“I will not sit back and allow the image of India’s men to be tarnished by an article that does not articulate other sides to India.”

What do you think of the post linked below? Does it anger you? Does the article make you feel ashamed of your country – if yes, why? Does the article make you wish RoseChasm had taken care not to hurt our sentiments? Then, does the skewed gender ratio also make you feel not motivated to do something about it but somehow ‘ashamed’ of your country?

To me, nothing in the post seemed to imply it was meant to shame Indian men (or women) – the article made me think of all the suggestions made by Justice Verma Committee that were not taken seriously.

I could relate to the story. No verifications were needed, most Indian women I know (including myself) have faced most of the harassment RoseChasm described, or risked facing it if we were to do any of the things RoseChasm and her friends did, like travel [link] alone [link], dance in the streets, or shop or walk in public spaces in India without watching for groping hands and eyes, or cameras [link]

Not only does the story below needs no verification, most of us also know what many Indians (men and women) think of women who forget that men can get provoked. We have heard justifications like that Freedom at midnight but doesn’t mean we can roam around freely at midnight.”

Here’s the story by RoseChasm.

India: the Story You Never Wanted to Hear

Do I tell them about our first night in the city of Pune, when we danced in the Ganesha festival, and leave it at that? Or do I go on and tell them how the festival actually stopped when the American women started dancing, so that we looked around to see a circle of men filming our every move?

Do I tell them about bargaining at the bazaar for beautiful saris costing a few dollars a piece, and not mention the men who stood watching us, who would push by us, clawing at our breasts and groins?

When people compliment me on my Indian sandals, do I talk about the man who stalked me for forty-five minutes after I purchased them, until I yelled in his face in a busy crowd?

Do I describe the lovely hotel in Goa when my strongest memory of it was lying hunched in a fetal position, holding a pair of scissors with the door bolted shut, while the staff member of the hotel who had tried to rape my roommate called me over and over, and breathing into the phone? [Click to read more]

And then followed this post from twoseat who travelled with RoseChasm. What do you think?

Same India-Different Story

The problem that this (RoseChasm’s) article has is that it ends up blaming an entire population for the actions of some

To address the attempted rapes on the program, I was also very frightened while on the trip. After hearing about the attacks that happened to girls I knew, I also stayed up at night wondering if someone was going to break into my room. RoseChasm has addressed this, but what RoseChasm doesn’t address is the fact that rape happens in America as well. This focus on what happened to one individual on a study abroad trip to India makes it seem like no woman can enjoy a trip to India and that she would be ultimately safer in America. We must be aware of the rapes that occur worldwide…

I understand RoseChasm’s pain, and I too had a hard time readjusting to life in America after my experience in India. I truly hope for her to be well again, but I will not sit back and allow the image of India’s men to be tarnished by an article that does not articulate other sides to India.

[Click to read more]

Do you think RoseChasm or any other survivor of sexual harassment should be expected to add a disclaimer that they do not think that every other man/his country/race/caste is a rapist?

Should RoseChasm have mentioned that rapes happen in other places too? Does it matter that India is not the only country where the culture indirectly and directly treats men as helpless victims of provocation by women, [which is why only girls were allowed in the audience here]?

Related Posts:

Pubs in Andhra to be officially Reserved For Men?

“A protected generation of women like my grand mother’s did NOT seek equal rights.”

It could have been you or me – Shail

What do dented-painted women and disco-going protesters understand about a rape victim’s loss of honor?

The night I was not an easy prey.

Of course it was unsafe to ask for lift, but what exactly were their options?

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

How did we make Indian criminals believe that they have 7 khoon maaf if they can claim to be teaching Indian women a lesson in Indian values?

“The same man who rape a girl… respect his mother…so please go ahead and teach them what you want to…”

A response to: Why we think women activists should change their attitude of “wear what you like”

“Such mannequins will excite men and pose a danger to women.”

“Sunitha Krishnan spoke in my kid’s school about violence against women, only girls were allowed in the audience.”

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

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

Which city in India, do you think is the safest city for women? Do women in that city stay at home after dark?

Whose fault is it anyway? – ReturnToBasics

RoseChasm , gender and race – INDIANFEMINIST101

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Who will benefit from criminalising sexual assaults within marriages?

“The government on Monday justified its decision not to include marital rape as a sexual offence in the Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, 2013, saying that this could weaken the institution of marriage…”  [ Link ]

Why is it felt that allowing rapes within marriages strengthens the Institution of Marriage?
Then, what kind of marriages do marital rapes strengthen? And what kind of Institution is Marriage seen as?
Why do we need to protect and strengthen any Institution in ways that it puts innocent citizens at risk of being sexually assaulted?
Who benefits from an institution that is weakened without sexual assaults being permitted within it?

Why is there so much hesitation in understanding or acknowledging that women (just like everybody else) own their bodies; and that sex without consent is rape, no matter who does it?

It seems, once a man is married to a woman, even if she is legally separated from him, his sexual assault on her is seen as a lesser crime. How is this justified?

