Posts Tagged ‘People’

Guest post by @pentropy who is disturbed and ashamed by the recent Delhi rape incident. Read on to know how it’s not about the gender, it’s about the values.

When India won the world cup last year, there were tears in our eyes. We are a nation fond of our nationalism. Prima facie, we are known to love our country. We are all aware of a lot of things that needs correction, however, we still continue to take pride in most of the soft aspects like culture, heritage, unity in diversity etc and stay blindfolded of the hard facts. Fair enough! We want to believe that we are a ‘great’ country.

I personally want to be subtle about my sarcasm but I am not left with an option. The recent heinous gang rape of a girl in a Delhi bus by four men has shook me left, right and center. We are all aware about the intricate details of the crime committed and have shown our anger through the various channels, so I would skip them. But, more than anger, I am left with a feeling of vacuum and helplessness as an individual.

Being part of the ‘Shining India’ era of this country, I am a highly confident individual with great sense of belief in my abilities. I believe that I can do all that I want to and add my bit of positive push to the homo sapiens evolution process. I believe that during my lifetime, I will contribute to the world and to my nation and thus I will justify this great opportunity of being born a human. But alas, I am disappointed with myself!

This incident makes me shout for the criminals’ head, their castration, a quick punishment, a better law system etc. Fair enough, that’s what logically should happen. However, I am totally blank on the question – ‘But what should I do about it?’. Well, till yesterday, I felt like a change maker and felt like bringing a significant upward thrust to the world. Today, I feel absolutely spineless and realize that there isn’t anything I can do to control the imbibed negative energies in and around me. And I can’t deny their existence.  And I continue to stare in void – unaware and weak.

But that takes me to the greatness of our culture and heritage. It is saddening to see the hypocrite reality that we live in. Rape is an extreme case and thus calls for our sudden anger, but overall how sensitive we are to our surroundings define us. And I believe that we aren’t. The problem is that we live in the denial of being a nation that is individual driven and not society driven. Some European quoted that Indians focus of themselves much more than the country and its visible from the fact that they have their houses clean and roads dirty.

But in my heart I am ashamed. I am a male who has spent a large part in this part of country. I am one of them. Though I am totally helpless but I am sorry.

I don’t have the answers.

Shilpa ChaudharyGuest post by Shilpa Chaudhary, student at University of Delhi “who seeks the answer as to why misogyny has not been subverted yet.”
The recent rise in rate of crime against women especially in the form of rape and molestation forces one to think as to where we are heading with all this? Is the 21st century India, technology savvy of which we are so proud of, an apt replacement for its hypocrisy, stagnation and retention of the so-called Indian ‘sanskriti’?

These are the questions which do not come to my mind as I walk out of my house in the crime capital of India-Delhi. Instead I join my hands in front of the divine idol my mother has placed in my room and pray dutifully that my day goes peacefully. Basically implying, I leave everything to chance.

The chance of me getting groped in public transport is as high is as the chance of me getting raped in my college. Is this what my father would have wanted for his daughter when he cradled her in his arms for the first time? I think not. What is it that forces men to make them act in the hideous manner that they do when they participate in such shameless and rash actions? Why do they fail to realise that the karma that their mothers preach of can cause their female family members to be in the very same position some day as well? And let me tell you that no amount of parsad can prevent it. Beneath the chant of ethics, values and moral duties lay the horror of corruption and tyranny. Institutionalized sexuality and institutionalized religiosity are combined.

When Kamla Bhasin in a recent debate on CNN-IBN was asked to voice her opinion on the unfortunate incident of a father being shot while trying to protect his daughter from a molester in Punjab she rightfully decided to take the issue up from a larger perspective. The writer and activist referred to the ‘epidemic’ state as a kind of ‘brutalisation and dehumanization that is taking place in the society.’ Revealing her stats of rape in India which has increased by 870% she campaigns for a ‘cultural tsunami’, whereby the hegemonistic notions which treat women as objects are to be drowned. Rape is not to be seen as a violation of personal space which A does so of B, but a man on a woman in this case. It is to be viewed as the psyche of man versus woman.

During some research studies I came to draw an analogy between the crimes which aim to deteriorate the fairer sex and Ann Garry’s ‘Sex, Lies and Pornography’.  Advocating a non-sexist form of pornography Ann miserably thus concludes that at the end of the day there is nothing to prevent men who really enjoy degrading women from undermining the most well-intentioned plot from the vision of a powerful feminist movie maker. The effect would be that even though the content would be morally acceptable and the intention of showing it is morally flawless, women would still be degraded by those sections of men to mere body parts devoid of any individuality. However, the fact that good intentions and content are insufficient does not imply that the feminist’s efforts will go in vain. There is no denying that anyone who tries to change an institution from within faces serious difficulties. This is particularly evident when one is trying to change pornography and its attitudes concerning gender roles and sex. It is rather beneficial and courageous to change pornography instead of closing one’s eyes to it, in the hope that it will go away. For it is realistic to expect that pornography is here to stay.

