“To victims of sexual assault or any trauma, tell your story. Only then will you find someone who had similar experiences, with whom you can connect and move forward…”

I have come to understand that I like to read about other people’s journeys from trauma (of any kind) towards some amount of healing or acceptance. Recommendations requested and welcome.

The first such book I read was The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood [link], which was comforting at a time when nothing could comfort. Now I offer it to anybody coping with child loss. The second survivor story I bought but did not start reading for almost two years, (because it seemed too popular and I thought it was about praying) – then I saw the movie on the TV and finally picked the book. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert –  still surprises me with the impact it has on me (and on atleast one other mother who loves the book as much) – I am reading it for the second time, reading it slowly, savouring every word. The comfort this book brings is specially unexpected because the book is not about child loss, I was surprised that divorce and heartbreak could hurt this much. How the book ends or the story doesn’t matter – what I love is reading about Elizabeth Gilbert’s experiences as she struggles to find some moments of peace. This struggle to help herself was (is) immensely relatable.

Then a friend recommended Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, and now I have just finished reading and am still feeling overwhelmed with the Girl in the Woods: A Memoir by Aspen Matis.

Aspen Matis is a rape survivor. She decides to hike the same Pacific Crest Trail that the Cheryl Strayed does (in Wild: From Lost to Found).

Each of these books has been an eye opener. I have come to see that loss and trauma affects many of us in nearly the same way. No matter what causes it, atleast for a while, the trauma changes the way the survivors view life and everything else.

Aspen Matis felt nobody ‘gets’ what she was going through, including her mother, “I hated her consistent need to know the list of different foods I’d eaten that day. I remembered how she’d asked me if I’d had a good dinner in the same phone call when I’d told her I’d been raped.”

For a long time after the rape, she doesn’t know what she wants… because what she wanted was not possible. The book made me want to reach out to her, to hug her nineteen year old self and to thank her for her courage in sharing her experience. I was saddened but still thankful to be reading how she felt. When have we ever heard a rape survivor’s side of the story? Such first person accounts should be shared.

I had not thought of what a sexual assault could do to every part of the survivor’s life. Consider what it could do to her self confidence: Did she really ask for it? Could she have prevented it? Did she experience rape or was it not really rape? Was she capable of taking care of herself? Could/should she trust men ever again? Was she safe from further assaults? Would she ever be able to have a normal relationship? All her relationships change forever, including her relationship with herself. Then there was the humiliation, the ‘shame’, the anger and the helplessness. I strongly recommend the book for anybody who would like to understand what a sexual assault can do to a victim. Also, what lack of clarity about one’s rights can do. Why having a voice and knowing one’s rights is more empowering than all the safety alarms and pepper sprays in the world. And how terrifyingly disempowering lack of confidence is. I loved the author’s honesty.

In a society like ours that does not even acknowledge that rape is ‘sex without consent’ – this book could be a beginning. Do read and share.

But why was this book healing for me? It made me see I was not the only one coping with what I couldn’t change. AND it made me want to go for a long, long hike.

And I agree with her when she says, “To victims of sexual assault or any trauma, tell your story. Only then will you find someone who had similar experiences, with whom you can connect and move forward...” [from here – What Girl in the Woods Author Aspen Matis Found on the Trail to Independence:]

“It was OK for her to say ‘no’ after saying ‘yes’? Saying ‘yes’ doesn’t mean a blanket sanction to any sexual activity.”

In our hearts forever.

An email: Satyamev Jayate touched a deep wound. After almost 30 years I broke the silence.

Books I am reading.

Why I liked ‘Rabbit Hole’.

A Hiker’s Guide to Healing – Aspen Matis

When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her. —ADRIENNE RICH

The right to deny or to give consent takes the power away from Patriarchy, and gives it to the individual.

The Indian government [link] and the society [link] and hence the Indian legal system [link] seem to continue to believe that Indian men and women do not need to understand, respect, seek, give or deny Consent. This leads to some problems.

Like, is it possible for someone to respect women, if they have no idea that women are people with equal rights?

And can women be said to have equal rights, if they are not permitted to withhold or to give consent?

Can lack of respect be cured with appeals to display respect [link]?

And where does this disrespect come from?

A large part of it comes from genuinely believing that women’s consent in matters that directly concern them is not relevant [link], and though abuse, violence and disrespect are unpleasant, they are either unavoidable or even necessary to maintain the status quo. Many of us are afraid of any change.

Also, we do not seem to understand Consent as much as we understand Honor – which is why, (amongst other things) – forced sex or rape within marriage is more acceptable to many of us, than consensual sex outside marriage (which is strongly condemned as immoral). [link]

I think it is particularly difficult when not just the society, but even the law does not acknowledge women’s right to bodily autonomy.

