to claim that she could have avoided it if she'd just not done the wrong thing.

Sad, but true nevertheless.
:D

P.S. Since we all are to debate in a platonic realm ( thanks, Sunil ), I "believe" that humans have evolved enough to stop killing animals for food. There "SHOULD BE" no meat ...
:)
No?

Are you arguing about what is / was or "should be's"?

KK said...

Sorry ... leaving for somewhere and I thought I would pop this in that I noticed earlier ...

apparently, women can avoid being subjected to sexual harassment and violence by behaving sensibly and responsibly, but saying so is not judging those who don't do so in any way. Go figure

So basically you have a problem with judgement. But then you do not hesitate in judgement yourself. If one goes by all your comments on the issue.

This is the reason why I called out juvenile to you at DP. This paranoia about judgement. I am led to believe, that one grows out of it soon enough. You tend to make a strong exception to the case.

This would be silly in itself - what makes it harmful is that sooner or later victims of sexual violence start to believe this nonsense and start to wonder whether they could, in fact, have done something to avoid it and this makes them feel worse about themselves.

So you end up playing shrink and go the logical extreme of making a judgement call on that basis. I believe you mentioned something about wishy-washy generalisations. If this does not pass into the category I wonder what does.

Note : Non-vegetarianism is the root of ALL evil in the world. ( Go ahead and prove me wrnog ;)

And then you also imply that women are irredeemably fucked-up ( pun NOT-intended ) by harassment to the extent that their sense of self-worth cannot stand up to it. And that it inevitably occurs that they lose it. If that doesn't paint them a lesser sex, I wonder what does.

P.S. You ignored my example of a man getting beat up / mugged. And then to take THIS to its logical extreme, a man who gets beat up by a woman ought to be equally traumatised. Does it occur?

Note to PS : start to wonder whether they could, in fact, have done something to avoid it

Yes, by acknowledging that, for example in the instant case, they made a MISTAKE ( Its NOT your FAULT if you made a MISTAKE ) in sensing the mood of the crowd outside ( I wonder if there is a study on instances of impaired judgement after an evening out and if they have been documented well enough ) and in passing a remark / aside.

Which is why when the other driver cuts into your lane when you are overtaking, you swerve away. If you do not, your judgement is impaired.

In summary, all you seem to be doing is making a case for a more lenient view of a person choosing to be in a state of impaired judgement. And that the others should necesarily not judge that.
That's it.

rs said...

i have been reading these comments for many days, simply to reflect on what is the worse thing I could come across here. whether it is sunil's missive that there is no difference between being drunk and giving consent under the influence of alcohol or kk venturing that women have to keep quiet even if they have the audacity to step out of their houses.
i agree with you but almost reluctantly coz, as your detractors allege, you don't listen. you do come across as someone who believes in the superiority of his thought. i would hate to debate with you and thankfully on this occasion i don't disagree

KK said...

RS :

or kk venturing that women have to keep quiet even if they have the audacity to step out of their houses

Umm ... actually, it was meant to be taken on a case-to-case basis. As I qualified, in the instant case ...

Upon reflection, it would be more like this - Does Falstaff have the balls to step outside and walk through his not-so-friendly run-down black / white quarter in the middle of the night? By himself? Would he respond to whatever might be thrown at him?

If he does not, I wonder what it is that he would say to his mate who might wish to do so? Especially under the influence and dragging Falstaff along with him ...
:)

tangled said...

Unfortunately for me, I'm one of those people who are more open to being convinced of an argument when it's put well. This means that I skipped over almost all of Sunil's posts after the first three. (As an aside: Sunil, do you not know how to make a point so that you sound like a sensible person and not like a kid throwing a tantrum and pointing fingers?)

