Assuming Megha Sharma (who undressed in the viral video) is a liar, The Mumbai Police is Still Guilty, Here’s Why.

A video was posted online on several platforms yesterday in which a model living in Mumbai, named Megha Sharma can be seen undressing in an elevator when the Mumbai Police is forcing her to go with them.

Here is the video with some commentary from The Lallantop.

Megha also posted this:

megha

There is another video going viral from the same night in which it is clearly visible that while the security guard is sitting peacefully, Megha can be seen charging at him violently while he is trying to defend himself. This was from a CCTV footage so there is no audio.

The saddest and most disgusting part about the incident is people’s reactions and ugly comments on social media platforms including the worst vile and moronic rhetoric going on over Twitter where so-called men’s rights activists are making a full-on mockery of what happened.

And since she is a model, of course, her right to privacy, right to her body is in the public domain and people can share her video in the undergarments and mock and jerk off to the cries of a woman, simply because she is a model, right? I mean WTF is right to privacy for a woman who chose to be a model? #sarcasm

These are the same people who search for Sunny Leone’s videos on Google and despise her outwardly to appear morally superior and chaste.

These are people that have not bothered to Google the dictionary meaning of the word ‘FEMINIST’ and go on to disregard and attack the term in every way possible.

Before I move on to the core of the post, let me share about who ELSE STRIPPED TO GET THEIR VOICE HEARD…

In Munna Bhai MMBS, the old man whose pension is not being given since ages, strips in front of the government officer and he gets his pensions ultimately.

In Begum Jaan, Vidya Balan does the same in order to save a younger girl from rape.

In real life, Telugu actress Sri Reddy stripped when she was sexually harassed by some powerful men in the industry and despite her complains, she was being ignored.

In 2004, several women in Assam held a naked protest in order to raise their voices against the Indian Army personnel that had raped them.

Whether these public strippings were fictional from films or from real lives, NONE OF THESE WERE PUBLICITY STUNTS AND NEITHER THEY WERE DONE HAPPILY IN ORDER TO SEDUCE OR GAIN CHEAP THRILLS.

When someone is harassed and humiliated to the point that they see no other alternative, they are drawn to something like this.

Not knowing Megha personally and only based on Megha’s post, here is what I think-

Megha is seen charging at the security guard. Megha claims in her post that the security guard misbehaved with her while he claims that Megha asked him to get cigarette’s for her and when he denied, she got angry and violent.

Let me scream it out in typed words as loud as I can, either way, THE POLICE IS NOT PERMITTED TO FORCE A WOMAN TO GO TO THE POLICE STATION WITH THEM WITHOUT THE PRESENCE OF A FEMALE CONSTABLE & especially NOT AFTER 6pm OR BEFORE 6 am. 

If Megha is lying about being harassed, then the police could simply ask her to come along and on being refused, they could either have brought in a woman constable or return after 6am in the morning as THAT WAS HER OWN ADDRESS. Where could she run off to and for what? A petty disagreement?

For all those people/idiots who think Feminism means supporting only women regardless of the crime/guilt of women, please read a book, watch some TED talks and if you can’t do any of that, just do us a favour… stay away from commenting on things you aren’t equipped to comment on.

If Megha was lying and she is really guilty of attacking the security guard, she must certainly be dealt with the proper punishment just as any other person would. There is no doubt about that and any person who claims to be a feminist would say exactly that.

But there is a better way to deal with a suspect when she is a woman and the Mumbai Police has clearly violated the SUPREME COURT LAWS by not providing her with a female constable and refusing to let her go when clearly she is in a very distraught condition. 

In the videos where she is screaming, her voice made me shudder. She is in a very bad state and none of the men there were being cooperative. What would it take for them to call in a female constable or walk her up to her apartment and wait outside the door until further help arrived?

People commenting called it drama, publicity stunt, the same things they called Dr. Blaisey Ford and Serena Williams last month.

Her body language, her voice, and her state are of utmost panic and she is trying to keep it together with the utmost effort. If anything would have happened to her, such as a nervous breakdown or a breathing irregularity, anything, she could have lost her life and no amount of sympathies and apologies from the Police later could make up for it.

