Source : Google photo
Synopsis: All over the world women face sexual harassment and have now started to come out to denounce those who have mistreated them with the hope that the culture of sexual depredation of women will stop and they will be treated fairly with respect and dignity. The blog studies the root cause of sexual harassment in any culture that needs greater scrutiny.
Now a days there seems to be an epidemic of news about the sexual depredation of women almost everywhere but more so in the film industry of Hollywood, Bollywood and other such places. Numerous women have come out in the open and have complained of very degrading treatment of female aspiring stars who want to get a role in a movie. They are groped, paraded naked by casting directors to see if they have cinematic or camera friendly bodies and are often rejected saying they are too fat and must shed some weight before they can be considered.
Others have been physically assaulted and raped on the so called casting couches by the powerful producers and movie moguls as a rite of passage to movie roles. Many such young and beautiful women come from the hinterland and small towns with dreams of making it into the movie or TV world and have to face the horrible sexual depredation in the hands of rich and powerful people who decide their fate.
Some end up getting small roles of insignificance if they are lucky so they take to the streets to earn a living just to survive. Some get into drugs and alcohol because they are invited to numerous parties given by the rich and famous where they are groped and abused after intoxication. Just ask any famous movie star what they had to do to get the role that made them a star and they will tell you their horrible stories of sexual exploitation.
The sad part is that people who exploit women sexually without their consent and under duress are rich and enjoy impunity so no one listens to these poor girls until now. The flood gates are open and many women around the world are coming out daily with their horrendous stories and abuse with the hope that these men are exposed and their impunity is taken away.
It is a known fact that the rich and powerful can get away with almost anything in any country. They hire powerful lawyers to make women withdraw their complaints often with hush money or threats so many abused women are discouraged to pursue their cases.
There was a movie producer in Mumbai that was called Bombay in the olden days who rescued young and beautiful girls seeking movie roles from sexual depredation and sent them home and paid for their train tickets but such people are rare. You hear more about the bad people in the movie and television industry than the good people. Some have been forced to resign and are facing law suits while others go Scott free and carry on as if nothing has happened.
But something has happened. The brave abused women now have a voice and have started to come out to write about their sad experiences in the social media and newspapers to name and shame these predators that still enjoy immunity to a great extent. All over the world this sort of things goes on daily where the victims do not have a voice and can’t complain if the assailant is rich and powerful.
The abuse of women is nothing new. It happens daily in public places, in buses, in taxis, in hotels, in planes and even in places of some religious significance. I wrote about a person who raped and assaulted numerous women in Punjab and who is now in jail for 20 years but there are others who carry on as usual until they are brought to justice someday.
A young woman cannot walk down the street without getting some cat calls and verbal assault from vagabonds lurking in every street corner especially if she is attired provokingly meaning very short skirts or skimpy clothes that expose most of the breast. This cat calling and eve teasing is a way people show disapproval in some countries where their culture demands modesty from women in public. Their culture demands that women dress in a manner that does not provoke men to do the cat calling so by and large most women abide just to be safe from these predators.
But in the western culture, a woman can wear what she likes and behave as she likes with scant regard to others because there are no decency or indecency laws worth the paper they are written on and much less implemented. In some countries there are nude beaches or parks where women go about stark naked while in other countries women wear next to nothing and feel that they have covered the essentials so it is ok. If they get cat calls or sexual remarks, they just shrug it off because they are used to it since puberty.
But some women are now fighting back. There was a case here in the Philippines when two young girls took a taxi but the driver took them to a secluded place to rape them so they got down ,dragged the driver out and gave him a thorough beating that cracked his bones. These girls knew martial art and put it to good use. The driver had messed with the wrong girls and learned his lessons the hard way.
In another case two girls in Punjab who got tired of constant eve teasing and cat calls decided to do something about it and beat up several boys. This inspired other girls similarly harassed to take action and they formed a judo club to learn martial art for self-defense.
I have written in one my blogs that the modesty is defined according to the country and the popular culture they have so it is not immodest if an African girl in Mali or Kenya goes bare breasted because it is natural for them to be so. No one cat calls and teases them so molestation is unheard of. Their village council punishes anyone teasing or abusing women in some way so women feel safe. In Haiti, women bathe in public nude but no one teases them or molests them. I have lived in Africa and in Haiti so I know. In their culture it is quite acceptable for women to bare themselves while bathing or changing clothes in public so no one notices anything odd while in Moslem countries the religious police wander around with a whip and beat women who dare to expose themselves this way. So the definition of modesty varies from country to country. The tolerance to nudity also varies from country to country depending on their culture.
In some African countries, modesty is limited to lower parts so you will hardly ever see a woman who does not cover her legs although bare breasted. The clothes they wear are a matter of functionality and not fashion while in the western world, fashion is paramount that feeds a billion dollar industry.
