A young girl Swathi was hacked to death in a crowded street where she waited for public transport few days ago in Chennai an Indian city, a state with woman chief minister. Later it was known that the man was stalking her despite her refusing his advances several times. In India “Stalking ” often leads to a marriage. A girl is supposed to be angry when a man stalks her out of love at first and usually “nature” takes over and the girl accepts him as a suitor! Perhaps the most aggressive and perseverent of the stalkers wins the hand of the girl. Mills and Boons a favorite series of romance fiction, Photo romance darling etc prescribed to this plot for many years. I have not read them in the recent times. Women did not know if there were other choices available to them , when they were pursued relentlessly by an aggressive man whom all others feared. Freedom is a myth when this happens.
“Whole world loves a lover” In India this takes a sad turn when a girl refuses. Especially if the boy is blessed with some disadvantages and girl is not. Women try to be inconspicuous and try very hard to blend , by following a dress code , interacting with men only in groups , never being seen alone with a man however old or young fearing gossip or fearing ” Giving the wrong idea” or ” Leading on a guy”
Some women have an upbringing that encourages fitness , grooming them selves and they are at logger heads with a conservative society that equates attractiveness as inefficient,arrogant and loose morals. This stereotyping is very hard to break. An attractive woman has to work twice as hard as any man to be taken even half seriously.And all her friendships with men are viewed under a microscope. Acid attacks are feared and are prevalent. Even now a boy can be seen with many attractive women and hailed as a “stud”. But woman in the same shoes is termed a “slut”
Women in India are not safe in public spaces , including the cyberspace. Most often they work for their bread and make a bee line to go home in traffic choked streets.
If Swathi was not murdered , all the world may still have loved the lover.
“What did she do to attract the man?” Women are blamed for being passive or proactive. If you do you are damned , if you don’t you are damned.
By-stander syndrome exists. But what is worse is people even join in the kill, if the aggressor is socially prominent or a head. Very few think against the system , when the system is working in their favor.
Dr.Frank Farnham has worked extensively with stalkers and classified them as
Predatory stalker , He has a clinic in the UK . The very first clinic in the world for this menace. His blog is called “Free Thought”