If this lockdown feels horrible to you, can you imagine living in the same house with a rapist Chacha / Uncle?

So, a young woman reached out to me a night ago and shared her story anonymously.

This young woman is independent professional living in a metropolitan in India. As a child, she recalled living in a small village somewhere in central India in a large joint family.

From class 5th to 8th, she was raped by her chacha. As a child, she had no idea what he was doing but what she remembers to this day is the FEAR. He would draw her away into a room in isolation and make her do all sorts of nasty things. This chacha was one of those elderly respected people in the family who your parents make you feel scared of as this person may be strict or violent etc.

This girls’ parents also used to scare her with that Chacha’s name when they wanted her to do her homework or finish her food. Only, they didn’t know the real reason why she was scared of him. This man himself has two daughters slightly younger than her and a wife who he abuses, calls b-word, in public, so imagine the terror of this man.

At some point even when the abuse stopped, he never showed regret or remorse, rather to this date tries to make lewd sexual remarks at her when he finds her in isolation even for a moment. When she displays anger, he starts hanging around and forcibly touching her 6 years younger sister while giving her threatening looks (to convey the message that if she shows anger or opens her mouth, his next victim will be her baby sister)!

At this point, quite understandably you would want to know WHY DIDN’T SHE TELL HER PARENTS? I know because I too was curious if the family knows anything at all.

Let’s talk about the FATHER first.

No, she has NOT told her father and she probably never could. If her father ever came to know about this, there will be either one of these two situations and I want you to tell me WHAT WOULD YOU DO knowing these situations.

Situation A: She tells her father that she was raped as a child by her Chacha. He DOESN’T believes her because that Chacha is the man he knows from way longer and is the man around whom he has spent his entire life. He already thinks this daughter of his is rowdy, bold and angry so she is probably making this up to create a storm in the family. He forcefully arranges a marriage and sends her to the first bidder before this gets out and the family honor is ruined! Mind you this is upper caste, wealthy family in a small village where child marriage is rampant and this girl having an education and job in a metro city is already ‘too much liberty’ in the eyes of rishtedaar.

Situation B: Her father believes her! But then what? He might get angry enough to actually murder his brother? What then? Her father goes to jail and their family is scattered. If the father doesn’t kill his own brother, he has to hang out and live side by side with this man for eternity. Knowing that this is your daughter’s rapist, what father would survive and not get a heart-attack living in this situation?

To your surprise, she didn’t CRY while giving me details of the abuse and the things that bastard did to a 10-year-old child.

You know when she CRIED? While talking about her father.

She said that later in her teenage years when she got some freedom to leave the house on her own, she would often spend long durations outside the home and often come home at about 9pm.

Fro this defiance of house rule to be home before dark, her father would get angry and beat her up.

She thought to herself that first she was SAFER OUT IN THE STREET than in her own home where the rapist was a few feet away.

And secondly, getting BEAT UP by your father for 10 minutes is better than getting raped for another day.

She CRIED, telling me that when her father used to beat her up, she would have that pain stock up inside her but she would always be afraid that if she ever told her father the REAL REASON WHY she likes to stay away from the home, the SHEER GUILT would destroy her father, and she wept profusely.

To all the people in the HANG THE RAPIST BRIGADE… Just tell me this-

Knowing that the rapist is the victims’ Chacha, would the family let her REPORT the rape or would they make her shut her mouth?

NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT THE MOM:

For years she didn’t tell her mother about any of this.

Recently her mother has been convincing her to get married. For natural reasons, this girl, like every other survivor of abuse, has TRUST ISSUES as well as INTIMACY ISSUES.

She wanted her mother to understand that she needs someone who would respect her physical space and consent because if one more man exercises his physical power over her for rape, she would NOT be able to cope, she might even kill herself.

Her mother’s reaction was “ok, whatever happened is in the past, let’s not talk about it”.

There was no sympathy, no empathy, no disbelief or belief.

The girl herself has no idea why her mom acted the way she did and at first, instance neither did I.

But on deeper thought, I think it is about the concept of shame and honor.

She didn’t want to discuss or encourage her daughter to discuss this because she is aware that if such a thing gets out:

The father would have to either kill his brother or feel like a failed father by hanging out with the daughter’s rapist for the rest of his life.

Everyone in the large, high profile, upper-class Hindu family would blame the girl and she will be considered ‘damaged goods’ as they say in conservative societies.

Either way, this would NOT help the daughter in any way now that this is from the past. So, better swallow the pain. Also, there may be another reason.

She said her ‘BADEY PAPA’ and his team of cousins and friends GANG RAPED the poor Dalit woman who used to pick GOBAR at their place because they were all ZAMINDARS.

That poor young woman was paid off after she told about it to the son of BADEY PAPA and many other people and no one ever saw the inside of a police car let along with jail.

So maybe the mother knows how the men in this family treat women so better keep things hush hush and not draw attention to their daughter who would be tagged as the characterless, problematic, drama queen in the family.

So here is my QUESTION TO THOSE ARGUING YESTERDAY and all others in general:

You are CURRENTLY UNDER LOCKDOWN RIGHT?

CONSIDER IF YOU HAD YOUR RAPIST LIVING WITH YOU… WHAT WOULD THAT FEEL LIKE? KNOWING THAT YOUR RAPIST IS JUST A FEW FEET AWAY FROM YOU…

AND NOW IMAGINE IF YOU WERE 10 YEARS OLD AND LIVED WITH THE RAPIST AND WEREN’T ALLOWED TO GO ANYWHERE? What would that be like?

