India Politician Blames Victims Of Mass Molestation For Their ‘Western’ Clothes, Says ‘Ants’ Will Come If ‘Sugar’ Has Fallen

Female partygoers in Bangalore found themselves molested on a New Year’s Eve party, but for a minister, it was their fault because of their Western-looking clothes. The Bangalore Mirror reported that the festivity in the southern Indian city went awry when crowds of overly excited men started to harass the women. “All hell broke loose close to midnight as hooligans in the garb of revelers started pawing, molesting and passing lewd remarks on women on the streets, forcing some of them to literally take off their stilettos and run for help.” The incident sparked outrage and led to the hasthag #MassMolestation. However, what made online users more furious was a politician’s perspective that the reason behind the attack was the women’s clothing. “They try to copy Westerners not only in mindset, but even the dressing. Some girls are harassed, these kind of things do happen,” said Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwara to Al Jazeera. A night of shame? #Bengaluru women groped and molested on #NewYear’s eve!#MassMolestation @UrbanMyth3 — Urban Myth (@UrbanMyth3) January 2, 2017 Another politician, Abu Azmi, told ANI News that women must be careful with their clothing choices as these could make them prone to sexual assault. “If there’s petrol and a fire comes along, then the fire will light. If sugar has fallen, then ants will surely come. People will get angry with me for this, but it’s fine because it is true.” Many criticized Abu’s statements. Dear Abu Azmi, Here is your daughter in law, Ayesha Takia, wearing a shorts. Are you trying to say that she deserves a #MassMolestation? — Sonam Mahajan (@AsYouNotWish) January 3, 2017 As reported by the Washington Post, Indian Home Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju said that the shameful acts should not go unpunished especially in the city that aspires to make women feel safe. Backlash against harassment is no longer a rarity in India ever since a young medical student died in 2012 because she was gang-raped on a bus. Six men were arrested and were charged with murder after the student died from brain injuries and other internal damages. The horrific case shed light on the sexual violence that typically goes unreported in some parts of the country because of the tendency to blame the victims. Instead of bringing such cases to the courts, societal pressures urge the victims to make peace with their rapists and even marry them in some instances. Nine-year-old Gitanjali (name changed) sleeps in her bed in Uttar Pradesh, India. Her father sexually abused her for years and raped her last year. He threatened to beat her and her mother with metal rods if she told anyone. When her grandfather found out, he went to the police and had him arrested. Since then, the whole family and whole village has been pressuring him to drop the case. The child says that everyday her mother calls her a prostitute and blames her for her father being gone. [Image by Getty Images/Stringer] In a bid to protect women in the country, mobile phones in India are now required to have their own “panic buttons.” By hitting the panic button three times, an alarm will go off. Officials think that the panic button is easier and faster to use than other applications. All phones will need to have GPS as well by 2018. Rega Jha, Buzzfeed India’s editor-in-chief, penned a moving essay entitled “Indian Parents Aren’t Raising Their Sons Right, And It’s Endangering India’s Women.” She lamented that at an early age, girls in the country are taught to be careful because it’s not a safe world. “Think of the hundreds of dictums you know by heart: Don’t dress provocatively. Don’t stay out late. Don’t travel alone at night. Don’t take public transportation after sundown. Get a male friend to drop you home. Don’t stay late at work. Don’t smile at strangers. Carry a scarf. Don’t take that dark road. Pepper spray. Don’t drink too much. Cover up. Keep someone on the phone while you walk. Be careful, be careful, be careful.” It pains her that victims of assaults are blamed because they haven’t been careful enough. She made a plea to parents raising boys. “Instead of our parents teaching us to be wary of men, raise your sons to be men who don’t need to be feared. Instead of our parents teaching us how to avoid assault, teach your sons that it is unforgivable to assault women. Instead of our parents teaching us how to navigate an untrustworthy world, teach your sons to change it.” The Bangalore police said that they would rely on CCTV footage to go after the offenders. There were reportedly 45 cameras stationed on the roads where the New Year’s Eve assault took place. [Featured Image by Saurabh Das/AP]