You think I am exaggerating? Just Google the term ‘Police Brutality’ and you will find insurmountable cases where the police have treated suspects and often innocent people in an animalistic manner and people have lost their lives.

As I said, even if Megha is the guilty one here, there are better ways to handle the situation. For all those assuming a feminist would blindly support Megha simply because she is a woman… here is a question-

Let’s assume for a second that Megha IS guilty of charging violently at the security guard. 

Does it mean she should be hanged? Harassed? Humiliated?

CRIMINALS AND SUSPECTS HAVE HUMAN RIGHTS.

And Megha, even if guilty, is not a murderer or a rapist.

I am sure the Constitution has a proper punishment and fine for anti-social behavior and Megha could be punished accordingly but what the Mumbai Police did is beyond words.

I don’t want to quote The Geneva Convention in length here but in brief-

The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (commonly known as the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT)) is an international human rights treaty, under the review of the United Nations, that aims to prevent torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment around the world.

I wonder what sort of training, gender sensitivity classes or police brutality seminars or critical suspect handling codes of conduct these Mumbai Police personnel are given.

But from the video, this is evident that whatever is given, is not enough.

AND…

If Megha is telling the truth and the security guard first assaulted her, then I can only send her my sympathies and pray that all of you who gave her a hard time and now mocking her, calling her derogatory names because of the undressing act, I pray may you never be in her shoes. Cause you won’t be able to handle it like she did.

 

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Why looking at wedding pictures on Pinterest causes me anxiety

Pinterest is a wonderful home for everything beautiful you’ll ever find on this planet- both human-made and natural.

When I discovered Pinterest it was to research for ‘what to wear to an interview’ search.
I found great stuff on that.

My search also extended in the later days to heavenly travel destinations, magical baked goods, makeup tricks, writing and blog related info and ultimately wedding outfits.

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A wedding is a large area. First I drooled at the long flared wedding gowns, then at the lavish wedding venues, creative wedding decorations and then the iconic and signature- couple photos.

It’s addictive. Looking at two flawless people madly in love with each other in moments that are sacred is just magical.

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Once you start looking you just can’t stop. The lovely poses, the creative shots, the look in their eyes… what’s not to like.

weee
I admit. My eyes were glued to my screen for hours spread over months. But as much as I loved admiring those pictures, I noticed a deep feeling of anxiety and restlessness after.

Let me explain my situation a bit first.

I’m 30 plus now. When I was 20, I was one of those girls who wanted to have the most lavish wedding ceremony with a loving man and I’d dream endlessly of how I would be the best wife on the planet. I would watch some of these TV soaps featuring the all-sacrificing wife which I now think are ridiculous and stupid.

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But that time I would see myself as the all loving and epitome of sacrifice wife whose sacrifices and dedication would make people drop to her feet in respect.

And then my elder sister got married and things changed. I saw the real side of the struggles from planning a wedding ceremony to actually living under the same roof with a man you now call your husband.

BmxkUI

To be honest, I didn’t have the best example because the guy my sister married was an asshole in every sense of the word. Up until now looking at my father, I had only seen men as humans. With that guy, I saw how men can be monsters. From verbal abuse to physical and from the direct attack’s on her to public shaming of my family, he did it all.

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The impact of all of that on me was so profound my own relationships suffered and I broke off. Since then I’ve been so cautious that I don’t believe any man easily when he shows interest in marriage. Being cautious is one thing but I also wonder if I am now commitment-phobic because this idea of staying with one person forever just sounds like a lot of pressure.

What if he changed, what if he turned out to be a jerk? What if he cheats or lies?

And it’s not just about that.

These days the pressure to be perfect is so high it’s exhausting.
All these people posting pictures on social media with their spouses and kids… it’s an extreme pressure to look happy and picture perfect all the time.

From looking at my sisters’ experiences in both her marriages, I fear if I can keep up that fake image of marital bliss in case I’m unhappy. And even if let’s assume my husband doesn’t turn out to be a jerk, people still argue and sometimes won’t be feeling that Pinterest worthy romance towards each other. What happens then?