She cried and cried when I asked why she got beaten but never told her father why she was avoiding getting home. And then I realized and said “Beti ka DIL hai na”… No daughter wants to see her father live and die with a pang of guilt this big… The guilt that he failed to protect his own little princess from the monster that lived with them in their house. And this monster is still alive and lives with her parents and every time she visits home, she faces him. Still.

There is no GYAN and no discussion here today. I just want you ALL to imagine being in this girl’s shoes… Imagine living with a rapist who you can never complain about and never send to jail. Who still has so much power, he can threaten to rape your younger sister if you open your mouth. Just imagine being this girl. Imagine how she would have experienced ‘men’ and ‘sexuality’. What would she feel like if she ever gets in an isolated with any man? Imagine if she shared this with some man she trusted and he then used her trauma against her? Imagine living with a heavier than a thousand-tonne weight ON YOUR SOUL for the rest of your life. Just do that for today.

 

 

Dear ‘Liberal’ Men, When It Comes To Women, Most of You Are No Better Than Right-Wing Sexists #CyberAbuse

Muhammad Arif  says “I wish you get a husband like him…”

Maninder Pal Singh says “…from which state u want MLA ticket?”

Mahfooz Alam  is reminding her “you remembered girls’ phone tapping incident???”

Mustaqim Shaikh making another personal remark “tumhe modi ke jaisa hi pati mile”

Sadath Ali says “and bhakti k be seema hoti hai. desh jalra ha hai economy dubra ha hai. phir mi modi k pooja kara h ho. sharam karo behen sharam karo”

I shared an article in a progressive, liberal Facebook group that I am a member of.

The article was about trying to understand why Modi continues to win the majority despite having blood on his hands. The purpose of the article was not to blindly praise Modi but analyze the propaganda machinery that has worked tirelessly to create this larger than life image of a mere government servant.

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Hatred, of course, is dumb and blind.

Instead of reading the article and understanding the context of it, some morons began to comment as if this is a Modi praise article.

A young woman made some comments about other reasons why Modi lovers are such die-hard fans. And there comes the sexist tornado of personal remarks and attacks.

Thrice I had to intervene and beg the idiots to stop harassing this woman Priya Rai who was merely adding to her analysis of why Modi fans behave the way they do. But the comments kept pouring in.

In another incident, a young woman actively sharing her political (informative) articles in the group was targeted viciously. In one of her posts or comments, she was barely criticizing a political leader. Some idiot in the group took screenshots of it and spread it in some other propaganda group pro that political leader and claimed that this woman is calling for the assassination of the said leader.

Hate comments, death threats, and rape threats began pouring in on her DM and profile in hundreds.

Shit got so real, she had to de-activate her profile completely because it was being mass reported too and she could lose her account. She was told she could be the ‘next Gauri Lankesh’, the journalist assassinated in 2017.

Some idiot was asking her ‘rates’ claiming she was a prostitute.

At first, she took it as regular trolling, that we women are all too familiar with. But when she saw some posts with hundreds of comments calling for her lynching, she was scared beyond words can explain. She has not been able to sleep or work or focus on anything since.

When I asked, she hopelessly said that she does not think women will be safe on the internet ever and not just the paid trolls but even regular guys know how to shut women up too well by threatening them with rape.

Normally when I talk about cyberbullying or online abuse, I hide the names of the culprits but I didn’t on this post because this is a teachable moment. When you see this particular guy made such and such comments, you put a face to that faceless anonymous abuser.

As men, you have a responsibility to hold fellow men accountable since you jump so quickly on the #NotAllMen wagon. Not all men, right? So prove you are not one of them abusers. Show us, women, that you stand by us when we are harassed online or offline.

Yes, we know not all men rape, abuse or attack women with acids.

But most of you look the other way when personal attacks are made on a woman in a so-called liberal, progressive group.

And don’t even get me started on the sexist bullshit I receive on most of my posts. Rarely ever you’d see a guy standing up to the sexist trolls and that’s where the problem lies.

That is what you need to fix if you claim to have better ways of treating women in your circles than the conservative right wingers.

Dear Men, You Suck In Bed & Not In A Good Way: 3 Reasons Orgasm Inequality Exists in India

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So, us Indians collectively lost our shit (excluding me and others like me, of course), when we saw Swara Bhaskar pleasuring herself in Veere Di Wedding.

The same happened after the Netflix film ‘Lust Stories’ was featured in which one of the 4 stories was about an unsatisfied newlywed, trying to pleasure herself.

But this post is NOT about self-pleasuring, it is about ORGASM INEQUALITY and why it exists.

According to the Global Sex Survey conducted by Durex in 2017, nearly 70% of women in India don’t orgasm every time they have sex. … “Orgasm is still considered as a tabooed topic in Indian society,” said Bobby Pawar, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, Havas Group

Let me get straight into the points:

1- Slut-shaming a woman that says she wants sex or is unsatisfied

I remember some Anty of mine vaguely describing her newly-wed experience. As a bride, she was unable to consummate her marriage because they lived in a joint family. There was no privacy, and whatever little bit there was, it was barely enough to get the act done.

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Her husband would initiate the act, do whatever would grant him the quickest way to pleasure and runoff. I asked her why didn’t she initiate the act or get intimate with him and she looked at me with shock and horror.

