Now that I have your attention, let me make it clear..this post is not about the driving skills of women, that sexists like to make fun of. It’s about rape (women’s issue) and road accidents (driving issue). And the analogy.
I have been a pedestrian in India as well as in the US. I see some differences in how I get treated as a pedestrian depending on which country I am in. In one country, when I try crossing the street, the responsibility of keeping myself safe is on me. If I happen to come in the way, I get yelled at by the driver of a fast-moving car, “Do you want to die?” In the other country, the driver stops the car and lets me cross the street.
Why is there such a big difference in the attitudes of drivers? Is the impact cultural? Is one culture more respectful to the pedestrian than the other? Well, kinda but it’s because of a legal impact. Though laws could be the same, in one country there is fear of law, in the other there isn’t.
The pedestrian always has the right of way. When a pedestrian gets hit by a car, no matter what the traffic lights say, it is always the driver’s fault. Because driving is a privilege, not a right. Knowing this law, drivers are afraid to hit people and get into trouble. When teenagers get their driving license, parents make sure the kids are aware of the law and that keep away from trouble. “The pedestrian always has the right of way” is hammered on their minds. That’s where the respect comes from. In a car accident, it is the pedestrian that is the victim. But the onus of avoiding a car accident is on the driver.
Now apply the same scenario to sex.
Most sexual assaulters are men and most victims are women. If the law can clearly state that having sex is not your right, but a privilege that the other person gives you, it is a “no” unless it’s a “yes”. If a person knows that no matter what indications the other person is giving through clothes, body language, number of previous sexual partners, marital status, it is their job to make sure there is an explicit “yes” for the sex not to be considered rape.
Knowing that most sexual assaulters are men, if the law would put the onus of consent on men, the “respect” would come automatically. Blaming women’s clothes, behavior and attitude for being raped will be immaterial because the onus remains on the men nevertheless.
The only way I see women is India being liberated from the rape-blame is by doing 3 things:
1. Make the “Sex is a privilege” law
2. Convict the offenders ASAP
3. Make the common man fear the law. Save him from being a rapist.