I Think: The news makes men feel they can get away with rape
Manish Joshi, tailor, Lucknow
I get most of my news from television channels and the occasional reading of newspapers. I feel extremely angry and upset when I come across cases of rape. It seems like the news outlets keep telling us about the same incidents again and again, but only from one angle of their choice that they think will sell their papers. They focus too much on the gory details and not at all on the trials of the perpetrators and the judgements that are announced.
The last case that I remember is about a little girl from a village near Kanpur. It felt like the local newspapers and channels in UP had turned her life into a show — for four or five days that is all that the news outlets could focus on. I felt for that little girl and kept praying and hoping that something would happen to the monsters that had raped her, but as a common man, I never got to know what happened after the rape.
As a tailor, I come in very close contact with people’s bodies. I take everyone’s measurement and am extremely conscious of maintaining a professional distance and not making anyone even slightly uncomfortable. But what if there are others in professions like me, where they are so close to someone’s personal space and they are watching the same news? They might think, “Nothing is going to happen to me if I misuse this space. Because nothing happens to any molester in the news that I read and watch.”
I think the media needs to change how they report things. It should understand that their duty starts not when the incident of sexual violence has occurred, but before it. It should hold the local leaders like MPs and MLAs accountable for this state of law and order when they stand for election. I want the media to ask them tough questions about these cases because I personally can’t. The media’s duty should end not when they have told the public rape has happened, but when they have made sure that the perpetrators haven’t gotten away with it.