What are we generally thinking of when we say ‘Respect Women’?

What would you say if you wanted to convey that women’s rights to freedom, safety, public spaces, seeking self reliance or happiness etc should not be viewed as privileges? 

What are we generally thinking of when we say ‘Respect Women’?

I think respecting women would be respecting women’s right to Human Rights. It would mean not expecting women to have to ‘earn’ basic rights (viewed as birthright by the rest of the population).

Abida Nahid shared this on Facebook this morning, with the message, “Zero vision day.”

Respect Women - Zero Vision Day

Can asking the society to ‘Respect Women’ be compared to asking men to be chivalrous to women – where basic courtesies extended to everybody else become an indulgence when extended to women?

Maybe instead of ‘Respect Women’, we could say, “Respect Women’s Rights’?  But again, that implies choice.

What would you say if you wanted to convey that women’s rights to freedom, self reliance, safety, happiness, loitering, public spaces should not be viewed as privileges?

Related Posts:

Display of respect to those in power, in Indian culture.

When you offer her respect,

Of Viragoes, Shrews and Tom Boys.



“Please help! How do I prove to my guy friends that women are equal to men? “

Got this request in response to this post:

“Hey IHM!

Please help! How do I prove to my guy friends that women are equal to men? “

IHMEquality means that we do not need to prove how capable or ‘superior’ we are, to have the same basic rights that everybody else has.

So, when we say everybody is equal we mean, everybody has an equal right to happiness, dignity, justice, safety and freedom (etc), no matter what their age, ability, skin colour, literacy level, sexual orientation, race, caste or gender.

Do you ever feel the need to ‘prove’ that you are ‘superior’? In a joke maybe? It seems some people do. What makes some people want to ‘prove’ (sometimes jokingly) they are superior?

What do they mean when they say men (or women) are ‘superior’? What can make some people more deserving of basic rights than others?

Here are three arguments used to ‘prove’ that ‘men are superior to women’. Do share if you have heard any others. 

1. Men are superior because a woman cannot take off her shirt but a man can.

A possible response: A woman being able to take off her shirt without fear of shaming, stigma, violence, honour killing or moral policing, would be an indication of a society that doesn’t see women’s bodies and lives as everybody’s business.

Objectification of women and their bodies does not make men superior to women, it’s a social evil and should be challenged. The societies where women are not objectified seem to have lesser (sexual or otherwise) aggression by men against women and children.

Also, a sari without a blouse was a standard dress for majority of Indian women. [Link]. It didn’t give them right to equality, they were still burnt, honour killed, married off as kids and killed at birth.

Also if we were to use the above logic, does the fact that women can bear children make them superior? Does the scarcity of women make them ‘superior’?

2. A woman can’t rape a man, so men are ‘superior’. 

A possible response: This one seems to be a variation of – “The male community, including myself, needs only 10 minutes, just ten minutes… to send what is called sperm, into the uterus of a female.”

Or, लो आज नारीवाद का अंतिम संस्कार किये देता हू – roughly translates to ‘Come, let me perform the last rites of feminism today’. [link shared by anonymous]

So are murderers ‘superior’ to law abiding, non violent citizens?

And, also a man might never learn whose child he is raising – does that make women superior?

3. Why have there been ten times more male inventors and scientists than female ones? 

The email says,

 I KNOW that the reason for this isn’t that men are superior but how on earth do I explain it to the people who believe that it is so?”

A possible response: Even today women are expected to give up career opportunities to have families/for parenting. Having a wife seems to make it easier to focus on career – women generally don’t have wives to take care of their meals, laundry, parents and children. And if a woman demands equality, she should behave exactly like a male…?
Making one parent (women) choose between career and parenting will eventually lead to more and more women choosing not to have children.

Related Posts:

And if a woman demands equality, she should behave exactly like a male…?

How Did We turn into Such A Regressive Society?

“So why do we wear clothes again??”

Weird, funny facts about Misogynists.

When a newly married Indian woman gives up her career, what else does she give up?

A tag: But when a woman sees a hot man, nothing happens in her brain?


Forcible sex with wife doesn’t amount to marital rape: Court

Why is ‘forcible sex’ or ‘lack of consent’ not rape? What purpose does protecting any rapist (married to the rape victim or not) serve?

