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Life isn't all Ha Ha Hee Hee
Excellent article. I was brought up by a mom and aunts who had all experienced some for of abuse - mostly by family and friends, strangers on buses. So my mom made us watchful and careful. We had fun, but were never allowed to take any risks.
Uma, I am going to come clean and admit that I was wary of your piece...I had made all the assumptions possible. I will now happily admit that I was wrong. Your piece highlights a very important issue IMO - that women have to take responsibility for their actions. I got into a very lively debate with some young women (mid-late 20s at the time) about a law that was being proposed in England. Under the proposal, drunk women were presumed to have 'not consented' to sex. The onus of proving that sex was in fact consensual was on the man. These young women found nothing wrong with this proposal but I, as an ardent feminist, found the law horrifying because in my view, it undid what women had fought so long and hard for - to be treated as sane, informed adults, capable of independent thought and action and control over their bodies. In treating her consent as ineffectual, the legislation was seeking to take a woman's control over her person and vest it in the man instead.
Even from the point of view of the law, at what point would a lady be considered sufficiently 'drunk' to have nullified her consent? How would all the subtle sexual clues work in such a context?
I agree completely with you that women dont invite rape or sexual assault. But to use this as a justification for stupidity involving getting into strangers' cars, is untenable. Feminism means allowing women to have control over themselves and with that control comes responsibility.
Gr8 Wobi that you went beyond your initial reservatons & read the article. Your definition of feminism - to have control over yourself & with control comes responsibility - thumbs up!!!
Wobi, did this proposal go through? I'm perhaps going off topic, but I do find it worrying that men are often treated as guilty before proven so when sexual harassment allegations are made by women. These fears have discouraged males from going into the teaching profession which is a great loss. I too am a feminist but some of these cases do bother me. It's bad for society as a whole and leaves women more weakened.
I read this article and agree,I feel it is only the tip of the iceberg of the problem. Here we are talking of young girls,if we look at cases of rape and molestation it is through all the ages. How does one avoid the same? How does one read the signs? Who do you not trust?
It all comes down to education, parenting, being in groups, not taking risks, open forums of discussion and much more.
Right from a young age girls (even boys these days)should be made aware of what is harassment, encouraged to share unusual happenings with the parents, not be embarrassed or scared to talk these topics, not take risks. Like all my friends' comments above, every time I read about an incident in the papers (which is everyday) there is a sadness and helplessness inside me....
Wobi, interesting re the proposed law in ENgland. There is always a balance to be considered with these kinds of laws. Like affirmative action or caste reservations. At what point does such law reflect the exact opposite of what it proposes to rectify. But what is the alternative.
Gai 3, I agree. Talking to kids and among parents is a way to raise awareness. My elementary school going daughter has a program in her school called Girls on the Run, which talks about bullying, loneliness, negative emotions and such while training for a 5K run. Its been a fantastic avenue for my daughter to explore her feelings and share them with me and find a vocabulary to articulate these complex feelings naturally. Perhaps a similar program for older kids would be one way to deal with it institutionally.
Chiliburst, the law says that if a woman was under the influence then the onus of proving that sex was consensual lies on the man. I can see the logic in this but I disagree with profoundly as explained above. Rape is a really difficult crime to prove because it generally happens in private and often between people who know each other (as opposed to stranger rape). I can see the logic in shifting the burden of proof...but this in my view takes away from what feminists fought long and hard for.
I completely agree Al.E.cat. Apparently the judge and jury are vested with the responsibility of determining whether sex was consensual or not. But the problem is that no one can ever know what happened between a man and a woman behind closed doors.
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