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14 reasons why the 14 second rule is ridiculous

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It was recently reported that an Indian Official made a statement during a public function that it is illegal to stare at a woman for 14 seconds.

Since Rishiraj Singh, excise commissioner in the southern Indian state of Kerala, made the statement, many people have taken to social media to mock the peculiar claim.

Singh said: “There are sections in law to jail a man for staring annoyingly at a woman for 14 seconds. Please use it, if it is the case.” The law is non-existent, but the very specific ‘law’ is, quite frankly, hilarious and utterly ridiculous for the following reasons.

1) What if a man looks at a woman for 13 seconds? Or how about 13.9999 seconds? How do they even measure that kind of thing? Will police be forced to wear stopwatches?

2) What about men wearing sunglasses?

It's hard to know where anyone in dark sunnies is looking, let alone potentially predatory men hiding behind a desire to protect their eyes from the harmful rays of the sun.

3) How will teachers cope?

They have to constantly look at their class, and surely if they're constantly aware of how long they've been looking at their female pupils, they won't be able to teach?

4) What about men in relationships?

It's a little bit rude isn't it? If you've got to keep looking away from your significant other, or even wife, every 14 seconds. It would make it a little bit awkward at dinner, over morning coffee or even in the bedroom. 

5) Will everyone have to buy stopwatches?

All the police will certainly need stopwatches, as mentioned earlier. There will be a huge increase in the number of stopwatches women and men alike are buying. How else are they meant to make sure they avoid jail for 14.01 seconds of voyeurism?

6) What if you’re staring into space but also accidentally looking in the direction of a woman?

Everyone zones out from time to time, it’s hardly worth a stint in prison...

7) What about going to see a show or a concert?

Every 14 seconds male audience members will be forced to look away from *insert relevant female star here* on stage. Audiences will have to miss more than a few minutes of a concert to avoid getting arrested.

8) Does blinking count?

Surely, if you blink, the count starts again? Some people can't keep their eyes open for 14 seconds without blinking.

9) What difference is 14 seconds rather than 10 seconds?

14 is quite a specific number. What difference does 4 seconds make? What exactly happens in those 4 seconds to turn an innocent glance into a sinister eyeballing?

10) What if the man is blind?

What if the woman accuses a man of staring at her for more than 14 seconds and it turns out he's blind? Just a tad unethical.

11) What if the woman is behind reflective glass?

Or maybe she's in one of those blacked out cars. Maybe you're checking yourself out in some reflective glass for a good minute and BOOM! – life imprisonment.

12) What if the man is an artist and he’s using a woman as his focus?

"Paint me like one of your french girls" "Ok, but I have to look away all the time."

13) Imagine how many men will end up in jail after they forgot to count.

Not everyone will be fully conscious of how long they've been looking at someone all the time. What a palaver.

14) “What are you in for?” “Murder”, “What about you?” “I forgot to count/blink/left my stopwatch at home.”

Despite the social media gold this ludicrous claim has generated, Rishiraj Singh is trying to raise a serious point about women’s safety, which is a big issue in India.

Public protests in cities such as New Dehli spurred the Indian government in 2013 to strengthen laws for punishing those convicted of sexual crimes, as well as for prosecuting authorities who fail to investigate complaints.

There is still a large stigma surrounding the idea that women can and should come forward if they have been the victims of a sexual crime, so despite the ludicrousness of the 14-second rule, at least Singh had his heart in the right place.




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