Women are always, always being judged on the basis of how they appear. The quality of clothes she wears. The way she walks. The things she carries.
Is she wearing a suit? A skirt?! Shorts?? Is she talking in English to someone on the other side of her fancy cell-phone? Is that an accent??
sigh.
This is what we should change - the thought in the head of the average asshole on the Indian street that a woman who is patently "western" in her appearance will be similarly "western" in her sexuality, i.e. not mind being pawed in public.
If a woman actually wanted to dress "appropriately" enough to avoid being groped by a mob (this is actually different from being groped by a single person, mind you. I have no idea how to combat that. Any thoughts anyone cares to share will help...) is to dress like a dowd. Preferably in something dull, shapeless and thick. Perhaps a burkha. Cast your eyes down when you walk; don't open your mouth; don't expose a single part of your body that might give the men around you "ideas" - oh, wait. How is this giving me any rights at all?
This is the point Falstaff's trying to make, I think. How careful is enough?

I don't drink; I don't smoke; I've never done drugs. These are personal choices that I've made for myself: not because of what society demands of me, but because I'm really particular about what I put into my body. My tastes are a little more liberal when it comes to what I put on my body, however. AND MY SOCIETY WILL JUDGE ME IF I FOLLOW THROUGH ON THAT PERSONAL CHOICE.
Where's the freedom in that? Where's the justice?
Where's the effing equality?
BEING CAREFUL IS NO SOLUTION.


Ooh, I went ranting. Sorry, Falstaff. :) It's just one of the very very few issues I feel too strongly about to keep silent.

Sunil said...

Ha! Good boy. Keep it up, stick to such inane things like poetry n movie reviews.


Hmm RS,
What do you guys really do? I mean for a living? Apart from displaying your idiocy?

There is no difference between being drunk n giving consent under the influence of alcohol? Ha ha ha, you crack me up.

Tell you what? If you had read it all again after you had commented, you would have found the worst of it all. Simply to reflect, but I dont agree reluctantly coz, soemthing tells me you would ahve missed it.

Sunil said...

oh i missed this.

Tangled, Thank you for being my number one fan. I love you too.
I have read your comment completely.Possibly beacuse I can register and judge the information.

Now do exactly what Im going to tell you. For all the talk, go and ask her why did she not fucking lodge a complaint and then coem back and lets talk about change and loose change.
There.

tangled said...

Apparently I have more to say. :)

"In summary, all you seem to be doing is making a case for a more lenient view of a person choosing to be in a state of impaired judgement. And that the others should necesarily not judge that.
That's it."
I like this summary, actually. It divides the argument, in a way.

Because of course, this "state of impaired judgement" is what was referred to in the second part of the infamous post on Saakshi's blog, yes? And hopefully everyone here can agree that putting yourself in that state is ENTIRELY AND COMPLETELY different from dressing in a certain way/ going to certain places/ being out of your house at a certain time? Because in the second case the argument seems to be that doing those things constitutes bad judgement in and of itself; and that's what I have a problem with.
That's all.

tangled said...

Sunil; what? I don't understand what you mean.
She has no faith in the system, perhaps. Perhaps she's afraid of getting her name in the papers. Maybe her family will disown her. How does her (whose, exactly? who is this mysterious "she"?) behaviour matter, anyway?

Sunil said...

Oh hell. I HAVE to write about this.

Sunil said...

sweetheart, so you bring about change by writing blogs? Of course you dont understand, unless you switch off the computer.

tangled said...

Sunil:
I'd rather you make a point clearly without using allusions, thank you. Am I to infer that you think I don't leave the house? You'd be wrong. I don't think I need to elaborate my habits to you, but suffice it to say that, being a woman in a cosmopolitan city, I've had my share of gropings/ starings/ accidental-touchings.
Also, I'm not your sweetheart.

Could you explain which "she" you were talking about?

Sunil said...

I never said YOU are MY sweetheart.
But you are a sweetheart.Are you not?

If you are enlisting reasons for why she didnt file a complaint, its as if falstaff sweetheart( get the picture now) asking women to tell him where and how exactly they were groped?