Forcible sex with wife doesn’t amount to marital rape: Court

“Defence counsel rightly argued that IPC does not recognise any such concept of martial rape. If complainant was a legally-wedded wife of accused, the sexual intercourse with her by accused would not constitute offence of rape even if it was by force or against her wishes,” the court said.

…rest of the alleged offences, including those of causing hurt, criminal intimidation and theft, for which the accused was charge-sheeted, were triable by a magistrate.

And then what does this news report mean?

Priest gets jail for forced sex with wife

AMBALA: A local court on Friday sentenced a temple priest to one-year imprisonment for having forced sex with his wife.

The police had registered a case under sections 376 A (forced intercourse with wife), 323 (causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC against the priest on May 11, 2011, at the Ambala Cantt police station on the complaint of Gurdev Kaur.

In her complaint to the police, 36-year-old Kaur had alleged that her husband Shivpuri, 44, not only had forced sex with her but also threatened to kill her.

Police had registered a case after conducting an inquiry and on the basis of the medical report of the woman, which had confirmed “forced sexual intercourse”.

Around 14 persons, including the doctor, who had examined Kaur, were presented before the court as witnesses during the trial.

Kaur’s advocate Khushi Ram said that in cases of forced intercourse with wife, maximum punishment a court can order is of two years.

“The court sentenced Shivpuri to one year prison as no cruelty or violence was reported by the victim,” added Khushi Ram.

It also seems that hurting, being cruel or threatening to kill a spouse are seen as legal offences, but raping them is not. So it’s possible that rape is not seen as a cruel or hurtful act.

I am neither catholic nor Irish, Savita Halappanavar said before dying.

This news is disturbing, although there is no doubt that this is not the only case (in Ireland or elsewhere in the world), where a woman’s life was not seen as more important than the religious beliefs of some people in power.

I am neither catholic nor Irish, Savita Halappanavar said before dying.

“…the consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country. Savita said: ‘I am neither Irish nor Catholic’ , but they said there was nothing they could do,”

Praveen … said his wife vomited repeatedly and collapsed in a restroom that night, but doctors wouldn’t terminate the fetus because its heart was still beating.

The (17 week old) fetus died the following day and its remains were surgically removed. Within hours, Praveen said, his wife was placed under sedation in intensive care with systemic blood poisoning and he was never able to speak with her again. By Saturday, her heart, kidneys and liver had stopped working and she was pronounced dead early on October 28.” [Link shared by Sandhya]

Even if some people believe that abortion is wrong – all they can do is choose not to have abortions themselves (if they have uteri), what entitles some people to make decisions that clearly put other people’s lives at risk? Perhaps, the fact that most of them are sure that they are unlikely to be in a similar situation?

Her name was Savita Halappanavar. [Shakesville]

According to the World Health Organization, 26.1 million people seek unsafe abortions every year in the world because they do not have access to safe ones. 47,000 die from those unsafe abortions.

I have been unable to find a stat of how many people, like Savita Halappanavar, die because they are denied abortion as a medical option.

Related Posts:

How do women benefit from religion?


Don’t let off rapists on flimsy grounds, SC tells courts.

Here’s the kind of news India needs to read every morning.

Don’t let off rapists on flimsy grounds, SC tells courts

…the Supreme Court on Friday told trial courts and high courts not to acquit offenders because of mere technical discrepancies in the evidence.

He said the legislature has expressed its intent to deal with crimes against women and sexual assaults sternly by providing for stringent punishment but it was for the courts to ultimately decide on such incidents, weigh evidence before fastening guilt on the accused. …

More about this case,

SC overturns acquittal of rapist and murderer 

Though the Sessions Court had convicted and sentenced Munesh to death for the offence, the High Court acquitted him on the ground that there was delay in the registration of FIR and apparent contradiction in the statements of certain witnesses.

Disagreeing with the High Court’s reasoning, the bench said the incident occurred at 4.30 pm and the complaint was made by the victim’s father at 11.05 pm on the same day itself at the police station which was two kilometres away from the scene of offence. The delay was on account of the distance and the efforts of the family to cover the girl’s body and trace Munesh who also belonged to the same village.

