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)

 

Advertisements

Reacting to ‘Faye D’Souza & Barkha Dutt speak on India’s Me Too movement | Times Lit Fest Delhi’

I loved watching Faye and Barkha, two of my favorite journalists, speaking about #MeToo in India. Tavleen had some rather weird ideas about the movement and was brave enough to say them out loud in public.

Until the end though, she didn’t seem convinced, so here I summed up the objections and answered them in the most straightforward way possible in two sentences or less. She didn’t seem to get it but here is another attempt.

Why do women not slap a man who tried to kiss her or go into a room with a man where he is in his underwear?

Many do, plenty don’t. Its called the ‘freeze’ reaction. It’s the Neurobiology of Trauma. 

We had to go through Sati and the likes. And you young women can’t stop a man from kissing you. Why?

Every generation has its own problems. We didn’t have to fight for voting rights, doesn’t mean we don’t value them and doesn’t mean our struggles are less important.

City women are hogging the space with their unimportant agendas and protests against sexual harassment when there are issues like sex trafficking that are more pressing and need more attention. Why not focus on them?

It’s like saying when there are diseases like cancer, why are you researching flu drugs? Stupidity is all.

Why didn’t they just kick M.J.Akbar, why not get him sacked, why become a victim and use the ‘victim card’?

When you aren’t believing them now in this advanced age, with years of experience and professional history to their credibility… would you and others have believed them back then? Plus, there was no technology.

‘#Me too’ only empowers the elite class?

First of all, every woman in every class of society has a role to play in women’s rights struggle. And secondly, why don’t Tavleen and the likes of her do something for the non-elite and lead by example? Just because one lives in an apartment doesn’t mean she has to lay the onus of cleaning up the filth on women’s rights on the most oppressed women. What logic is that? Each person can play a role and its got to start somewhere.

Men like women. What’s wrong with it?

Like whoever you want but treat them like humans- with respect and decency. Akbar employed women journalists with the hidden agenda to hit on them and take advantage of their fragile advancement. Here comes the faux feminist the suffragists had warned us about.

Why are not men included?

They are. Watch Terry Crew’s #MeToo speech. And guess what happens when men come forward with their stories and who supports them? It’s people like you who mock men and disbelieve that a man can be assaulted and its feminists who stand with those men and fight for their rights.

Why didn’t women speak earlier?

Many did. They lost their careers, lives, trust in humanity. Plenty didn’t because they saw what happened to those who did and didn’t want to deal with the consequences. Plus, if you don’t believe them now, you won’t believe them in the past. You’d have found another excuse to discredit them. Why Didn’t Tanushree Speak Earlier?

Why doesn’t #MeToo recognize the difference between groping and rape and treat them both differently?

When has anyone ever said that a rape convict should get the same punishment as that of a sexual assault convict? The boundaries of what’s a violation and what should or shouldn’t be included are arbitrary in the movement but one thing that’s for sure isn’t arbitrary is CONSENT. Being groped or violated in other ways physically has life-long damaging impacts on a person’s psyche. Why is their trauma not worth our attention?

Why media trials? Why not just go to the police?

Oh yes, because we know how prompt and efficient is the justice system in India. Besides, if the #metoo was not a movement and had the media not talked about this constantly, would big shots like MJ Akbar ever be taken down? Watch SPOTLIGHT film to know the true powers of investigative journalism.

We all have women like Tavleen in our lives who will do everything possible to tear down other women instead of simply being empathetic to survivors. And they are such exhausting people to deal with because no matter how much you try and explain, they will keep changing the goal post of their argument and never admit that they are causing so much harm.

Tavleen claimed to have sympathy for the 5-6-year-old poverty stricken rape survivor but guess what will happen when such girl would go to Tavleen and share her story? She’d say “where is the proof?“, “why didn’t you kick him and slap him?”, “why were you alone with him, where are your parents?”.

When you say victim blaming statements like these, all the women around you are internally thinking they can never trust you with their traumas. You just don’t deserve it.