The financial aspect of this marriage business is also soul-crushing. The best of the best venues, dresses, camera crew, makeup staff, and interiors are free on Pinterest. Looking at those luxury things for hours makes you want to want them. But affording those things is a whole different story.

To be able to afford that, one needs to be a millionaire easy. Even the most budget-friendly weddings aren’t cheap. And realizing that you can’t afford those fancy things adds to the layer of depression and resentment.

Then you start to question your life choices and financial stability. And that reminds you of the family pressure who wanted to see you married six years ago. Whose hopes are on you and you’re scared to death about accidentally bringing another jerk home who doesn’t respect the family.

Oh god, can you believe we started at Pinterest, innocently browsing some images and we ended here in a mid-life crisis?

(Lucky for me, I am more attracted to intrinsic values than extrinsic material possessions and trophy spouses, hence able to maintain my mental well being, otherwise, I may have robbed a bank or married a wealthy jerk long ago and may have already killed myself with the pressure to keep up the fake image of happiness).

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Does Sexism Hurt Men? Yes says Emmanuella in ‘The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder’

It’s a treat day for my lovely blog readers.

Today we chat with Emmanuella and her inspiration behind her latest book ‘The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder’.

So, let’s get to it.

Who is Emmanuella?

emma

Emmanuella Hristova was born in Oakland, California and grew up in the Bay Area. She is the third daughter to Bulgarian parents who immigrated to California shortly before she was born. She began drawing at the ripe age of four and studied fine arts for five years in high school. There, she received many art accolades including a Congressional award for her piece Boy in Red in 2009. In 2015, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley. She began writing poetry at age twenty-four when she was in graduate school. She earned her Master’s in Education from the same alma mater in 2017. Emmanuella spent two years as an English teacher in Richmond, California. During that time, she self-published her first poetry collection: The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder. Currently, she is writing her first novel. She speaks English, Bulgarian, Spanish and is now learning French.

What’s the book about?

“The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder” is a collection of poems that explores a tumultuous year of love, heartbreak, and all kinds of unimaginable loss. Emmanuella’s debut poetry book documents the birth and death of a relationship, and the death of her sister. Each poem is an emotional time-stamp that plunges the reader into the depths of the author’s feelings as they burgeon and wane. The book reads like a diary and chronicles the boundaries of the things that we all feel: passion, heartache, and pain that gives way to hope.

So, what did you personally learn in the process of writing this book that surprised you?

A surprising outcome of sexism is that it negatively affects men too. Patriarchal ideas that construct gender roles and subsequent societal expectations constrict male emotional and personal expression.

For example, society defines women as the more emotional gender, thereby expecting their emotionality while constricting men to emotional repression. In addition, because traditional notions of masculinity dominate that of femininity, emotional expression is often seen as a sign of weakness. Especially when experienced by a man.

Have you ever heard that argument that women shouldn’t be or aren’t world leaders because they’re more emotional? This argument exists because of the subtext: emotional expression is female, a male is better than female, therefore emotional expression is less than or weak. And God forbid a man to be “weak” as this contradicts a principle of hegemonic masculinity: that men dominate over women because they are “stronger”. Thus, gender expectations create a dogma that men are not supposed to express their emotions. They are taught from a young age, to suppress them. Men don’t cry. Crying is for little girls. Crying is for pussies. Even when you’re sad.

There is a tiny ounce of truth to the difference in emotional expression between the genders. In most female brains, the corpus callosum is larger than in most men’s brains. The corpus callosum is the bridge between the right and left hemispheres; it links the emotional parts to the linguistic. But warrants communication differences, not lack of emotions. What this signifies is that for most women, communicating about feelings is easier as there are more messages passing between the two spheres. It may be more difficult for most men to communicate their feelings—they’re at a loss for the words. But this doesn’t mean emotional bankruptcy. Men are still emotional beings, as much as women are. Feeling and expressing emotions is just a part of being human, and for society to mandate how and why we are to express ourselves solely based on our gender is both counterintuitive and mentally destructive.

In the United States, studies show that older men become, their circle of platonic male friendships decreases. Because men are not supposed to express their emotions, especially among each other, they’re forced to seek an emotional outlet through a female partner. This is both expected and encouraged for men, who often state that their best friend is their wife. On the contrary, women often have a female best friend separate from their husband.