The fact is, like anything logical – Consent is easy to understand. But Consent is empowering for those who are directly involved, the right to deny or to give consent takes the power away from Patriarchy, and gives it to the individual.

Respecting women, for most Indians does not mean respecting them as equal individuals, it often includes controlling their lives and sexuality, and as a result – women being allowed to choose their own partners is troubling for many. An extreme case was Mahendra Singh Tikait who is quoted to have said, “…Only whores can choose their partners.” [link]

What would change if Consent in sexual relationships was understood and accepted by the society and the law makers, as the most crucial factor in determining whether the act was a morally or legally a crime or not?

Here’s a video that explains Consent.

What do you think?

Related Posts:

The Amorous Adventures of Shakku and Megha in the Valley of Consent

Five rapists in Patna want to marry gangrape victim.

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

Panchayat orders girl to marry her rapist because one way to make a Rape right is to make it Marital Rape.

What do you think of these doubts regarding recognition of marital rape as a crime?

“Instituting the idea of marital rape raises the specter of a man going for long periods without sex even though he’s married!”

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

Here’s why a 6-year-old rape survivor was ordered to marry alleged rapist’s 8 year old son.

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

Rapist groom should have waited a little to satiate his lusty desires without problems which he has got into.

“In my own company in a cosmopolitan city, I know women who were horrified on the First Night.”

Who will benefit from criminalising sexual assaults within marriages?

India leads in sexual violence, worst on gender equality: Study

For Victims and Survivors of Marital Rapes.

Legally, marriage doesn’t permit murders and violence, but sexual assaults on the partner are legally allowed. (even if the spouse is minor)

Three thoughts on Bhag Milkha Bhag.

Marriage Sacred in India, So Marital Rape Does Not Apply: Government

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

These panties will change the way you look at sex.

Let’s talk about sexual consent

“It was OK for her to say ‘no’ after saying ‘yes’? Saying ‘yes’ doesn’t mean a blanket sanction to any sexual activity.”

 

“It was OK for her to say ‘no’ after saying ‘yes’? Saying ‘yes’ doesn’t mean a blanket sanction to any sexual activity.”

A Guest Post by Freebird.

I came across this other post: I Got Raped With My Consent. That Will Always Be The Most Horrible Memory Of My Life

I don’t think consensual sex which doesn’t involve any coercion should be treated as rape at any cost. So I find the statement ‘I said ‘yes’ but it was ’emotional rape” very contradictory.

But what I didn’t understand, and do find disturbing, is this:

In this story, why didn’t this girl ever realize that it was OK for her to say ‘no’after saying ‘yes’? Saying ‘yes’ doesn’t mean a blanket sanction to any sexual activity. It is perfectly right to set boundaries, or ask the other person to stop when she was getting uncomfortable. If he was hurting her and she was in pain, why isn’t it clear that she had every right to tell him to stop hurting her and not engage in things which were painful to her? And the moment this message is conveyed clearly and if he still carries on, it does becomes ‘rape’ (not an esoteric ’emotional rape’). Whether it can be proved or not is a different issue. That doesn’t change the fact that it is rape when the other person is violating your boundaries.

Related Posts:

“Even if the sexual intercourse was forceful it was not forcible and contrary to the wishes and consent of the deceased.”

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

‘Madam so many rapes don’t happen in Germany coz girls don’t refuse to have sex.’

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

Forced intercourse in marriage not rape: Delhi court

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

“Girls should be married at 16, so that they don’t need to go elsewhere for their sexual needs. This way rapes will not occur.”

What makes Men Rape? – Do read.

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

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

Triya charitram, Purushasya bhagyam, Devo Na Janati, Kuto Manushya…

Making Marital Rape a legal offence is the fastest way to make it clear that Rape means forced sex.

‘The woman said she was inebriated when a co-worker took her to a room and raped her.’

So how does Delhi – NCR Police define Rape?

How Victim Blaming confuses rapists, police and the society.

When they don’t even understand crime… 

“Molestation.. ? Then what do you call whatever he did when she was living with him for 5 years ?”

Desi Girl shared this link, Preity Zinta Files Molestation Case Against Ness Wadia

The FIR seems to have angered some people, and some of the comments seem to express some very common concerns.

