Information about my work as a Labour Councillor for East Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet

Monday, 14 January 2013

Visit to vigil for rape victims

Ansuya Sodha, Alison Moore, Barry Rawlings and I attended a function at the Hindu Cultural Society Centre in Friern Barnet for the victims of rape, after the appaling gang rape case in Delhi.

The details of the case are just shocking, and I hope that the anger of young people in India transforms into something a lot more substantial. Last year there were protests against corruption, but little has really been done.

What was good to see about the event on Friday night was that there were people from the Hindu community here, of all ages, men and women, who came to ask or a change of attitude. It doesn't take much effort to change attitudes to women, It involves small things like not telling your granddaughter to do the washing up "because you're a girl, i's your job" which was not infrequent in my own home.

A good point that was raised was that this isn't just about teaching or how to treat women, it's also about how to educate young boys, and telling them they should respect women. I think this is vital, I have just come back from India, and I saw for myself how rudely people at airports were to my own relatives. Needless to say I put that right, but there won't always be bolshy people like me to go around rebuking people, it's a change in attitude.

While I was in India, one of the most disturbing details apart from the case was of the reaction by male figures in society, such as the MP son of the president, who said that protesters were "painted and dented", or the Communist MLA who said the Chief Minister of West Bengal would enjoy being raped beause it would feed her victim mentality. (Not the first time idiots of the far left have talked crap on rape allegations). One religious figure even said the victim should have dropped to her knees and prayed to god and that would have saved her.

10 years ago, this would have been met with a short spell of anger, but no real repercussions. I am glad that things have moved on.