Women will be women, even empowerment did not turn them into Bhartiya Nari or Goddesses.

Women’s Empowerment spoiling society: Bangalore HC judge

- Photograph and information shared by Mr G Vishvanath from Bangalore

“Society is being spoilt because of women’s empowerment and ego problems,” an angry judge told the advocate of a woman who accepts alimony from her former husband, but refused him the right to visit their daughter.

Division bench comprising Justice K L Manjunath and Justice K Govindarajulu were hearing an appeal by Binu Vineet seeking visitation rights to see his minor daughter whom he has not seen for seven years and who lives with his former wife, Shiny. [Link]


Three points.

1.  Women are (have always been!!) just as capable of selfishness, adultery, smoking, drinking, driving rashly, murder, exploitation, feeling pain or anger and wanting happiness as everybody else. The problem is that generally women are not seen as people, it’s almost like women were a different species that is kinder, weaker and more emotional. :roll:

Fact: Women are not goddesses or witches, they are human.

2. Acknowledgment that everybody is equal in the eyes of the law is empowering no doubt. But undoing centuries of wrong is not a favor to women and their loved ones, and it benefits the entire society.

It is unrealistic and immature to expect all the women (as if they were one unit) to ‘pay back’ for this ‘empowerment’ by proving they ‘deserved’ it.

In a civilized society fair treatment and equality are the rights of all citizens – they don’t have to earn this right. For example, even the most hated Azmal Kasab deserved and is being given a fair trial, it’s a favor to the entire society, so the rest of us know we cannot some day be arrested, declared terrorists and hanged – without a fair trial. Or declared un-manly/un-womanly and stigmatized for just being ourselves.

3. By empowering women we empower men and children too.

For example, in a gender-stereotypes-free-society it would also not be assumed that all men are naturally prone to sexual crimes; (which means we acknowledge that we need to take charge of the small percent who do).

Not expecting people to fit into gender-stereotypes benefits both men and women and the entire society.

Note: Wanted to call this post – ‘Is the pious Bhartiya Nari turning into a Churail because of western ideas of women’s empowerment?’

Seven questions from the rapists’ point of view.

Q.1. What kind of message do you think would discourage rapists from committing a rape?

Ans. Please answer in comments, posters, links or posts.

Q. 2. And what kind of message would the rapists find confusing or even encouraging?

Ans 2. Messages like,

“A rapist is not really wrong to rape a woman if she not a ‘good’ woman?”

Or, “So if she drank Vodka, a rapist can’t really be blamed… such women deserve it… “

“Rapists are safe because even if the victim  does dare to report, the cops will silence her with their ignorance, prejudice, blaming, shaming and incompetence.”

Q. 3. What message is the Noida police sending out to other sexual assault victims?

Ans. “Don’t dare report rape and add to our work. We might break laws and reveal your identity.

Or simply, “Reporting a rape is just not worth the trauma we are capable of giving you.”

Q. 4. Do we have more rapes now, or are more rapes being reported?

Ans. I have no doubt that we are seeing more reporting of rapes, the crime was not even seen as a crime in the past. Most victims were silenced or honor killed.

Q. 5.  Would the police be relieved if victims were too ‘ashamed’ to report the crime?

Ans. I suspect the Noida Police would love to see the voices of rape victims silenced. Noida police’s biggest problem seems to be that the victims are not being seen as culprits by everybody else anymore.

Q. 6. Does a rapist see sexual assaults as dangerous crimes? Does an average rapist clearly know that raping a woman who is sleeping with more than one man is still a crime? Or that even if a woman is wearing bikini/salwar-kurta/jeans/shorts//nothing/and is drinking – raping her is still a crime?

Ans. A Delhi cop once admitted that many rapists are not aware that rape is a serious crime, they don’t hear voices clearly stating that it is wrong to molest, harass or sexually assault. Sounds unbelievable? Take a look, ‘The rapists often don’t see their actions as crimes, the police said, and they don’t expect the victims to report them.