1. It is being assumed that someone who has been in a relationship or marriage with a woman can not molest or assault that woman.
Why is that?
I think because sexual assaults are seen as ‘dishonour’ not assaults.
And, dishonour is only possible if you refuse to marry/be in a relationship with the woman you sexually assault.
2. Also, those in relationship/marriage are seen to have permanent rights over women’s bodies.
Please note: for many Indians, marriage and relationships make rapes right.
Mainly because we have no concept of women having the right to give or withhold consent. 
How can the law make it clear that women have the right to decide whether or not they wish to participate in a sexual activity?
3. It is being assumed, without an investigation – that the woman is lying and the accused is innocent.
4. There also seems to be some concern about ‘healthy relationships’ and marriages – which it seems can only be saved if the female partner can be assaulted with impunity.
Take a look at this comment:

This not at all acceptable for anyone in Indian community it in-secure signal for healthy relationships or for marriages, every one knows that they were together for longtime and she can’t take the advantage the criminal sections which meant real rape cases. Hopefully everyone will realize difference between real and drama with this situation. [link]

Another comment seems offended that Preity Zinta doesn’t fit into their idea of who should not be molested.

grow up aunty…behave like a 40 year old lady..your drama during IPL matches are irritable…after a successful carrier actress should marry and settle down..lot of youngsters are seeing you as a role model.changing partners marrying some one else husband, breaking some ones family theses are western culture don’t bring in to our culture.. [link]
And,

Molestation.. ? Then what do you call whatever he did when she was living with him for 5 years ? This is a clear example of a women using the weak laws of this country to put anyone whom she doesnt like, behind bars under the pretext of “molestation”. How can you allow women to use the law to their advantage and fix innocent men ? [link]

And finally a comment I agree with:

“… if she was molested she should complain. It’s the attitude in India that date rape/molestation does not exist. That just because you have dated the man is then entitled to a woman’s body forever. No man owns a woman’s body. Even married women have the right to say no. No means no. In India we seem to have forgotten we are human not animals.” [link]

 

Related Posts:
Rapist groom should have waited a little to satiate his lusty desires without problems which he has got into.

Affairs are personal business, stalking, snooping, hacking, moral policing are unethical, illegal.

Digvijay Singh admits to relationship with TV journo Amrita Rai

He was married to Asha Singh, who died in 2013, and has four daughters and a son.[6] In April 2014, he announced that he was in a relationship with a television journalist Amrita Rai, who was to divorce her husband in order to marry him.[7] He is a Hindu.[2]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digvijaya_Singh_(politician)

The man is not cheating his partner/wife. He is not denying her existence. He is not stalking or snooping on the journo Amrita Rai.

I have no hesitation in accepting my relationship with Amrita Rai. She and her husband have already filed a mutual consent divorce case.
https://twitter.com/digvijaya_28/status/461411160936308736

They are getting married, and it would be perfectly fine if they were not.

Because like Kavita Krishnan tweeted,

‘Affairs are personal business, stalking, snooping, hacking, moral policing are unethical, illegal.’

Also take a look at this tweet.

Anand Pradhan’s (woman’s husband) message to all those with misogynist& patriarch mindset, sharing personal pictures

Anand Pradhan

Rough translation:

‘This is a difficult time for me. Amrita and I have been living separately for a long time. We are seeking divorce through mutual consent, this is a legal procedure and takes time. We have separated and Amrita is free to take decisions for her future and I respect her right to do so and I wish her all the best.

I understand that many friends, colleagues, students and well wishers are sad for me. But I know they are standing by my side. I am confident that I will come out of this difficult time and I hope you will respect my privacy. Maybe these are the times when  we see who our friends are. Can’t express my gratitude enough.

Those who do not respect women and see them through patriarchal mindset as child bearing machines and commodities, those who do not respect them as individuals – for them this is an opportunity to make cheap personal attacks.

This is the limit of their thinking and politics, can’t expect better from them.’

What makes some people confuse consensual relationships between two uncommitted adults with stalking or cheating, denying or lying? What is it that is found objectionable in this relationship?

The age difference in not our business.

Related Posts:

What do you think of this mother, and this family?

Marry Or Live With Anyone Of Your Choice

Tehelka: How do you associate a sexual assault with someone who you thought stood up for justice?

Here is a case that was, at first, difficult to understand – because the person accused of attempting the sexual assault was someone who had seemed to be more likely to prevent than to attempt a sexual assault. But then how much did we know the person? We only knew the publication.

Do take a look at the young sexual assault survivor’s email that describes what happened: link removed

[Note:  The email has been removed from the above link, and I have removed the link. I think sharing some quotes from the statements (if any) made by the survivor would have been the right thing to do, instead of sharing a private email which does encroach upon the assault survivors’ privacy.