Thus, women enjoy plenty of emotional outlet through romantic and platonic relationships with both genders.

However, it’s here that men are the unlucky ones. Decreased friendships and human contact lead to higher rates of depression, violence, and suicide. Which, is evident in the Western world as men are three to four times more likely to commit suicide than women.

Sexism and hegemonic masculinity can affect so much more than mental health. Hegemonic masculinity demands compulsory heterosexuality. As a result, alternate forms of gender expression and sexuality are often discriminated against and marginalized. No homo, bro.

It’s tough to be a girl. But under the patriarchy, it’s tough to be a boy too.

Why did you decide to write a book on this topic?

upon walking down the street

UC Berkeley needs to cool it down

with the construction—not because of 

the noise, the smell, or the blatant

inconvenience when walking; but rather,

because only by walking 

to the bus stop on southside I pass by 

three construction crews, on a daily basis. 

All eating their lunches,

who stop simultaneously to watch 

me walk from one corner of the

block to the other, leering, as if

they’ve never seen a woman before, as if

my existence was solely for 

their viewing pleasure. As if

the entire sum of my being as a

human was my breasts, legs and ass. 

When I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, a young woman I used to mentor gave me a green Moleskin notebook. She told me to document all of my adventures. My undergraduate graduation characterized many changes in my life, and at the time I was working out my own definition of feminism. I decided to start writing a book about feminism and Christianity. But what began as short musings about sexism jotted down on the BART train, eventually became woeful poems about oppression, harassment, and assault.

And then, two months later, I fell in love for the first time. I never decided to write my poetry collection; it came out of me, rather. I documented the relationship from beginning to end, birth to death. I wrote to express my feelings and sentiments. It wasn’t intentional. Pent-up emotions swelled up inside of me and they didn’t have any place to spill other than onto blank pages. Eventually, that green Moleskin became a chronological account of one of the darkest periods of my life.

What’s the book about and who would benefit or like to read it?

The poems in The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder is about love, heartbreak, depression, and grief. The collection begins with the relationship—falling in love, hesitation, turmoil. Eventually, I chronicle the end of the relationship and dwell on the breakup. Two weeks later I find out my sister is dying from stage 4 cancer. And depression unfolds as a result.

Although I began writing about sexism, I chose to leave those poems for the final chapter. There, I tackle sexual harassment, sexual assault, and oppression. The poems move through all the emotions I’ve felt as a result—torment, sadness, anger and reveling glee. The final chapter is dedicated to grieving and healing women:

The aftermath.

For crying girls everywhere,

hiding in the bathroom stall.

May you find your healing. 

This chapter begins with one of my favorite poems to read aloud: upon diluting myself, which is about how women are forced to suppress their identities in order to navigate a male-dominated world. Thus, “diluting” their spirits in the process:

upon diluting myself

I am a woman.

I dilute myself in order to survive;

I suppress myself, recoiling into a tight ball

to not threaten the more powerful sex

so they don’t realize that

the most beautiful part of me is

my brain and not my body,

my thoughts and not my tits,

my heart and not my hair,

my feelings and not my face.

 

The chapter continues with February 15thmen make me feel uncomfortable, which is about being touched without consent or solicited on the street. The next poem, upon walking down the street, was the first entry in my green Moleskin.

upon being a woman is the longest poem in the whole collection, and it’s the most personal. It’s a documented account of (almost all) sexual harassment and assault I’ve experienced since I was a child. When I was still starting out in graduate school, I read an anonymous poem on Huffington Post about a woman recounting the first time she was coerced into giving a blow job and vomited. She must have been six years old. This poem compelled me to write my own, but I started recounting backward. I begin as an adult, and every oppressive or violent account with a male makes me feel smaller until you reach five-year-old me. I’ve never been able to read this one out loud, it’s that personal.

February 15thdo they make makeup for crying girls? follows. This poem is about the right to grieve: whether it be about loss, heartbreak or oppression. Women don’t need to smile all the time or be pleasant. We can cry, and we will cry damn it:

 

Do they make makeup for crying girls?

