The Big Question: Are women to blame for rape?

Karnataka's Women & Child Welfare minister C. C. Patil was quoted saying that women should “know how much skin they should cover.” He stated that incidents like rape and sexual harassment can be attributed to the decline in moral values in men, indirectly caused by women dressing “provocatively.”

A similar opinion was expressed 2 days ago by Andhra Pradesh DGP Dinesh Reddy who blamed the rise in rape on women’s choice of “fashionable clothing,” like the salwar kameez. Shocked by his statement, the chairperson of the National Commission for Women asked, “Sixty-five years after gaining freedom, how can someone tell women what they should wear?”

So we ask you – Should women restrict themselves to saris to protect their modesty? Or should they be entitled the freedom to dress the way they please, without fear of rape or harassment?
Share your opinion in the comments section below, and we will pick and feature the best of them.

* Fashion to blame for rapes: Andhra DGP
* Women on acquaintance rape (video)
* Women to cover up: K'taka minister

More from the Big Question - Your opinion matters!

You Said:

"Basically, Indian males are educated but still illiterate when it comes to dressing of women. I am from India and I have seen Indian guys ogling at girls over here even if they are fully covered. so it has nothing to do with dressing, it is the mentality of males that needs to be changed. If girls are wearing western clothes it doesn't mean that they are available for sex. Also, can the males give us an guarantee that if we wear saree we won't be raped or not harassed."
Ruchi, Barrie, Canada

"Rape is an act of violence. Is this violence occurring in public? Is no person willing to act to defend women? The BIG question is whether a culture that devalues half of it's population can survive..."
Arvinp, Forsyth, United States

"I don't think women should be restricted from wearing what they want or feel comfortable wearing. Sexual harassment and rape cannot be indirectly linked to womens attire. It is just another sad excuse to blame women in this male dominated society. Just because I wear a short skirt, I cannot be called inviting. I think the men out there need to change the way they think and let us women live free. As Indian's we do respect our culture more than men do and we don't need to prove it by wearing a sari 24*7. So in short, men need to respect other women, as much as they respect their women at home, because they might be looking at a girl who is also someone else's daughter and sister, and they need to place themselves in that position and think how they would feel if someone looked at their own woman like that.. Grow up men!!"

"The Law needs to be strict and Punishment should be swift then only incidents of rapes can come down in the society. It has nothing to do with the dress. A young girl in the Saree or Salvaar Kameez will also look sexy as in a mini skirt. The mindset of men needs to change. Lot of Indians go the U.S. to work and on Tourist Visa and we know how people there lie on the beaches with or without their bikinis and getting sun bath on their naked bodies. Just tell me how many Indians have been tried for attempt to rape in the U.S. The law there is very strict so rapes are less even if the closeness among the opposite sexes is much more than in India."
Dinu, Ahmadabad, Gujarat

"I have a question.....Aren't the girls wearing salwar or sarees being raped??? I agree to some extent that women should have control of their dressing...It should also be place dependent...If a woman/girl wears short skirt or jeans while in a mall then its common and nothing to worry....But if the same dress is worn in the common streets then it captures the attention of men who haven't seen such beauties :-) before...So it will be good if a woman/girl choose their dress based on their surroundings :-P
Prithvi, Bangalore, Karnataka

"I don't see any of the politicians' daughters' being raped even though you can see them wearing short dress. It has nothing to do with what women wear. It shows how weak and how bad the system is for protecting the girls and also difference in judging. Rape happens because male can't control his thoughts and results in such henious acts and blames the dress of female. If they says it because of dress, then let all women wear cloths are cover themselves up and I can assure you that you still find women being raped. If such is the case what else will you blame for?"

"Cant believe this discussion is happening !!!!! everyone is only talking about the girls clothing...NOBODY is talking about the brute lurking around the corner waiting to rape !!!!! We should be discussing what to do with him!"
Jayanth, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

"Why does everything come to what women wear, i do not support that women should wear short dress or anything as such, i thing if we both men and women know how to control our self then everything is fine. its not about which gender is wearing what kind of cloths but its about how we control our self."

"Rape happens due to the sick mind of a man, it has nothing to do with how a woman dresses."
Shirish, Mumbai, Maharashtra

"I feel disgusted at the reactions of narrow-minded cultural morons who think ladies themselves are responsible for inviting rape. These illiterates are more interested in lecturing females on the kind of dress they should wear.

First thing first, none of the rapes in India involve women in any skimpy Western dress. In fact, most of the rapes happen in rural areas - which go unreported.

    The mentality of these “illiterates” reflects the following:
    • deep sexual repression
    • misogynism &
    • idiotic sexual double-standards.

These “illiterates” are going about artificially arguing on a false issue: Skimpily Dressed Lady Get Raped!

I feel like giving painful slaps on their faces!"
Rajesh, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

"c.c. patil has some nerve. i've heard this same comment for years and for years people have done nothing to help to the actual situation. this is exactly the state of mind that puts women in trouble."
Ami, Gujarat