The reason I shared the link was that the email did help (me) in understanding the crime, specially when the perpetrator was someone I (many others) looked upon as morally upright, and for a change it was someone who was not blaming the victim (the email conveyed that his accusations were worse) and was willing to ‘atone’.  Now I feel, irrespective of the details of a crime, no matter how difficult to believe a crime is – a survivor’s story should be taken seriously without causing them further trauma and a thorough and immediate investigation should be carried out/demanded.] 

It seems he admitted to ‘an awful misreading of the situation‘. What if the survivor had not reported? Would he have continued to ‘misread the situation’?

It also seems that it was seen as enough, by those who were supposed to take action (Shoma Chaudhury) that he was permitted to choose what he should do to “atone” for “…a bad lapse of judgment, an awful misreading of the situation.”

Why was it thought that the one who allegedly committed a crime could choose what he should do to ‘atone’?

What action do you think should have been/should be taken?

Tejpal had on Wednesday announced his decision to step down as editor of Tehelka for six months following the journalist’s complaint to Chaudhury on November 18 alleging that while on duty she was sexually assaulted by Tejpal on two occasions on November 7 and 8 at the magazine’s annual ThinkFest.

Chaudhury also came under fire on Thursday for her handling of the situation. She had told a TV channel, “There was an incident which has been dealt with internally. An unconditional apology was extended by Tarun. The journalist concerned was satisfied with the action taken.” The journalist responded by saying, “I am deeply disappointed with Tehelka’s response. The claim that I am ‘satisfied’ is false.”

In her mail to Chaudhury, which details the two separate alleged incidents as well as everything that happened before and after, the journalist said, “Both times, I returned to my room in a completely distraught condition, trembling and crying.” She said she had reported both incidents to three colleagues who were also in Goa for the festival. She said Tejpal later sent her text messages insinuating that she had “misconstrued” the “drunken banter”.

What makes such men attempt sexual assaults? Disrespect for the person they assault? A sense of their own power to get away with the crime? Or just lack of awareness that ‘only Yes means Yes’?

There was another similar report, recently – ‘The woman said she was inebriated when a co-worker took her to a room and raped her.’ Weren’t such assaults ever reported earlier?

This case affirms, once again, that the biggest and the first step in tackling sexual assaults is ensuring that potential victims have a Voice.

Sorry boss, we found our voice

The Tehelka episode is the latest in the series of examples of women speaking up against sexual harassment

This will be known as the year rapists, sexual molesters, perverts, predators and assorted other Indian creeps realized they can no longer count on that one big assumption that makes them so brazen: Indian women don’t like sharing horror stories.

Links:

Goa probes alleged sexual assault by Tehelka founder Tarun Tejpal 

Deeply disappointed with Tehelka response, says woman journalist to NDTV

Tehelka’s Tarun Tejpal molests employee, gives himself 6-month leave

Related Posts:

Tehelka: a bad lapse of judgment and awful misreading of Vishakha guidelines. 

‘The woman said she was inebriated when a co-worker took her to a room and raped her.’

All she knew was that until his arrest, he came home for dinner every night, “He was to me like any husband is to his wife,” she said.

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

The recent investigations by Tehelka.com have shown that not just the rapists, but even the police and the society don’t seem to be aware  that forced sex is rape (and a crime).

Controlling crimes against women: What works, what doesn’t work.

So how does Delhi – NCR Police define Rape?

Yet another rape that was not about lust but about aggression, revenge and putting the victim in her place.

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

The post linked below explains that rapes are caused by men turning into rapists after being sexually aroused by women they find attractive, after which they go and hunt for victims and rape children. And that’s a valid reason for asking women to wear clothes that don’t make them look attractive to men.

Let me make a quick attempt to explain why I disagree. (Will edit and delete the repetitions)

Link shared by Manasa and Janaki D.

Quotes from the original post is in blockquotes.

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

Here’s why we think women activists should change their attitude of “wear what you like,” and should ask the young people and media moghuls to tone down.