The kind of mascara I can

wear to my sister’s funeral,

where I don’t have to fear

the black tracks running down

the smooth skin of my 

cheeks, marking the years I

will spend crying for her absence.

 the day

The final poem, here’s to the woman, is the second poem in the collection written in response to International Women’s Day. This one leaves wallowing in the past. It looks forward to the future: one in which the woman is recognized. It’s a reflection of my current voice which includes admonition, anger, and strength:

 

here’s to the woman

One day in the year cannot

truly honor and recognize the amount of

unappreciated work that women

actually contribute to the world.

But we can try; so,

here’s to the woman:

Here’s to the single mother

working 1+ jobs to support her family;

Here’s to the woman pioneering

in a male-dominated field

while facing discrimination,

belittlement and/or harassment

and still shows up;

Here’s to the woman who

gave up a career to raise her children;

Here’s to the woman who

put off starting a family

to pursue a career;

Here’s to the grandmother raising

her grandchildren in retirement;

Here’s to the mother who

left everything in her home country to

provide a better life for her children;

Here’s to the sexual assault survivor who’s

asked, but what were you wearing?

Here’s to the woman who

pursues an education—despite the

the physical danger it may put her in;

Here’s to the woman who’s

told she’s not

pretty enough

she wasn’t asking you;

Here’s to the woman who’s

told she’s too pretty to do that

but does it anyway. 

Here’s to the woman who

speaks out against sexism

while being challenged

and still speaks;

Here’s to the woman whose

societal contributions are overlooked

because she was not born a man.

Here’s to the woman.

Thank you.

Links to my book: 

iBooks

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Bookshout

Lulu

Social media links & website:

My website: http://www.ehristova.com

My Insta: http://www.instagram.com/emmy_speaks

Amazon author page: http://amazon.com/author/ehristova

Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/ehristova

It Takes a Village To Raise a Child, Also to Abuse One: Talking to Farzana Gafoor About Hush Hush

Farzana Gafoor is a documentary filmmaker based in London and the guest on my blog today. Her documentary Hush Hush is based on the issue of Child Sexual Abuse in India. Below is the trailer that was released recently.

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Considering how rampant the problem is and yet how slow our corrective action is towards it, this documentary is set to reveal some uncomfortable and ugly truths.

Let’s hear it from Farzana:

  1. Tell us about this documentary in brief.     The documentary shares the stories of survivors of CSA and creates awareness on the misconceptions the society has on Child Sexual Abuse. We have interviewed a psychiatrist, a therapist who share their insights on this issue. We also interviewed an activist, Insia Dariwala, who assist in housing and helping victims of CSA.  It is highly important to hear the variety of stories and circumstances that these individuals who come from all walks of life on how they have coped, survived, in a positive and meaningful way.

 

  1. What made you approach such a serious subject   This is actually my second film on CSA. The first one was an experimental film, Phoenix, where I had actors play the role of survivors. And post completion of the film, I still was not satisfied as I wanted to meet real survivors and share their stories with the world.  And also this comes from a very personal experience. It is disheartening, especially to know that many cases involve very young children. We have to start educating children about “good and bad touch” at an early age. To tackle child sexual abuse the focus must be on prevention and awareness. Many in our country are under the impression that boys don’t get abused, its only girls. We forget to protect our boys when both male and female children are equally vulnerable to be subjected by this kind of abuse.

 

  1. What were your challenges while working on Hush Hush    The biggest challenge that I thought is that I would never be able to find a survivor or a victim who would come forward to share their story in front of the camera, especially in India.  But I was completely wrong. I got in touch with one of the survivors who ended up introducing me to a pool of other survivors from his support group. And they are the strongest people I have met by far. It amazed me to know that there are survivors out there who are waiting to share their stories so that this brings about a change and other children do not have to go through what they have been through.