Got a #MeToo Story? Here’s What To Do According To A Criminal Psychologist

#MeToo has been exploding in India lately and has already shaken some very solid foundations in Hollywood, academia, and journalism worldwide.

I have not met one woman in my entire life who has not faced some sort of sexual harassment in her life. These experiences worsen among women of color.

New advancements have been rising yet most of them are ineffective and unhelpful to the survivors of assault.

When it comes to sexual harassment reporting and suing, one of the major obstacles that can make or break your case is the reporting of the assault. Julia Shaw, a criminal psychologist in her TED Talk recently shared some life-saving information on the best way to report and take action after going through an assault incident. You can watch the talk here but in a jist, this is what you must do or in other words,

How to turn your memory into evidence:

Get into an isolated location and write these things down immediately even before talking to anyone because judgment and reactions can tamper or distort your memory.

1- Timing- write about the incident as soon as you possibly can.

2- Type- a handwritten note won’t have a date and time like a note on your phone or computer, that would later be crucial in your testimony. So use technology to your advantage. Make it time stamped.

3- Relevance- write down things most relevant to your case. It is easy to get distracted and write an emotional account of what happened because of course, it is an emotionally overwhelming experience. Yet, try to think of the most relevant details that can help your statement.

In other words, this is a list of things that your note would need (a screenshot from Julia’s TED Talk):

julia

Julia says just as easy it is to write it at that moment, it is incredibly easy to forget as time passes. Also because our brain is such it tries to block out the bad memories to survive. Hence, she introduced an ANONYMOUS ONLINE REPORTING SOFTWARE called SPOT!

Please check it out and introduce it to your workplace and try to get it integrated. If your employers are genuinely interested in taking a stand against sexual harassment, they will make good use of it.

We all think sexual harassment is never going to happen to us until it does. And I know how scary, confusing, humiliating and stressful it is to recall what happened and process it.

Yet, it is high time the perpetrators have been taking advantage of the silence of the less heard in the workplace and SPOT is a weapon that can help survivors deal with their pain a little better.

I hope it helps survivors and makes positive changes in organizations.

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.

we

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.

wee
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.

Vpy-9s.gif

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.

giphy-4.gif

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).

rerere

Can denying women’s conditions in India really help?

To treat cancer, one has to first admit that something in their body is not right. Then they go to a doctor. Based on the doctor’s reports, they might confirm that their body has cancerous cells, and then they discuss the course of treatment. It should be the same when it comes to women’s safety. However, Indians are too overwhelmed by ‘the glory’ of their country to admit that something is not right. So you can forget about going to experts to seek advice (the equivalent of going to a doctor in the case of cancer).

India is not an individual person but a nation among many others who share this common place called Earth. But ‘the doctor’, a.k.a the Thomson Reuters Foundation, went ahead and did the examination anyway and provided their diagnosis:

India ranked world’s most dangerous country for women.”

READ MORE ON YKA 

Orgasm ≠ Consent, Orgasm ≠ Consent, Orgasm ≠ Consent

This is something supreme courts judges, lawyers, police and almost everyone in the society gets wrong except for sex educators and scientists who study it:

No means no has proved to be rocket science for Indians.

Don’t know if I can blame those who think that because of the stupid messages we receive:

“Ladki ki naa me haan hoti hai (There is a yes hidden in a girl’s no)” or literally the song “kab tak ruthegi, chikhegi, chillaegi?” (Until when is she gonna get upset, scream and shout)

No wonder Indians, who are denied basic sex education, think weird things when it comes to physical intimacy with their partners. Despite sex being a taboo subject, our internet search history record for porn shows how desperate and horny our nation is most times.

Rapes and assault cases are prevalent like a nasty virus.

Should we blame the younger generation for displaying affection, expressing love and wanting to be together or do we blame the older generation for not providing safe spaces and proper sexual education to children so that they don’t have to put themselves in risky situations when they are vulnerable and just want to be loved?

Read more here.

