An Open Letter To C.C. Patil

January 2, 2012 at 9:15 PMJan (Activism, Letter, Musings, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

Respected C.C. Patil,

You are the minister for women and child welfare, so let me assume that you are really concerned about women and hence you suggested a possible way by which girls and women can be saved from being raped. Your concern remains unquestioned from my side honorable minister.

Yet your statements angered me, I must tell you. Your statements saying you do not “approve” of “provocative” clothes being worn by women and suggesting they wear “dignified” clothes, how much skin they should cover and finally throwing the ball in the other’s court by saying it is up to women to decide which cloth is “safe”.

What a sane society we live in! Isn’t it Sir? What a sane society, where women are asked to be dressed “decently” and in a “dignified” manner to safeguard themselves from being raped and men are not asked to behave decently and dignified. Improper (as per your definition) dressing leads to rape and not an improper mindset of the rapist. Really insightful view Sir! We have ethical questions to the victims and not to the victimizers! What a sane society!

Do you know what is even the more sick? This mentality which thinks it can ‘instruct’ women and doesn’t have anything to ‘instruct’ the men!!!

Equally sick, as the act of rape, is the omnipresent male gaze which scans through the body of the girls to see how much of her skin is revealed and how much covered.

Yes, honorable minister this is the country which has named many a river after women and has worshipped women in many ways. But why is it that women become disrespectful if their skin is exposed? Why is it that they become ‘indecent’ when they wear “low-waist jeans” and “provocative” dresses? Why is it that they should even know if some Tom, Dick and Harry “approve” of their dress or not? Why is it that they are blamed when they are being victimized? What sort of respect is this? Why is it that women are expected to change their way of dressing keeping in their minds what men would find provocative and what they wouldn’t find provocative? Why should their way of life be seen through the eyes of men before being lived? Why should the omnipresent male gaze dictate the women what to do and what not to do? What sort of respect is this, which pushed women into self imposed censorship?

Your concern for women’s safety is well appreciated. But is there any way that one can prove that “decent” and “dignified” dressing will assure them safety? No. Plenty of cases can prove that many women are raped with them wearing no “flimsy and fashionable” clothes.

If a girl is wearing a “flimsy and fashionable” cloth it is no invitation for rape. If one feels it “provocative” it is their problem and if one feels it is “objectionable” even then it is their problem and not of the girls. To give “flimsy and fashionable clothes” as a reason for rape is equal to using it as an excuse. The victimizer’s mentality needs to be corrected and not the victim’s life style.

You are nobody to “approve” what they wear nor am I anyone to “allow” them to wear anything they want to. Who am I to “let” them do whatever and wear whatever they want to and who are you to “stop” them? To wear what she is comfortable with is her right. To wear what she wants to wear is her right. It is her liberty. That liberty was not given by us nor can it be snatched by us.


Samvartha ‘Sahil’


  1. malathi S said,

    Perrfect Samvartha!! am sharing this on FB

  2. CHAITHRA said,


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