Delhi hosted the Slut walk or 'Besharmi Morcha' today outside Jantar Mantar today to to protest sexual violence against women who are victimised on the pretext of dressing up provocatively and thus "asking for it".
The History of Slut Walk
Slut Walks have become a global phenomenon to protest against sexual violence after a police officer Michael Sanguinetti, in Toronto this year caused outrage by stating during a speech to York university students that women should avoid "dressing like sluts" in order not to be victimized on January 24, 2011.
On April 3, 2011, over 3,000 gathered at Queen's Park (Toronto). The day began with speeches before moving to the Toronto Police Headquarters. Although the website requested women to dress in everyday wear (to symbolize ordinary women, sexually assaulted in ordinary life), many women dressed as "sluts" in provocative clothing.
It soon spread to other parts of the world and became a powerful feminist movement and India was not behind.
The Slut Walk in Delhi
The protesters gathered outside Jantar Mantar for the Slut Walk. There were hundreds who had gathered, but the media was probably 20% of the crowd, and Delhi Police another 10%. The actual participants were few. There was no provocative dressing as such. People held strong messages in their placards. And there was a significant participation from foreigners as well. There were slogans, speeches, placards and street plays. Overall it did not quite have the magnum of an impact that I was anticipating.
I am not exactly a feminist but I do support the cause. There is not even a single woman who ever traveled in public transport and did not face some form of a sexual abuse and of course it is important to promote awareness that the way we dress has little to do with the way we're treated (most of the times). Most of us at some point of time have felt scared while walking on a lonely road even during the day, irrespective of what we're wearing. It is obviously bullshit that a rape has anything to do with what the victim is wearing. Of course we should wear whatever we like, but I would still not suggest walking in a mini skirt in while walking on a lonely stretch, it could just catch some unwanted attention. I know we have the basic sensibilities and we all worry about our security.
Though I support the cause but I do not quite believe that the demonstration is going to really change things, it will only help us in expressing our disgust about the fact that the Police who are supposed to protect us actually made that statement (which is also important). What would help is improving the security in the city (The Dhaula Kuan police station was shifted to RK Puram after so many incidents took place there and the police could not do much, why!). I believe the Delhi police are already trying hard and have come up with multiple helplines to aid women in trouble or distress, but we still need a little more may be..
Also, I think we should all keep these helpline numbers handy. I had something that I had stored in my cell and I am sharing those here.
Delhi Police Women Helpline Numbers