IHM- Objectifying women means seeing women as legs, lips, skin, womb, uterus, goddesses, witches, honor, shame and ankles, and not as people with feelings and rights.
Feminists/activists have been asking media (and society) not to objectify women for a long time.
Go slow, relax, you aren’t proving anything by dressing provocatively. Okay?
IHM: Actually, women’s clothing not being controlled by random people does prove that the society has started understanding sexual crimes against women and seeing women as people.
But what is Provocative Dressing?
Women have been asked to stop wearing sarees [Link] [Link], salwar kurta [Link], jeans [Link], nightie/maxi , half sleeves blouses [Link] and school uniforms [Link]. In other parts of the world men are said to be at risk of being helplessly provoked into committing sexual assaults at the sight of women’s eye lashes through veils.
What kind of clothing is not provocative?
In Kerala around a 150 years ago women did not wear an upper garment and in the Nagaland, even today women do not wear blouses and men are used to seeing women as people not body parts, this is the only thing that would prevent men from being provoked into committing sexual assaults.
Also consider, are men in regressive societies where women are not respected or valued more prone to ‘losing control’?
Think about it. How much covering up is possible?
Take a look at women in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan [Rapist said that coming from Afghanistan meant he didn’t understand what ‘consent’ was.]. A Saudi Arabian father raped and tortured his five year old (very disturbing, reader discretion advised), and this is not a rare case.
Which provocatively dressed women did this and other such fathers and cousins see in Saudi Arabia?
What if the man finds his own wife attractive? It’s okay to rape her if she doesn’t consent, or attack some other woman or child? 
Finding a woman attractive does not naturally lead to rapes. Most men are not rapists – this despite the way society encourages men to see sex as an entitlement, and to view rapes as sex.
Men (and women) need to be taught about consent and consequences.
You find these girls so scantily clad on the streets and think whether it’s fashion or a deliberate attempt to provoke.
IHM: What is scantily dressed? Most women are constantly worrying about what they are wearing and trying their best to stay safe but there is little effort to teach men not to rape. The rapists often don’t see their actions as crimes, the police said, and don’t expect the victims to report them.
Most sexual assaults are preplanned and the rapists are known to believe they would not face any consequences, and the victim would be silenced with blaming and shaming.
It has been seen that provocation thresholds come down when women’s arms, necks, knees, faces etc become invisible, then even their feet become provocative. If all women decided to cover up completely, then men would not start being provoked by their voices or foot steps? (payal ki chanchan, and kangan ki khan khan etc)  And what about porn? What about babies?
The more women and men interact as equals, the less women are seen as objects, or as ‘v*ginas’, or as ‘different species’ created for men’s use, the less they will be seen as provocations.
Look at it as a fashion moghul’s attempt to degrade the female of the species. No, it’s not just the streets, look anywhere: movies, television, print ads, hoardings, we don’t realise how much raw sexual pull is being exerted by all these mediums on young minds, especially those of underprivileged males living alone in cities.
IHM: It’s a myth that all rapists come from underprivileged background.  In fact power and the knowledge that the crime would be blamed on the victim’s clothing (etc) encourages rapists.
When we ask women to cover up, we are telling young men that they are potential rapists and it’s natural for them to sexually assault someone they find attractive. How do these men treat their wives?
What ‘young minds’ need to be taught is that no matter how much they want to have sex with a woman, they need her consent. The society needs to accept that – No consent, no sex. Sex without consent equals rape. And only Yes means Yes.
Certainty of consequences (imprisonment after a quick trial) would put the idea of being provoked by a woman’s clothing out of most rapists’ minds.

