Recently, a high-school girl was followed out of a bar in Guwahati — one of the largest cities in eastern India and and the chief metropolitan centre of Assam — and stripped, beaten up, and molested by a mob of about twenty men for forty-odd minutes. A journalist recorded the incident on video, and later said it was “basically gang-rape”.
This video was then uploaded on YouTube in three parts, called, chronologically, ‘girl in city 1’, ‘girl in city 2’ and ‘girl in city 3’. Suddenly, after days no absolutely no action from public safety institutions, there were reporters, media crew, condemnations, demands for inquiries, blog posts, op-eds, Facebook-shares, rights activism, populist posturing by politicians, and an actual arrest. Hallelujah!
But wait! There was also an opposing lobby slowly gathering momentum, which demanded to know what a school girl and a legal minor was doing in a bar, and just what made the mob pick her specifically, when so many other women walk around Guwahati unmolested. Knock on your brain, people! Tap tap tap! What is the media covering up here? Why aren’t there any clear pictures of the girl? What was she wearing?
And with that, the wagon would be back on the safe and familiar track of ‘she asked for it!’. Oooh, the relief. Everybody could then whip out their tired arguments and beat each other up with them, while their brains holidayed in the hills. Like it happened with the Park Street rape case earlier this year, and Pinki Pramanik and her flatmate/girlfriend’s putative rape a few weeks back. ‘Cause women, pooh. They’re expendable. Enough of them to go around if a few can’t take a little roughousing. Ickle delicate darlings. Probably best out of the home and gene pool. No need to clog the justice system with their problems.
If you don’t believe me, just sit back and watch this drama unfold. I have a sneaking suspicion I will be proved terrifyingly accurate.