Bengaluru women are going to set up a display of 10,000 clothes – the clothes they were wearing when they got molested.
After the recent attacks on women on New Year’s Eve and a minister who made ridiculous statements of how western clothes lead to molestation, the city is now looking to make itself a safer space, as reported by The New Indian Express.
Jasmeen Patheja, founder of Blank Noise has been collecting the clothes women wore when they were harassed, to put up the display.
The only thing provoking, enabling a perpetrator is his entitlement. Too many, men have been raised to think this is the way to behave, that this is fun. That this was ‘just teasing’. This attitude affirmed, especially when we have leaders saying things like “it happens” by dismissing it off its seriousness or blaming women, their clothes, bodies, mobility, freedom.
Jasmeen’s online exhibition is aptly titled, ‘I Never Ask For It’ and is obviously unhappy with the “these things happen, the people on the streets were almost like westerners” comments by Home Minister G Parmeshwar.
Blaming youth, West, clothes, women, reveals a lack of taking ownership and responsibility. When violence is normalised, it is accepted. This itself is a problem. Every person – citizen, leader, politician, police, stranger – has the ability, capacity and potential to build a safe and inclusive space. We want our elected ministers to respond with that intention and urgency.Jasmeen Patheja
Blank Noise is a community project that’s running in nine cities and is working towards tackling street harassment and initiating a number of projects since its inception in 2003.
‘I Never Ask For It’ is a five-year committment built and led by public participation to end victim blaming. Their aim is to put up 10,000 pieces of garments on display by 2019.
Most women and girls in Bengaluru and across the world can also recall the clothes they wore when they experienced any form of sexual violence. This holds mirror to the environment of victim blame; that which has long justified, excused and perpetuated sexual violence.Jasmeen Patheja
Patheja observed that women in India don’t report experiences of sexual violence out of the fear of being judged, blamed and shamed. When they do open up about it, the most common response is asking them about what they were wearing.