 

  1. What were your learnings or lessons that you didn’t expect prior to beginning this project?Through this documentary, I met the founders of a Survivors support group, Bola, who themselves are survivors. As of now, the shocking fact is that they are the only support group of adult survivors of CSA in India. With India being such a huge and populated country and a lot of CSA cases happening at an alarming rate and it really shows a lack of awareness. For these survivors, it wasn’t about getting back at or seeking justice against their perpetrators, it was more about transforming themselves from a victim to a survivor by accepting that this wasn’t their fault and by getting the right help and therapy they need.  In some cases, when a child goes through such a traumatic experience, the brain could suppress the memories of the trauma and he or she could go on about their adult life without knowing that such an incident happened to them. I learned this by meeting one of the survivors who had his memories of his abuse come back to him only at the age of 25.

 

  1. What solutions or changes you think this issue needs?Definitely more awareness programs. Just as how much important it is for a child to learn math and science, it should be the right of a child to be aware of this issue. And also for parents to know how to deal with it. The schools should have awareness programs like good touch and bad touch for the children accordingly to different age groups. Most children who have been subjected to such abuse, grow up thinking it is their fault and they had made a mistake. Someone needs to assure them it wasn’t. There should also be a process in such a way that when a child cannot confide to his or her parents, they should be able to talk to another trusted adult, for example, the child’s teacher. In that case, school teachers should be trained as to how to deal with children in these kinds of situations.

 

  1. When is the documentary coming out and where will it be available for viewing?We are looking for a good platform to release the documentary hopefully by the end of this year.

What Does Parenting And From A Child’s Perspective Look Like

Parenting and parental abuse is a highly controversial subject.

Those who are lucky enough to have caring and loving parents, having empathy for others neglected and abused by parents is rare.

Where Swords Belong is a book by Pethric Matthews about parenting from a child’s perspective.

pethric

Considering how crucial this subject is, I invited Pethric for an interview and share some interesting things about it.

I first asked about a commonly held misconception that people have in general about parenting.

She says, “most of us are so busy following the latest trends that we are blinded and unable to understand the psychological damage that does to children. By simply following a fade, may in fact be causing abuse to your child. There are also instances that one feels is abuse, but in fact it is not and often kinder to the child than the alternatives that we are being told to follow ‘for the sake of the child.’ Abuse often happens without the parents even realizing that they are abusing the child and potentially damaging their future.”
I then wanted to know why did she choose to write about this subject?
 “I have been writing a series of fiction novels, but between books, I like to have a pallet cleanser and tackle some very controversial topics. I believe this to be a very important topic as I can’t believe in this day and age we still have to have days to bring awareness to a woman and child abuse. I have also seen so many young parents doing a brilliant parenting job and then others trying but failing dismally. In this book, there are some guidelines of does and don’t to help the parents that are trying their best, but just not quite getting it right. I also felt that it was very important to share from a child’s perspective to help parents realize what effect their actions or lack thereof have on their children.”
Lastly, I wanted to know who would like to read this book and benefit from it?
The book is exactly what the title states, “Parenting From A Child’s Perspective.” The book is aimed at parents and prospective parents. The book starts off defining the role that quality time plays in a family. The importance of quality time is something that is often lost today. The book also deals with the importance of parents standing united and what that does for the psyche of the child/ren and single parenting in this regard. The very touchy subjects of sex and discipline are also discussed. Other topics include conditional vs unconditional love, routine, giving a child choices, explaining tough topics to children such as changes in their body and death, social behavior, sibling rivalry, nutrition and how tough is too tough.
The book will be available for purchase on the 1st December 2018 from the website address above and on Amazon.

Can Science Fiction Reflect Political Realities? Debbie Says Yes

Debbie Zaken is an award-winning Young Adult author. Her debut novel, Colliding Skies, is the first in a YA sci-fi series from Oftomes Publishing. It received 1st place in the Society for Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Florida Rising Kite 2016 Award. Born in Miami, Debbie grew up in Guatemala and is fluent in English, Spanish and Hebrew. She currently resides with her husband and her two fabulously trilingual and adorable girls in South Florida.

Debbie Zaken pic

I asked her a couple of questions about her book and her writing experience.

