Archive for January, 2013


This is a guest post by a guy who wants to put across a very strong point. Let NO mean NO, and not “try harder”. A must read for all girls-

No means No

First, let me tell you about myself.

I am your average guy. I come from a middle class family. I worked hard to clear my exams. I have a well paying job. I have travelled to Europe on many occasions. I love gadgets. I love cars. I love movies. I love girls.

I am decent looking. I am charming. I have had many girlfriends.

I am also a rapist.

Now that I have your attention, please read through the entire blog post before you judge me.

All this talk about rape being the fault of the victim has gotten me thinking. Who in their right mind can make a disgusting claim like that? Will we eventually start hearing people say that the victims of 26/11 were at fault for the massacre? Will earthquake victims of Bhuj be blamed for the earthquake?

Bottom line: I think whoever puts even an iota of the blame of a rape on the victim is plain stupid.

But.

But…

And this is a very sensitive “but” – and I completely understand the implications of what I am about to say, hence the double disclaimer – I also think there are things girls can do to avoid such incidents.

I know feminists will want to hunt me down and castrate me just for suggesting this, but please read the entire post before you judge me.

Personally, I believe that every individual has a duty towards self-preservation, so discussing these ideas is not counter-productive to getting the debate going forward on how men should change their mindset. The menace of sexual assault is so disturbing that we need to find solutions across multiple dimensions. Getting men to re-wire their brain is one such dimension. Getting women to be careful is another dimension. They are not mutually exclusive.

Enough has been written about what girls can do (or should not do) to avoid putting themselves in such dangerous situations. I am not going to repeat any of that here. What I do want to touch upon is something that I have never seen mentioned anywhere.

Maintaining the sanctity of the word NO.

This is where I must digress to my personal experience. I have dated a lot of women. I have slept with a lot of them too. I am not trying to brag, please understand that I am trying to make a point here. Having been that intimate with many women, I have what many of you would call data-points. That would not be my first choice of words, I don’t treat women as objects or numbers, but I am trying to make a point here. So please keep up.

Women that I have known for a long time, that I have even been intimate with, who have even confessed they love those moments of passion with me, tend to play a very dangerous game of “hard-to-get” with me. This is where they pretend they are not interested in sex, or make me work hard to “get” them. I say pretend because they readily accept later that they did want to get intimate with me just as much as I did, but the “game” is either an “adaa” of theirs, or a moral defense mechanism to avoid guilt later, or a way to show they are not really the “fast” kind. Either ways, if it has happened with me, I can assure you it has happened with many people out there.

I call this game dangerous because of the kind of precedent is sets. It essentially says that all that “NO” was a big farce. It tells a guy that NO does not really mean NO. That it just means you need to try harder. (You see where I am going with this?)

I look back at my experience with girls, and this shocking trend emerges. I see self made sex movies on the Internet of people and this trend becomes stronger. You may remember there was a sex scandal on the JNU campus that broke. Everyone talked about it. Many actually watched it. What no one pointed out in that video was that for the first 3 minutes or so, the girl (apparently already in a physical relationship with the guy) kept pushing the guy away. She vehemently keeps saying no. She ends up using all her physical strength to defend herself. So much so, that the guy had to eventually get violent just to “get” the girl. Shockingly, once the guy “gets” her, the girl is seeing enjoying the experience, even encouraging him to go further, almost as if the NO meant absolutely nothing. This is very similar to many home made sex videos you will find on the Internet. This sadly, must even be very true of what happens in many bedrooms across our country. In each of these situations, guys are being given the wrong message and the sanctity of NO being systematically destroyed.

Western civilizations take such NO very seriously. As a guest in a westerners home, if you say NO to another helping of their delicious pasta, you can be sure you won’t be asked again. Contrast that with India, where saying NO is probably the first response by default. Here, the host is expected to “fight through” your NO to come across as being genuinely hospitable. Combine that basic sense of “manners” with the dangerous “game” some women play and you have the beginnings of rape – specifically date rape.

