Sexual crimes against women in India continue to be matters of Indian Men’s Honor and Dishonour.

Looks like some of us are not exactly proud of our opinions. It seems we’d like the world to believe our society values women and girl children. We also want to create the impression, it seems, that women’s safety is taken seriously in India.

Creating a good impression on other people is ofcourse a part of our ‘log kyaa kahenge’ (What will people say!!) culture. That’s what Honor and Shame is all about. 

Sharing a comment that sums it up – by Gayathri Brown-Iyer. 

The logic is astounding. Rapists can rape, police can refuse to file FIRs, politicians, celebs, etc can shame women for drinking, wearing western clothes, blame them for their rape, rationalize rape, etc — but nooooo, no one dare make a documentary exposing that. Let’s not try to understand how eerily similar the thoughts of rapists and the aam janata is. That’s just too uncomfortable for us to confront as Indians. Mera Bharat Mahan!

You know what is insulting to victims is not documentaries like these. These documentaries show us what causes the victims to be victimized. What is insulting is pretending that these rapists are monsters and aberrations in our society — when in reality our society enables and encourages rapists while silencing and stigmatizing victims.

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Why does the Delhi bus rapist blame his victim in prison interview?

Nirbhaya’s Parents Talk to NDTV About Documentary on ‘India’s Daughter’

Nirbhaya’s Parents Talk to NDTV About Documentary on ‘India’s Daughter’

Let me share this talk from NDTV last evening. Please do watch. 

Leslee Udwin says the documentary shows why the rapists feel no shame or regret. They come from a society where sweets are distributed only when sons are born, where daughters are given only half a glass of milk, where women don’t matter. These rapists feel a woman dead or hurt is not such a “big deal” – they also know they have sympathisers. She is also keen for the documentary to be shown in India, because she believes that that this documentary is going to be eye opening.

Nirbhaya’s Parents Talk to NDTV About Documentary on ‘India’s Daughter’

“… what brought me to India was respect, admiration and being inspired by those extraordinary protesters, the ordinary men and women of India, who went out on the streets, who led the world by example, because I, I myself have been raped. And I say this, it’s very important that I say this because there is no shame that should adhere to me as a result of that, the shame is the rapists. What I’ve discovered on my journey, and if I hadn’t met with these rapists, I wouldn’t have come to the answer I’ve come to, the deep insight I’ve gained, which is that the disease is not the rapist, the disease is the society and we, as a part of that society, must take responsibility for encouraging men to see women as of no value.

You asked me why did I have to meet with the rapists? Because I knew to get a meaningful answer to my question, why do men rape; why does violent rape happen, I had to go to the source. I had to hear it from them. I had to sit and ask them a hundred questions about who the significant women in their lives were, what they think of women, how should a good woman behave, what makes a bad woman. I needed to understand the mentality otherwise I would have made a superficial documentary. …

… the attitude that I understood and perceived in these men is, what’s the big deal? Everyone’s doing it. Why are they looking at us? Isn’t that important for the public to know? Isn’t it important for the public to know that these men have zero remorse? Why do they feel it’s acceptable, because our society makes it acceptable; because when a girl is born, sweets aren’t distributed at her birth; they are distributed at the birth of a boy. A boy is given a full glass of milk. A girl is given half a glass of milk. This is where the problem lies. You tell men that women are of no value. Of course they are going to do what they want with her. Why not?

Also watch what Nirbhaya’s mother has to say.

Please do watch.

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Why does the Delhi bus rapist blame his victim in prison interview?

“If I was born somewhere else, sometime later, in a more liberal family, in a more equal world…”

Sharing an email.

Dear Ma’am,

I am 20 and I am absolutely petrified about my future. And this is because I am a closeted Gay man. I read your post about how LGBT movement and Feminism are related, as both of them are fighting against chauvinistic and hypocritical pigs (sorry for the language), who want to force their rules on others’ lives.

