In the aftermath of the Haryana stalking case, where Varnika Kundu was shamefully harassed by the state BJP chief’s son Vikas Barala and his crony Ashish Kumar, one feels assailed by a sinking sense of déja vu. The accused were booked under lenient provisions for stalking, driving under the influence of alcohol and wrongful restraint, all of which are bailable offences, though the victim had clearly spelt out in her statement that there was an attempt to abduct her, which has far graver repercussions. The perpetrators, who incidentally are law students, were released in double quick time.
The rest of it is predictable. Haryana BJP Vice-President Ramveer Bhatti weighed in and began the victim-shaming in earnest, enquiring whether a respectable girl would be out by midnight, driving all by herself. When outrage mounted against him and party colleague Kirron Kher called him out, he amended the statement saying that he merely meant that parents ought to keep a better eye on their children, male or female, to prevent this sort of thing from happening. This is a remarkable example of victim-shaming before pooh-poohing the suggestion that anything of the sort was done.
Hollow assurances have been made asserting that justice will be served and those who are claiming that vested political interests are pressurising the police to let the privileged perps off the hook are talking out of their butts. Needless to say nobody is convinced, and with the cynicism born of too many instances, where our judicial system has let us down by failing to mete out timely and effective punishment, we know almost for certain that once the media furore dies down, the case will drag on in perpetuity, inevitably testing the resolve and the endurance of the victim, who will be asked to establish her credentials as a ‘virtuous woman’.
The striking feature of this case is that it drives home the point that after all this time and effort spent on creating awareness on how it is not okay to stalk, kill, harass and rape women, which is bloody obvious in the first place, for far too many people belonging to both sexes, every time a crime against a woman is committed it is invariably for the same reason—she had it coming!
Though this antediluvian attitude in all probability will be looked at askance by men and women who read this respectable publication and by any discerning audience when it is brought up in panels to create awareness for women’s rights across the country where we all nod along uniformly, the fact is that the great majority—which spawns the scum who violate the rights of women—believe that she had it coming and, of course, she asked for it. How then do we deal with this malignant mind set that has led to such profound tragedies?
The answer could be not to expect male miscreants to change, but ultimately to stop being afraid that every guy out there is out to get you. Admittedly, #NotAllMen are pricks though all pricks are men, so why make your life about the rotten apples? Fear is the drug that impels monsters to come out of the shadows to play their cruel games. Don’t be ashamed when you are slut-shamed. It is obvious that those who refer to wronged women as whores, are potty mouths with shit for brains, and their crappy opinions are beneath you. Never ever let these execrable examples of excrescence get to you or make you question yourself. They are rat droppings who are undeserving of your precious time and attention. Finally, don’t feel bad about treating a douche bag with the disdain he deserves. You know, he had it coming.
Author of Arjuna, Kamadeva, Shakti, and Yama’s Lieutenant