Stop Blaming Poor Salman And Help Him: AN OPEN LETTER TO SALMAN KHAN

For all the people highly upset with Salman Khan for his recent remarks around comparing himself with a raped woman, let’s give him a break. I mean, the poor guy doesn’t know anything about it and probably can’t understand why you are all so upset with him. So here’s an open letter to Mr Salman Khan that you and I can forward to him and help the poor soul out. (in case some dumb people didn’t get, this was sarcasm).

Dear Mr Salman Khan,

Your recent remarks have created a media storm and brought you tremendous online wrath of concerned feminists from around the world. I feel for you. It’s not a nice place when you are hated for something you ‘just said‘, right?

Let me explain this to you bit by bit so you get why people are so upset with your raped woman remark.

You compared rape with a heavy weight workout or fight scenes. There is absolutely no similarity between the two and here’s why.

Imagine yourself peacefully  watching TV in the comfort of your own home. A person whom you trust, sits by you and you talk normally. Gradually this person overpowers you in some manner. Since you are a guy, imagine that the other guy is more powerful than you or has drugged you so you cannot control your limbs.

Now imagine this guy disrobe you while you just watch in shock and horror. With or without the drug, your limbs are frozen because you cannot believe that someone whom you trusted so much can do this to you. And while you continue watching, this person penetrates you and you lie powerless feeling betrayed and dirty.

Once this guy is done with you, he threatens you not to disclose this secret with anyone and even if you did, either he might harm you again or make sure no one believes you.

How does that feel now? 

I’m sure there are no bruises! No visible cuts or marks on your physcial body.

Does this scenario feel like practicing fight scenes for a film to you???

When you do practice for a film scene and finally shoot and release that film scene into the world; does the world give you fame, wealth and respect for your work? What does a raped woman get when she discloses her ordeal to the police, the court and the society?

Does she make boat loads of money like you do?

Is she respected like a hero or shamed and blamed for what happened with her?

The reason why people are upset with you is because the irreversible psychological trauma that a rape victim goes through is so deep and painful and you just compared it with a few fight practice scenes in a moive!!!

May be you feel like rape is only physical hence the remark. But you and all your followers have no idea, you are completely oblivious to the mental shock and horror that the victim has to go through.

Hence marital rape in India is considered trivial and a non criminal act. Because people like you think that if once someone has intercourse, and when they are married, why would that make any difference. But rape is a psychological violation more than a physical violation. The bruises carved deep in the minds of victims are not seen by you and your followers and I can only hope that you at least try.

I urge you to recognise this and invite you to be a student of women’s issues. You have a mother and sister at home. It’s not like you are out of touch with women and do not know what their lives are like. Take deeper interest and ask them questions. Learn from them and other smarter women about what it’s like to be a woman in the Indian society and specially what it’s like to have your psychological and physical integrity violated by someone.

Being human is about caring for all humans; not just men. Rape victims are humans too. Respect them at least if you cannot do anything else for them.

Peace,

Shahla

My Eyes Are Up Here: A Special Message For My Special Subscribers

Hello lovely blog friends,

I apologise for not being very regular with my posts this year as Im currently spending most of my time on my PhD but there’s some awesome stuff coming up, so hold your horses.

I’ve compiled a book called My Eyes Are Up Here- How Tough Women Handle Jerks!

It has real stories of amazingly brave women handling everyday sexism and oppression at work places and homes.

I’m opening up the platform for YOUUUU , MY LOVELY READERS…

eyesuphere.jpg

I follow most of you all and you all have such amazing stories to share, your ups and downs, the brave ways you live your life and I want my book to be a global, loud voice for us all.

Hence, this is a formal invitation to share your story with the world.

All you need to do is :

1- Send in your story in 500 – 2000 words by 30th April 2016.

2- Decide whether you want to have it published in your own name or as anonymous.

3- Send it to my personal email khanlondon2012@gmail.com

That’s all and you’ll be published in the extremely awaited book of 2016!

Please ask if you have any questions.

