“The ban has now been extended to colleges throughout the state and has caused outrage among student groups and women’s rights campaigners who say girls are being blamed for encouraging sexual harassment. The list of ‘vulgar’ clothes which the colleges claim can provoke sexual assaults include sleeveless blouses, tight tops, miniskirts and high-heeled shoes, as well as jeans. Instead, girls should wear traditional saris or kurta pyjamas – long baggy shirts and trousers to conceal their curves…’A dress code would check eve-teasing to some extent and also ensure that girls don’t waste their time selecting what clothes to wear. If girls wore salwar-kurta or Indian clothes, cases of sexual harassment near college campuses would decrease,'” (said Meeta Jamal, Principal Dayanand College, a woman).
“The comments were fiercely rejected by the campaign group Blank Noise, which organises street protests against ‘eve-teasers.’
Jasmeen Patheja, a spokeswoman for the group, said the principals had reinforced the old fashioned view that ‘women are asking for it’ by wearing provocative clothes…
She said her group’s extensive research, including a campaign to persuade women to send them the clothes they were wearing when they were sexually harassed, had shown that ‘eve-teasers’ picked on conservatively-dressed women in traditional Indian outfits just as much as those in Western clothes.
The All-India Democratic Women’s Association said it was planning a series of demonstrations against the ban, which it described as ‘dictatorial’ and ‘unconstitutional.’
College and university officials say there has been an increase in ‘eve-teasing’ – which covers a range of behaviour from unwanted flirting to serious sexual assault.
Campaigners say the increase reflects rapid social change in India, where young, educated middle-class women are enjoying greater personal freedom – choosing careers, drinking in bars, and dating without family chaperones…
Ms Patheja said the college principals were wrong to shift the responsibility for eve-teasing from the male perpetrators to the female victims. She said India needs a public debate on the difference between sexual harassment and ‘acceptable ways of wooing.’
Yay Blank Noise & the All-India Democratic Women’s Association for standing up to the idiocy!