“If we consider the entire incident as narrated by the father, it cannot be construed that there was any unreasonable and unexplained delay which goes to the root of the prosecution case,” the bench said.

The bench said the medical evidence proved that the victim was raped before her death and the prosecution story is fully corroborated with it but unfortunately, the High Court failed to give importance to this evidence.

Remember this case:

In Rape Culture, we understand that if the rapist was living alone, away from his native place, he could lose control over himself.

Related posts:

Men in power and their views of sex and rape. – Shree Venkatram

Family court matters taken away from Justice Bhakthavatsala

Have to share this tweet from Kracktivist 🙂

HURAAH !! – #breakingnews FAMILY COURT MATTERS TAKEN AWAY FROM JUSTICE BHAKTAVASALA.-! impact–@meIHM @istand4haq @shehlarashid RT

Family court matters taken away from Justice Bhakthavatsala

Following an outrage over certain remarks made by a judge of Karnataka High Court on women in an open court, all family court matters, including child custody and guardianship, have been shifted from him and another judge.
The matters have been shifted to the court of justices K L Manjunath and V Suri Appa Rao from the court of Justice Bhakthavatsala and Justice B S Indrakala.

There was no other change in the subjects listed against the name of justices Bhakthavatsala and Indrakala. The changes will come into effect from September 10, official sources said.

The shifting of the matters comes in the wake of the outrage expressed by women lawyers and activists to certain oral remarks made by Bhakthavatsala in an open court.

Related Posts:

“Ask your father if he has never beaten your mother!” Please adjust.

Parents should choose the boy for a girl aged below 21, as it is they who bear the brunt of an unsuccessful marriage – Karnataka HC

Plea to remove Karnataka judge for alleged sexist remarks

Family court matters taken away from Justice Bhakthavatsala #Justice #Victory – kractivist

Men Defining Rape: A History

What made it socially (and even legally) acceptable for a man to sexually assault a woman (in most parts of the world)?

But what also made it unacceptable for a woman to ‘not-prevent’ such assaults (without protesting, reporting, stopping or punishing the assailants)???

Read to find out.

Men Defining Rape: A History

—By Erika Eichelberger

Men have been in the business of deciding when it is okay and when it is not okay to rape women for thousands of years.
Check out our timeline of the male notions and common-law statutes that have defined rape over time…
Property theft: The Code of Hammurabi, one of the first sets of written laws, which dates to about 1780 BC (and contains the old “eye for an eye”), defines rape of a virgin as property damage against her father. If you were married, sorry lady: You were an adulteress. Punishment? You get thrown in the river.
God is a dude:Deuteronomy 22:28-29 says if you rape a virgin, you have to give her dad 50 shekels and take her to the altar.
So we know why these five Patna gang rapists thought they could marry the victim.
Please read and share: Men Defining Rape: A History.
Edited to ask:
How do you think does an average Indian define rape?
Is marital rape seen as rape in India?
Do we see rape of sex workers as rape or sort of a protection for sisters and mothers of the rest of the country?
Related posts:

Is rape the worst thing that can happen to an Indian woman?

Or is death worse than rape?

Until recently, many Indians thought a rape victim’s life was ruined (barbad ho gayee) and the only way out was to pressurize her to kill herself, or for her family members to murder her.

If the victim and her family dared to hope  to move on (without any hopes of the rapists being punished, because traditionally we punished rape victims not rapists) they had to make sure nobody learnt about the crime. (Obviously, this was extremely convenient  for sexual criminals)

The idea of punishing a rapist is a modern idea. Many Indians (specially rapists and misogynists) are still not able to understand/digest this.

But now that rape is being seen as a crime against a woman and not as a crime against Patriarchy (i.e. not as stealing of her honor or virginity) – would you still say that a rape is the worst thing that could happen to a woman?

Is it possible for an Indian rape victim (and the society) to see rape as a horrible, traumatic, brutal crime but not as something for the victim to be ashamed of, as an end of happiness, honor, life, opportunities and dignity for the victim?

As of now, it seems, we see it as worse than death for the victim, but still make excuses for the rapists.

