Pawing, molesting and passing lewd remarks

New Year’s Eve in Karnataka:

This New Year’s Eve, India’s Silicon Valley reared its ugly head. As thousands of revelers gathered in Bengaluru’s city center—MG Road and Brigade Road— to ring in 2017, hooligans infiltrated the celebratory crowd, and for many women, the joyful parade turned into a nightmare.

An unruly mob of men began “pawing, molesting and passing lewd remarks on women on the streets,” according to the Bangalore Mirror, whose photojournalists were on the ground when havoc broke out minutes before midnight. Women cried for help and ran with heels in hand as men, many inebriated, mauled them. Eyewitnesses described the horrific incident as a “mass molestation.”

But don’t worry, it turns out it was the women’s own fault.

The response from authorities and leaders was underwhelming. Instead of apologizing, Bengaluru home minister G. Parameshwara blamed the police’s failure on the “culture” of New Years celebrations: “A large number of youngsters gathered— youngsters who are almost like westerners…they try to copy westerners not only in mindset, but even the dressing, so some disturbance, some girls are harassed, these kind of things do happen.” Abu Azmi, a leader of the democratic socialist Samajwadi party, said these incidents occur because “women call nudity ‘fashion,’” adding that they would be better off if they stayed home on New Year’s eve.

So true. Let’s face it: women should stay home at all times.

India’s patriarchal culture has treated women as second-class citizens for centuries. Female babies are often killed—in the womb or after birth–or abandoned in India, leading to one of the world’s most skewed sex ratios: boys outnumber girls in many of the country’s 29 states. For women who escape violence in childhood, early adulthood can be dangerous and even deadly: jilted men sometimes attack women who refuse marriage proposals with acid. Although dowry has been banned in India for more than five decades, the practice is still rampant. Over 7,600 dowry deaths—where women are murdered or driven to suicide by harassment and torture by husbands and in-laws trying to extort further dowry—were reported in the country in 2015, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. And the country still doesn’t have a law against marital rape.

Maybe if they stayed home and locked themselves in a trunk? Would they be safe then?

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