When B.R. Ambedkar referred to caste as a notion, and not a physical barrier which prevents classes from interacting he perhaps did not realise the magnanimous importance of this statement of his.

‘Caste is a notion, a state of the mind. The destruction of caste therefore does not mean the destruction of a physical barrier. It means a notional change.’

The patriarchal mind-set needs to wake up to the threatening alarm. As Kamla Bhasin put it, ‘How we bring up our boys? How we treat our girls?’

Enough is enough is the motto of the ‘One Billion Rising’ on Valentine’s Day, 14th February, a global movement which aims to put end to violence against women and girls. Love, not war should be the ideal for which each sane mind and noble heart strives for.

If our leviathans fail to guarantee our security then we must take the cause as our responsibility and abide by it till it converts into a pure devotional belief in the most harmonious manner possible.

A country where reactions are post-facto the only solution is to learn to rise above one’s stereotypical identities. As J.S.Mill puts it, ‘a distinguishing feature of the new age is the fact that human beings are no longer born to their places in life..but are free to employ their faculties to achieve what may appear to them most desirable’.

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This is a Guest post by Gowrav Shenoy ( @gshny) who was one of the Hosts for our #Bangalore Self Defense workshop. It was conducted by ‘Dr. Safety’ Franklin Joseph, women safety empowerment specialist and Krav Maga trainer.

I recently saw the post that the NGO called Justice for Women was hosting a self defense workshop for Women across the country. As a friend to the organizer i decided to help out in any ways i could. I was asked to host the workshop on behalf of Justice for Women in Bangalore today along with Nabeel. The workshop was conducted by Franklin Joseph, who is a women safety empowerment specialist and Krav Maga trainer. Below are a few insights about the workshop.
Most of the attacks on Women are not targeted attacks. They are predators who look out for whom they can attack. For them the height, dress or looks do not matter, it is all about the body language. If you are alert then there is a 78% chance that you wont be attacked. As Frank pointed to us, anythings from cow dung to speeding car can be a threat.
Next question that may come to mind is, what if luck is not in your favor and you end up in the 22%. Frank tells us that when you are attacked, you still have 2 choices, you can either be the survivor or become the victim. The first move determines if we will survive to live another day. When approached keep eye contact with the other person and try to keep talking. The minute you panic, you let fear take over you and you end up being the victim. So how do you become a survivor?
Frank tells its not about height, strength or body that is important to protect yourself but its right use of mind and technique. He explained some very basic technique that uses the various laws of physics, so that by using minimum movements, maximum damage can be made to the attacker. He explained about pressure points in human body and which ones to use when under attacks. But all these that he explained were just as a defense so that you can plan your escape. He told that fighting does not do any good and that must be used as a last option. The technique that he taught everyone today were such that, the more force the attacker puts on you, the higher the risk of him breaking his own bones.
He explained how to escape if someone tries to grab your hands or tries to choke you or even holds a knife to your neck. The whole session can be summed up in the following words: Be Alert, Keep your hands freely so that you can defend, keep talking, if they try to grab you then make your move and scan the area for an escape. There was another session going on in parallel and they were kind enough to give us some really cool demos.
He told us that 92% of crime on women is done by someone whom they know. And around 45% of it is domestic violence. He concluded that women must stand up to her rights and show that she can fight back and wont be sitting quiet. Frank is really looking forward to organizing such workshops more often. I think we should have our friends/colleagues/relatives to attend these events when they are organized again.

