It is worrying that even powerful, accomplished women like Mayawati are so often at the receiving end of sexist abuse and offensive remarks. The misogyny in the Indian society is almost casual, from anti-women jokes forwarded on instant messaging apps to pretty much everyday crude barbs directed at women in public places.
Hardly anyone, including women, objects to them. In fact, I’ve seen women sharing jokes that demean themselves to each other. They don’t see anything wrong in them. Sexist jokes have become as much as part of the life as eating or sleeping. Nothing quite represents this indifference like the way people who are punished or prosecuted for misogyny or harassment get horrified to observe that they are being targeted for such ‘trifles.’
Of course, in most cases the malefactors stay out of the reach of justice (for all that guff about the hands of ‘kanoon’ being uncommonly long), particularly when the woman is poor and/or is of low caste.
The most common justification of those men is that they were”joking” and that their “remarks were not supposed to be taken seriously” and so forth. They almost never realise that they actually did something wrong.
It is because they were never taught that it is not acceptable to make such remarks. It is the whole system that is rotten. It is not just the rapists who rape women, it is the collective responsibility of the entire society, that creates such men. The blame lies with all of us.