Smug patriarchal pronouncements about ‘dented and painted’ women and ‘rape in India and Bharat’ brought back to me an experience I faced in the classroom some years ago.
I teach English in grades 11 and 12 in a co-ed school in Delhi. That year I had this rather ‘difficult’ boy in class. I can’t remember now how the discussion really began. The discussion got to the point where students were talking about the amount of freedom available to girls and boys and why girls have far less ‘freedom’ than boys. It was somewhere at this point that this boy stood up (unlike the regular practice of standing to speak in the classroom, I insist students should sit and talk in my class) and stated with complete confidence that ’if girls dress so provocatively boys can’t help themselves.’