In many respects Chennai was an apposite spot to hold the World Crafts Council's International Summit. A city historically rich in making, it's also at the heart of India's burgeoning new economy, being the nation's second largest exporter of software, information technology and information-technology-enabled services.
The mainstream media's representation of women and its normalising of pornography should be one of our first ports of call when searching for the causes of sexual violence. As we start the new year and look to what we can do to make a difference, let's not forget the young women bearing the impact of a society that does not take media objectification of women seriously. Sexual violence does not exist in a vacuum. One way we can show our collective disgust at its existence is by refusing to accept that women as sex objects is the norm.
While the debate continues over whether 2012 really was the so-called 'year of the woman' (or "year of the year of the woman" as the New York Times dubbed it, 2013 has so far been something of a mixed bag for the fairer sex. The news, uncovered on Friday, that the Church of England is to lift its ban on gay members of the clergy from becoming bishops, was undoubtedly a huge step in the right direction for the Church, but it rather showed up the fact that women still don't get the same privilege.
Why should a woman be blamed and 'punished' due to the way she dresses? Are these men saying that they lack any form of self control? Surely this speaks volumes about those men if they cannot resist their sexual urges - that is a simply ludicrous and pathetic excuse for committing such an offence towards a woman.
Accusations of an institutionalised 'rape culture' is not novel. One only has to look at the unreformed 1860 penal code that views rape as an 'outraging' of a woman's modesty, an association that immediately affiliates the female body merely as a constituent within a masculine-dominated cultural system.