An Open Letter to Kirron Kher in Response to Her Rape Prevention Advice

An Open Letter to Kirron Kher in Response to Her Rape Prevention Advice

An Open Letter to Kirron Kher in Response to Her Rape Prevention Advice 2017

An Open Letter to Kirron Kher in Response to Her Rape Prevention Advice

Dear Mrs Kher,

This will probably never reach you. Even if it does, by a stroke of luck, you won’t read it or address it. But, I’m a woman of no importance; I need to scream, and keep screaming, till at least one person hears me. So I’ll write this, anyway.

Let me start by saying one thing.

You are Kirron Kher. What you say publicly, matters.

From the moment baby girl learns to be aware of the uses of her body part, like using her hands to grab things, and her eyes to see, it is instilled in her mind that a certain part of her body needs to be protected; she learns that it makes her more vulnerable than the other half of the population. Women are always careful. Ever since I have been leaving the house, to go to school, or work, or even just a friend’s place, my mother has been standing at the door, saying “Sabdhane jash. Dugga, Dugga!”

That is a Bangali mother’s way of warning me to be careful, and praying for my safety.

Even today, when half of her body is paralysed, she does the same. That’s all she can do – warn me, ask me to be careful, and hope that her girl will return home, unassaulted. I’ve myself learnt to say it to other women. I’m used to hearing this, and even used to saying this. Like the rest of our kind, I am used to being careful, all the time, and look over my shoulders, every moment. That’s all we can do. The rest is upon the rapists.

The Chandigarh girl who was raped by her co-passengers and the auto driver must have spent her entire life being careful, too. When she saw the auto full of just men, she had to make a choice – to get into it and risk getting raped by the men in the car, or to let the car pass and wait on the road for the next ride, risking getting raped by the men on the road. Would you ask her, then, why she was out?

There are plenty of other scenarios in which she could have been raped. It could be an all women’s auto, and the driver could have still raped her, (or any other woman in the auto). Her rapists could have climbed into the auto after her. She could have walked home. None of these scenarios ensures her safety. Maybe she could have just stayed home. But then again, don’t we see numerous reports of a girl getting raped by her brother, uncle, grandfather, father, or husband?

I apologise; in India, there is no such thing as marital rape.

Every day, hundreds of women go out to work. Many have to work late. They don’t have the privilege of travelling in private cars, or with bodyguards, like you. Circumstances force some women to work, not as a hobby or to prove themselves, but to pay bills and buy food. two girls of four years got raped in their school premises in Kolkata. A friend of mine was groped on her way to school, in broad daylight. Another girl I know faced it while her father was in the auto.

All these girls are always been careful.

That’s all we do all the time; that’s all we have heard from women who can’t do anything more than just warn us and pray for us. Because the society has associated shame with rape – our shame. But, I don’t expect a regressive statement from you. You are a woman in a position of power, unlike my worried and utterly powerless mother. You should be having constructive discussions about how to improve the safety of women. CCTV cameras, vigilantes to monitor these constantly, road patrolling, mobile investigation groups… These are what I want to hear from you, not the same words that my paralysed reiterates every day. My friends and family are powerless.

You, on the other hand, are Kirron Kher. You fought against female foeticide.

Political Representative Kirron Kher 'advices' women to be more careful instead of holding constructive discussions 2017

Political Representative Kirron Kher ‘advices’ women to be more careful instead of holding constructive discussions

As an iconic woman in entertainment and political fields, you’re someone people look up to. You need to think how your statements can, and will, be taken. Our society has been built and run by patriarchal men and is full of women with internalised misogyny. This society has failed us, by raping and assaulting us, not believing our narrations, not investigating in time, not providing appropriate punishments to our perpetrators, and of course, by constantly holding us responsible for the crimes we face.

Our clothes, our time of being outside the house, our location, our surroundings, our character, our education, our attitude – everything has been questioned and blamed. Do you know about the #MeToo trend, where women expressed solidarity for each other by sharing their tales of sexual assault on social network? I read someone saying, women should take self-defence classes to avoid getting raped. The thing is, we are all doing these. Something or the other. Some take karate classes, while some wear ‘modest’ clothes. Some return home early. Others stay accompanied by men all the time.

When a woman as powerful as you makes a statement like you did, this society sees it as another example of victim-blaming. If I accept your defence that you only meant it as an advice, then let me point out your words have been read by people who want women to stop being opinionated, strong, independent and equal to men. Your statement is an easy pass for them to say, “If a woman like Kirron Kher can say that women should be more careful, it means that a rape victim was not careful enough…” Do you see how that leads to victim-shaming?

The responsibility of a crime must remain with the perpetrator, and never with the victim.

And, no victim deserves to hear, that he/she could have done things differently to avoid the crime. That is the most insensitive thing to say to a victim. We all know that times are bad; none of us can afford to be carefree all the time, and we know it. Your little tip to be careful is not only useless, but also ill-timed and inappropriate, and sounds awfully like what an enabler would say.

We do not want you to sit in your chair of privilege and power, telling us how to avoid getting raped. We need a woman who can condemn rape, and can address the deficits in the system that are causing such crimes. You’re a famous mother – of a son. So, be an exemplary one, so that other moms know what to say their sons, and how to teach their sons that rape is not even an option. I’m a powerless woman with just a computer; if I can write this, then you, Kirron Kher, can and must do much more than give ill-timed, regressive advice to the women of the nation with the excuse of your personal relationships. Trust me, we are already on the verge of paranoia.

Regards,
A careful woman of India.

Kirron Kher - Giving Rape Prevention Tips Instead of Condemning Rapists 2017

Kirron Kher – Giving Rape Prevention Tips Instead of Condemning Rapists

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Kirron_Kher Clarifies Victim-Blaming Comment

 

Oendrila De

The unique, odd, crazy journey of OD, i.e. Oendrila in the world of fashion, food and everything else in this big, bad, beautiful world.

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6 Responses

  1. Sapna says:

    Bravo girl.. Totally agree with ur opinion

  2. Sayeri says:

    very well said, for us, our pen is the only weapon.

  3. Anindya Bandyopadhyay says:

    Go on girl.

  4. Winsant says:

    Strange are the people in our country…. Especially the Politicians…. They are like wild horses without self control.

  5. Kamalika mallick says:

    Just wonderful…carry on my friend

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