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An Indian Minister Blames Western Culture For New Year's Eve 'Mass Molestation'


A New Year's Eve celebration in the Indian city of Bangalore took an ugly turn on Saturday, according to The Guardian.

What is being described as a "mass molestation" occured after thousands of people gathered in the streets of Bangalore to ring in the new year. Women were sexually assaulted and harrassed in the street as the crowd turned to chaos. 

"I saw women being molested in the crowd and people trying to find places where they could hide themselves and not be attacked," a wittness told The Guardian

A police inspector said that there were 1,600 police officers in the area, but it wasn't enough to monitor all 60,000 people at the celebration, according to the Hindustan Times.

The worst part about this ordeal is that very few people in power are actually putting responsibility for this on the perpetrators. The Guardian reports that the home minister of Karnataka, the state where Bangalore is located, claimed that the reason that men on the street acted in the way they did was because of western culture.

"They tried to copy the westerners, not only in their mindset but even in their dressing," the minister told the news agency ANI. "So some disturbance, some girls are harrassed, these kinds of things do happen."

This blame game surrounding sexual assault and harassment is all too familiar. Rather than blaming the men involved for their crimes, women are being blamed for their 'western dress'. 

Many Bangalore Mirror photojournalists were in the crowd that night, capturing the chaos that unfolded. 

Following the attacks, #NotAllMen began trending on Twitter. The #NotAllMen hastag has been used in two different ways—some men are using it to suggest that "not all men" are to blame for the attacks. Another group of people are using the hashtag to point out the lack of responsiblity being taken by men surrounding the incident in India.

Rega Jha, Buzzfeed India's Editor-in-Chief wrote, "Ultimately, parents raising daughters can’t end sexual assault. They can only issue warnings and hope for the best from a world they don’t trust. Parents raising sons, on the other hand, hold all the power to change the world."

While it's not yet clear how Indian officals will handle the incident, the chaos that unfolded on NYE is a chilling reminder that women throughout the world are still fighting to have full control over their own bodies.

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