  1. What’s the most shocking fact you learned about your topic that most people still don’t know?

My book, Colliding Skies, is a Young Adult sci-fi novel. It’s about a teenage girl just kind of going about her life when an extraterrestrial ship arrives on Earth and how this completely alters the course of her life. On the surface, it would be easy to think that because it is a work of science fiction, this scenario is as far removed from reality as possible. But what I learned in the course of writing and publishing this book, is that it’s not too hard to draw parallels from actual historical events and/or current events to science fiction. Science fiction is in many ways, a reflection of society. It’s a representation of our most pressing cultural anxieties. It can make a very powerful statement about the past and the present.

Science fiction has the ability to take on a controversial topic, strip the baggage and preconceptions that usually come with it, and change it just enough so that people reading it can view it from a slightly different perspective. So for example, my book touches upon themes of race (human/alien), the concept and suspicion of “other” and “different”, and explores inter-racial relationships as seen through the perspective of human versus extraterrestrial. It shows biases and stereotypes that both sides have about each other. It also alludes to themes of power, political struggles, and corruption. Some of these themes I was aware of when I was writing the book, others really only became more obvious to me when the book was out and readers pointed them out in reviews and comments.

I think the most shocking thing I learned through this process was how many current events shape the way we read and perceive stories. I wrote Colliding Skies five years ago. When the book came out in March of 2018, the political climate in the United States had changed drastically from when I originally wrote it. I think that is why readers found parallels in the story to current events that I hadn’t really thought about before. This change has really made me more aware of the ability of science fiction to offer commentary on the present.

I see this very clearly now as I work on the sequel to Colliding Skies. I’m drawn to explore in more depth themes of political power, corruption, gender identity, and oppression. I now understandability science fiction has to raise questions about humanity, about individuals, and about our future.

                      2. Why did you decide to write a book on this topic?

The topic of the book wasn’t really wasn’t a conscious decision for me. I am an avid Young Adult reader. When the idea for the story came to me, the age of the protagonist and the plot fit into the Young Adult Sci-fi genre.

For me, it really starts with the character.  That’s what usually comes to me first.  After the character comes alive in my head, I start wondering who they are and what they’re going through.  I want to know more about them. That’s how the plot forms in my head. That is what happened to me with Colliding Skies.

44117025_2169332863388499_2171741464374018048_n

The premise for Colliding Skies actually came to me from a song. I was in my car listening to a specific song one morning and the idea just popped into my head. It was like an entire music video played in my mind while I drove. I played the song on repeat the entire way and by the time I got to work that morning, I had the basic premise of the book fleshed out. I went home that night and wrote a brief outline.

As I delved deeper into the story, I did, however, find myself drawn to certain themes of race (human/alien), the concept and suspicion of “other” and “different”. I found it interesting to explore inter-racial relationships as seen through the perspective of human versus extraterrestrial. I really wanted to show biases and stereotypes that both sides might have about each other. I think that is the power of science fiction. To allow us to see society and ourselves from a slightly different perspective.

             3. What’s the book about and who would benefit or like to read it? 

Colliding Skies is about a teenage girl, Skye Reilly, who has her life pretty mapped out. That is until the Celeians arrive and she meets Ethan, an alluring alien.

The Celeians promise many things. An end to disease, global warming, and famine. The knowledge to help humankind. Despite the suspicions surrounding the intriguing aliens and rising anti-alien protests, Skye gives Ethan her trust, and eventually her heart. When the Magistrate, a council of alien leaders, threatens to put an end to their interspecies relationship, following her heart could cost Skye her life and the lives of everyone she loves.

I think the book would appeal to anyone who likes science fiction and is drawn to romance and coming of age stories.

 

Links to Debbie’s social media and book:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078WBVV4Y?pf_rd_p=faa1d3e1-fadf-4279-ac2d-3096206e4690&pf_rd_r=HNG9KA8FYY18VKVYVT21

https://twitter.com/dkzaken

https://www.instagram.com/dkzaken/

https://www.facebook.com/DZakenAuthor/?ref=bookmarks

http://www.debbiezaken.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Can Lost Love Survive 2 Decades? Julie Says It Can, in No One Comes Close

You’ve heard of something called a true believer in love?

That’s who my guest author today is. Julie Newman who has authored the look No One Comes Close. I wanted to learn more about her book and the inspiration behind it. Here is what she had to say:

NO ONE COMES CLOSE is the story of my first love, lost, then found again twenty years later, the impact it had on both our lives and the consequences on those around us.

