In a new low, a judge from Madras High Court asks women to be careful while putting their own display pictures on a smartphone app, WhatsApp. The judge came with such a statement after hearing a case of a 16-year-old girl who was abducted, raped and then threatened of circulating her pictures on WhatsApp.
“WhatsApp users, especially women, need to be more careful before placing a picture as their profile photo and sharing their photos with friends or other WhatsApp groups, as prevention is better than cure,” said Justice S Vaidyanathan in a solution to the increasing number of cyber crimes happening especially through WhatsApp.
A classic case of victim blaming, this is not new to the Indian society. Insensitive remarks are a norm here. In 2014, the Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Babulal Gaur said in a statement that rape is sometimes right and sometimes wrong. “Boys are boys, they make mistakes,” is another statement made by a famous Indian politician, Mulayam Singh Yadav. What is more disheartening is that even women make such thoughtless comments like “Women are ‘equally responsible’ for crimes committed against them,” said Vibha Rao, chair of the Chhattisgarh State Women Commission.
These are just a few comments in a sea of others by such high-profile people working in the parliament and various other authorities. These people have followers who really take such comments seriously and then blame the women for not following a restricted norm. “It is never a woman’s mistake when she gets abducted or raped. It is always the perpetrators wrong-doing. Rather than putting restrictions on women, these offenders need to be stopped,” said Ruchira Gupta, women’s rights activist to Shethepeople.
Other women also told us how it affects their freedom when such comments start flashing on the TV channels. “My mom starts panicking whenever she hears such things and in order to save me from getting molested or raped, she starts putting bizarre restrictions on me. It really is not fair for us,” said Ritika Sharma, an unmarried IT firm official who stays with her parents.
Another woman, Priya Raj, who is married and works in a private company says that these comments are completely senseless. “Curbing our freedom is not going to put a stop to rapes. Rapes happen even in the closed doors of the homes, behind the burkha veil and where not. Rather than making an easier comment and putting the blame on women, state should punish the rapists in a harsher way.”
Picture credit- Style Caster