Edited to ask: Would you say loss of sight or limb is worse than a rape?

Related Posts:

Here’s why I think the society should not obsess over a woman’s virginity.

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,”

This is what happens when ignorance and insensitivity combines with misogyny. [More examples below in Related Links]

Missouri Republican: ‘Legitimate rape’ rarely causes pregnancy

…explaining why his ideal abortion ban wouldn’t include an exception for rape,

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” he added.[Link]

So what does Akin understand about sexual assaults, pregnancies, human rights and crimes?

Does Akin think those pregnancies — predominantly in adolescents who had been assaulted by a “known, often related perpetrator” — didn’t involve “legitimate rapes”? [Link]

Should some people have the right to decide what happens to other people’s bodies? Doesn’t this seem to be just one more way to control women’s lives and deaths?

Pregnant teen dies after abortion ban delays her chemo treatment for leukemia.

Doctors were hesitant to give her chemotherapy because such treatment could terminate the pregnancy — a violation of the Dominican Constitution, which bans abortion. [link]

[links shared by Fem]

What if this statement was made in India?

I fear one would hear it being quoted as a fact by those who see rapes as careless women not taking care of something that belongs to their future husbands and their communities.

Do take a look at these two links:

I wish my mother had aborted me | Lynn Beisner

What is wrong with this world?| Celestial Rays

Related Posts:

1. Those who beat up the girls were probably not entirely at fault… Necessity knows no law.

2. Rapist said that coming from Afghanistan meant he didn’t understand what ‘consent’ was.

3. How Victim Blaming confuses rapists, police and the society about when exactly does non-consensual-sex becomes a crime.

4. This is what rapists do when there is no fear of punishment.

5. Shouldn’t Mamta Sharma and Kailash Vijayvargiya be held accountable for the statements they make?

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

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

8. Why was this radio cabbie, a rapist, not afraid of being arrested?

9. The rapists often don’t see their actions as crimes, the police said, and don’t expect the victims to report them.

It is neither correct nor wise to judge one generation with the values of another.

Do you agree with the points made by Mr. P.V.Indiresan (a former Director, IIT, Madras)?

My response in italics.

It is neither correct nor wise to judge one generation with the values of another.

I think it is wise, in fact essential, to acknowledge a wrong as wrong. If human rights were encroached upon, the values were wrong.

When I was young, in Southern India, Brahmin child widows would have had their heads shaved when they crossed the age of puberty.

Even if this was acceptable in that generation, it was wrong. It was stopped only because some people refused to accept it as the right value even though it was a value of that time.

There are even groups, both among orthodox Hindus and equally orthodox Muslims, who have prescribed what women should wear or should not wear.

On the other hand, I wonder whether the most ardent devotees of women’s liberty would wear topless or transparent dresses or even condone such behaviour among others.

Hence, strictly speaking, the protest is not about a dress code but about its rigidity.

The protest is about dress codes (or choices) made by some people for some other people, just because they are women.

Generally these dress codes are enforced by threats of violent assaults, intimidation and rapes; and blaming and shaming the victims for all of these. This energy needs to be directed towards conveying that sexual crimes would be taken seriously.

I had a British classmate who wanted to talk – merely talk – to an Indian girl who was his neighbour in London. He told me he dared not because she was modest; she dressed in a full length sari (in an age when miniskirts had come into fashion) and would not look at any one. Apparently, modesty has its own virtues and even authority. That point is probably worth noting by some of our modern girls.

1. ‘Our modern girls’ sounds condescending. 

2. How is it a virtue that this British classmate did not ‘dare’ to talk to her? Would it not be  simpler to tell someone, if one doesn’t wish to talk to someone?

3. Doesn’t this idea of ‘virtue’ isolate women? Communication can be empowering.

4. What happens if a man does approach her? Would that mean she is at fault for not following the dress and behavior code? Reminds me of this post by Small Town Feminist.

5. Why expect women to dress in codes to convey that they are not interested in conversations/friendship/fraindship/relationships/sexual harassment/sexual assaults etc? 

From this article: Moral ambivalence, then and now, P.V.Indiresan (The author is a former Director, IIT, Madras.)

Related Posts:

Those little walks…  – Small Town Feminist.