Here’s probably why raping a legally separated wife is seen as a lesser crime than raping other relatives, colleagues or neighbours:

1. Maybe it is felt that sexual crimes are assaults on a victim’s honor and not on the person; so if the rapist was once married to the woman, she can’t be ‘dishonoured’ by him. Same logic makes marital rapes impossible. If rapes are dishonour, how can a husband (Pati Parmeshwar) sexually assaulting a wife be seen as ‘dishonouring’ her?

2. Also, many Indians believe when an man marries a woman, he is entitled to Dowry, Male children, Sex on demand and an obedient care giver for his parents. Once an Indian woman is married to a man, consent is seen as given. Some commenters wondered why any man would ‘marry and maintain a wife’ at all if he needs to seek consent for sex from his own wife. [This doesn’t help: link, link.]

(This was one of the points raised during the walk organised for The One Billion Rising event in Gurgaon. I wonder if those listening were astonished to hear women convey that only Yes meant Yes.)

These are some concerns expressed by TOI commenters and many others, about criminalising Marital Rapes:

#How will such assaults be proven?

If a crime is difficult to prove should we refuse to acknowledge it? Does legalising a crime make the victims safer? The same logic can be used for Domestic Violence, and verbal abuse.

#What should be the punishment if the husband is convicted of sexually assaulting his wife? Shouldn’t the wife simply divorce such a man? 

The punishment should perhaps be same no matter who commits the crime? What do you think?

Consider this: In Saudi Arabia, a man raping, torturing and killing his own wife or child is taken less seriously than a man killing another man’s wife or child. It is believed that the crime is against the man (and his honor) [link].  The basic idea is the same: That some people have unlimited rights on some other people, or that some people own some other people.

#And who will benefit from criminalising sexual assaults within marriages and making Marital Rapes a criminal offence?

All these young women and children married to their rapists are amongst those who would benefit. It was understood and accepted in all these cases (and by many TOI commenters, Khaps, many Indian women and men) that husbands have a right to rape their wives. [Remember many Indians think rape and ‘sex outside marriage’ are the same link, link, link,link].

1. I have blogged about my maid who had run away from her marital home and then threatened to hang herself before her parents allowed her to stay back, she said her husband raped her brutally. [When life ends at twelve.] No attempts to report or seek justice, no action against husband. 

2. Another domestic helper used to beg her mother in law to protect her from her much older husband, and years later used to wish he would die because there was no other way she felt she could be free from his sexual assaults. [The Life And Times Of Another Indian Homemaker.] No attempts to report or seek justice, no action against husband. 

3. Another woman in Haryana was not only raped by her husband but the rapes were so brutal that it was feared that she may never conceive (a big concern in her second marriage, where she is still happy because, ‘atleast they give me food’) [LinkNo attempts to report or seek justice, no action against rapist/husband. 

4. Here’s another account from “The women who have to sleep with their husbands’ brothers: Shortage of girls forces families into wife-sharing” [Link]

‘They took me whenever they wanted – day or night. When I resisted, they beat me with anything at hand,’ … Munni, who has three sons from her husband and his brothers, has not filed a police complaint either.  [‘Four kinds of marriages in modern India. Which ones would you ban?]

5. Three of his sisters and six of his nieces eloped, so he decided to drill holes and padlock his wife’s genitals.

6. This is what Haryana Khaps are not saying.

7. I recently met a middle class, educated woman, now working and separated from her differently abled husband. She said they had no real communication, affection, or any relationship but she had to ensure the husband was ‘happy and satisfied’ (sexually). She said, the in laws were wealthy and did not ask for dowry, they just wanted to ensure that their son had a sexual partner and care giver. Although the woman is separated now, she did not even consider reporting or seeking justice, or taking action against the rapist husband.   She is just glad to be safe from his assaults and legally (and socially) he had committed no wrong.

I think it is also felt that ‘getting a man a wife’ ensures he does not rape other women.

Please do hear what Kavita Krishnan has to say.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=iuBNYYPtxkU

Demand that Parliament Enact a Law Against Sexual Violence Based on Justice Verma recommendations! No to Eyewash Ordinance!

Do also read,

Justice Verma Committee Proposes A Bills Of Rights For Women, National Legal Research Desk

Making Marital Rape a legal offence is the fastest way to make it clear that Rape means forced sex, not lost Virginity or Honor.

Where Consensual Sex is Rape, and Forced Sex a legal right.

Where Consensual Sex is Rape, and Forced Sex a legal right.

Is it women-friendly to call Consensual Sex ‘Rape’ and Forced Sex a legal right? It makes no sense unless we see a woman’s virginity (and bodies and  sexuality) as something that rightfully belongs to her husband, in laws and the society. Who benefits from this kind of mindset?

The government has now brought in an ordinance to introduce stricter penalties for crimes against women Patriarchy, instead of implementing recomendations made by Justice Verma Committee. [Do read more here]

1. Why is it that the Indian law makers believe that Indian men must be given the legal right to rape their wives?

Do they see a sexual assault as loss of honor/virginity/purity or as a criminal assault? If a sexual assault is seen as a criminal assault, then why is it treated different from any other violent assault?