Here’s a rough list of all the titillation

Movies: item numbers: sheila ki jawani, choli ke peeche, whatever
Television ads: Deo ad in which man goes into a room and emerges with kiss marks all over, ad where a girl drags a boy into an inflated house and the house starts wobbling, whatever
Print: Open the supplement (glamour pages) and you find these celebrities all exposing their thighs, lingerie ads are another thing altogether
Hoardings: Well, too many, we lost count
Public functions: too many, we don’t attend public functions, award nights, but do see pictures
So on and so forth…
And, we hold our heads and say “My God” all these? How and when did these happen? It’s as if sex sex sex is everywhere and they are the only ones being deprived.
IHM: They need to be told, and repeatedly via every channel, that sex or ‘women’ is not their right. They are not entitled to ‘v*ginas’ (Link).  Not even from their wives. If they want sex then they need to get Consent. 
A man’s sexuality is such that he is easily aroused.
No, don’t misunderstand. A woman wants a man’s sexuality to be more like her own. But, that’s where you go wrong, honey. A man can’t – deliberately and consciously – control his sexual urge, it’s a natural thing. Even if he controls, it will slip up at times.
IHM: This does not apply to all men, most men say they cannot be provoked into committing sexual crimes. Many men find it offensive  that they are being accused of being potential child abusers and rapists.
Those men (or women) who do find it difficult to control their urges give enough indication of their condition. Like in most other crimes, they start with less dangerous crimes and that is why no sexual crimes or molestations should be excused as ‘eve teasing’ or moral policing.
We can’t expect sexual criminals to get themselves registered as potential rapists to protect women and children (even those in their own family and neighborhood). The government (or NGOs?) should maintain a registry, I think the women these men marry should also have the legal right to know that these men tend to lose control and might rape them or their children or other family members or neighbours.
And slip-ups are where assault and rape happen.
IHM: The solution is not covering up women. Only the certainty of consequences can control ‘slip ups’.
Most (90%+) sexual assaults are preplanned, and in most other cases the rapists are known to rape victims.{will link}
For example, in the 16th December Delhi bus gang rape, the rapists were looking for someone to rape, they were confident that the victim would be silenced with blaming, shaming and naming.
An illiterate man may see naked pictures but then may entice a 4-year old with offer of candy because he doesn’t know the law and never reads the papers. All he knows is he wants to do it, with whoever it is in his power to entice as victim. That’s how child rape happens.
IHM: Mr Balvinder Singh’s experience in Nagaland shows making rules about covering up a woman’s body, is the beginning of objectification of women, to ensure ‘excitement’ does not ‘turn into monotony’. [Please read]
Admit this. We are today a sex-oriented society. Sex used as a tool to bring in money for: products, services, favours, politics, even sex itself, and, now, sports, .
IHM: So long as it is consensual sex between two uncommitted, adult partners, it is their business. Maybe they need to know about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases.
But we are also a society that denies young people to mix and derive whatever pleasures can be received from companionship. So where does the desperate man go?
IHM: It might help to encourage interactions between men and women.
It would also help if the society acknowledges women’s sexuality.
Many men learn about sex from porn and from rape scenes in movies. “There is so little conversation about a woman’s desire for sex that a lot of people simply assume it doesn’t exist.” [Link1 “There is so little conversation about a woman’s desire for sex that a lot of people simply assume it doesn’t exist.”] [Link2 Romanticizing innocence, chastity and related taboos for women.]
To a brothel that’s fifty kilometres away? He is too lazy to do that. He hunts for his victims in the backyard.
 IHM: This is why smaller sexual assaults should never be excused, they are an indication that the man is likely to commit more heinous assault once he realizes that his crimes are being blamed on women’s clothing and lifestyle. 
And even if he goes to the brothel, he must have consent. Sex workers have the right not to be sexually assaulted.
Many of the rapes that happened recently in Bombay were involved minor girls and their neighbours. Read this story of a 13-year old girl raped by neighbours. And this about a 5-year old girl raped by her neighbour.
We rest our case.
IHM: Men who rape, and men who rape children need to be put behind bars, they are dangerous to the society.  These criminals are the ones who eventually are emboldened to commit crimes like the father in the link above.  The only way to control such crimes is to ensure that the potential victims are not silenced with stigma, shame, or blame. And the rapists should be aware of this.

“Sometimes it seems like every single thing I do has the potential to be something ‘provocative’.”

Why do Indian women like to wear western clothes?

“So why do we wear clothes again??”

Weird, funny facts about Misogynists.

Do you think men in regressive societies where women are not respected or valued are more prone to ‘losing control’?

Why do some women see western clothes and being able to flaunt their bodies, without fearing being called sluts, as empowerment?

‘Maayka Chavi Ka’… sequel to ‘Sasural Simar Ka’ 😉

Nita’s post – ‘Sari an immodest garment?’

All teachers except Indian women can do their job well enough in Western clothes?

The way a woman dresses.

No Jeans for an Indian daughter in law.

Not just a pair of jeans.
Many of us view watching porn as a harmless activity…

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

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

Do they really not see what can help control sexual crimes against women and children is not a ban on mannequins or sexuality, but a ban on challenging misconceptions about sexual crimes and misogyny, specially amongst those who are expected to help control such crimes?

What would help is ensuring that the Police, and and the people they serve are aware that it’s not against Indian culture to report sexual crimes.

Letting men and women know that everybody, including wives, prostitutes and provocatively dressed own their bodies and have a right to say No and Yes.

Educating men and women that Only Yes means Yes.  And that a lack of No is not Yes.

They should also know that not-following (any definition of) ‘Indian culture’ is perfectly legal and is not an invitation to be raped. That no matter what kind of social or personal lives women lead – no rapists should be told directly or indirectly that it’s okay to rape them.

Sounds obvious? Not to everybody 😦

Link shared by Mr GVjee

To fight sex crimes, BMC clears proposal to ban lingerie on mannequins

In a move to prevent “wrong acts” by men and to provide for women safety, the  Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has cleared a proposal banning the display of lingerie on mannequins in Mumbai, reported CNN-IBN.

This is the extension of the same mindset that believes that watching porn, or watching attractive looking women makes men commit sexual crimes. That rapes are committed by helpless men who lost control when they were provoked.

What did Sharad Yadav mean by, ‘Who amongst us has not followed girls?’

