EVERY time there is an incident of sexual assault against women, there's a camp of men (and women) who feel "outraged" at the whole lot of attention these stories get. Their thought process goes something like this: Why the fuss over such a minor incident? Weren't those men simply fulfilling their masculine duty by putting those "promiscuous" women in their rightful place? How dare she resist? The people asking these questions suffer from what I like to call 'Entitlement Syndrome'. Their mindsets work in such a way that they feel entitled to tell women of the world how to lead their lives and why they deserve to be violated.
After the molestation of around 20 women by some 30 to 40 rowdy men at the Suhrawardy Udyan gate near the TSC area during Pahela Baishakh celebrations, social injustice warriors began to spread hate all over social media.
These ridiculous myths that attempt to justify sickening acts of sexual violence against women need to be addressed.
Myth #1: If only these uncultured women refrained from wearing "provocative" clothes, saris and blouses, and Western clothes, they would not have been targeted.
Overlooking the blatant sexism in that mentality and the severe entitlement issue that most men (and some women) have in telling other women how to dress, what to eat and how to live their lives, these pernicious myths perpetuate the victim blaming mentality and provide a way for sex offenders to evade responsibility because they couldn't keep it in their pants.
No, the women at Dhaka University weren't "asking" for those vile men's sexual advances. Not that victims of sexual violence ever "ask" for it. A simple way to figure out if a woman gives consent to her body is when she actually gives consent, you know like, communicate the word yes using her vocal chords.
Myth #2: If only those women stayed at home (like good mothers and daughters do), this would never have happened.
I am not going to ask those who honestly believe this to come out of their cave or the rock they have been living under.
A country which has been ruled for the last 23 years by female Prime Ministers, whose Speaker of Parliament is a woman, and whose garment sector runs on the hard labour of women, it takes a whole lot of nerve to make misogynistic comments such as these which, once again, highlight the entitlement syndrome of most of our men and a lot of women who take it upon themselves to delineate the spaces where women can or cannot be.
The illegal, lucrative market of pornography continues to thrive in Bangladesh thanks to the overwhelming number of men who regularly indulge in the consumption of pornographic content. In a report compiled by the Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS), porn addiction is a growing problem among our young men. Are these men not seeking it out for themselves? Are they being aroused and provoked by our women in saris and shalwar kameez to look up pornographic videos online? Hypocrisy.
Myth #3: Women should scream and shout for help in the face of sexual assault. It's tough to harm a woman who resists physical assault.
So both the cause and the solution of sexual assault lie with the woman herself? She's both her own provocateur and her own saviour? When is it ever the perpetrator's fault?
Women don't need sex offenders to "teach them a lesson" because they're somehow "guilty" of arousing the latter's sexual urges that can apparently be triggered with the glimpse of a woman's fully bare arm. These men need to set aside their entitlement issues which delude them into believing that the act of forcefully fulfilling their temptations by violating women's bodies is completely "normal" or "natural".
Myth #4: All this talk for women's rights is "feminazi propaganda" carried out by man-haters.
Feminazi is a filthy, filthy word. I don't see how wanting equal economic, political, personal and social rights for women is the same as a racist nationalism-based fascist ideology that led to a genocide.
Feminists don't hate men. They just don't like men who are sexist, who are okay with using their social and political power to discriminate against women, and who are okay with hurting and abusing women physically and sexually.
Myth #5: She is someone's mother, daughter, sister or wife.
Actually… she's just a human being.
It's sad that we still live in a world in which the significance of women's lives is made to be understood in relation to another human being, especially a male. In the aftermath of incidents like these, we always hear/read about why women's bodies should be hands off in comments like: "She could have been your mother or your sister. Wouldn't you have protected her?"
Why, why must men either be our abuser or protector? Why can't we be allies? Or friends? The mother-sister-wife approach maintains and reinforces the dangerous hierarchical positioning of societal relations in which the woman is always "beneath" the man. All women want is a level-playing field where they feel safe enough to walk home late at night, where they're not subjected to the violence of the male gaze, and where they're not victim-blamed by being painted as walking temptresses out to trap men through the art of seduction.
The writer is a journalist at The Daily Star.