Women's March: Women protest across nation against mass assault, victim-blaming

| Updated: Jan 22, 2017 05:18 IST

Bengaluru/New Delhi/Kolkata [India], Jan. 21 (ANI): Several women groups across the nation staged rallies protesting against several causes, especially the recent alleged mass molestation in Bengaluru on New Year's Eve, and the subsequent comments by politicians blaming women for the incident. The protests, publicised under the hash tag #IWillGoOut on social media, were meant to coincide with the scheduled "Million Women March" in Washington on Saturday, a day after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. The "Million Women March" in Washington is in response to Trump's attitude toward women, and fears that his presidency could set back or destroy many women rights. Hundreds of people took to the streets in protest against Trump in Bengaluru. In solidarity with their kind in Washington, they raised slogans and carried placards denouncing Trump's alleged anti-LGBT stance. "Trump came to power with a declaration that he is anti-people, especially the migrants (immigrants) in America, especially the Islamic people in America, especially he is anti-LGBTQ people and more than anything else, he is anti-women and that is why of the reason, we are protesting today," said a protester, Jagadish Chandra. Meanwhile, hundreds of women staged protest in the national capital too, demanding greater safety for women in the country. "We have been walking on this issue because we feel women have a right to this city. They have a right to be safe, they have a right to mobility and therefore everyone must join hands to ensure that this is possible," said a member of women's rights organisation Jaagori, Sunita Dhar. The reactions and rallies come after several women alleged they were groped and assaulted by a mob in a crowded street on December 31 in Bengaluru, despite the presence of a large number of policemen. Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwara later gave a statement that "such incidents do happen" while Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi blamed women for following "western culture", dressing inappropriately and staying out late. Meanwhile in Kolkata, women performed a skit depicting crimes against them. A protester, Vanadhika Singh Devburman, also expressed full solidarity with those protesting against Trump. "I will go out (#IWillGoOut) is an attempt. It is a pan-India attempt to reclaim the streets, to reclaim our right to safety and just to let people know that you can't get away with violating someone and then not only that blame the victim so it is a lot of things, so overall we are reclaiming our rights," said Devburman. The politicians' comments echo those made after previous incidents of violence against women, including the fatal gang rape of a young woman on a bus in the capital city in December 2012. That incident sparked nationwide protests and led to stricter rape legislation. It also led to a campaign by women groups called 'Why Loiter?' that encouraged women to walk the streets of their cities at night and defy those who said women should not be out at night following the Delhi gang rape. More than 34,000 rapes were reported in India in 2015, according to the National Crime Record Bureau. More assaults go unreported because women fear being stigmatised. (ANI)
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