Concerns over moral policing, heckling after video goes viral
Video of young women asking an older woman to apologise for commenting on appropriateness of her dress has gone viral on social mediaUpdated: May 02, 2019, 06:34 IST
A day after the video of young women asking an older woman to apologise for allegedly shaming their colleague over the appropriateness of her outfit went viral, members of the civil society and activists called for a change in people’s mindset that justifies “rape culture”.
The appeal comes as people on social media subjected the older woman, who appeared to have said in the video that “younger women wore short clothes to get raped”, to abusive messages, including rape threats.
One of the women at the store, who can be seen speaking for the young women in the video, took to Instagram on Wednesday, and said, “We are appreciative of all the support we are getting, but please DO NOT, I repeat, do not support us by threatening rape at another woman.”
The older woman, who is also supposedly a resident of Gurugram, did not respond to the comments on social media. A Facebook user, who claimed to be living in the same area as her, commented that she was also drawing flak in her neighbourhood over the issue. Hindustan Times could not independently verify this.
Women’s rights activist Asmita Ghosh said on Twitter that the woman deserves to be chastised, “which the other women at the mall definitely did… but ppl are now finding in her a symbol of all that is wrong with patriarchy, which, trust me, doesn’t rest on this woman’s shoulders alone.”
Ghosh added that social media users sharing the older woman’s username was irresponsible.
Shivani Gupta, a resident of Sector 27, who made the video, said she had gone to a restaurant near JMD Metropolis on Monday morning with two of her friends when a woman there allegedly questioned her about the length of her dress. “She, in a very condescending and authoritative tone, asked me to come to her and sit, after which she asked me why I was wearing a short dress. When we retaliated, she got agitated, stood up and asked the seven-odd men to rape us; they laughed it off,” Gupta alleged, adding that she and her friends then left the restaurant.
Gupta said she told her colleagues about the incident who then decided to confront the woman. “We found her at a store in the complex and asked her to apologise on camera. She refused and continued with her rant,” Gupta said, adding that she would file a police complaint against the woman on Thursday.
HT was unable to contact the older woman for comments.
Activist and scholar Maya John said, “The culture of impunity and of rape is pervasive and should be strongly condemned. The issue of dress and behaviour should be debated, but shouldn’t be allowed to be used against women in a misogynistic vein.”
Neela Kaushik, founder and moderator of the GurgaonMoms – a forum for women in Gurugram with 30,000 members online – where the video drew strong responses, said, “The mindset of people needs to change. While there has been outrage on social media, this needs to translate to action on the ground.”