This leads me to the point I am trying to make in this post. Of the many things we’re trying to do to reduce the incidents of rape, somewhere we need to start educating women to uphold the sanctity of NO. Let guys not be confused even in the slightest way about what the NO really means. It has always, and should always, mean JUST  NO.

Let women make this promise to their partners, they will say NO only when they really mean it. Let guys be clear with their partners, even a subtle NO will make them step back so their partners should be very clear about what message they send out.

Sure the timeless “adaa” of playing hard to get suffers, but atleast we get to see some real results on the ground. A fairly large percentage of date rape cases (sorry I don’t have numbers, I am just sharing my experience here) are attributed to an assumption that the girl didn’t seriously mean to say NO, she just said it because that is what she usually says in such situations. If even a fraction of those rapes can be avoided, I say it’s okay to wipe our hands clean of that “adaa” in the larger interest.

Sure there will many cases of rape where the animal inside just takes over, and these kinds of precautions won’t be of any use. But the one in a billion case of date rape that can be avoided because of this mindset change merits that kind of attention.

I for one have decided to change my moral bearings now. If a woman says NO even playfully, I will stop.

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Guest post by Ankit Gupta, a social activist and avid blogger at Indian Survivor Federation: 

After Delhi gang rape case every Indian wants a solution and demand strongest step against culprits. Now It’s not about a one case or two. It’s about “how to curb India`s rape culture” because on the one side people are asking for justice everywhere in a country for the victims but sadly at a very same time these crimes take places on the other part of country.

Now every one asking following questions :
How to curb rape cases?

How to decrease the incidents of Eve Teasing?
How to create safe public spaces, where women and girls can move freely?

Here we are sharing few suggestions that can play a key role to use and access public spaces and services fearlessly for girls, women and every Common Indians.

In era of 3G, we are capable to decrease physical abuse and criminal activities in public spaces of metropolitan cities with the help of latest technology. Most of the time culprit thinks that “Nobody can catch me and I will never be identifying for my heinous crime”. But that’s not true, it is actually possible to identify these culprits and decrease the number of crimes that take place in our country. For all that we need to set up CCTV Surveillance Network in our city as use in London.
Mumbai, July 6, 2012: Mumbai police on
Friday released CCTV footage of a man
kidnapping a child in full public view at
Chattrapati Shivaji Station.
In our country, CCTV cameras are already in use in many cities at Bus stand, railway station, road crossing, toll plaza, high security area, etc. In some city CCTV camera also installed in local buses and local trains.But unfortunately, the number of CCTV cameras installed at public place is not enough. 