“Are you crazy?” she said as she covered her ears and head in shame, “ladkiya kabhi khud thodi kehti hain ye sab”!!! She dismissed my suggestion.

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My teenage naivety wasn’t letting go, “lekin kyu phoopi?” 

She nodded her head with an eye roll “sari zindagi ‘behsharm’ hone ke taaney thodi sunna hai bitiya!”

What she was saying is that neither can a woman initiate the act of sex, nor she can talk about it or ask for pleasure because if she did, her husband would forever address her as a shameless woman, a whore, slut and other dirty words that are considered not worthy of respect in our beloved ‘Indian’ culture.

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I hope that this same burden of shame and guilt is not carried down the generations but sadly, the ground reality is that in many homes this is still a reality.

Until the day comes that we stop seeing ‘sex’ as something to be ashamed of and see it just as a need of the body, nothing can change.

The more we normalize it, the more men need to know that women are humans just as you and our anatomy require more pleasuring than that of men. I am not going to give a tutorial here on how to pleasure your woman but forget pleasure, the most important thing is to not humiliate her for having desires. 

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2- Lack of sex education or ‘sex-positive’ attitude 

Irony died a thousand deaths with this one- Indians, the people that literally wrote the book on sex positions, the Kamasutra, is one of the most sexually repressed people on the planet. Our attitude toward sex or sexuality is pathetic.

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We lose our shit on Valentine’s Day or even normal days when we see a young unmarried couple in a public space.

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Why is it a crime to fall in love? Why is it a crime to have relationships and get to know people?

Our parents’ generations were advocates of ‘arranged marriage’s and their lives were damn depressing. Except for my own parents, I rarely see older couples having great chemistry. If their relationship is that shitty in public, imagine how awful it would be indoors!

Our people have no concept of sex-positivity. They freak out when anyone even talks of sex education. They think sex education means teachers will tell children to go and have sex.

Until this bullshit ideology towards sex education changes, women are not getting a happy ending.

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3- Lack of communication 

This is key.

This is the missing element in most sexual acts that leads to Orgasm Inequality.

Obviously, when you see sex as something shameful and lack a healthy attitude towards sex, you will try to complete the act with the least amount of communication.

All women are different.

Different women enjoy different things and take different times to climax. Their rhythms also change according to their ovulation cycle.

If you don’t talk to her about her body, how would you ever know?

This is why so many women say that sex for them is not about the size but about what you do with what you got.

If you don’t know how to use it efficiently and properly, then your organ is useless for her, sorry.

Sex conversations can be awkward and embarrassing and challenging. This is why it makes sense to have sex with people you trust, understand and know they will respect your boundaries. Make safe words, follow her breathing, feel her body movements…

It’s all there.

So, there you go, I just told you how to NOT SUCK IN BED IN A BAD WAY.

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I wish happy endings to all the unsatisfied ladies out there.

You Want Socio-political (religious) Change, But Do You Have The Patience For It? (Saving Oppressed Muslim Women)

The degradation of our environment is horrendous!

Minority rights are being denied day after day.

The rise of the far-right in the world all over is scary.

You want all the nonsense, all the shit going on in the world fixed. Me too.

But social change requires a million things out of us and PATIENCE is the most important one.

For the last couple of days, in the DRS group, I have been reading a lot about the extremist scriptures from Hinduism and Sharia, in the CONTEXT OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS.

Being a Muslim Feminist, I found this as a fantastic opportunity to observe both sides of the coin: the people trying to make the change and on the other side the people whose religious sentiments easily get hurt.

The posts attracted tons of comments (because people get easily emotional about religious sentiments) in comparison to posts about sanitation, climate change, and education policies. A lot of this involved hate comments or labeling which I guess is the collateral damage of free speech over social media.

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But overall, the observation reminded me of a TED Talk I had watched in 2015, of a Baloch Pakistani young woman named Khalida Brohi fighting against ‘honor killing’s in her region.

Now, before you jump on the anti-national wagon, and question why I couldn’t think of any other example; here is why…

Khalida’s story has super important pointers about making social change.

She was 18 when she discovered Facebook and decided to campaign, rally against ‘honour killings’ in her tribal, conservative Islamist region.

She failed monumentally when the local people got offended and destroyed her property, threatened to kill her. (She says that was natural and she is right).

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The point in this talk that stayed in my mind, five years later is that YOU CANNOT MAKE SOCIAL CHANGE AMONG THE PEOPLE OF A COMMUNITY BY:

  1. Belittling or condescending them.
  2. Telling them how you are the most evolved one and they are unevolved.
  3. Standing in direct opposition to their CORE VALUES.

This is the MANTRA FOR ANY SOCIAL CHANGE that you ever wish to see.

It definitely helps when the person trying to make the change IS FROM THAT COMMUNITY because when you criticize from the outside, you might often not understand the full extent of their practices and beliefs and even if you do and you talk about them with utmost best intentions, it is easier for the people to dismiss you thinking ‘oh she/he is not one of us’ hence it is an attack on our beliefs. Coming from that community also helps in terms of the ‘savior complex’ which people of privilege often suffer from. There also internalized biases that all of us are capable of holding instead of factual criticisms.

I cannot speak for other religions but from the Islamic point of view, just like in Khalida’s talk, people did not need to become atheists in order for women to have human rights or advance as communities. What they needed was a reminder of the core values that get muddied under the patriarchal systems.

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Hence, she and her team apologized to those people. Asked to be accepted and offered an opportunity to make it up to the people.