I read a poem on your blog written by Nancy Smith, Which is titled “How Feminism Benefits Men”. It struck a chord in my heart. It brought new perspective towards feminism, how it benefits both men and women. It gives women their power and rights (that they rightfully deserve) and removes pressure from men. I believe this will bring back the balance in the world.

I feel an immense urge to speak what I truly believe. To fight all the discrimination between not just queer and straight, but also men and women, rich and poor…. powerful and powerless. But words need courage to be spoken. They need dignity and confidence. Over the years I lost most of my courage, confidence and self-esteem. The day mom slapped me and snatched away the paper doll I made. I wish the world around me was less judging and stereotyped. But it isn’t. And it will take at least 7-8 years for that anti-gay bill to be stroked down, another 10 years to pass marriage inequality, another 10 years before allowing gay couples to adopt and another 10 for the society to lose its attitudes. No matter how optimistic I am, a judgment free society where everyone is free seems like a mirage to me. Or is it too much too much to expect?

A few months ago my family found out that one of my cousins has a boyfriend. It was pongal time and all the members of the family gathered for the vacations. She was scolded and shamed in front of whole family. My grandfather (otherwise is very jovial and loved by everyone) suggested setting her on fire while she sleeps. I wish it was his anger speaking, not his sanity. She was a very brave girl, I would have never survived that. (Wait!! Does that make me a lesser man?) I being the eldest of all cousins, looked at as a perfect role model. But everyday I am afraid , that they would be disgusted when they find out that I am gay.

As Arundhati Roy said in her novel “God Of Small Things”, We live in a land where love-laws dictate how can love, who can be loved , how and how much.

I wish I was free. I wish I could be strong. I wish I had the courage to put on the “Proud to be gay ” batch I made years ago. But

I know its cowardice and weak to point at the society and hold it responsible for my lonely life. Because I know that I too am the guilty. I too am the part of this scum filled society. Because silence of good people is more harmful that violence of bad people. And frankly speaking it’s my inability change anything and my insufficient courage that disgusts me to the very core of me. Its Sickening.

Life would have been so easy if I was born somewhere else, sometime later , in more liberal family, in a more equal world. The Accident of Birth.

I may sound cynical. But I am just being practical. In country where majority of women don’t have equal rights nor opportunities, How  can one expect equal rights to LGBT ? And I am completely confident that the day will arrive we will arrive when we will all be free. It would take time. I don’t see a husband in my future but I will fight, so that next generation would be open minded , free of judgment or hypercriticism . When a mother won’t be ashamed of her boy playing with dolls …

This is a small poem I wrote once , I hope you find it interesting. Its called “The State Of India”

The deMOCKratic state of India,

Where democracy stands for Majority kicks Minority’s butt,

Here sex is a taboo, yet gang-rapes make it to the headlines every day,

Marital rape is legal here, for marriage is a sacred life time sex contract,

Here alternative Sexuality is crime, for God hates fags and this is a god fearing nation,

And that’s why the pious countrymen of this pious country demolished the babri and beheaded Jafri

Pious Indeed!

We pay alms at temples, so that we are forgiven for being corrupt in Offices.

God Fearing Indeed!

We dump our faeces in sacred rivers and bathe in them cleanse us of our sins

Here’s a country, whose yesteryear’s leaders dreamt of “Sone Ki chidiya”,(The Golden Bird)

But now, Religious crooks lead Educated Fools

Now,

Hypocrisy, Patriarchy, Misogyny, Hatred and Superstitions hide

Underneath the hood of Tradition, Fear of God, culture and Religion.

Truly, Incredible India!

PS – Thank you for reading the whole thing. I would be very grateful to you if you can post it on your blog. And also  if you have any advice for me Please share, I would be very grateful to you.

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The Liberals will Live And Let Live…

Who is the victim in this crime?

How do you define Sin?

How Do You Distinguish Right from Wrong?

Religion Makes Us Kind and Good!?

Pussy Riot: Does Democracy mean anybody can do anything?