I first met Ron one evening in 1966 at my local jazz club at The Black Prince in Bexley, Kent.  I thought he was exciting and different from any other boy I’d met up to this point. I was seventeen, he was nineteen and I fell for him in a big way.

Ron’s home was in Petersfield, Hampshire which was miles away from Bexley. He had ‘digs’ in London at the time and I found this all very unusual – I couldn’t imagine living and working away from home.

I would meet him in London and he’d take me to places like the dazzling Odeon Cinema in Leicester Square, the Motor Show in Earl’s Court or out for a meal. But the venue was unimportant; just to be with him was a wonderful experience. He would wait with me on Charing Cross railway station and we would huddle together against the November winds while his kisses sent me into oblivion. After seeing me onto the last train at 11pm I would relive the evening with Ron as my carriage snaked into the night.

But Ron didn’t want to be ‘tied down’ as he put it. Marriage was the furthest thing from my mind, too, but I couldn’t make him understand that I was happy just to go out with him and so we lost touch.

Twenty years later I was drowning in a loveless marriage and my thoughts flew to Ron. I wondered what he was doing, where he was living and if he was married. I had no address for him but decided to send him a 40th birthday card to his parents’ address that I had stored away in my memory.

To my surprise and delight, he rang me one evening, all the way from Sydney Australia. I couldn’t believe it when he told me he was coming to England in April of that year (1987) to visit his parents and that he wasn’t married. And so we began a clandestine relationship, meeting secretly in London on my days off. Then one day he announced he was coming back to England for good and for me!

NO ONE COMES CLOSE tells the story of the impact this had on both our lives and the ever-increasing circles of consequence on those around us, something I have had to live with for over thirty years.

The book would appeal to all ages but mainly to women. I have included a lot of period detail – the fashions of the time, the music, the modes of transport and the atmosphere of England in the 1960s and 80s.  For anyone who was living during those years, nostalgia reigns! But for the younger members of the population, it is a fascinating account of the way things were.

NO ONE COMES CLOSE is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook.

 

NoOne Comes Close: A memoir by J A Newman

 

julieannnewman.wordpress.com

 

www.facebook.com/julieann.author

Why did Dr. Ford or Tanushree not speak earlier about sexual assault? #MeToo

Originally published on Youth Ki Awaaz.

‘Since last week when Tanushree Datta’s interview claiming Nana Patekar assaulted her have caught fire, the most common attack against her (other than her character assassination) has been this narrative of time lapse. 

I can’t recall how many comments I’ve seen from people on social media and how many celebrities have mentioned this time thing that if Nana assaulted her she should have done something then and there. 

What’s the point of speaking up after 10 years?

So in this article, I wish to clarify. 

First of all, as confirmed by Janice Sequeira the journalist, an outraged Rakhi Sawant and devils advocate Ganesh Acharya himself: it is 100% true that TANUSHREE did complain then and there. 

First to the choreographer then to the director and then to the Artists and producers association including the cops. 

So all those people who are saying that this media trial is useless and she should have taken a legal road then and there; she did and guess what happened? Nothing!

Instead, thanks to the corrupt legal system, she and her family got re traumatised over and over again to the extent that she flees the country and her career ended. She has about 40 films signed but film sets got so traumatic for her, she decided never to return. 

Now that this has been cleared, let’s assume that she didn’t speak up then and is only coming out now. 

Lets say it’s been 20 years. 

Or may be even 30/40/50 years. ‘

Continue reading here.

Are Only Hindus Allowed to Support Tanushree Datta? #MeToo

Originally published on YKA:

I wrote my first book in 2013 and dedicated it to Jyoti Singh, who India knows as Nirbhaya- the college student who died after a brutal gang rape in Delhi in 2012.

I not only wrote about violence against women and the outrage against the rapists in my book, but also did so in my blogs. And had been doing so since then as a regular author and speaker.

In early 2018, when the Kathua rape case of an 8-year-old child happened, I still participated in the march and wrote about it.

Something had changed though.

Back in 2012/ 13, when I spoke about Nirbhaya, my religion was not linked to any of my outrages.

Read here.