Right when we are amazed with the new angle to the Rohtak ‘Braveheart’ sisters story, and how media played a vital role in quickly placing the blame on the alleged molesters, in a bid to encourage women empowerment in the country, a news channel came up with a unique selfie campaign on Twitter today.
CNN-IBN, the news and current affairs channel owned by Network 18 and now by Reliance Industries, actually asked women to share a selfie or a picture of the dress they were wearing when harassed. They were asked to post this using the hashtag #NoCityForWomen.
“Share your selfie/picture of the dress you were wearing when harassed. Post with the hashtag #NoCityForWomen,” tweeted the official CNN-IBN News Twitter handle.
When I first laid eyes on that tweet, I thought it was a sarcastic jibe at the state of affairs for women in our country. In India, a victim of rape or molestation or eve teasing is often asked what she was wearing to have incited the perpetrator. Recently, actress, host and Bigg Boss Season 8 winner, Gauhar Khan was slapped at a TV show production shooting by a man who said she deserved a slap as she wore short skirts.
Research on rape cases in several parts of the globe clearly points out no correlation between a victim’s outfit and the assault. Rapes and sexual assaults have been committed on baby girls aged as little as a few months old to elderly women in their 90s.
Still, rapists have used a variety of excuses to justify their crime from blaming the victim’s provocative dressing to her seductive character suggesting she ‘asked for it’. While there are several myths around the science of ‘rape’ culture the world over, a responsible media needs to bust them and highlight facts about rape/molestation/sexual assault.
Instead, we have media rape reportage always focusing on what the victim was wearing, what was she doing just before that, was she drunk, was she walking alone, did she get too friendly with the strangers, why didn’t she scream, and so on. Which is what is drilled into our society that fuels a cycle of ignorance and more rapists making the most out of it.
The CNN-IBN tweet wasn’t a jibe. It was a selfie campaign for real. In fact it even tied up with women empowerment – the media’s new ‘muse’ topic. The news channel hoped a selfie campaign in the name of research would prove to the world that victims clothes have nothing to do with the nature of the crime committed on them. So encouraging women to click a selfie right after they are harassed and sharing it on Twitter using the campaign hashtag is a great way to empower them!
The said tweet has been rephrased now, following an outrage:
Street sexual harassment: Does it matter what you are wearing? #NoCityforWomen
— CNN-IBN News (@ibnlive) December 12, 2014
I’m equally disgusted as these twitterati are. Shared below are a few responses on this creative Twitter campaign:
— Seema Goswami (@seemagoswami) December 12, 2014
Girls shd v take a selfie with middle finger to post to CNN-IBN #NoCityForWomen
— Muffler Mania (@virkamu) December 12, 2014
— Sir Jenkinson (@theEpicGooner) December 12, 2014
— Chitra (@chitrambling) December 12, 2014
— Tushar Kishnani (@Kishnani_T) December 12, 2014
— St_Hill (@St_Hill) December 12, 2014
— Soham Sabnis (@sohamsabnis) December 12, 2014
Insensitive or sensationalism? It is about time for media to go back to its journalistic code of ethics and its role as the fourth estate in the state, and demystify rape myths rather than resorting to gimmicky, senseless campaigns.