If she was born somewhere else.

 

Immoral policing: A guest post by Carvaka

Immoral policing: A guest post by Carvaka.

I think the terms ‘moral policing’ are very confusing for everyone. In order to police our morals, don’t people first need a consistent code to police them against? If the code changes according to the whims and fancies of people, then one might mistake the ‘policing’ for harassment and bullying!

I am stepping in to help the moral brigade avoid such allegations. I shall outline their sensible and consistent views. In honor of my delicious glass of wine, today’s topic is alcohol.

1) It is perfectly moral for men to drink alcohol. They are victims themselves if they commit crimes while drunk!

Have you come across rural women’s groups trying to curb alcoholism in their men? Local activists say they largely fail due to lack of support from the police1. These silly women!

You say some men died due to adulterated alcohol2? Should we ban men from bars ‘for their own good’? How absurd. This is not like Andhra Pradesh banning women from pubs after 10 for their own good. Totally different.

You complain about Mumbai with the dance bar ban and the Dhoble club raids? Why, we never disturbed the countless seedy little ‘permit rooms’ for men! Dance bars and high-end clubs have women, now THAT’s crossing a line.

When we report rapes and murders by men, we specify if the man had been drinking3. How is this relevant, you ask? It’s a mitigating circumstance! What could the poor guy do?

2) It is immoral for women to drink alcohol. Any random man may hit/ molest/ assault women to teach them a lesson.

You complain about the hitting/ molesting? Oh, come on. Random men molesting your daughter is EXACTLY like you disciplining her. Just ask the National Commission of Women!

NCW on the Mangalore morning mist case (a group of goons assaulted teenagers at a PRIVATE party)4:

“If you see a woman trying to jump into the well, you will not have time to think whether she was clad or not. This was a similar case. Won’t you beat a child when she does a mistake? Necessity knows no law”

Delhi Commission of Women on policemen assaulting a woman who was drinking with a friend in a private car last week5:

“We scold and hit our children when they do wrong. If the girl was drunk and the police had to take some steps, then I don’t think that it is wrong”

You don’t mind your daughter being in a pub? But we fabricate such quality stories of drunken girls being a nuisance!

Remember the drunk girl in Guwahati creating a nuisance and rightly beaten by locals6? Actually, that didn’t turn out as planned.

How about those drunken underage girls DRINKING and PARTYING7? They told you they were not underage? Damn it, why won’t they keep silent out of shame?

In fact, when we report a sexual crime on a woman, we always specify if she had been drinking8. Yes, you guessed it – mitigating circumstance. What could the poor rapist do?

3) Women should not dance in clubs and bars. Dancing is immoral. Except at our own events.

We banned all sorts of dancing in Bangalore. One can’t be too careful these days9.

Dance bars? No, no, this is against ‘Indian culture’. Here are the moral things we said in parliament when banning them10:

“These women who are opposing the ban, we will make their mothers dance… These women who dance naked (nanga nach), they don’t deserve any sympathy… it was more dignified to commit suicide than dance in bars”

We do enjoy a bit of tease in form of ‘tamasha’ dancing though11. Also we organize ‘item number’ at our own parties12. Totally different!

4) Use the words ‘prostitutes’ and ‘rave party’ repeatedly in the media. The target audience is well trained to react to these.

Raiding a pub? Arrest all the women (say prostitutes) there13. Talk about drugs too14.

The Mangalore morning mist party was a ‘rave’ party and the girls were going to be trafficked4. The police found no sign of either? Maybe people are right about the police not doing their job well!

Even people who have never been to a club know that “80% of women there are prostitutes and these are rave parties”15.

Some of us are sure that “House wives, moms and sisters in India are now severely addicted to pub life and now gone one step further towards drugs and prostitution“16. Didn’t you know?

Never mind that the morality cops were caught for corruption and custodial death17. They are SO moral.

