Laws Without Teeth

To its credit, this Times of India article is trying to say that the use of “modesty” as a legal principle on which to judge rape cases is ludicrous and archaic. However, its proposed solution falls short:

What India urgently needs is a comprehensive definition of sexual assault recognising its different forms and the varying degrees of psychological and physical harm it causes. South Africa, for example, has a graded definition of sexual assault based on the gravity of the offence and resulting harm.

I’m pretty astounded that South Africa is cited as an example, considering that country’s horrendous statistics on rape. Clearly, the letter of the law is not enough when the issue boils down to underlying attitudes toward women: namely, the radical notion that women have the agency to assert, deny, or withdraw consent.

And lest we think the modesty issue is confined to developing countries, keep in mind that slut-shaming falls on the same spectrum of straw men used to cloud the issue of consent. Examples here, there, and everywhere.

This entry was posted in current events, the feminist lens. Bookmark the permalink.