Love you all,

Shahla xoxo

17 Great Reasons Why You Should Come Out As A Feminist in 2016

Feminism is about EQUALITY of all humankind, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, age, ethnic origin and income, KEEPING in mind that minorities and some genders have been prone to more oppression and unequal treatment than the others.

It’s important to note the last point because this is the most usual and actually lame argument of a non-feminist person; “why are you not a humanist or equalist?”

Anyway, this post is about reasons why you must come out as a proud and bold feminist if you’ve been thinking about it for a while now and don’t have enough arguments to be convinced. So here it goes:

1- On a global scale, out of 1,000 people, 504 are men (50.4%) and 496 are women (49.6%). Wouldn’t it be stupid to hold almost half of the world back just because they come with eggs and ovaries?

1

2- Out of this 49.6% of women, on a global scale, women don’t earn anywhere near what men earn at the same level. (I’m not quoting the exact numbers because this inequality differs from country to country and industry to industry. For example, women in the third world countries face a lot more inequality than those in the first world because of orthodox and outdated traditions).

2

3- In every single country on the planet, from little foetuses to grown elderly women, females are raped, beaten up, murdered, assaulted and threatened, merely for being women. In India alone, millions of female fetuses are killed plainly because – it’s a girl!

3

4- And where women are raped and assaulted, most of the times, they get punished, abandoned and further hated by their own family members instead of sympathy and support.

Wouldn't it be stupid to hold almost half of the world back just because they come with eggs and ovaries-

5- Because you may be a woman or in someway related to one. What happens with women on this planet IS YOUR BUSINESS! It directly or indirectly has an impact on our world, our society and the way things are.

4

6- Because women are highly objectified in the media, merely for sexual imagery and male gaze instead of their talent or contributions. Pick up any magazine and you’ll find a male celebrity in a suit and a female in bikini or just plain nude.

5

7- Because women are still BLAMED for rape and assault despite several law, science and pscyhology research proving that rape is a crime and a criminal must be punished for it, not the victim. There’s no such thing as ‘she was asking for it’ because even dead women within graves and babies in hospitals are raped. No one ever asks for it.

notaskingforit

8- Because while we proudly teach our daughters to be bossy and dominating like our sons, we don’t teach our sons to be sensitive and caring like our daughters. Yeah; like its such a bad thing for a man to be caring and sensitive…Isn’t that what every single woman finds the sexist in a man?

6

9- Because it’s way more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in a war torn country.

7

10- Because it’s high time we stop excusing men’s behaviour as ‘BOYS WILL BE BOYS’. If men are so weak in controlling their actions and their judgment can be easily manipulated, then they must all be banned from every single parliament around the world and every single board position.

8

11- Because it’s easier to be hated and ridiculed by your friends and family when you point out that rape jokes or jokes that demean women are not funny.

9

12- Because girls are constantly pressured by media and society to objectify their bodies and held to impossible beauty standards while at the sametime being labelled as sluts and fake for using make up.

10

13- Because academic fields like STEM, law, finance and several others actively discourage women students by propogating false beliefs such as ‘girls can’t do maths’, despite Maryam Mirzakhani. (Mic drop)

maryam_(1)

14- Because the world needs more people that can understand the struggles and oppression that patriarchy causes against men, women and the whole society.

12

16. Because FEMINISM IS A BY PRODUCT OF PATRIARCHY. If patriarchy wouldn’t exist, so wouldn’t feminism.

13

17. Because  Justin Trudeau!

14

So, there are actually a million reasons why now, more than ever, you must begin speaking up when you hear jokes that demean women, whether it is online or offline, begin treating ALL women with respect not just because you’re related to them and apart from women, LGBTQ and all people every where need love and respect…

But most of all-

If you’re not part of the solution, you ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM.

Merely blaming the government and the rapists is NOT enough. If YOU care about it, open your mouth and let your voice be heard; even if the scenario is on a silly WHATSAPP group.

Best wishes and peace,

Shahla

XOXO