One would think that the authorities’ job is to be unbiased and maintain law and order, not to sponsor one group in attacking another. If they were acting unconstitutionally against a religious group, would it be accepted as ‘religious policing’? Why are we so confused when it comes to ‘moral policing’?

  1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/27/india-prohibition-villages-alcohol
  2. http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/12/15/tainted-bootleg-liquor-kills-143-in-india/
  3. http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/1818239/report-suspecting-wife-of-having-an-affair-man-smashes-her-head
  4. http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=146759&cnt=2
  5. http://www.ndtv.com/article/cities/moral-policing-ghaziabad-cop-slaps-girl-for-drinking-in-a-car-366805
  6. http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/17/moral-policing-indias-ugly-new-reality-tv/.
  7. https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/girls-retaliate-this-time-but-will-the-lectures-on-culture-ever-stop/
  8. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-02-17/kolkata/31071107_1_complaint-nightclub-police-commissioner
  9. http://in.news.yahoo.com/blogs/thewatercooler/bangalore-dance-103114787.html

10. http://www.indiatogether.org/manushi/issue149/bardance.htm

11. http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/1193079/report-rr-patil-refuses-to-lift-ban-on-bar-dancers

12. http://ww.smashits.com/bar-girls-to-disrupt-sangli-item-dance/bollywood-gossip-4542.html

13. http://www.mid-day.com/news/2012/jun/140612-mumbai-4-reasons-why-Dhoble-should-be-penalised.htm

14. http://mumbaimirror.com/mumbai/cover-story/Moral-policing-will-stop-when-youth-can-tell-good-from-bad/articleshow/16221789.cms

15. Translated quote from: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/unreported-world/episode-guide/series-2012/episode-13

16. See comments: http://www.firstpost.com/india/the-truth-about-archaic-laws-why-dhoble-supporters-are-wrong-360125.html

17. http://www.ndtv.com/article/people/who-is-vasant-dhoble-230923

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

Do some of us see anything that is done purely for pleasure (no moral or monetary benefits), as wrong?

So is sale and consumption of liquor related to crimes that take place in an area?

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

Alcohol affects Husband – visionlightcolour

“Wives..well they are awesome! They will cross heavens to make you and the family’s lives happy.”

What do you think of this comment? My response in italics. 

Can a guy have something to say in this matter…. :)

Okay ! First,its official. I am going to find a good girl, fall in love and marry her. But I’ll do that few months later because I have to study and crack my MBA exams for now. ;)But..Ladies..you have scored big one on this “marriage is for two people” thing. Don’t understand why elders make it a public fanfare ceremony.

To put in my few cents as a guy’s (who is only 23) perspective:
1. I think a man must have guts to stand for his wife against all odds (even if odds are from his own family.
2. He must also have guts to confront the wife if she plays the bad girl.

[IHM: What exactly is ‘playing a bad girl’… read further to get a general idea of what is a good girl, I am assuming those who don’t fit in the description of ‘good girls’ would be considered ‘bad girls’.]

3. A girl leaves her house and life for you. I think her man is her only support. A boy who cant hold her hand if her in laws stand against her, doesn’t have right to fall in love in the first place.

[IHM: A girl should not be expected to leave her life, home, family, friends, (her support group) first name, second name, career, eating, dressing, sleeping, walking, laughing (etc) habits to get married. 

This expectation is at the root of all the hatred for daughters (Paraya Dhan) in this country, because it means a daughter can be her parents’ support and care giver only until she gets married, after that the parents have no rights over her. Indian parents are expected to  train her for this future, and then pay her in-laws to accept her.]

4. An arranged marriage can be equally miserable.

5. “Definition of successful marriage- A marriage that doesn’t ends in divorce” is a wrong notion.

6. Daughter ! I love you unless you fall in love or marry outside the cast, or not marry one among the exhaustive list of these 12.
How stupid !