When it is not a legal right to beat, cheat, treat cruelly or burn-alive a spouse – then what makes the government hesitate in acknowledging that forced sex with a spouse (or anybody) should not be seen as a husband’s (or anybody’s) legal right?

2. The same logic makes it legal for Indian men to rape fifteen year old girls if they are married to the minors. [link]

And here’s what makes the patriarchal hypocrisy so obvious:

3. Consensual sex between 16 to 18 years old unmarried teenagers is being seen as rape. Who do you think benefits from criminalising consensual sex between 16- 18 year olds? [link]

This is NOT what the Verma Committee recommended.

Women’s groups reject ordinance on rape laws, urge President not to sign it [Link] Do watch the video here. http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/news/fromndtv/263810

Related Posts:

1. Making Marital Rape a legal offence is the fastest way to make it clear that Rape means forced sex, not lost Virginity or Honor.

2. Who benefits from criminalizing consensual teenage sex?

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

4. ‘Bill seeks to let 12-yr-olds have non-penetrative sex’. Does it really?

5. Pregnant at fifteen? No moral issues. Unmarried and pregnant at fifteen. Degeneration of society.

Justice Verma Committee is inviting solutions and ideas in regards to sexual harassment/ assault/ molestation/ rape.

Most of us think it is common sense, but it is not. Take a look at these posts, the police, these rapists, this cab drive, this rapists’ lawyers, many commenters all over the internet, many Indian men in talk shows on television, many political leaders – all seem unaware that sexually assaulting a woman is a crime no matter how much they hear about how some victims actually ‘ask for it’.  It’s like they know, it’s not such a nice thing to do, but then “you know, some women seem to ask for it and being men they can’t help it.” [Linking soon]

There is zero effort to teach Indian men that sexually assaulting a woman is a crime. Movies that show sexual harassment of women by men who claim to ‘love them’ and want their safety (by sexually harassing them) have no disclaimer (unlike smoking scenes) that what they are showing is actually a crime.

Now, Justice Verma Committee is inviting suggestions from all. Solutions and ideas in regards to sexual harassment/ assault/ molestation/ rape. Chitra shared this.

Hey IHM,
I just found out through this link:http://social.ndtv.com/gargirawat/status#tab
That Justice Verma Committee which has been set up to review all laws for speedier justice and enhanced punishment in cases of aggravated sexual assault is inviting suggestions from all.
We contact him at: justice.verma@nic.in

I have an idea and since it involves using your blog so it’s just a suggestion:
If you’d like to then we can use your blog as a platform for brainstorming all the solutions and ideas which we have in regards to sexual harassment/ assault/ molestation/ rape through a post specifically dedicated to it. By allowing all the commentators to contribute their ideas and propose solutions we can get in different perspectives and perhaps come up with some very unique/ not so unique but effective solutions nevertheless.
Then if you have the time, you can compile all the relevant ideas and make a draft of all the proposed solution and ideas and present it to us again through a post and then after another round of discussion and making any changes in the draft if the need be, you can e-mail the final list of proposed solutions and ideas to Justice Verma.

Here is what I think is the least that is required, more like the first step towards dealing with Sexual Assaults against women and girls:

Please agree, disagree and add your suggestions too. 

1. A week long ‘Rape- Myths- and- Facts-Awareness’ course (should not be called ‘sensitisation’) for every police personal no matter what their education or rank) and also every political leader. This awareness should also be a part of school curriculum.

The course should make it clear to all, that forced sex with any woman is a crime. Whether the woman is a virgin, a sex worker, whether or not she is sexually active, whether or not she is following any rules of safety, whether or not she drinks, smokes, wears ‘revealing clothes’, has many boy friends, ran away or eloped from her house, was out at ‘odd hours’, was travelling alone, was known to the rapists, has sex with the rapist before, wore half sleeves, no sleeves, high skirt, salwar kurta, saree, jeans, bikini – there is no law that makes an assault on her acceptable.

2. The police should have clear instructions (doesn’t look like they have any as of now) to record a rape-victim’s statement and preferably on video and audio too.

Medical examination and investigation should begin right then – not the next day or next week, or month or year.

Failure to do so, or trying to bully the rape victim or asking her not to report should be a punishable and finable offence.

3. Those in positions of responsibility making baseless and irresponsible  statements to the media about rape prevention should be fined too.

Blaming, Shaming, Naming and thus Silencing the Victims, by those who are responsible for ensuring their safety, should be made a punishable and finable offence. (because this embolden the rapists)

Asking women, directly or indirectly to change the way they eat, drink, travel, socialise, live, work, marry, divorce, love, have relationships, have sex, shop, sell etc to suit criminals should not be permitted. Because this amounts to asking women to give up their freedom, lives, rights, happiness and self reliance. This sort of statements confuse sexual criminals – many Indian men genuinely believe that it’s okay to sexually assault women under certain circumstances, for example “If women dress like Rakhi Sawant, why would we not rape them?” [will link]

Any attempts to reserve the roads/public spaces for rapists and criminals should be firmly dealt with.

What do you think would really help control crime unless we all understand that it is a crime and we see it being dealt with very firmly?

This video should be watched by all.