A Few Good Men

02/03/2015 8:07 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
TO GO WITH 'India-women-crime-technology,FOCUS' by Rachel O'Brien In this photograph taken on February 13, 2013 an Indian pedestrian speaks on her mobile as she walks on a street in Mumbai. With virtual bodyguards, panic buttons and maps to pinpoint harassment blackspots, women in urban India are using their smartphones for protection after a notorious gang-rape in New Delhi. AFP PHOTO / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

Another man has lost his sense of judgement, another man has misread the situation, another man has done what many, many others do everyday. That he is well known is just a coincidence. It could have been any other man in his place and, if he were not as famous, the case would probably not even have surfaced. It happens all the time - in schools and colleges, at work, in social events and even within families - men invariably lose their sense of judgement and cross the boundaries. Their sex, and their position, often bails them out.

"In a country that thrives on power, position and money, it is impossible for those who have none of these to stand up against those who have all of the above, and more."

This gentleman lost his sense of judgement too, or did he? Chances are that his judgement of the situation was not wrong but that of the woman was. Usually, in a scenario like this, the victim, if I can use that term, chooses to keep quiet. She has far too much at stake - her career, her character, her reputation, often her entire life - and if man is a senior, and well connected too, speaking up is the hardest thing to do, giving in the easy way out. Aren't we taught that all the time?

Being a woman, I can imagine how tough it is to stand up against sexual harassment, even tougher to report it. In a social set-up like ours everything eventually is the woman's fault: she must have been dressed inappropriately, she might have been interested, she might have asked for it.

Today they say the e-mail and phone were hacked. Soon there will be other stories too: perhaps it was a consensual relationship gone wrong, he was falsely implicated. It might also be termed as political, or personal, vendetta.

In a country that thrives on power, position and money, it is impossible for those who have none of these to stand up against those who have all of the above, and more. Plus, men are always more powerful than women.

The way we bring up our boys, or treat our men for that matter, it is not surprising that they find it hard to see a woman as their equal. A woman to them is public property up for exploitation. But it is even more unfortunate that often it is the women, especially those around him, who leave no stone unturned to prove the man's innocence: the reasons for their man's mistake could be various but are always justifiable.

Thanks to such incidents, a woman can trust nobody, not even her family or friends. No longer can she step out without the fear of being mistreated, no longer can she be at home, at work or even in school or college without constantly being on the watch. What a shame!

But for all such men, I believe, there are more men who love and respect women. Who care for their friends, who stand behind their wives, who walk beside their lovers, who look up to their sisters, who value their mothers. And as long as we have even a few of these good men, we have hope.

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