First in the cinema halls, and later in Chitrahaar on the national television, generations of Indians have grown up watching Shammi Kapoor harassing Rajshri T and asking her to say Yes. While some of us were puzzled and irritated by the way romance was shown in Indian movies, many young Indians including some who won elections genuinely seem to believe that the way to a woman’s heart is through sexual harassment (eve teasing), stalking (singing songs and following her from her home to college, school, tuition classes etc) and threats of suicide. A willingness to die (or kill?) for a Yes from someone was seen as the ultimate way of proving the ‘love’ was worthy of being reciprocated.

No one cared that if the girl does not admit to the obvious Yes, or if the ‘love’ doesn’t work out, young Indians had (have) no idea how to deal with the disappointment. We still don’t talk about it because we don’t believe in ‘love’ before marriage.

Also, since these movies glorified pehla aur akhiri pyaar i.e ‘first love is last love’, many Indians grew up believing that real love happened only  once – (specially for women) and break ups, disappointments or ‘rejection’ sometimes lead to stigma and suicide (mainly for women); and acid attacks, stalking, harassment and blackmail (generally by men).

Nobody talks about these things to young people because we fear ‘Love Marriages spoil the family system of the nation. So many young Indians never learn that there is life after a heart break, that disappointments in relationships are a part of growing up, that it’s perfectly fine to have found a girl friend/boy friend incompatible after they got to know that person, and that moving on is a sensible thing is to do.

Many Indian men and women have no idea that having made place in their hearts for someone (or two or three or more) other than the person they eventually married, does not make women impure, corrupt, characterless, shameless etc.

Men and women who had interacted with each other (in coeducational institutions or in liberal homes) understood that women were not some weird species who needed codes to convey their love. Codes like ‘No when they mean Yes’ or ‘Look angry/harassed/afraid/complain/run etc when they mean Yes’ or ‘Smile when they mean Yes’.

Since there was no interaction, many Indian men and women believed that women were supposed to say ‘No’, no matter what they felt. No, to offers of ‘frandship’. No, for consensual sex. Infact women were not to admit to wanting consensual sex, ever.  Many Indians believe that good women can have sex only as a duty, never for pleasure. Many still believe that if a woman did not say No then she was not a good woman, she deserved to be raped.

Saying No here includes a consistent No to boyfriends. What kind of men did such a mindset create? Were they confused? How were they to respect their girl friends then? They could if she did not consent to any sexual activity, or atleast not too readily. Sometimes just being any one boy’s girl friend was an indication of being a bad girl. Often boys seem to know these twisted rules better. Girls, even if they are confused, generally sense the untruths and the contradictions. Like in Jolly LLB,

Arshad Warsi tells her (Not exact words),”Ye Meerut hai, mujhe bhi pata hai yahan ke lounde kaisi boyfriendee karte hain bus thonko, peeto aur chor do”

Translation: This is Meerut I know the kind of ‘Boyfriend-ee’ (boyfriend-ship) Meerut boys understand, just use, abuse and throw.

So she was fortunate that he was a decent man, because she could not love another man. Because women not just had to say No, but ensure that the one who read the obvious Yes in their No was the man they married. What if he turned out to be an abuser? That’s what happens to bad girls who choose their own partners.

Mr. Sharad Yadav said, ‘Who amongst us has not followed girls?’: Sharad Yadav’s shocker during anti-rape bill debate. [Link and videos shared by Sharmi]

His exact words:

“Kaun hai hum mein se jo peecha naheen kiya? Aur mahilayen jo hai, wo mahila ko jab… wo usko baat karna padti hai to pahle mahila naheen lift deti hai, use koshish karna padti hai, prem se batana padti hai. Ye pure desh ka kissa hai. Samaaj ko chaitanya karne ke liye lambi bahas chalwao. Lambi bahas chalao aur ye tatkalik kadam zaroori hota hai lekin door ka bhi kadam bhi iske saath saath chalna chahiye.”

Roughly translated:

“Who amongst us has not followed women? And women… women don’t agree to talk to us at first, we have to try, we have to convince them.This is the story of the entire nation. To make the society aware, start long debates. Immediate action is necessary, but at the same time steps should be taken for long term too.”

Many cases of rape, acid attacks and murder begin with stalking, but perhaps those who see stalking as a normal and wholesome way for men to approach women see a ban on stalking as gender segregation. It’s possible that they see this kind of defense of stalking as cool, liberal, modern and bold, because they believe they are talking about a taboo topic – because conservative Indians will not talk in support of anything that might lead to love or love marriage.

Many who boldly support men’s right to stalk and harass women, would probably balk at the idea of sex education.

So what was Sharad Yadav trying to say when he seemed to justify stalking?

Here are two more occasions when his stance seemed sexist.

1.