Often it is the industry that dictates the fashion in vogue so they make available skimpy clothes and very short shorts that they put on display on mannequins to show what is the current fashion. If a woman is ashamed to wear such clothes in public then she will not buy them but she will also not find the alternative she is seeking. The old fashioned full kinis mono or bi are nowhere to be found in any store.
The movie and TV stars are at the forefront of the fashion industry where they show off their sheer transparent gowns with no underwear that the fashion magazines love and pay them a lot of money for because it sells their magazines. Then some other women say why not. I too can wear such clothes and appear in public.
So let us return to the issue of modesty here and of sexual depredation of women. In Egypt where female harassment in public is quite common including cat calling and groping, now they have formed boy’s brigade who roam the streets to catch the harassers and beat them up publicly. It is a small step in the right direction so perhaps boys will be more careful in teasing a girl anywhere. The cell phones with camera also play an important role because the watchers can now record an incident and show it to the police or the boy’s brigade to identify the wrong doers. Still women are not safe altogether and are assaulted in lonely places or dark alleys.
In the state of Uttar Pradesh in India, the chief minister has ordered the police to form a roving brigade to catch people who are disrespectful of women and slap heavy fine or prison terms for them but they can’t be everywhere so it goes on unless the girl knows karate.
In Asian countries and in the Middle Eastern countries, women are bound by the tradition of modest clothes that reveal nothing so people show their disapproval to anyone not obeying those rules. That is the main reason for their cat calls although not always limited to it. A woman is not supposed to be out late at night alone or with a boyfriend which can lead to tragedy as it happened in Delhi in a bus. The girl was brutally raped and beaten along with her companion and dumped by the roadside. The Prime Minister sent her to Singapore in his private plane to get urgent medical treatment but she died. The boy survived.
Also in many countries where by tradition the sexes are separated from the childhood, the boyfriend or girl friendship is not approved so the tradition of arranged marriage is the norm.
This is not the case in the Western culture where the sexes are not separated so boys and girls go to school together from their childhood and mix easily shedding the shyness Asian girls generally have toward boys although here in the Philippines the first question any girl will ask any other girl is if she has a boyfriend or not because to them it is of paramount importance. They always try to imitate the Western culture and their values.
Here you will see the girls practically hanging on to the boys and vice versa as if they are going to run away. Public display of affection (often quite vulgar) is common unlike in more traditional societies where even touching a woman is considered uncivilized and frowned upon.
In a Hollywood movie I was watching the other day on TV, the man asked the woman how many lovers she had before they met to which she asked “ in college or since high school? Then she showed four fingers. Women are used to sex since puberty and often take their boyfriends home. The parents tip toe around them seeing them kissing and groping and some mothers even smile because to them it is quite natural and normal. She did it herself when young. Besides who listens to them? The girl can say to her parents she is 16 and can do as she pleases.
This liberal attitude toward the sexuality prevalent in the Western culture that leads to teen age pregnancies and the consequences that bedevil their society is a social issue. This easy attitude toward sex is perhaps the reason why some men in power abuse women in Hollywood and elsewhere. I get the feeling that rape and sexual abuse of women in any form is basically a power play between two persons and not always about sex itself.
Many psychologists agree. They say that the liberal attitude toward sex is mainly the culprit. One person who is powerful takes advantage of a weaker person in a certain situation where the weaker person is seeking a favor, a part, a role in a movie or TV series. It is the same sort of power play when soldiers rape hundreds of women during the war because they feel powerful with a gun in their hand and no defense for the women. They also do it because they can get away with it like in Bangladesh war.
The Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman pleaded with young men to come forward and marry these raped women and give them a new life after the war. The culprits were never punished.
There is another aspect of the liberal sexual attitude prevalent in the Western culture that some other countries accept as their model and abandon their traditional values. You will find numerous clubs where boys and girls, men and women of a certain age congregate to have fun. It means loud music, lot of drinking and dancing as if it is going out of style. There they dance with strangers often holding each other and drinking. Some will inevitably ask the question- “your place or mine” that can have tragic consequences. This is the staple of the Hollywood movies that are shown worldwide. Following their example, many such dance clubs sprout in many countries. One in Manila had a club full of young people dancing with abandon when a fire broke out and hundreds died.
I cannot criticize the Western culture just because they are different from others when it comes to sexuality. I am just writing about the consequences of this liberality and tolerant attitude of people who avert their eyes from the bosom of a girl wearing low cut blouse. You are not supposed to look at anyone even if she is naked except on the sly. You are not supposed to criticize a girl or woman who wears inappropriate clothes to school or even college unless you are a tough Principal. Women in my class in California used to come in their skimpy bikinis. The professor just pretended to ignore them. They will ask you why it is inappropriate?
The old cliché that boys will be boys does not solve the problem women have and the harassment they suffer everyday unless they take up karate lessons and teach these people a lesson. Maybe Mr. Miyagi is still accepting students.