We know that CCTV Surveillance Network may help us to catch culprits of rape, eve teasing, chain snatching, bag lifting, hit & run cases, kidnapping, murder, terror attacks and many more. 
According to the crime rate we need a CCTV Surveillance Network with large number of CCTV camera as used in UK. We need a Centralize Control Center that helps us to control criminal activities in real time.
(CCTV + High Tech Control Center + Help line Number + Active Police) = Safe City
To know how successful CCTV Surveillance Network just type “CCTV Network in London” or “CCTV surveillance network in UK” on any popular search engine site. You will find an eye opener statics that describe the success story of CCTV Network.
If we follow CCTV Surveillance system as used in London, then with the help of centralize control room, CCTV Surveillance Network can be used very dynamically not only for decrease crime rate even it helps us to controlling traffic to prevent traffic Jam and plays an important role to send aid for road accident injured in minimum time.
After 26/11 Mumbai Incident, Honorable Home minister R R Patil with high-profile delegation visited London on September, 2011 for three days to study the city’s integrated intelligence and CCTV surveillance network. And then an ambitious plan created to install a network of 5,000 CCTV cameras in Mumbai. To read more please click following link :
After much delay in executing the ambitious project, the Maharashtra government on 26 September, 2012 invited fresh tenders for the Rs 864-crore cover plan for Mumbai. To read more please click following links :
Unfortunately red tapism and careless nature become a main cause of delaying cover plan for Mumbai with CCTV.
In last few years various state government spent lots of money on parks, museums and many other city decoration plans but unfortunately they don’t take seriously an ambitious plan “To cover metropolitan cities with CCTV surveillance network”.
At this point of time when every single human is asking for justice for the 23 year old victim the Government of India seriously thinks about various options to take the strongest step against rapists and working hard to decrease rape cases.
We request to Government of India please take necessary steps to cover every nook and corner of all metropolitan cities with CCTV surveillance network and pass a sufficient budget for CCTV surveillance in next budget 2013.
We also appeal to all Indians , police, social workers please demand to state government an action plan for covering metropolitan cities with CCTV surveillance network. 
(CCTV + High Tech Control Center + Help line Number + Active Police) = Safe City 
It may be possible that due to lack of sufficient budget some state government will show their inability to establish CCTV surveillance network in every metropolitan city because it is very expensive to follow the city’s integrated intelligence and CCTV surveillance network of London. Only in London there are more than 4 lac CCTV cameras. 
We have few suggestions to fight insufficient budget problem.
First Suggestion:
As we all know that Metro train project is also an ambitious and very expensive. To create a metro train track in all over Delhi city this project has been divided into various stages. In the last decade, the number of metro tracks has been increased after completing various stages and shows its success story.
Another example of Cable TV Digitization in all over India project has also been divided in various stages. In first phase of cable TV digitization done in only in 4 metro city and now second phase is about to start in various cities. 
Covering all metropolitan cities with CCTV surveillance network project also can be divided in various stages. For example:
1. Cover all road crossing
2. Cover all public places (govt. office, bus stop, taxi & auto stand, school/college/institute gate, mall, park, etc.)
3. Cover all public transport (bus, train, taxi, cab, auto, etc.)
4. Cover all colony main gate, gali and mahola
5. Finally cover every nook and corner of city  
Second Suggestion:
We know that government of India to running various education schemes charge Education cess at 2% and Secondary and higher education cess at 1% on income-tax, service tax, etc.
To cover all metropolitan cities with CCTV surveillance network within a record time government of India think to charge a security tax (cess) for a limited period only in metropolitan cities. 
Third Suggestion: 
Joint Venture of Government of India and Common Indian
Add a fix charge in an electricity bill for a limited period only in metropolitan cities. For example:
      0 – 50   electricity unit Nell
     50-100   electricity units Rs. 10   per month
   100-150   electricity units Rs. 15   per month
   150-200   electricity units Rs. 20   per month
   200-500   electricity units Rs. 50   per month
  500-1000  electricity units Rs. 80   per month
1000-1500  electricity units Rs. 100 per month
1500- 2000 electricity units Rs. 150 per month
And above Rs. 250 per month
Now it depends on us how we create safe public spaces, where women can move freely and use and access public spaces and services fearlessly.
At the end we want to share question of “A Wednesday” movie in different word:
“Ye Guwahati me, Delhi me, bus me, train me, ye sabi rape ke case nahi hai, ye ek Bahot Bada sawal hai aur wo sawal ye hai ki bhai hum to yunhi rape or eve teasing karte rahenge tum kya kar loge. Yes they asked this question.”
Now the time has come to answer them…

Guest post by Monica Sarkar, freelance journalist:

‘Eve teasing’. It’s such a cute, endearing term, isn’t it? Almost sounds like a child’s game, like ‘Hyde and Seek’ or ‘Kiss Chase’.

Well, it’s not. It’s a sugar-coated expression commonly used in India for the sexual harassment of women; invading their personal space as they walk down the street; and heckling, amongst other less pleasing but truthful terms.

Since the horrific Delhi gang-rape and murder of a 23-year old woman, many Indian women have come forward with their stories of the perils of being a woman in India. As a British-born Indian woman who has visited India many times, I can also share the same tales.

Men aggressively – or subtly – brushing past me or following me, even though I was in the company of elders. I was once getting off the metro in Kolkata in broad daylight and a crowd of men who were stood either side of the train doors suddenly moved in front so I would be forced to barge past them as I disembarked the train.

