The recent Chandigarh stalking incident has shocked the country, and drawn strong reactions from the public and politicians alike. Even as political leaders of various hues have been clamouring for the BJP government to take immediate and strict action over the incident, the Haryana BJP Vice-President Ramveer Bhatti once again turned to the familiar resort of victim-blaming.
Varnika Kundu, a 29-year-old woman was driving home a little after midnight on August 4, when she was allegedly chased and harassed by two men in a white SUV. One of these men was allegedly Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala’s son, Vikas Barala.
Speaking to the media, Bhatti tried to deflect outrage from Vikas by questioning Varnika over being out after midnight. He said that it was the parents’ responsibility to ensure that their daughters return home in time.
“The girl should not have gone out at 12 in the night. Why was she driving so late in the night? The atmosphere is not right. We need to take care of ourselves,” Bhatti reportedly told CNN-News18.
While many, including others from the party, condemned Bhatti’s remarks, dozens of women took to social media to creatively shut down this victim-blaming. They posted photos of themselves on nights out in cities across India, with the hashtag ‘Ain’t No Cinderella’.
Drawing reference to the popular fairytale in which Cinderella had to return home before midnight, the women argued that they shouldn’t be forced to suffer a similar curfew in 2017.
Many of the tweets had a simple statement to make – women have just as much right to move around in the city, and have a fun evening.
The message to Bhatti and others of his way of thinking was clear: It’s time to focus on perpetrators’ mentalities, and not continue to shame women for what they wear or when they are out of the house.