Self-exoneration is a psychological process by which a criminal or a person at fault externalizes the fault and in turn blames the victim for his criminal activity. It is the process which Hitler invoked in his speeches against Jews, saying it was the Jewish race which deserved his hatred. Hate speeches by Modi on one side and Owaisi on the other are laced by self-exoneration and the same is reflected by the mindset and attitude of those people who blame a woman when she is raped, molested, harassed or teased.
Travelling by a public bus wherein a lady is furious about being teased by a male co-passenger, we often end up suggesting the lady to be calm and patient or sometimes even whisper that the lady must have done something inviting.
When a woman seeks divorce in a marriage after domestic violence or dowry demands, we often, as a society, feel that she failed and often discuss how today’s women lack patience and also blame modern education which gives a lot of liberty to a woman.
When a girl was subject to most inhumane treatment and expired later in Delhi gang rape case, many discussions were thrown around the idea of modest dressing and decency on part of fair sex. Is the responsibility of being socially, religiously, morally and culturally correct the duty of our women only? A women in a pair of jeans is westernized while as the same jeans is never questioned to be a symbol of western culture on male legs. If a woman deviates a little from culturally acceptable or religiously prescribed dress code, we do not fail to raise a finger on her character, family and grooming but in the same social set-up which is morally hypersensitive, we do not seem much disturbed by our adolescent boys displaying the rim of their briefs with their jeans tied low, showing off the brand names.
How do we explain the instances of pedophilic crimes reported in our society in the paradigm of same victim-blaming mentality? Do we blame the three-year-old who was raped by a 50-year-old man of vulgarity and immodesty? Or will we put the blame of not confirming to the criminal designs of those men who threw acid on a well-clad woman in broad day light in Paraypora? No human being can rationally be blamed for inviting harm and violence against her own self, until she is not mentally or psychologically unwell. And as far as the idea of commoditization of women by media goes, women need to stand up against it and get the laws implemented by public pressure and activism like they have been demanding individual rights in cases of divorce, etc. The fact remains that no amount of titillation (if at all) by an individual female or immodest representation of women by media can be cited as a reason or explanation of the heinous crimes committed against women.
Strange but true. a million instances can be cited but the whole idea is to ask each one of us that are we a nation of intolerant patriarchs or, worst still, self-exonerating souls?