Why did they do that?

Because it was her own community, her own people. You cannot abandon your own roots, regardless of how patriarchal or oppressive, they are. Many people do. But people like me, people like Khalida Brohi whose mission is to bring about actual change on the ground, we have got to REACH THE PEOPLE AT THE LEVEL IN WHICH THEY LIVE; IN WHICH THEY CAN RECEIVE YOUR MESSAGE.

Yes, this time it worked. Because they made it a point to engage with people’s own culture, music, art, fables in order to bring about social change.

Was it easy? No. Did it take a lot more time, patience, hard work and strategy? You bet your sweet ass it did. But did it work? A BIG FUCKING YES!

And just before you think this is all, came the next hurdle.

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The men in the community began to notice the change in wives and daughters… their confidence, their income capabilities, their talents… and as always, it threatened men and immediately they started stopping their women from participating in these programs.

Was it the end of social change?

No, of course not. It was time for the next strategy. It was time to up the alley, it was time to make the women’s handicrafts an official business so now men had to trade their fragile egos with lucrative women empowerment. 

Did that work? Hellll, yeah! 

Islamic scriptures are centuries old and today in various parts of the world, are followed by people all over the globe in various versions. The traditions are also mixed with specific cultural practices of specific regions and the melody and mash-up are just too complicated for an individual to understand. So, people pick and choose things that make sense to them, that they feel to be relevant in their lives and in this modern age.

What’s interesting is that in order to bring about change in the condition of women, feminism did not have to forgo Islam, instead, it became INTERSECTIONAL so women could accommodate their connection with God, along with human rights or women upliftment. This could be done because, in many ways, even those old scriptures have stood the test of time in terms of having outside home employment, riding camels and horses alongside men at wars, not being forced to take the husbands surname after marriage, writing your own terms and conditions for your Nikah and divorce, etc, just to name a few.

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Undeniably there are plenty of other things like polygamy or half valued testimony of women that need upgrading. But just like Khalida’s story, these or any other Islamic or cultural (not actually Islamic) practices are to be challenged,  it has to be done at the ground level and by taking the people in confidence; not by mocking them.

To this point, I am so proud to see so many Muslim Feminists all over the globe, from small indigenous tribal communities like the Baloch in Pakistan to super Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia where women like Manal al-Sharif live, women are standing up for their rights and challenging the patriarchal ancient customs that are laid upon them. And none of them had to give up their faith in order to work for women empowerment.

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A very common myth on the outer side (thanks to Western media and now Indian media too) is that Muslim women are oppressed and don’t have a voice. This statement would hold true in almost every country, every religion, everywhere in the world to various degrees. And as an outsider, if you really care about the conditions of Muslim women, here is what to do instead of head-on attacking the people’s faith or CORE VALUES:

  • Google ‘Muslim Feminists’ in the world and pick 5.
  • Follow their work, their campaigns, social media.
  • Talk to other people about their accomplishments.
  • Watch their work closely and send them messages of encouragement.
  • Help them out in whatever way you can.
  • Join their campaigns if you can and help them out with strategies, resources or ideas.
  • Most importantly, INSTEAD OF TALKING OVER THEM, be an ally and let them be their own voice. 

Khalida was the privileged one in her story, the one with knowledge and education of these oppressive cultural practices, but in her experience, neither talking AT THEM helped, nor TALKING OVER them helped.

What helped was showing genuine intent of helping those people, meeting them at a level they can understand (and not feel threatened) and ENABLE them to find their voices, learn about their rights, gradually dismantle those archaic practices with their own hands.

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After I learned about FEMINISM and evaluated my whole life against it, I wanted to scream out loud at the top of my lungs how things were wrong and injustices against women were happening all over the world.

I began writing blogs, books published. But that was the knowledge, on paper, not much was changing on the ground.

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So I began helping women through my blog in other ways.

I would hear their stories, point them towards doctors, lawyers, therapists, whatever resources they were in need of.

Sometimes, I also helped them financially, for example, to get out of violent husbands’ homes.

Informed them of their rights under the Sharia law, according to which they were married in the first place.

I talked about sensitive issues on my YouTube channel so people could use that to get validation and support.

I DISMANTLE the oppression with my Muslim community, among cousins, friends, neighbors, blog readers, book fans and internet strangers by MEETING THEM WHERE THEY ARE instead of challenging their entire belief system.

Is this all I could do? Perhaps more but I am only human and still learning social change.

I am still trying to find better ways, sharper strategies to bring about change in women’s lives, not just in my community but the world all over, but I have to make peace with these few things;

  1. Social change moves at glacial speed, so don’t expect things to change overnight.
  2. Probably in my lifetime, gender gaps won’t be closed and women won’t have equal rights as that of men.
  3. I can’t change a person or their opinion unless I find something in common with them (sometimes it could just be our humanity, an important negotiation technique I learned in my Swiss Business School).

Should I stop trying because it was too hard and too exhausting?

I would probably die if I stopped. I do this because it gives me purpose to live.

I am in it for the surprises, NOT the PRIZES.

For me, a simple thank you from a distressed, domestically abused woman is enough.

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That overused, cliched story holds true- the one with the grandfather and the kid walking past by the shore and the kid throwing back fishes into the water that were left stranded on the shore by the waves. And the grandpa laughs and asks the kid “there are millions, how many would you throwback and what difference would it make?”

And the kid replies “it makes a difference to the one fish that is back in the water”!

