Posts Tagged ‘respect’


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.

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Guest blog by Prashanth Kagali:
Rape means, “the crime, typically committed by a man, of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse with the offender against their will.”
I am a positive person and would love to inspire people and get inspired from them. But I have no idea how to inspire a girl who is raped. I feel shame even to approach considering the resentment she would be having against men, which is perfectly right on her part.
When fathers are raping their own daughters, there is no way a girl can trust any man. Even animals would not do this kind of heinous act. As the above definition goes, rape is something that is forced onto another person, against their will. Being a guy if someone forces me to do a simple thing as eating something, which is against my will, I reject it in the strongest of terms. I may never understand what a girl goes through and how it feels for her when someone rapes her, but forcing someone against their will even for smallest of things is just not respecting that person what he or she is.
What needs to be done?
Enough is written about the Rape incidents and its good people are talking and writing more about it. We always have to address the root cause of any problem. Here is where the education comes into picture. Education means not only what is taught at school but also at home. Parents have to teach their male children how to respect girls and how to treat them.
If only these Rape incidents have to end, then every parent should handover their son, a rapist, to the police and ensure strict action is taken. Tell me, how many parents or sisters or brothers would treat their sons or brothers with the same anger as they treat with any other rapist? It’s all about taking a stand.
We cannot live peacefully in a world if one tries to dominate the other. It’s all about giving respect to the other sex. Men need to be educated about the pain that girls goes through when they are raped. No matter what law is passed and what punishment is granted, rape can never be eliminated unless rapists exercise self-control.
I don’t get the idea of movies showing rape scenes. According to me it doesn’t make any sense. Rape scenes should be banned in movies. These rape scenes clearly show that men can exercise control over women. May be this is also in some way helping the rapists. Passing a single law or legislation or holding committees or giving death sentences can never eliminate rape. As we all know how death sentences are given in India. If the amount of time and money spent on deciding whether to give death sentence to Kasab is any indication then you can imagine what would be the case in these rape incidents.
Women deserve respect and it’s a shame that they have to fight for it even today.

Guest post by Priyanjana:

Dear Sir,

 

I am an out-station student who studied in Delhi and would like to pen my opinion. Sir, there are hardly any woman I know who has not been subject to harassment at least once. Finding someone who has been harassed just once will be the ‘rarest of the rare’ case, as you would call it.

 

Sir, what is happening in Delhi today is a collective frustration of every girl who feels helpless and they are protesting against the ineffective laws that render them helpless and vulnerable. I have grown up hearing how unsafe Delhi is for women and I don’t want my next generation to grow up hearing the same thing and accepting it as a part of their culture and social taboo.

 

I have seen it is very convenient for people to blame it on one word- provoking. I fail to understand what exactly is provocative to men? Whether it’s the clothes that were provoking or the time at which they were out in the street that was provoking or the fact that her character is loose that provoked them. I clearly do not understand what provokes men, even if she is a sex worker, she has the right not to get raped. So, your men who think they can get away with such excuses should clearly be made to think again, sir.

 

How difficult is it, sir, to ensure effective policing?

I heard your interview the other day and it is disheartening to hear the Delhi Police commissioner saying that girls must not be out post 3 am in the night. A promise to ensure safety at any hour in the night would have been really satisfying to hear. By a promise, I do not mean an empty promise but a promise that you would work towards and make happen.

 

Sir, when so many students are protesting and want to voice their opinion, why is it necessary to shell out tear gases and use water cannons? Why can the opinions not be voiced, the problems of the people not considered and safety be ensured? Sir, are we supposed to carry on being submissive and not be taken care of because men get provoked? As the Police Commissioner, Sir, it is expected from you to break this myth, to change the mindset, to not allow any more injustice to happen, to take up the responsibility of the city, to never let history repeat, to implement the laws effectively and strictly so that next time a man thinks of harassing any woman he is forced to change the way he thinks, to ensure a safer future and set an example.

 

I would not dive into the statistics and wait for more rapes to happen so that the number gets stronger so that it becomes important enough for the matter to be taken seriously.

Let Delhi set an example and other cities will follow.

 

Sir, on behalf of all the women, I urge you to take effective steps, to increase police patrols in the dark stretches of Delhi, to tighten security in the night, ensure all the helplines are working, to make sure every metro and every bus has a guard, to ensure every police man is gender sensitized and to entrust safety with regular follow ups.

 

This is what we simply want, promise us this and then you can roll your tear gases bombs back.


Guest post by Varsha Kalyani, student of MA English Literature who aspires to bring change in society through her words and hopes to succeed one day & witness the change:

The news chilled me to the bones

For it could have been any of the girls

You, Me, Our Sister, Our friend…

Anyone!

If such cases will continue to transpire,

In fear of ‘HER’ Life,

Folks will stop sending their gals out

Quivering & Shivering of torments!

Why dont they understand?

The mental trauma a GIRL undergoes.

Physical injuries a doctor can heal

But what about the mental agonies?

Who’s gonna heal them?

A doctor, A Minister or A police officer!?

Even after saving ‘HER’ life,

Lending her breathe,

You think ‘SHE’ would survive through

that mortification of a molestation!?

Would punishing the culprits

make her lead a normal life?

Why don’t they understand

Someday their own daughters

might be ravished?

Why such barbarous beastly brutal act?

These ministers who move

With security & guards

can never perceive their own daughter

In victims place for they are not commoner!

Such pathetic cases

Would bring the doomsday soon

& its must come,

for ‘SHE’ would be safer

with the Demons & Satans of Hell

than the Devils & Belials of this Infernal Land !

 

PS: The post came out as my reaction to the news! vexing & annoying state of affairs.


Guest post by an Anonymous Delhi guy who feels there is a deeper meaning to the act on Dec 16th. He thinks the humans have become dangerous animals & still need to evolve.

A lot has been said about the Dec 16th Delhi Rape Case.

Many have wondered how could one human rape another human. Many feel rape should invoke harsher punishments to be wiped off our psyche. Many have argued men should be better raised for this menace to be eradicated.

I’ve been pre-occupied with something completely different about this case. I am not so sure if it has been explored by all those who “talk” only when such incidents come forth to our notice.

I am talking about the animal violence that followed the otherwise ghastly act.

What is it about our genetics that makes us go over the top? Not just in the case of rape, take road rage for instance. When someone cuts us off while driving, not only do we get medieval by cutting them off at the risk of hurting others, we sometimes force them to stop their vehicle, beat them up, and then even as their near dead motionless body lies there, we kick it or shoot at it one last time just to satiate the animal inside us. That is eerily similar to what happened at around 9:30 pm on Dec 16th – not only did several men rape a girl, they then went on to physically damage her insides and then threw her off the bus. If there are many amongst us who would go overboard in the case of road rage, we must come to this disturbing conclusion that there are many amongst us who would have done the exact same thing as those evil men in the case of sexual rage.

I am not sure I have an answer to why it happened. But I am not sure if it can be cured by harsher punishments – heck if that were the case we’d have zero murders. I don’t even think better upbringing would wipe this off our psyches – heck if that were the case, we’d all be respecting our elders and be kind to children.

I think in the final analysis, one thing is very clear. Humans have not evolved as much as we’d like to think we have. The animal inside us is very much alive. And maybe it’s gotten even more dangerous. We’re now hunting amongst our kind.

And as long as that happens, none of us are safe from each other. Not women, not children, not men either. No one