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Mumbai Considering Ban on Lingerie Mannequins Over Sexual Violence Concerns

Councilors in India’s most populous city are facing scrutiny following a proposal to ban lingerie-clad mannequin dummies in shops and markets amid concerns they could encourage sex crimes.

Officials in Mumbai – a city of over 18 million located on India’s west coast – raised the proposal after the fatal gang-rape of a student on a Delhi bus last year sparked global calls for reform.

Initially pitched by Ritu Tawade, a member of Mumbai’s Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, the idea has come under heavy ridicule from commentators and women’s rights groups.

"I believe that mannequins, especially the two-piece clothes (bikinis), have an impact on the incidence of crimes against women in the state,” Tawade told NDTV television channel on Tuesday. “Such a display affects the mindset of men.”

But many laughed off the suggestion.

"Except a handful of perverts who don't need the provocation of a plastic doll in lace to pounce on women, average Indian men don't break into sweat and run into lampposts at the mere sight of lingerie," said news outlet Firstpost.

“I have never been aroused by a mannequin. Maybe our BMC corporators are?” former journalist and politician Pritish Nandy joked on Twitter.

Earlier this month, a UN report concluded sexual violence and harassment is widespread in India.

After a 10-day visit to several Indian states, UN reporter Rashida Manjoo said sexual violence targeting India women is perpetuated in public spaces, in the family, and in the workplace.

“There is a generalized sense of insecurity in public spaces, amenities, transport facilities in particular," she said.  "And women are often victims of different forms of sexual harassment and assault.”

In an effort to curb such violence, India's parliament has passed a law imposing strong penalties for sex offences against women – a measure which garnered widespread support from global leaders.

Sources: Business Insider, Voice of America

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