Total cliche, I know, but I can’t help but feel exactly the same way. The war on social injustice is strenuous and sinister at best, tiring and life draining at worst. But if you are reading this long piece, I have faith that you care about the world and the injustices happening around, and you are working day and night to stand up for the rights of some people, whether or not they acknowledge your efforts.

HOW DOES THIS PLAY OUT IN THE WORLD OF SOCIAL MEDIA?

Over social media, the chances of someone coming to a Twitter feud and walking away with enlightenment is UNHEARD of. The same applies to Facebook.

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So how do we expect to bring about any change if our audience is on social media?

The honest answer is I DON’T KNOW because if I did, I would have an army uprising for me right now.

But the basic premise from Khalida’s story that we can learn are the ones I already mentioned in the beginning: that YOU CANNOT MAKE SOCIAL CHANGE AMONG THE PEOPLE OF A COMMUNITY BY:

  1. Belittling or condescending them.

  2. Telling them how you are the most evolved one and they are unevolved.

  3. Standing in a direct challenge to their CORE VALUES.

If you do even one, you won’t be making any social changes but inviting nonsensical debates from people that did not understand your intentions.

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Now also a thing to be noted is that this is a general approach to a tribal, uninhibited people.

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It does not apply to fundamentalist politicians, right-wing supporters, and leaders.

That’s because leaders, politicians are privileged people in power that are voted by democratic masses, and their job is to be secular and unbiased (no racist sexist shit can go down).

I also include supporters of the majority (often right-wing type) party supporters because in Khalida’s example we were talking about challenging only cultural/religious practices. 

However, in the other one, there isn’t just religion but political ideologies. And political ideologies do not work on the same principles. Politicians use fake news, propaganda, fear-mongering, hate speeches, polarization, inciting communal riots, and several other sinister tactics to keep the voter scared enough to vote for them. And these change state after state, politician after politician.

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Bringing about social change in the political area is something way harder (in my opinion) because of the awe-inspiring, larger than life image created by media for the politicians. And until and unless your very own existence comes under threat, your own women raped on the streets and your own life savings taken over by a bankrupt bank; it is hard to give a crap and understand how the minorities feel.

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There are people, plenty of privileged people who stand up for minority rights, challenge the status quo even when it is dangerous and put their own lives at risk. But with such compassionate people, on the opposite spectrum are also the vile, vicious and violent ones. And those are the ones that will take heed with time alone, maybe by having employment opportunities that keep them busy and provide them an environment to intermingle with the very people their politicians are telling them to hate.

But that’s a distant dream, right?

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A Feminist’s Opinion on ‘Should Nirbhaya’s Mother Forgive The Rapists of Her Daughter’?

So, only if you live under a rock you may not know about the rape of an Indian student in 2012 that sparked international outrage and brought India to a halt. The media called her Nirbhaya.

Recently, a Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaysingh advised or urged Nirbhaya’s mother to forgive the rapists which of course and very rightly outraged the lady.

Where does a FEMINIST stand on this?

There has been a long-standing debate on the topic of capital punishment/death penalty and whether or not such punishment would discourage future rapists.

Time and again through data, this has been proven that the DEATH PENALTY DOES NOT DETER RAPE. 

If anything, the death penalty will punishment will make things worse because now the rapist will not only rape but also murder in order to avoid any witness. The recent incidents of setting rape victims on fire is the direct consequence of this because the rapists know their DNA could be extracted. Hence the motivation to end the victim’s life is way stronger.

HUMAN RIGHTS activists and Feminists have long stood for the NO DEATH PENALTY argument because of the above reasons.

Dumb idiots who do not want to understand the full argument, immediately brand these Feminists as terrorist sympathizers or somehow think that human rights activists want to save evil people.

That being said, what this lawyer Indira Jaysing has said about forgiving Nirbhaya’s rapists is the most insensitive and outrageous thing she could have said.

First of all, it is shameful enough that it’s been 8 years and the rapists have not been punished yet.

To add to that pain, this weird notion in our society about ‘forgiveness’ is actually an extremely toxic thing to say to a rape survivor or their family members.

See, this is not Saudi Arabia where according to Sharia law if the family of the dead person pardons the murderer, the punishment is either reduced or written off.

Secondly, there is law in India. Whether Nirbhaya’s mother forgives the rapists or not, a crime has been committed and the criminals deserve the strictest punishment for such a barbaric act. The law does not run on the whims of people’s feelings.

Thirdly, in Feminist literature I often read this idea of ‘forgiving your rapist’, in fact, I have written about it in the past from my post about the famous Netflix show 13 Reasons Why. 

What I learned from Feminism is that there is absolutely no need to ‘forgive your rapist or abuser’ in order to move on. 

One therapist I was speaking to actually told me that if you have bitterness inside you or have feelings that you don’t want to face then you cannot heal. Your first step should be to face those feelings and forgive the people who wronged you.

SHE COULDN’T BE MORE WRONG!

Speaking with other learned and respectable therapists I learned that forgiving someone is only and only up to the person who has suffered the pain and in order to heal from that pain, there are plenty of other ways and ‘forgiving’ is NOT one of them.

Being a Human Rights lawyer, Indira Jaysing has not only spoken out of turn but she has emotionally abused the sentiments of Nirbhaya’s mother.