When the  journalist asked him whether he prefers Madhya Pradesh or Bihar – he has represented both in Parliament. Yadav hemmed and hawed and finally said, “The whole country is good… even you are very beautiful.” …. [You are very beautiful, says Sharad Yadav to woman reporter]

Many felt this wasn’t offensive, after all it was just a compliment. What more could a woman want to hear from any random man, specially when she is asking him a serious question? In the complex misogynistic system we follow, ‘giving a creep a chance to pass a comment’ is something women regularly get blamed for. Putting a woman in her place by talking about her attractiveness is a common put down.

2.

A long-standing critic of the women’s reservation bill, he is on record saying if it were to be implemented, only “par-kati” or women who get their hair cut would benefit. [Link]

Here’s another video shared by Sharmi.

Related Posts:

Indian movies Heroes and Heroines
Even you are very beautiful: Nikitha Suryadevara
My Tehelka blog post: The difference between wooing and stalking
Mera Tharki India : Can we have more such music please!
Losers and Stalkers: ‘Tum kisi aur ko chahogee to mushkil hogi’
Love Marriages spoil the family system of the nation
An email: I am 18 year old male from a traditional (read:backward) Indian family.
Where is the opportunity for Indian men to learn the most natural thing in the world – finding a mate??
An email: An Old fashioned boy friend and a Liberal girl friend.
“Wonder how I survived for 4 years in this college!!”

Who are we hoping to hang with Capital Punishment for rape?

If many in the police and a large part of the society do not know (or agree with) what Rape is, who are we hoping to hang for ‘raping’?

Take a look at just six (out of thousands) rape cases we read about, do you think having Capital Punishment for rape would have made any difference to these rapists?

1. Mathura, 16, was accused of being a liar. It was stated that since she was ‘habituated to sexual intercourse’ her consent was ‘voluntary’; under the circumstances only sexual intercourse could be proved and not rape.

The Bombay High Court set aside the judgment of the Sessions Court, held that passive submission due to fear induced by serious threats could not be construed as consent or willing sexual intercourse.

However, the Supreme Court again acquitted the accused policemen. The Supreme Court held that Mathura had raised no alarm; and also that there were no visible marks of injury on her person thereby negating the struggle by her.

The Court in this case failed to comprehend that a helpless resignation in the face of inevitable compulsion or the passive giving in is no consent. However, the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1983 has made a statutory provision in the face of Section.114 (A) of the Evidence Act, which states that if the victim girl says that she did no consent to the sexual intercourse, the Court shall presume that she did not consent.

2.  In Mohd.Habib Vs State, the Delhi High Court allowed a rapist to go scot-free merely because there were no marks of injury on his penis- which the High Court presumed was a indication of no resistance.

The most important facts such as the age of the victim (being seven years) and that she had suffered a ruptured hymen and the bite marks on her body were not considered by the High Court. Even the eye- witnesses who witnessed this ghastly act, could not sway the High Court’s judgment. 

3. Another classic example of the judicial pronouncements in rape cases is the case of Bhanwari Devi, wherein a judge remarked that the victim could not have been raped since she was a dalit while the accused hailed from an upper caste- who would not stoop to sexual relations with a dalit.

4. Sakina- a poor sixteen year old girl from Kerala, who was lured to Ernakulam with the promise of finding her a good job, where she was sold and forced into prostitution. There for eighteen long months she was held captive and raped by clients. Finally she was rescued by the police – acting on a complaint filed by her neighbour.

With the help of her parents and an Advocate, Sakina filed a suit in the High Court- giving the names of the upper echelons of the bureaucracy and society of Kerala.

The suit was squashed by the High Court, while observing that ‘ it is improbable to believe that a man who desired sex on payment would go to a reluctant woman; and that the version of the victim was not so sacrosanct as to be taken for granted.’

From here, http://www.legalserviceindia.com/articles/rape_laws.htm

5. The Bombay High Court has reduced punishment for a man convicted of sodomising a 10-month-old girl child, accepting his contention that he lost control over himself as he was living away from his family. [Does a rapist deserve a reduced sentence because he lost control since he was living away from his family?

Isn’t it essential that we make sure that it is understood by all that lack of consent is rape, and ‘Only yes means Yes’ even if the woman was  wearing a salwar kurta in Andhra or Jeans in Haryana or UP; or dancing in a pub in Mangalore and Kolkata; or drinking in Guwahati; celebrating a birthday party with friends in Noida; or was outside her house or took a radio cab after 8 pm in Gurgaon?

And that it’s Rape even if the rapist was living with his family, away from his family, was drunk, was well known, was of a certain caste, was a family man, was young, needed to support his family etc.

Related Posts:

1. So how does Delhi – NCR Police define Rape?

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

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