7. People think that girls in love marriages do not pay due respect to in laws. My cousin had a love marriage in Jain’s and she is living a great life.(Our family is liberal). She was a non vegetarian and Kayastha by caste. She is an IITian but knows and has accepted every element of Jainism now (by choice). Her In laws boast about her in their community. Her daadi in law does’nt go anywhere without her. She is an ideal Bahu and loved by all.

[IHM: Would they have loved her less if she had continued to eat non vegetarian food? Or if she wasn’t seen as a ‘boast-worthy’ ‘ideal Bahu’?

What if she wanted to be herself and live like just another, equal family member? Why not see the Bahu as a person? As human?

Aren’t such expectations the reason why traditional Indians see raising daughters as a challenging task? ]

Finally, Guys (if there are any) ! Girls are not engineering colleges that your parents know about more than you. Marriage is your own choice. Wives..well they are awesome! They will cross heavens to make you and the family’s lives happy. All they ask in return is lots of love and support. Give them that. They deserve it :D
(Actually top it up with few warm hugs & kisses. ;) )

[IHM: And would the wives remain awesome if they see crossing some heavens to make spouse and his family happy as a mutual thing?

Or if they expect a little more than ‘love and support topped up with a few warm hugs and kisses’?

Or if they see ‘love, support, few warm hugs and kisses’ as a mutual thing?

And if they wish to have a say in what they need support for? For instance support in giving up old eating habits or support in continuing to work?]

NOTE:

It seems Tata Docomo and Tata Photon users are not able to access wordpress.com blogs. Please let me know if you are a Tata docomo/photon user and you are able to read this blog. 

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An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

My wife will inherit my family’s property, her brothers too will share their property with their respective wives.

An email from an Indian father: I want to place on record my own story as a warning to anyone…

An email: My principal fear is my wife is not going to be able to love my parents as much as I do.

 

Three BJP Ministers, including the Women and Child Welfare Minister caught watching porn in assembly.

I am sure nobody is really surprised that three ministers were caught watching ‘obscene video’ in Karnataka assembly. I am just glad they are caught on camera. Maybe now we can expect stronger attempts at censorship to protect our religious and cultural sensibilities.

CC Patil and Lakshman Savadi were caught watching an obscene video on their mobile phones on Tuesday while the Assembly was in session. A regional TV channel aired the footage of the duo watching the clippings when the Assembly was debating the issue of hoisting of Pakistan national flag in a town in Bijapur district on the New Year’s day. [Link]

This post is not about my views on whether or not watching porn should be a crime. C C Patil is was the Women and Child Welfare Minister, this is what he said about last month about sexual crimes against women.

Women should know how much skin they should cover: Karnataka minister

I personally don’t favour women wearing provocative clothes …” He also said women should know how much skin they should cover.

Patil said incidents like rape and sexual harassment occur when moral values among men decline – the subtext being women dressing “provocatively” cause men’s morals to nosedive.

….

Perhaps apprehending he would be accused of being a misogynist, Patil hastily added, “Over the centuries, we have given respectful position and dignified status to women. We worship women in many ways. As a mark of respect to women, many rivers are named after them in the country which only indicates the respect we have towards women.

[From here]

I believe anybody who talks of naming rivers after women when asked about an average woman’s safety doesn’t care what happens to an average woman. If he then start talking about women’s clothing causing men’s morality to nosedive – then maybe he is  making excuses for himself.

Karnataka state had recently banned a peaceful protest against sexual harassment (Slut walk) and has in the past defended violent attack and molesting of innocent citizens in a Mangalore pub (resulting in the now famous Pink Chaddi Campaign). This is how Savadi reacted to being caught watching porn in the House.

After local TV channels began airing the footage, Savadi reportedly blocked power supply in his constituency, Athani, in north Karnataka. He said later, “I was watching the video clip of how a woman was raped by four people to know about the incident and prepare for a discussion on the ill-effects of a rave party in Udupi recently. I do not have the cheap mentality to see pornographic visuals.”[Link]

I wanted to call this post – We worship women in many ways. – C C Patil.