Indira Jaising is an Indian lawyer who is noted for her legal activism in promoting human rights causes. In 2018 she was ranked 20th in the list of 50 Greatest Leaders of the World by Fortune magazine. Considering her accomplishments and sensitivity on gender equality and human rights, this is shockingly upsetting that someone like her has spoken these words. 

If it was anyone else, dismissing it would be easier but considering her stature, this is unbelievably shocking.

I would argue against the death penalty in general but in this case, I won’t,  considering the barbarity of the act. But not in a million imaginations I would ever consider it OK to tell Nirbhaya’s mother to forgive those monsters.

Also, tomorrow even if Nirbhaya’s mother does forgive them for some unknown reason; the law still has to take its course. 

They did not have mercy on Nirbhaya while shoving iron rods inside her, they knew what they were doing. They deserve way worse than capital punishment.

 

7 Reasons India’s rape problem is not going to end at least not in our lifetimes (Telangana rape case)

Apologies for sounding pessimist but I will rather be real than weave a fairy tale idealistic world in which India is a nation where women are safe and sound. Sorry, no sugar coating from me.

The recent rape in Telangana of a young vet doctor has caused an uproar in the media these days. In 2012 when Nirbhaya happened, I began my blog, wrote my first book and I became a staunch advocate of women’s rights and violence against women. In the last 8 years, I’ve written and made plenty of videos on the issue yet not an ounce of change has happened on the ground. And considering the culture, it doesn’t seem like the changes would be visible anytime sooner. Here’s why:
1- the glorification of rape and harassment in our movies and pop songs
Sanjay Rajoura, satirist best pointed it out when he shone a light on the most loved, most heard songs in Bollywood. From ‘chumma dede’ which was the first gang rape song to the ‘tandoori murgi’ song lets just admit that our cinema and TV have failed women greatly. And not just women it has also failed men taking away their humanity and instilling these ideas of rape and harassment as ‘romance’.
Just look at Yo Yo Honey Singh’s songs and you would wonder how is this guy not banned from making these super misogynistic songs. But when you look at the people obsessed with him and dancing to his tunes, you would know how things work in our society. Sure then, please stop complaining about harassment then.
2- young boys raised with toxic masculinity in which power and control over the other is taught
Taking forward this impact of cinema, boys need better parenting. But NOOOOOOOOOOO boys will be boys, superior and power-hungry. Look at how our media is obsessed with the 56-inch chest of the PM. Unless one is going to wrestle in a match or model for CK, I don’t see why his chest size is worth noting. But the more this toxic idea of masculinity is imbibed in our men, the more they think that being a man is about exercising your power on the vulnerable.
3- lack of proper sex education that teaches about consent and safe intercourse
I begged my mom and sister to speak to my pre-teen little brother about sex. I sent books to help them manage the subject. But neither listened to me. And a few months later they catch him looking at porn on mom’s phone. And of course, even then the reaction was absolutely the opposite of what was required. And the awful thing is that they are among the majority of parents in India who never speak to their children about safe sex practices or the concept of ‘consent’. Jamila Jameel said it best that learning about sex from porn is like learning driving from Fast and Furious movies; its a fucking terrible idea!
4- disbelief and belittling of rape survivors
Unless a woman is dead, she is a liar. Let us be honest here when was the last time a woman talked about surviving rape and she was believed? Just admit it, ours is not a society where a survivor of rape is trusted or healed.
5- lousy legal and police system that doesn’t respond on time or appropriately
In Telangana case, had the police reacted on time, they would at least have found her injured body, she may not have been burned. How pathetic is the police that tells a frantic mother that her 27-year-old daughter may have eloped but not possibly a victim of rape? Our courts do not do a better job either. If you somehow make it alive after an attack like that, you probably will be ripped to pieces trying to get justice.
6- government patronage to rapists
Chinmayanand, Kuldeep Singh Senger, Gurmeet Singh… need I even say more.
7- generic treatment of women as second-grade citizens
Women in our society are meat. Made to be used and consumed. Women empowerment is only lip service and political tool. No one is bothered about keeping women safe. We are half the fucking country and yet, no one is bothered. Women themselves are not bothered. I personally know of women who will blame the victim of rape after an incident like such surfaces. What do you expect from a society like this?
I am not saying that rape and harassment only occur in India. They happen worldwide but the barbaric brutality in which women are mutilated and burnt alive is certainly not seen much elsewhere in the world.
Kathua rape victim was an 8-year-old who was drugged, starved for 8 days, raped constantly inside a temple by several men and then finally killed by smashing her skull. Sounds normal in any sense?
The Unnao rape victim is struggling to survive while her almost entire family and lawyer have been killed by the suspects who have government patronage.
Another 6-year-old child today was raped and strangled by her school belt and left for dead.
These are not just rapes, these are incidents of absolute brutality.
And to top this all up, the top porn search from India today the Telangana victims rape. Yes, more than 80 lakh people searched for this rape video to jerk off to the cries of a helpless and vulnerable woman before she died.
Huh, you telling me this society will change?
Sure, fool yourself if you have any hope from this society. I know it won’t, not for a long time.

Sanjay Rajoura Is the Indian Feminist Man Every Woman Wishes Would Have Around

Sanjay Rajoura. The man.

This recent stand-up video from Aisi Taisi Democracy is a total hit.

In the video, Sanjay talks about super uncomfortable issues like #MeToo, toxic masculinity, sexism, blaming women for awful habits, the self entitlement of Indian men and a whole lot of other things.

In fact, this is less of comedy more of hard-hitting satire.

