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Clothes don't define women

Most women dress appropriately to conform to social norms. However, some women dress according to their taste. Every time, we hear a report which discusses a girl being sexually abused. According to the molester, it was either the kind of clothing the girl had worn or how inappropriate her dress was in the eyes of the molester. To avoid being the victim of any kind of sexual violence, a girl must abide by some unsaid rules and be very much cautious.

Politicians, predators, individuals all have opinions as to what is the right dress code for a 'Bharatiya Nari. It is after all for a woman to decide what she will wear for her next trip outside the home.

In 2019, there were 32,032 rape cases reported in India. What caused the perpetrator to molest or rape the girl? Has the victim's behaviour been influenced by the circumstances or was the perpetrator motivated by the victim? This has always been our country's response.

"What was she doing at that hour?" What does she expect to gain from wearing such clothes?" "She probably enjoyed it.". These are some questions which are very frequently passed by the society. Victim shaming is rampant in our society. The victims tend to stay silent for fear of reprisals. We should be ashamed of ourselves. So, Change your mind not her clothes/dress.

As we look at the most common narrative, "her clothes were inappropriate", let's examine what that means. Clothes should provide comfort for the wearer. And maybe they do. But once she steps outside, she is subjected to constant male attention.

She gets questioned about her clothes being too small. Is it inappropriate to wear an off-shoulder top, or is it inappropriate to wear a V-neck top? Or maybe the government should punish women who fail to cover themselves from head to toe just in case a small patch of skin initiates men to make a sexual approach towards them?

What’s wrong with the molesters or rapists which aren’t discussed? It makes no sense why we are not addressing this heavily patriarchal society, which has condemned women to mere objects of sex. Are we just too conservative? Do we not know what rape is?

With the number of headlines and prime-time television coverage, you would know that the length or type of clothing has nothing to do with any ill opinion about a woman. What wrong apparel was worn by that two-year-old infant?

Some do blame it on the sex ratio in the country. There is a lack of women in the streets, in the offices, working 24 hours a day, and living life on their terms that create a problem for certain men that they act out sexually. 

No nation can claim to be strong or free if women and girls of that particular nation are unsafe. No country can strive to be strong or free if its citizens have to look over their shoulders at every corner.

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