Naharnet

India Gears Up for Maiden 'Slut Walk'

Skimpily dressed women will take to the streets of New Delhi later this month for India's first "Slut Walk", a global phenomenon to protest sexual violence.

The capital is India's most dangerous city for women where leering and harassment are a daily menace and a woman is raped every 18 hours or molested every 14 hours, according to the latest police figures.

A government-backed U.N. survey last year said about 85 percent of Delhi's women are perpetually scared of being sexually harassed.

"The purpose of a slut walk is to bring to the attention of society that the problem is not what we do, but what is done to us," Umang Sabarwal, a Delhi University student and the organizer of the June 25 protest, wrote on her Facebook page.

Slut Walk was first held in Toronto this year after a police officer caused outrage by stating that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized" during a speech to university students.

The protest soon spread to over 60 cities where women joined in huge numbers to challenge the mindset that victims of sexual assault should be blamed for the crime against them on the grounds that they were "asking for it".

Sabarwal said although the concept had originated in the West, it held a lot of relevance in a city like New Delhi.

"The woman is always blamed for bringing on the rape. 'What was she doing alone at night? Why was she wearing a skirt? Why did she not have a male companion with her? Why was she driving alone?

"We cast aspersions on the character of the woman, and her morals. It has to be her fault, doesn't it? The men are not at fault."

The event has already generated interest in the Indian media and on social networking websites where some have called it a "walk for liberation" and others deriding it for being silly and provocative.

Dimpy Verma, who works for in the insurance division of a multi-national bank in the city, said she was excited about taking part in the walk along with her mother.

"I will wear the skimpiest of my skirts," said the 27-year-old. "I want to cock a snook at all the male chauvinists out there who think of women as sexual objects and nothing else."

Source: Agence France Presse


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