During New Year’s Eve in Goa a few years ago, similar occurrences happened whilst I was in the company of male and female friends in a crowded area of the North. It got so bad that I threateningly raised a water bottle to hit anyone who dared to come close, under the blind eyes of patrolling police officers. That’s the worst thing – not really knowing who you can turn to.

Even during the recent mass protests following the gang-rape attack, the BBC reported that men still tried to grope women in the crowd.

Can we talk?

But where does this frustration come from, to the point where a man will get his kicks from brushing past a strange woman? And why can it transform itself into a monstrous desire to abuse, or even kill?

Walk of life doesn’t matter either, as three politicians – governors of the country – resigned after being caught watching porn on their mobile phones in parliament. One was even a women’s affair minister.

Most importantly, if these men, or people close to them, feel they have a problem, where can they go and who can they talk to in order to solve it? There lies a real problem: Indians don’t talk enough about sex. Having spent extensive amounts of time in Indian society, talking about it is seen as embarrassing, or even dirty.

Even topics such as homosexuality or a physical or mental disability can be seen as shameful and hampering the chances of marriage.

The gang-rape victim’s friend recently revealed the hesitancy of passers-by and even the police to help them as they were left badly injured at the side of the road by the attackers. When asked why Indians do not discuss such issues, he reportedly told Zee News:

“In our society, we try to hide such things. If something bad has happened with us, then we try to hide thinking what will the other person say. Also because our friends and relatives talk behind our back about such incidents, that we try to prevent them from becoming public.”

Shame is on the woman

In fact, sexual assault or rape is commonly seen as humiliating for the victim. Attacks are so common that many Indian media outlets reuse the same images to illustrate stories of such attacks, usually depicted as a “shamed woman”.

In addition to these perceptions, there is a complete lack of trust in India’s justice and policing system to give people the confidence to come forward. In fact, Indians often joke about the carelessness of their police officers. But now is the time to stop laughing and start talking about the issues which are suppressed and subsequently not dealt with.

Official figures show that 228,650 of the total 256,329 violent crimes recorded last year in India were against women. It is thought that the real figure is much higher because of the many cases that are left unreported to the police.

India is a country of contrasts indeed. On the one hand, you have the peaceful haven of temples and ashrams and vibrant celebrations. On the other, you have a deeply rooted, dark culture of female oppression that lurks beneath a colourful surface.

However, with the mass outcry and demands for change, India has reacted brilliantly. Let’s not forget other countries in the shadow of this tragedy that have the same problems; I’ve been heckled and received sexual advancements in places like Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and even here in London too.

In India, the message is loud and clear – Indians have had enough. But along with protesting to governors of this country, Indians need to communicate more openly and freely with one another as well, in order to break taboos and cultivate understanding.

Firstly, though, let’s stop using a pretty name like ‘eve-teasing’, shall we? It’s called sexual harassment, or gender violence at its extreme. Let’s be very clear about that.

Posted: January 7, 2013 by sakshikumarindia in Uncategorized

A list of useful reads this week.

Genderlog

(A short and selective list of compelling reading from around the web this week/ 6th January.)

Monsoon Bissell’s powerful piece in The Hindu, To the woman warrior I did not know.

Mitali Saran says we aren’t talking about sex, and explains why we really, really need to; Nirupama Sekhri on sex and consent–and the widespread lack of it for women–in Indian arranged marriages.

Amartya Sen on the protests: “But I would have been more delighted if it was recognised that Dalit women have been undergoing violence over a long time, with hardly any protest and any organisation behind them.”

Mihir Sharma on why rape is not a women’s issue and how men need to pick up the burden of change; Tabish Khair’s letter to young men.

Arpita Das on reclaiming her streets; from Blank Noise, a collection of #SafeCity pledges.

In Open magazine, Devika Bakshi offers

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Posted: January 3, 2013 by sakshikumarindia in Uncategorized

Very moving and painful poem.