This article in the Wall Street Journal was sent to me. Long overdue, I'd say.
Delhi Men Say SorryBy Joanna Sugden
Joanna Sugden for The Wall Street Journal
Men held banners during the meet in New Delhi, Saturday.
Before Yohan Sudheer put up his banner apologizing to Delhi women for the behavior of Indian men, a security guard stepped in to share his opinion on the matter.
“He took me aside and said ‘You know, in that rape case that it was the woman’s fault because of the way she was behaving on the bus,’” said Mr. Sudheer, recalling the conversation at the small gathering at Jantar Mantar, a popular protest ground in New Delhi, Saturday.
Mr. Sudheer, 20, says the security guard was trying to convince him that men should not be held responsible for sexually assaulting women, including in the Delhi rape case, because they should dress more conservatively.
“This is what we’re up against,” said Mr. Sudheer.
India For Integrity, the campaign group of which he is part, met this weekend along with Delhi Bikers, local motorbike enthusiasts, to offer what they called “a public apology from Delhi men to Delhi women” and to commit to change men’s attitudes towards females.
“In the protests after the Delhi gang rape everyone was talking about punishment for the perpetrators but no one was asking ‘How can I change and make Delhi better and respect women more?’” said Jonathan Abraham, 30, one of the founders of India For Integrity.
The group was set up by friends in the wake of the anti-corruption movement in India in 2011.
“The idea of this event is to get men to think more introspectively and to take responsibility,” added Mr. Abraham who is a corporate trainer in the city.
On International Women’s Day earlier this month a significant number of men joinedmainly female protesters calling for greater safety and freedom for women in India.
But Saturday’s event was entirely male as 50 or so men gathered in New Delhi and posed with signs saying “Delhi women, I’m sorry, I’m changing” and wrote out their own pledges including “I will change my views on Delhi women.”
Among those issuing an apology was Shorya Bisla, 23, dressed in a black biker vest and red neckerchief. “I might never consciously have disrespected women, but I feel that I have been mute when the people around me have,” said Mr. Bisla who works in marketing.
Paul Narjinary, 38, said he was taking part as an example to other men. “If hard core bikers can humble themselves and respect women, other men will start realizing that their own attitudes need to change,” Mr. Narjinary said.
Sanjay Kumar, a newspaper distributor, said he saw the men’s demonstration and decided to join in. “I saw the topic and thought there had been so many protests but this one was different,” Mr. Kumar, 34, said.
“Instead of pointing the finger at each other you have to look at yourself and it’s really important for men to start by saying sorry,” he added.
Numbers at the protest were lower than hoped but the organizers said this was to be expected.
“We get messages on our Facebook FB -1.46% page asking why men needed to apologize and saying women should change what they’re wearing,” Mr. Abraham said.
“Taking responsibility and saying sorry is going head to head with a completely different mind set held by many men in the city,” he added.
Geom Abraham, 31, who works for a healthcare NGO, said he was not disheartened by the small turn out. “The ripple will not end here,” he said. “People will hear about it on the Internet and the conversation will continue.”
Joanna Sugden is freelance journalist living in Delhi. Before coming to India in 2011 she spent four-and-a-half years as a reporter at The Times of London, covering religion and education. You can follow her on Twitter @jhsugden.
I hate to say this. I really, really do. But, this article is apt for men like my Dad and women like my Mum. People who believe that a girl necessarily has to dress conservatively in order to avert attention. Why!? Seriously! You people don't deserve to live in the 21st century with mindsets like we live in the Dark Ages!!