Hindustan Times today said the cops seem to behave like Accomplices to the crime (Read the article, it echoes our thoughts) I too feel UP cops seem to ‘understand’, justify and defend the rapists. They also seem to seriously believe that women who drink or interact with men are at risk of being raped.

Q. 7. Who do you think is thanking their stars to have to have such incompetent cops  – the victims or the rapists?

Answer – Rapists of course. But also other potential rapists and other sex offenders.

I plan to create such posters, would love it you do too! Found this one on  facebook.

1.

2.

(shared by Nish)

Related posts:

When they don’t even understand crime, how are they ever going to begin controlling it?

NCW Chief says ‘sexy’ means beautiful and charming. Do you agree?

The Chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW), Mamta Sharma says ‘sexy’ means beautiful and charming, and only when we take it in the ‘wrong sense’ does it become offensive. To read more and watch the video: Click here. (Thanks for the link Gounder Brownie!)

This is what she said, her exact words in Hindi,

“koi ladki jaa rahi hoti hai, chaar ladke comment kar dete hain, “Badi sexy hai”, sexy ka matalab wo naheen hai, sexy ka matlab hai beautiful hai, khoobsoorat hai, khubsoorat ke alawa charming hai, charming ke alawa… a a a  badi excited, badi khoobsoorat lag rahi hai. Hum uske galat arth jab lene lagte hain, tab hee samasyane paida ho jatee hain… “

Roughly translates to,

” If a girl is going somewhere and four boys pass a comment and say, “She’s very sexy”, sexy doesn’t mean that, sexy means beautiful, she’s charming, beautiful and charming …also very excited, looking very beautiful, when we start taking it in the wrong/negative sense, only then there are problems.”

What do you think?

Do you think ‘sexy’ is inoffensive?

Would you find it as good or as bad if you were going somewhere and ‘four boys’ passed a comment and called you ‘sexy’ as when they called you ‘charming’ or ‘beautiful’? Would your reaction be different if somebody else (a partner, friend, someone known to you) said the same thing?

“Focus on a particular word is misplaced. Any word that is unsolicited or unwanted, which is about, on or to a woman, is an offence. That is the real issue, not just the word,” said CPI(M) leader and prominent women’s rights activist Brinda Karat.  [link]

Mamta Sharma says,

“I would like to clarify that the younger generation is literate and have certain different approach and have come to terms with words like sexy which is not held to be a derogatory remark. But that doesn’t mean anyone can use it,” she said. [link]  

Edited to add this video where she is trying to clarify,

“The rape victim had gone there willingly. She was not lured into it. They drank vodka.”

The Kolkotta police had suspected a car rape victim’s story and blamed her for going to a night club (read more here). Now Noida police puts the blame on a class X student raped by five men in their twenties, in a car that belonged to one of them.

And worse,

“In violation of a Supreme Court order regarding disclosure of identity of rape victims, the press release issued by the Noida police gives details of a 17 year old victim including her name and address.” [Read more.]
Although the press release quoted the victim saying she was lured into it, and forced to drink, the Noida police claims,

“She had gone there willingly… She was not lured into it… They drank vodka,” said Ananth Dev Tiwari, Superintendent of Police, Noida.

There are court directions which say the victims’ statement should be taken at face value till the trial proves otherwise. [ NDTV article here.]

Why did a police officer break the law?

I wonder if he was hoping that if she could be proven suspected to have gone willingly, and drinking vodka, she would not get as much sympathy. And perhaps then Noida police would not be held responsible for not creating an environment that discourages sexual assaults? Or maybe he genuinely believed that the teenager deserved to be raped by five men because she knew one of them and went to his birthday party (where others were already present)?

Is it difficult to believe when the family says they did not report an earlier rape by the main accused an year ago, after which, they allege, he threatened the minor with an MMS clip?

Why does it look like the police has no idea that they are paid, trained and employed for protecting the victims and for controlling crimes and that can’t be achieved if the victims are afraid to report crimes?

A name of your own, to keep or to change.

Now married women in Maharashtra do not need to change their names or surnames after they get married – unless they choose too. More and more  women are choosing not to.