The rare thing about Sanjay Rajoura is that for as long as I have watched his videos, Sanjay has actively used his male privilege in the INDIAN society to raise awareness about women’s sufferings. He has spoken about derogatory customs and traditions that keep the Indian women oppressed while thinking they are being the ‘good girls’.

I have met Indian men before that claim to be feminists. But 2 minutes into a conversation with them and I realize that they caught the word feminist from some celebrity social media account or some trendy T-shirt and that is all they know about feminism. They have neither read nor researched a single problem of a woman’s life yet have distorted views and often long misogynistic attitudes.

Watching Sanjay in this video, seeing him using his space and privilege to self reflect and talk so blatantly about the rotten habits of Indian men, without pulling any punches is a rare thing in the Indian stand up/ content creation scene.

We need more men like him who acknowledge their gender and caste privilege and have no hesitation in accepting the oppression and persecution of others by their class.

Before you start the #NotAllMen argument for the millionth time, yes I know not all men Sanjay refers to are molesters, rapists, and sexists. But that is not the point.

That never was the point.

The point is that ALL MEN have been disproportionately advanced at one place or another due to their gender, such is the Indian society and most of the world too.

Thanks, Sanjay for such honest self-reflection and commentary on your species 🙂

Muslim Woman MP + Hindu Husband + Indian Parliament = Disaster

Recently, a Muslim Woman by name called Nusrat Jehan was voted to be one of the MP’s to the Indian Parliament among few others. Kudos for female representation in politics.

But since she is married to a Hindu man, she is being trolled and while they agree on nothing but this they agreed on that this woman deserved to be trolled.

Hindus trolled her for her Western outfit that she wore a few days ago.

Muslims trolled her for wearing saree and sindoor and her marriage to a Hindu Man.

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Although, the validity of those Twitter trolls is questionable it would be far fetched to say that Indian Muslims are so secular that they won’t flinch their eyebrows on the concept of a Muslim woman marrying a Hindu man.

Whatever, but here are my two cents on the debate:

India is a secular country.

Any woman living on the land of India can wear whatever she pleases and marry whoever she pleases or not marry at all.

Muslim clerics giving her lessons in Islamic studies, trying to ‘educate’ her or basically patronize her, giving lessons in ‘how to dress like a Muslim woman’ really should stop propagating this line of thought because besides being a Muslim, they are also Indian.

Indian Muslims are different from Arab Muslims simply because our identity was created on the values of secularity and religious tolerance and acceptance.

There is no compulsion in Islam by the very definition of it but very conveniently men forget this part.

An Indian woman, whether she marries a man of her religion or that of another, has the right to do so under the Indian sky and when you try to lecture her for her choices, you are violating her constitutional civil right.

Plain and simple.

She can be barely Muslim, namesake Muslim, practicing Muslim or a Non-Muslim.

It’s up to her.

As the lady Fatima in the debate show said that this is a Muslim women’s issue- it certainly isn’t.

The one thing that united INDIAN MEN both HINDUS AND MUSLIMS across India is their MISOGYNY AND SEXISM.

No woman has been spared from their filthy graze, patronizing remarks and excessive trolling online and offline.

Rahul Eshwar made a point about people in public life developing a ‘thick skin’ because trolling is part of being in the limelight and suggesting we all take PM Modi as an example.

I want to bang my head on the wall because I don’t know if he is pretending to be an idiot in order to trivialize the issue or if he genuinely can’t differentiate between gender-based oppression- sexism and generic critique.

PM Modi is criticized on his silence on the oppression of minorities, the financial massacre that was demonization and a million other things. Not for what he was wearing or being tagged as a male prostitute which these women were called.

Can’t you see no difference in critique and personal gender-based attacks?

I am not saying women must not be criticized but criticize women for their work and when you say they are incompetent don’t dare say that all women are incompetent.

I personally hated how Hema Malini took some photos in the fields right before the elections and when asked about the work she has done for her constituency, she said that she doesn’t remember.

I shared plenty of memes myself because that is an abuse of power. Critique her all you want but for her and her work alone.

Don’t attack the entire gender, don’t say she is incompetent because she is a woman and when criticizing her, only focus on the work, not what she is wearing or the way her hair looks.

It’s not rocket science. If you want to see the difference, you really will.

 

How Women Find Excuses to Dismiss My Belief Against Domestic Abuse

Men and women have almost equal contribution in the fucked up mess that our society is today.

Undoubtedly, men have played a prominent role as aggressors and oppressors, while women have been the oppressed ones, historically and statistically speaking.

But in most people’s minds, women’s roles in perpetuating misogyny, domestic abuse, and even rapes have been downplayed.

Women make excuses for their abusive husbands, sons, and brothers, among many other awful things that contribute to the oppression of women.

The funny thing that I want to discuss in this article is how while discussing domestic abuse, women dismiss my advice or warnings to suit their narrative.

WHEN I SAY I AM IN A HAPPY RELATIONSHIP WITH A MAN:

Speaking as a feminist who has a man in her life who respects and loves her, my advice or whatever statement I make in a discussion is dismissed.

They say I have a good guy, the rest of them are not like him and since I don’t know what an abusive relationship is like, I cannot understand the risks of living a single woman’s life and which is why they would continue to live with an abusive man.

WHEN I SAY I AM A HAPPY SINGLE WOMAN:

They say that I am a man-hating feminist who never wants to be associated with a man. Over the years I have been awarded many other such titles, dominating feminist, a competitor of men, delusional woman who thinks she does not need men blah blah blah.

