remembering Why the law on sexual offences must be changed_ Madhu Mehra « Kafila AND viewing the accused  and bawandar  decades before the delhi rape, and also on the 4oth anniversary of roe vs wade [feb 2013 actually], i feel some merit in saying there is real need in the world to un-dress the issue of rape.
clothes and fashion have become the indirect cause for rape. the raped woman is judged guilty for this ‘offence’ as the remarks of a Toronto police officer prove: “woman are extremely fashionable these days and are constantly “showing off,” they should stop dressing like sluts to avoid rape.” this triggered off the slutwalk move-ment in Toronto, which calls to mind Abhijit Mukherjee’s contempt towards “painted and dented women”, whom he states are intellectuals and protestors by morning and disco-goers by night!
on top of this clothes issue, shame clothes a woman – for being loose, available, commodified, consumerist, accessible, frivolous and all other such ‘cuss’ words. these continue to get associated with rape. a woman is supposed to be ashamed for her habits of consumption, feel apologetic for a structure which “creates rapists” by ripping lower class men off their fundamental rights.
under the clothes issue you have the Choli ke peeche kya hai sensation http://youtu.be/qa8M3cr6eko
so while india has been looking for root causes why indian men rape since the delhi rape last december, we should not embellish the self-worth of rape culture nor justify sexual violence with the garb of finding ‘root causes’ of such heinous acts.
women must embrace a politics of feminism to survive rape and we can see this in Slutwalks, the Consortium of Loose and Forward Going Women (in the case of the Pink Chaddi Campaign) or the Society of Painted Dented Ladies of India (as a result of Mukherjee’s comment about the perceived ‘frivolity’ of the protestors in Delhi). from time immemorial, women have had to defend their ‘bodily integrity’ against sexual assaults ‘as’ sluts, ‘as’ chaddis (the pink branded female underwear in this case i.e. ‘objects’ or vendible commodities), ‘as’ painted and dented women (in other words, ‘impure’ and ‘contaminated’ beings). not just in india, but in the world at large. right now delhi has the spotlight on rape and sexual violence – and USA as a comparison base- but it isn’t by any means indicative that such atrocities do not exist in eastern europe or elsewhere. in fact, they very much do! their ‘spring’ will come, too, as did delhi’s.
doesn’t all of this sound strangely similar to the Supreme Court verdict derided by the Verma Committee Report, which said Western women are economically motivated and hence more likely to falsely “cry rape” for material reasons as opposed to Indian women who are ‘good’, less materialist and hence more reliable?
to me this serves only to perpetuate and/or excuse rape culture because it leads to the dangerous assumption that westernized woman are less “authentic” and hence more condemnable and even rape-able in certain arguments, while indian women are good. does that imply that a ‘good’ woman doesn’t or shouldnt cry rape?
disrobe this clothes issue from rape and you still will get disrespect for women or misplaced and misgudied domination over women via rape or sexual violence.
perhaps then it is not the women whose attire, or lack of attire as some readily point out, which is in a state of crisis, but the state of man itself and himself.
persepolis proves this wonderfully well in the scene where marjane is running to classes because she is late. she is completely covered in black, from head to toe, with a big, long, loose flowing dress, eyes showing only, and the police officers stop her dead on her tracks, to ask why she is running, if she doesn’t know her butt cheeks are moving.
once again it is clothes which is faulted: whether it is a lot as marjane is wearing in persepolis, or a little as jodie foster is wearing in accused or even nandita das in bawandar [though saris are the staple indian attire].