"What was she wearing?" - four seemingly innocent words that have managed to rip apart the fabric of humanity and has brought out the worst of mankind when it comes to speaking about rape victims in our midst.
We've come across several individuals, from varying professional fields who have chosen to comment on what the woman was wearing, how much she's had to drink, and what she was doing out of her house 'so late in the night.'
The length of a girl's skirt has somehow always been the raging point of debate for authorities and not the sick mentality of the perpetrator who couldn't keep his hands to himself.
Which brings us to the powerful 'Rape Roko' campaign that was launched by the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) after the brutal rape of an eight-months-old baby in January.
In a fantastic move by the commission, male volunteers of DCW's 'Rape Roko' campaign walked the streets of Delhi wearing only their boxer shorts to give the message that 'clothes do not cause rape, sick mentality does.'
'Real men don't rape', 'Its not her short skirt, it's ur sick mentality' ~ Boys & men of Delhi walk in Boxers 2 challenge mindsets which tend 2 blame and shame the rape survivor!
According to a report by a leading publication, the volunteers marched from Mandi House to Central Park carrying boards and placards. With slogans like "Her clothes are not short, your mentality is" and "What clothes was the eight-month-old baby wearing?" - they challenged the mentality that tends to shame the survivors.
Can we hear a hallelujah?!
The protesters expressed anger against the silence of society and government on rapes and appealed people to join the movement and reach Central Park, Connaught Place at 9.30 AM on March 8 to form a peaceful human chain.
They demanded strong action against rapists and completion of trials in case of sexual assault within six months.
The Indian Medical Association and the district court bar associations in Delhi have also extended their support to the campaign.
In a letter to DCW chief Swati Jaihind, of the IMA said: "We strongly support the people's movement 'Rape Roko' launched by DCW chief to demand a robust criminal justice system which ensures cases of sexual crimes against women and children are tried by fast-track courts within six months and rapists of children are essentially accorded death penalty as a strong deterrent for others against such crimes".
Strengthen the movement launched by Delhi Commission for Women’s Chairperson, Swati Maliwal, and help protect our children from sexual abuse. Use #RapeRoko and join the conversation. Make your opinion count. pic.twitter.com/VAG3z44tuG
With Women's Day right around the corner, this brilliant move by members of DCW comes at a time when we all need to be standing up and being aggressively vocal about the safety of women in the country. And of course, kudos to the men who believe in the cause and know that the society as a whole needs people across genders to fight for women's safety.
Abhishek, a student of Delhi University, said, "I am walking half-naked but society allows me to. If a girl walks in a sleeveless top, men letch at her. This is not right."
Another protester, Jatin, had a placard that read 'I feel safe in these Boxers. How much fabric does she need to feel safe?' Are the wheels in motion for India to finally sit up and take notice of the deplorable state of women's safety in the country?