Guest post by Paloma Sharma, student and writer at Going Bananas
I flip through a women’s magazine on the stand (while the stall owner has been lulled into steady sleep by the hot, lazy afternoon) and I have to admit that I’m highly amused. I’ve never read one of these things before. But something about the glossy images, posh advertisement and suave colors makes me queasy.
Perhaps I feel uncomfortable because I find that this ‘women’s magazine’ has absolutely nothing to do with real, actual women. Honestly, it looks more like a catalogue for dolls and their accessories. Occasionally, I come across a male model that bears an eerie resemblance to Ken. That’s when I realize something – something shocking, probably path breaking and even blasphemous.
Women’s magazines are not women’s magazines. They’re as far away from being woman-friendly as water is from being combustible. Basically, this is what these ‘women’s magazines’ really are: of misogynists, by misogynists, for women.
I know this may sound like a radical feminist tirade against all the things you hold sacred in this world, especially if you’re a subscriber to one such magazine. So do yourself a favor and run down to your nearest newspaper stall or pick up the first thing under the women’s section. (God knows why we don’t just have a people’s section. Stereotype, much?) Observe the first thing that you see on the cover – a famous, glamorous, long-legged and ample-breasted woman who’s stock in show biz has recently gone up thanks to a new movie/album she has coming out.
If you’re done with being in awe of her striking (read: Photoshop-ed) features, take a look at the words, which seem only secondary, around her. They probably resemble one of these sentences:
’10 Things That Will Drive Him Wild’
‘Revenge Is Best Served Hawt!’
‘From Flab to Fab in Six Weeks’
Did those words, minus the polished images, make your head hurt? Did you pull your hair out with your own two hands and scream out loud, “WHAT SORCERY IS THIS!?!”?
I did.
But don’t give up yet. Get to the first page, beyond the Contents section. Have you seen a pale or deliberately whitened, swallow-boned creature with an empty expression, pouting lips and a perfectly straight nose yet? Yes, that one. Now flip through the magazine randomly. You’ll find them everywhere, like a fungal infestation upon a young sapling – some will be known, other’s just forgettable faces – but they will all have one thing in common: they will be taller, thinner and whiter than the average woman.
Don’t believe me?
Ok, then, take your nose out of that magazine and look around you. Look at the women you see. Do they even remotely resemble the women in the magazine in your hands? Unless you’re back stage or at a movie producer’s office, the answer is going to be a big, fat NO!
Remember when you randomly flipped through the magazine and looked at all the women spread out across the pages? Try to recall their clothes. Yeah I know, big brands, huh? Don’t forget the impossibly high heeled shoes! Yes, those are a must-have for your daily travel from Virar to Churchgate via the jam-packed local train and potholed roads lacking proper sidewalks. Or if you’re a stay-at-home spouse/mother, those heels are obviously going to do wonders for your spine (an irreplaceable part of your anatomy).
Don’t forget to check the gossip column, since we women so obviously love to while our time away, gossiping merrily, finding out whose boyfriend slept with whom and which starlet has fake breasts (or worse, a fake nose!). Clearly women have no interest in knowing what’s going on around the world, which politician supported a ban on mobile phones for girls and who’s the jerk trying to take away their right to own their bodies.
Yes, my friend, that abomination of a compilation of words you hold in your hand is a women’s magazine. It claims to represent women. It goes as far as saying that it is for the modern woman and that it adds brains to the gloss. It will give you diet tips on how to eat a particular substance or even starve yourself but it will not tell you how to plan a complete meal and what kind of exercise is best for your body-type and age.
It will tell you what the latest style is and which designer is in but you probably won’t be able to either afford those clothes in the pictures or buy them.
It will give you snippets from an interview with the hottest celebrity in tinsel town but it will push back or maybe not even carry articles about real men and women, real role models like Rita Banerji, Nick Kristof, Somaly Mam or Malala Yousufzai and their struggles to make sure that girls and women (as well as the rest of society) are no longer silent, suffering victims of patriarchy.
This women’s magazine – which claims to be overflowing with new-age, feminine wisdom – will tell you how to doll up until you don’t look like you any more and what pubs to hit but it won’t give you self-defense tips (which 9 out of 10 men will recommend you learn) to escape the almost inevitable sexual assault that will come your way.
Your friendly, neighborhood (misogynistic) women’s magazine will take your pride and your self-esteem and turn it against you until the mirror is your worst enemy; and you – yes, you the subscriber will love it still and love it anyway, for you have sold out not only your brain but also your soul for a piece of super shined shit.
You may tell me that I shouldn’t expect a political or financial section in a women’s magazine. You may tell me to pick up a newspaper instead. But I will not. You don’t get to decide that women who like to take care of their hair and want real, relatable styles and tips for it (as I do) are a separate interest group from women who follow politics. You will not place me into stereotypes of ‘tomboy’ or ‘daddy’s girl’. You will not decide who I am and who I shall be.
I am me. A Woman. And I reject this magazine.

In the times of female foeticide, molestation, rape, acid attack & more; it’s the women who have to protect themselves from the big bad world. Either by being over alert or by learning self-defense.

But what about the school going schools who are not even aware about most of these issues. There are cases when a young girl is molested, touched at inappropriate places and she is either too scared to tell anyone or unaware that something bad happened.

What is the solution?

We cannot stop the crime but we can surely bring about awareness. Every girl should be made aware of her private parts in school or by family/cousins. They should know that any unknown person touching them in those places in not appropriate. Also, the family should make sure their daughter knows she can share every single incident with them, even if it is something inappropriate. The young girls should have enough faith that their family would support them in all ways. Also, basic defense mechanism should be made compulsory in every school. And for those unfortunate girls who don’t attend school, some special classes about awareness & defense should be arranged.

If education & awareness starts right from the young age, a lot of unfortunate incidents can be prevented or tackled.

More power to the young girls!!