It is now perfectly legal for a woman to retain her maiden name after marriage. The Bombay high court recently amended a crucial rule under the Family Courts Act to prevent a woman from being compelled to file any marriage-related proceedings only in her husband’s surname, thus offering relief to many seeking a divorce. It will also help a married woman file proceedings in other courts under her maiden name, say legal experts.

The radical rule says that “a wife who has not changed her name after marriage, by publishing in the official gazette, may continue to use her maiden name”. The law is clear now: a woman is not obliged to take her husband’s name after marriage. [Read more]

One good thing about women not changing their names is they continue to carry the family name like actor Kalki Koechlin said, “It’s still ‘Kalki Koechlin’… I’d never want to let go of Koechlin; that’s who I am. Besides, I’m the only child, and it’s like my family legacy, I can never give it up.” [Read more here.]

Since Indian parents’ male child preference is also based on family name being carried forward, it might help if women kept their names and pass a  part of their names  (first name, second name) to their children. It’s already  being done and I am sure our future generations will wonder how we allowed mothers’ names to be completely excluded from children’s name.

The Law On Names

After Marriage

* A wife may continue to use her maiden name if she has not changed it officially after marriage

* A wife can file for divorce in her maiden surname; married surname; any other name she may have adopted and officially gazetted

After Divorce

* A woman can continue using her former married surname, except if her intention is to defraud the ex

[Read more]

Note: I am starting a new tag in response to a comment complaining that I seem to see nothing good in India.  Now if you click here, you will be able to read all the posts tagged ‘What I love about my country’ :)

Related posts:

First name, Unwanted. Second name, Dad’s or Husband’s name.

So what could make even the average, selfish, money-minded Indian family welcome baby girls?

Nobody asks men if they are married or divorced if they want to buy a credit card or mobile phone.

I don’t remember using Mrs or Miss for a long, long time, I had started using Ms in school when I first heard the term. However, a friend who had divorced two years ago, had to open a bank account and was asked if she was married or single.

When she said ‘Divorced’ the clerk in this bank (SBI) in Goa chewed his pen for sometime and then wrote ‘Miss’.

If he was in France today, he would not have had to worry so much. (Thanks for the news and the link @allytude)

France is bidding adieu to the  term ‘mademoiselle’ – on the grounds that it is ‘sexist’.

The Gallic equivalent of ‘Miss’ will  be abolished from all Government  documents because it suggests that a woman is available.

Prime minister Francois Fillon has also banned the phrase ‘nom de jeune fille’, meaning ‘maiden name’, from official paperwork because it is ‘archaic’ and has ‘connotations of virginity’.

To the delight of feminist campaigners, an order issued to all ministries and regional authorities on Tuesday said ‘mademoiselle’ must be replaced with ‘madame’ and should be not interpreted as an indication of marital status.

‘Maiden name’ must also be swapped for ‘family name’ or ‘name of usage’.  Read more: here.

France isn’t the first country to ban the discrimination.

English-speaking nations have largely replaced “Mrs.” and “Miss” with “Ms.”

In Germany, the term “fräulein” (“little woman”) is no longer in official use.

In Italy, honorifics are typically not used on official documents.

And in the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec, “madame” is used for all except the very young and those who insist on “mademoiselle.”

On state forms in France, the terms “maiden name,” “patronymic” and two expressions meaning “married name” are to be replaced by “family name” and “used name,”  Read more: Link

Language matters. It reinforces what is conveyed.

‘Men are never asked if they are married if they want a credit card or mobile phone.’ [French feminist campaigner Julie Muret -link]

Language says a lot about those who use it. For example, ‘Husband’ in Indian languages – Pati, Malak  (Thanks BIW), Swami, Pati-Parmeshwar and Patidev roughly translate to lord, owner, god and master.

And,

“You’ve never wondered why we don’t call a single man ‘mondamoiseau,’ or even ‘young male virgin?’ ” [Read more].

Every blogger should mind their language?

Why does Gender Sensitivity in Legal Language matter.

Brave new Indian family or no Indian family? Why Indians resist social changes.