If she didnt complain because:

She has no faith in the system, perhaps. Perhaps she's afraid of getting her name in the papers. Maybe her family will disown her.

Then he groped her because:
He has afith in the system, certainly. He is not afraid of getting his name in the paper.Oh definitely not. May be his family woudnt disown him?

So?

Falstaff(PBUH) can ask all women to tell him about itpublicly because:

He doesn't believe that there are any cases of sexual violence that actually occur where the victim doesn't believe that she was being appropriately cautious when it happened.

So? Somone else might not believe women should be walking at 2 am. therefore he groped.

so? is there a difference, and there are truckload of keyboard feminists who beleive falstaff is right.So much.

heres a tip, Thought is incomplete act, it cant be moral only logical. Morality is presupposed by act. Of course youw ouldnt understand it at all of it, sweetheart.

rs said...

kk: "Umm ... actually, it was meant to be taken on a case-to-case basis. As I qualified, in the instant case ..." WHAT?

sunil: :) idiotic though we are, we wouldn't try so hard to make a public nuisance out of ourselves. good luck with your future debates, i'm sure you will have the last word coz no one would want to engage in a conversation with a raving lunatic for long

Sunil said...

RS,

Not new. For generations people who are challenged to understand things, in other words, idiots,(right?) have said people who can understand things as raving lunatics. Which is why they are idiots which you accept you are, and hence discredited.

Public nuisance? that is the post asking women to bare it. I am having fun. Obviously you dont even know the meaning of the word debate.
(distant) Laughs like a hyena

Anu said...

See, if you try (and you can only try!)and talk to Sunil, the fault is yours not his!

That's the point he is making, I think!

Grin only, no hyena laughter!

Sunil said...

Wait, Ill coem back this evening and write about it. Anu, and all others who think cheap rhetorics is life can shuddup for once.
Barkingly mad
yours.

Crp said...

Sunil: Meanwhile, please stop rinsing your mouth with gutter water. Use clean water from a tap. And mouthwash. Thank you.

Also, please comment more often. I love your malapropisms/hobson-jobsonisms and your refreshing lack of ability to write coherently. Please continue to compensate for your logic deficiency by coochie-cooing to the opposition!

Also, love that pic on your profile. Raaju ban gaya gental man, with Frenchie!

KK said...

I guess Falstaff / anyone else does not have a response to the "walk the not-so-friendly neighbourhood" question. Or is the silence eloquent enough?

Sunil said...

Respected Sir CRP,

In spite of my haste I have made room to be thrilled by your comment. I can’t explain how touched I am that you found it worthy to defend your position by abusing me. As you can see, sir, I am only trying to look up to your enviable skills of logic.

I so appreciate your admiring words on my beard. But I must say, you have got it wrong. I knew something liek (sorry sir, thats a typo)this was coming when you used coochie coo and hobson –jobson in one sentence while talking of me. Sorry I am not a gay. Kindly try elsewhere.

Jai Maharashtra,
Yours ever so sincerely

Raju

Sunil said...

Okay. I am doing it here . General articulates, feminists, oh I agrees, anyone who feels that my points are confounded by their own sublimations, can spare a regard; If there are any contentions, with the episode, I am more than glad to address them, if there aren’t, hold your tongues for now and ever.

PS: I am jotting down whenever time permits in different consciousness frames, so pardon the possible length or the repetition.

Crp said...

Brilliant!

"Attention all you articulates, particulates, matriculates, sublimates, susceptibles, vulnerables and unmentionables,

I am a gay*. Can you please spare a regard ?** Or hold my tongue now and ever ?***"

-Hindustaniwalla Sunil

(because cheap rhetorics IS lifes, as I aforementioned)

*Not that there's anything wrong with that.

** Sung to the tune of "Brother, can you spare a dime ?"

*** Sorry this was just too funny in my current consciousness frame. This discussion has become a bogosity in any case... I will now hold my tongue, promise.