I was going to head out to a friend's the other day. I was wearing my favorite, very pretty, lacy white top and a pair of shorts. It's not like I didn't expect my mother to tell me to change into something else if I'm going out, but I've always wished it needn't be that way. My mom's only reason for not allowing me to wear it is because it's dangerous for women here to go out wearing it. People have this misconception that if you're wearing shorts, or any western clothing generally considered "indecent", it means that you have an intention to seduce, or to be subject to sexual interest. Somehow people have come to the conclusion that, if a girl gets eve teased, groped, molested or even raped, she was probably asking for it. "Why should she wear such revealing clothes? Wearing such indecent clothes, she cannot expect to be safe; she was asking for trouble." I've even heard stuff about, "After all he is a man, not God." From my experience of crowded, rickety Chennai buses, theatres, even of roads or empty streets, any girl, irrespective of what she is wearing, is unsafe. Even a girl dressed in the traditional salwar kameez would have some experience of sexual harassment to tell you about. And surely, men need not be God to respect women - they need only be human. There is, of course, more chance of getting in trouble if we were to wear more revealing clothes, but is that really any reason to demand that girls not wear them? Some people I know have even gone to the extent of calling a girl "arrogant" for wearing what she wanted to - apparently she was also "taking her life for granted" by expecting to be safe. Then there's the rule that girls shouldn't be out too late, after dark. This again, is for our safety. While these measures seem to be precautionary in nature on the surface, when you take a closer look at them, you will find that these measures are the very building blocks to victim-blaming. Let's elaborate on exactly what that sentence means -...
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