I have been in both situations, single and in a relationship.

And not for one second I changed my core belief that

A MAN THAT DOES NOT RESPECT YOU OR TREATS YOU AS HIS EQUAL, DOES NOT DESERVE YOU. 

Domestic abuse has many aspects and leaving a spouse or partner you love/d is never going to be easy. I never said it would be.

But is it easy to be with a man who can break your skull any moment with a bat?

Technically speaking, almost nothing in life is easy. But instead of finding ways to bring down women who claim to be a feminist and advocate equal rights in a relationship also, not just on paper in society, maybe focus on the reason why you are NOT A FEMINIST.

Feminism to me is religion, it is logic, it is common sense. A way for society to move forward and accept all humans as they are. Just because you have failed to Google a simple definition of what ‘feminism’ is, does not mean I would not call myself a feminist to save me from your judgment.

I have the deepest of sympathies for any person, any gender who is in an abusive relationship and needs help. In fact, this blog is for such people and I get queries from all over the world, from all sorts of people seeking advice. I have studied the topics, researched them and written books on them. So, I know my shit. I know what I am talking about.

But these women defending the abuse and saying ‘this is what marriage is’ and ‘I am putting up with this for my kids’ is a total disaster. Instead of defending abuse and abusive men, break the cycle of abuse by not making your kids watch you get beaten.

And I will always be there to help.

Me, the openly feminist, man-hating single woman. (#satire)

 

Free Public Transport For Women is An Excellent Step By Delhi Govt Through a Feminist Lens. Here’s Why:

So, the AAP government in New Delhi, India recently announced that they would like to make public transport (metro rail and buses) FREE for women.

One might assume this would be celebrated by people, right?

Shockingly, NO. People are pissed. Or let’s say, ignorant ones at least are. And they are making arguments to protest against this move. Below, I write about the arguments and why they are absolute garbage.

1- This is not FEMINISM or EQUALITY if only women get free rides.

If you think about equality in such binary terms, you have no clue what feminism is. The picture most commonly circulated on the internet to explain the issue is this one, which illustrates what I mean.

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Equality is the ideal goal but to give people equality, we have to ensure all people have the same starting point in the race. Which is not. We have all sorts of social and economic inequalities within gender inequality. So, if you have read anything on FEMINISM, you would know that things like reservations for the disabled or women or any special privileges given to women are because historically women were marginalized and to CORRECT THAT IMBALANCE some sort of measures will be needed.

2- Don’t bring FEMINISM into this.

Of course, the existence of women and them reclaiming public spaces is very much a feminist issue and if anyone claims to be a feminist for real, they would very much approve and celebrate this move by Kejriwal.

3- Women care about safety and not free rides.

This one too is an ignorant statement from someone coming from a privileged background. Maybe you don’t care about saving roughly 2500 INR per month because your bank account has 50,000. But for someone who barely makes 10,000 or less a month, this 2500 would mean a lot to them.

So, please don’t pretend that all Indian women living in Delhi are so financially well off that they don’t care about saving that money. Secondly, safety is a larger picture, the elements of which are divided into a thousand smaller pieces.

Safety for women is NOT an ice cream that you GIVE women.

Because if that is the case, women suffer the most harassment and abuse in their own homes through their husbands, fathers, brothers, and relatives. Can we isolate all women from their families or place CCTVs inside their homes?

Women’s safety is a very large project and women RECLAIMING PUBLIC SPACES is a tiny element or a building block that would contribute to that larger picture. The key here is for women TO BE SEEN in public spaces, changes the age-old mindset of men that women must stay indoors or only travel at certain times a day.

You may not think it has any impact but research suggests otherwise. Just speak with Mumbaikers. Women in Mumbai may also face harassment in public from time to time but they travel at any time day or night and are not looked at weirdly because the working class women do travel and men have gotten used to the idea of seeing them in public spaces.

I cannot emphasize how important it is for women to BE SEEN IN PUBLIC SPACES, living their lives, doing their thing or just loitering.

4- This is only a political bait thrown by the AAP.

To people who say this, my question is “name one political party in India that has not offered some kind of pre-election treat to people?”

And if those pre-election promises are religious divisions and persecution of minorities, then I think AAP IS NOT ONLY RIGHT BUT also should be CELEBRATED for at least making the bait non-religious, and something that would help the working class women from economically backward society.

5- The metros will be overcrowded and uncomfortable and all sorts of poor people would make it ghetto.

This, of course, is an argument coming from an elitist or upper-middle-class person who wants equality and democracy only above their level, not below.

The people making the policy are not fools. Kejriwal explained how this has been budgeted and taking into account the daily commuters stats, there is not going to be overcrowding as is in Mumbai.

Yeah, the only thing is, wearing your expensive Gucci dress you might have to sit or stand next to a happy maid wearing a 200 Rupee saree, who just might be too busy to notice your fancy presence because her focus might be not on your Prada bag but her monthly wage.

So, if this pisses you off that a poor woman might make a living while you cannot call the metro fancy and a means that caters to rich people any more, then I would say- STAY PISSED, NO ONE CARES.

This is what all of it actually comes down to.

Women from poorer backgrounds might be able to travel far for economic opportunities and in general, the reclaiming of public spaces by women is GOOD and a welcome move.

Kejriwal has got this one thing right and may have a hundred more to go.

But at least its a good start.

Something is better than nothing.