Indian Men Wear Skirts To Protest Culture Of Victim Blaming For Crimes Of Sexual Assault

The brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi, India continues to galvanize people all over the country to protest the widespread but erroneous idea that a woman is ever to blame for her own sexual assault.

A group of skirt-clad men gathered in Bangalore recently to spread awareness of rape culture, victim blaming, and sexual violence. Messages they taped to themselves included “Teach your sons not to rape” and “Men, don’t skirt the issue. Speak up and support women.” The action was conceived, organizers said, in response to legislator Banwari Lal Singhal‘s ludicrous call to ban skirts in schools. The attempts on the part of the New Delhi rape case’s defense attorney to blame the (now dead) victim for her own assault are no doubt still fresh in their minds, as well. Via the event’s Facebook page:

Why does wearing a skirt make a difference? It’s a satirical take on the issue to draw attention to the absurd idea that what a woman wears invites sexual assault. Wear that skirt as a symbol of your support to a woman’s right to wear what she wants, be who she is, exercise her rights, and be safe in her city. Nothing shows more solidarity with women than breaking barriers and boundaries of “his” and hers”.

“The laws are extraordinarily archaic,” said one protestor. “Women are treated as property in our criminal laws. ‘Outraging the modesty of a woman?’ It’s not sexual assault. We say ‘outraging her modesty,’ reinforcing that women in this country need to be modest. It’s about time that things start changing.” That does sound bad, doesn’t it?

The organizers didn’t call the action a protest or demonstration, likely because of laws restricting those types of activities. But whatever you call it, it seems more and more apparent that this case was a tipping point for many people in calling for an end to a culture of victim blaming, and that they’re not going to forget about it and move on. And of course, rape culture is hardly confined to India, so maybe these protests will remind people around the world that this type of thinking is utterly unacceptable.

(Via Buzzfeed Shift)

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