Here’s an email I would like to share. I know these questions worry many other Indians and are the reason why we see resistance to social changes.
Subject: Brave new Indian Family.
Recent interaction and reading on your blog made me wonder a few things. In the new world order (Hypothetical & in India) some important things that come to my mind are:
- Independence of women – should mean – men & women are treated and respected equally. No one has an edge.
- No patriarchy or matriarchy system. But does this mean nuclear family should be the order of the day without  grandparents?
- Men & Women are different biologically and so certain things have to be worked out differently. Like the way we are talking about abortion.E.g.  End of the the day, the physical endurance still have to be of the lady  – whatever may be the decision.
- Marriage or no marriage? Don’t have an answer – but definitely present model of marriage isn’t really working well, but in want of a better system, probably continue?
What bothers me is: 
1. – Grandparents i.e. old people should stay on their own?
2. – Grandparents shouldn’t have any say in their future grandsons/ daughters?
3. – Like in western society kids should move out of the house?
4. – I have even seen suggestions about young couples moving out of the house right after marriage so that husband-wife get to know each other. Fair enough. Should that be the only way? It could be that the girls’/boys’ parents still need a helping hand.
5. – Are we promoting per-marital sex yet at the same time talk of marriage and then – you should be faithful? Looks like we are just letting what westerns do – without understanding the full repercussion of it.
It means that while grandparents can stay in the house but at your terms! – While I do think the newly married couples should be allowed freedom to explore and understand each other – go out as often as they want etc. But necessarily staying away from parents isn’t the only way. I’m also surprised how some people feel grandparents involvement is with intention – to have a stake in the grand children.
Some of these things I believe happens to us, because we live with per-conceived ideas, don’t we? Aren’t there any really nice parents?
Some random lamentations :))

Received permission to print from these winners of TRBA 2011.

Please do convey immediately if you have given permission but your name is not included in this list, or if you would like your winning entries to be included.

1. Preeti Shenoy
2. Sangitha Krishnamurti
3. Bikram
4. Ruchira
5. Suranga
6. Nandini
7. Shail
8. Bhavia
9. Sunita Kurup
10. Gounder Brownie
11. Desi Girl – Desi Girl of girlsguidetosurvival
12. Su
13. R’s Mom
14. Meera Sundarajan
15. Pepper
16. Haresh
17. Careless Chronicles
18. Tikuli
19. Yuvika Chaube
20. Crescentia Kalpana David
21. Imp’s Mom
22. Giribala
23. Momofors
24. Chandni
25. Amodini
26. Khushi
27. Unmana
28. Shree Venkatram
29. Nita J Kulkarni
30. Ranu Chakravarty
31. Hamsini Ravi
32. Usha Vaidyanathan
33. Preethi Krishnan
34. Mad Period Woman
35. Celestial Rays
36. The Bald Guy – TBG
37. Braja

Updated:

38. Deeps
39.Sandhya
40. Pawan Maruvada

41. Vidyut

42. Kamini Dandapani

43. Liberal Cynic

44. Allytude

45. RS

47. Richa

48. Jia

49. Kiran Manral

All the winning entries can be read here.

What good is being liberal or modern if your daughter gets divorced in the first year of the marriage?

NRIs move back to raise better daughters in law, parents sell their assets to afford dowries; daughters are deprived of freedom and self reliance so that they can be ‘protected and cared for’ by their in laws and spouse.

Although they have little real choice in whether or not they want this life, the responsibility to make this work is still theirs. Sounds fair?

What is Indian Culture?

Traditional Indians seem to see Indian Culture as ‘Raising Indian daughters to be good daughters in law’.

So if Indian women (like other Indians) begin to see a life beyond the goal of Getting Married and Staying Married then they fear that Indian culture is in danger.

Sindhuja Giridharan shared the link to this article about double standards that some NRIs call ‘Parenting’ and ‘Saving Indian Culture’.

//It wasn’t family responsibilities or businesses interests in India that drew Shankar back home after so many years abroad. Quite simply, his little girl had grown up. “It just struck me one day when she refused to change out of her jeans for an Indian party we were going to… She was 11 years old then …”//

Of course the Indian way of bringing up daughters is better than anywhere else. :roll:  That is why we dread having them so much that we pray, fast and abort for sons.

