By Ila Ananya
In an effort to talk about the growing lawlessness since Yogi Adityanath became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, MLA Azam Khan has reportedly said the same old things that politician after politician has said about sexual violence against women.
This time, instead of blaming sexual violence on eating chowmein and women using cell phones as ministers have done before, Khan thought it was important to say that women should avoid going to suspicious places where they might be vulnerable — “Ladkiyon ko bhi aisi jagahon par nahi jaani chahiye jahan besharmi ka nanga naach hota hai,” he reportedly told ANI.
His comments came after a disturbing video of a group of 14 men molesting two women in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, started doing the rounds on social media since Saturday, 27th May. It’s been reported that the video shows a group of men teasing and molesting the women, and according to Indian Express, the incident itself happened on 22nd May. They also report that the police has identified the 14 men involved, and the main accused has been arrested.
Of course this wasn’t all that Azam Khan said. Apart from making sweeping statements about how women should stay at home (which is just another way of making women take responsibility for sexual violence rather than the men themselves), Khan also added that men in the families “should try and keep their women and ladies of the house indoor as much as possible.”
Now, not only is he saying women should stay home and out of public spaces to be safe, but that men should “keep their” women at home. Nevermind that women are not objects that belong to men, or that men need to have any kind of control over where women they might know go. And it seems Khan has forgotten quite easily that studies have shown time and again that more women are sexually abused by men they know, and men in their families, than men outside their houses. RAHAT’s 2015 report, for instance, shows us that in 9 percent of cases, women didn’t know the men who had sexually abused them, while 91 percent of women did.
So please, it’s easy to pretend like this already misogynistic statement is for women’s safety, when it isn’t. Try doing some actual work instead of holding forth with nothing new to say.