It’s almost sad that even now, when people are much more educated and woke against the toxic mentality than before, that we have to talk about something as bizarre as this. The sheer number of women that are harassed every year during Holi in the name of ‘bura na mano holi hai’ will make your skin crawl. One has to acknowledge of the bizarreness of a custom where a woman not only has to face sexual harassment in public but is also told to be ok with it, all because some degenerate men came up with the notion which gave them an opportunity to touch women without their consent and in the process ruined an auspicious festival.
Delhi is far from a safe haven for women, but it is especially hell during Holi. Many women prefer to be locked inside their houses because being outside means being a victim of sexual assault. Those who find themselves outside get water balloons thrown at them, especially targeting their private parts. If that wasn’t derogatory enough, sometimes these balloons are filled with semen or acid. These debauchees roam around on their bikes with a stack of liquid filled balloons. They target women walking on the road and throw the balloons at them, then zoom past. Solely based on the sheer disgust, you might think this will be the end of the torture but sadly for the women in this country it’s nowhere near over.
Women are violently groped in pretense of applying colors by strangers. There also have been many instances where college girls have complained of facing harassment outside their campus after a campus Holi party. But sadly rather than taking action on the hooligans or providing more security measures, more restrictions are applied on the girls, with many colleges putting a ban on any kind of Holi celebration on the campus. What’s more frustrating is that this nightmare is not a one day thing. This goes on for a week. Even the week before Holi is same.
Every year during Holi, police receive around 300-400 calls with complaints of sexual harassment from women. While in cases police did take the complaint seriously and patrolled the area but in the others they were accused of not taking any action simply stating that this is normal in Holi and that this is how it’s celebrated.
It is not just the streets that are unsafe for women during Holi. There have been accounts of various women stating how they have been a victim of sexual assault by some of the men in their families or friends circle. These predators with the excuse of Holi and being intoxicated on bhaang, get a chance to fulfill their perverted dreams and attack young girls in the party who are then traumatized for the rest of their lives.
Year after year they distance themselves from the festival but is that a permanent solution? Women deserve a lot more than restricting themselves from enjoying their lives. Women take these measures to protect themselves, but what are we as a society doing to protect them? What measures have we taken? None, Absolutely none. The only thing our society knows how to do best, is to restrict our women. According to them, every problem will solved if women would just stay at home and live, breathe as they are told.
There is never a justification for harassment. Harassment in all form is atrocious and ‘bura na mano holi hai’ is nothing but a justification of that. By asking women to stay indoors, you are as much of an accomplice to the harassment as the harasser itself.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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