More from that article,

//The question that arises then is: why is imbibing the Indian culture more important for girls than it is for the boys? Perhaps the reason lies in the fact that America is thought to foster a sense of individuality, of fierce independence and lateral thinking, which while great for our boys, can severely hamper a woman’s marriage prospects. Of course, most Indian women (groomed from the cradle to make the best wives) are still expected to strive to attain the virtues of domesticity, obedience and docility, to the point of being self-effacing. If the girl must ‘fit in’ with her husband’s family after marriage, she must learn to be flexible, to adjust without argument — lessons of life that some NRI parents feel just can’t be learnt in America’s hedonistic culture of unabashed gender equality, money, sex, drugs and self-gratification.//

Please do take a look at the article here.

Here is a comment that sees loving (?) a child as reason enough to take away any choices from her.

What good is being liberal or modern if your daughter gets divorced in the first year of the marriage? Which parent would want to take such a risk?


The media always use the term ‘double standards’ . Is it ‘double standard’ when the father drops the daughter to the bus stop & the son has to go all alone?
Is it double standard when the parents are agitated when their daughters out of contact for more than a few hours?

Yes , we treat our children differently. That does not mean we love one less than the other…

Fear of a marriage not working out, but no fear of life long dependence. What message do Indian daughters get?

Mere consent to conjugal rights does not mean consent to give birth to a child for her husband.

Here’s a judgment I agree with, because it implies that a wife is a partner, not a baby-making machine.

‘In a significant decision, the Punjab and Haryana High Court last week ruled that the right to abort a pregnancy in a marriage rests with the wife and not husband.

A woman is not a machine in which raw material is put and a finished product comes out. She should be mentally prepared to conceive, continue the same and give birth to a child. The unwanted pregnancy would naturally affect the mental health of the pregnant woman…” said the court.

Stressing that marital intimacy between a couple does not automatically translate to the woman’s consent to child bearing, Justice Jitendra Chauhan said, “Mere consent to conjugal rights does not mean consent to give birth to a child for her husband.”’ [Link] Thanks for the link Brown Vagabond.

I wish this judgment and what it conveys was understood by families of women like Sita. (All names changed)

A friend (and a social worker) told me about this woman in her twenties who lives in a village in Haryana.

Sita’s parents had first arranged her marriage into a family where she worked all day and wasn’t given enough food.That marriage did not last. When the parents arranged a second marriage for her, their biggest worry was that she may not conceive because her first husband had raped her violently.

In her new home she works all day, but she is given enough food to eat and her husband is kind to her. (Although my fried noticed that Sita has not even seen the local market, because the family does not believe in their daughters in law stepping out of the house).

Now she is pregnant and her mother in law took her to a city hospital where they said since she is the ‘size of a ten year old girl‘, she must have a caesarean section in the eighth month, although the baby is growing well and there are no other complications. Sita’s mother in law, Kaushalya is excited about raising a second  grand child.

Kaushalya has raised the child of her first daughter in law too. This little boy has little attachment to his mother, who my friend was told, is a bad mother. My friend shopped for gifts for this mother in law saying this would make them treat Sita kindly. She was excited about meeting them but came back disappointed, because Sita is so stressed, she fears she might miscarry.

Sita is worried that she won’t be allowed to take care of her baby, her mother in law believes her ‘age and experience’ make her better qualified for caring for this child. (Sita is expected to cook, clean, wash the family’s clothes etc). Sita’s husband, though kind to her, is an obedient son. Sita is also upset because he will not be with her during or after the baby’s birth. Kaushalya told my friend he is the most devoted of all her sons.

This is not one rare story. Take a look at the pregnant woman in this advertisement. In another case the daughter in law was sent to her parents’ home as a punishment for general incompetence, and the mother in law raised the grandchild. This daughter in law was called back when the family started arranging a marriage for the second son.

I have blogged about another set of grand parents who raised the grand child, because the mother was only good enough to give birth, here ‘Better than mothers?