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Moral Policing much?

I heard about Delhi Crime when it won an Emmy. We started watching it 2 days back and I’m ashamed to say that it is only now that I understand how heinous and ghastly the Nirbhaya attack was!

2012 was a tough year for us as a family. We were totally consumed with raising our preemie child. I had quit work and had no idea what was happening in the outside world. I was oblivious to what was happening around me and still this is not an excuse good enough to justify me not trying to understand why the whole country was suddenly feeling hostile and unsettled!

After watching the first episode, I read up on the Nirbhaya case and I was squirming with shame and mortified.

Feeling uneasy is an understatement, I was literally crying when I saw the second episode where they describe the incident, how and what happened to Nirbhaya.

I felt relieved to know that one person hanged himself or was murdered in jail. The others hanged to death as punishment under the India Judicial law. But it hurts me to know that the juvenile just got 3 years of imprisonment and was then given a different identity by the government and a tailoring shop to reform and live a new life.

Why was he given a second chance? Do you believe a person who has done such a ghastly crime can reform and change his ways? When the victim lost her life, how is it justified to give the juvenile a second chance to live?

You know what irked me the most? After being caught, the prime suspect said the girl deserved it because she anyway was asking for it by being out with her boyfriend at the late hour. This is a statement we have been hearing from rapists since time immemorial. Many sex workers are targeted, raped and killed brutally with this same idea.

This is on a rise in our country due to moral policing. This moral policing by the youth of our country is getting worse by the day and destroying our nation! These self appointed vigilantes of our nation claim to save its culture and girls! Have you wondered what encourages moral policing? Believe it or not, it’s our traditional upbringing and patriarchy. We raise our boys entitled. When I attained puberty, my grandfather told me to not hang out with my friends who are boys anymore. This doesn’t just dampen a girl’s morale but boosts a boy’s ego by giving him the idea that it’s the girl who should hide because boys have this superpower of molesting her! When you stop your daughter from going out at night wearing the clothes she chooses and at the same time let your son go out, you are definitely protecting your daughter as you should. But you are also unknowingly telling your son he’s entitled and powerful to do as he pleases.

This is the root of moral policing. As long as we don’t raise our sons right, our daughters are not safe. I have seen the mindsets of quite liberal people changing within a few years of staying in this toxic environment.

Who gives anybody the right to decide what’s best for any girl? If she has chosen to go out with a guy or if the boy chose to hang out with his girlfriend or any girl how does it matter to anyone else?

I’m not saying that rapes don’t happen in countries that are more liberal. It happens around the world. But what makes you think that moral policing reduces rape cases?

My parents were quite liberal and raised my brother and me as equals, maybe that gave me the confidence to voice my opinions and stand up against any injustice I see. But just our family being right didn’t save us this wrath of moral policing. Let me tell you an incident. When I was 14, studying in the 9th grade in Kerala and my brother was pursuing Engineering in another city, he visited us for one of his school vacations. We decided to go watch a Hindi movie because we were raised in Mumbai and Hindi still is our preferred language for communication and entertainment. Throughout our movie, people passed lewd comments on us. They didn’t even want to know if we were siblings, they just assumed we were a couple! My brother didn’t react because he cared for my safety. Even if we were with other people, how does it matter to them? If they care for my safety, how am I going to be tarnished in any way by just watching a movie with a boy? This is the real face of moral policing and also is two sides of toxic masculinity. On one hand, as a boy, my brother was harassed just because they assumed he was out with his girlfriend and on the other, he couldn’t react because he had to keep me safe.

In the Nirbhaya case, the prime suspect said, he first had a scuffle with the boy accompanying her and so he was angered and he physically attacked the boy and raped the girl, who anyway seemed to be having fun with the boy to teach them a lesson that they were destroying the culture of our country. What culture? The culture of rape? Who bestowed upon you the responsibility to uphold the culture of our country? Is the culture of our country so fragile and powerless that it would break the moment a girl hangs out with a guy or even gives a mere goodbye hug? A version of this moral policing was seen when men and women in Kerala stood in solidarity against the Supreme court order that women can enter Sabarimala. There is just no concept of “to each its own” in India. Nobody believes in minding their own business. I will not enter Sabarimala but it’s not my business to judge or stop another girl who decides to go. It’s as simple as that!

The examples and the personal incident I cited are nothing compared to the Nirbhaya case but I just wanted to show moral policing’s bigger and smaller effects.

Save your daughters, not by hiding them but by teaching your sons to respect all women.


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Nov 30, 2020

Good read. 👍

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