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Freedom Did Not Kill Swathi, Misogyny Did

Swathi

Being accustomed to receiving information about the outside world through the NDTV app on my phone and articles on Facebook, it’d been a while since I read an actual newspaper.

However, paranoia emerging out of rumours about the city I live in being on “high alert” led me to pick up a copy of the Deccan Chronicle two days ago. As I flipped through pages after pages on terror attacks and threats of further attacks, there it was: an inconspicuous article ominously titled “Dangers of a Liberated Age”.

I then began reading what was one of the worst pieces of writing I have ever encountered. The writer enumerated the ‘lessons to be learnt’ from the murder of Swathi, a young woman killed in broad daylight while waiting for a train in the heart of Chennai, in what the writer calls a case of “unrequited love”.

I should’ve stopped reading right there but I continued, hoping this was some kind of a joke. Unrequited love. We’ve all been there. Yet I don’t remember the last time I obsessively stalked a man (at least in real life), no matter how much I thought I loved him. I’m pretty sure I haven’t hacked men to death each time they failed to reciprocate my romantic feelings. I don’t remember the last time I threw acid on a man for breaking up with me.

The writer goes on to give us ‘liberated’, modern women some advice: accepting a friend request “on a whim”, can be dangerous. You know, women need to be careful since we’ve become “emboldened” by the “freedom” and “choice” this liberated age offers. Yup, treating women like human beings can be dangerous- what if we start believing we have the right to our own bodies and lives? Imagine the chaos!

Modern women should do more to protect their privacy, he (I assume it’s a man), says. No shit. Not like we’ve grown up being taught how to make ourselves and our bodies smaller just to protect ourselves from violence. So once again, the cause of her murder wasn’t “unrequited love”- it was a man, who like many other men, was raised with a false sense of entitlement and a twisted notion of masculinity which led him to believe women owed him something. It was a culture that tells men that women are objects to be won, to be acquired, while denying women the right to say ‘no’.

I don’t care if Swathi called this man ugly. I don’t care if she didn’t “love him back”. It doesn’t matter if they were in a relationship and she broke up with him. It doesn’t even matter if she left him at the goddamn altar. It wasn’t her fault. It doesn’t justify murder.

Shamolie is a foodie and a feminist who finally worked up the courage to start writing! Through her blog, she hopes to make people question beliefs they’ve long taken for granted, and view the world from a different perspective. She blogs at  https://bicyclewithoutafish.wordpress.com/

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