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.

5

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.

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 🙂

In a Country Where Religious Fundamentalism Encourages Men to Rape Minorities is Quitting Bollywood Over Religion That Big of a Deal That it is a Topic of National Outrage?

The Unnecessary And Stupid Outpour Over Zaira’s Retiring from Bollywood Shows How Much India Loves Hating Women.

I seriously just hate to write this post because this is soooooooooooooooooo lame that I have read so much unnecessary outpour that now I am forced to write this as an intellectual and a Muslim Feminist.

Just look at how many comments have these posts drawn:

IMG_6840

And look what matured senior people from Bollywood like Raveena Tandon and Anupam Kher have said:

IMG_6836

revina

IMG_6834.PNG

IMG_6833.PNG

 

 

 

So, is it right to hate Zaira over her decision to quit Bollywood?

Abso-freakin-lutely NOT!

She is going back to or being forced to go back to regressive Islamic tradition.

She never said so.

She is supposed to be an icon of women empowerment. By quitting over religion, isn’t she harming the cause of women empowerment?

No. She has been an icon, yes, but in a nation where thousands of parliamentarians have RAPE cases against them, we cannot put the responsibility of empowering the entire womenkind on one 18-year-old girl.

giphy

Also, who says she cannot empower women by doing something else? Can’t she be a doctor, a social worker or whatever else and still continue to empower women?

But the RELIGION interfering with her Bollywood career is a sign of regressive thinking?

NO. Please bother to read her post and understand that she has talked in her post about the ‘spirituality’ of Islam. She mentions her about her ‘iman’ and peace. Who knows maybe being in the limelight at such a tender age, getting all this attention and success, taught her something about the importance of other values or the lack of some sort of peace that she misses because of the attention. She has already achieved plenty by the age of 18 that most people strive for until their 60s. Therefore her maturity about her career should be given due respect too.

Or let’s call it being stupid. So what? When you and I were 18, haven’t we ever made any stupid decisions? She has her whole life ahead of her. Maybe someday she will realize that she enjoyed acting more than other things and she may come back to it. Whatever the case may be, it is absolutely her prerogative to decide.

Would you say the same if a Hindu girl quit Bollywood?

My argument is not based on specifics of a religion but the independence to chose for herself. So it would be the same, regardless of what the religion may be.

So, after quitting Bollywood, would Zaira be the best Muslim, an icon for piety?

Absolutely not! Allah alone can judge people and to be a good Muslim is to be a good human being. Me or you or Zaira have to practice compassion and kindness in our actions, which can be practiced as a poor person and as a wealthy successful Bollywood actress as well.

Those Muslims who are praising her for somehow practicing modesty or ‘being meek to patriarchy’ PLEASE STOP. Don’t make this about your belief that women must stay indoors to be respected. By saying things like that you are demeaning the entire womenkind and the Muslim community as a whole.

She could have faded away simply but why did she make this public announcement?

In an era where people are literally sharing information about what they had for breakfast, you want to blame an 18-year-old girl for sharing a major life decision?

Plus, her decision was a simple Facebook post, not a press conference or a media interview that it drew so much undue attention. Her intention may have been to announce her decision to people who are close to her or who follow her or even those write cinema news. Whatever, but seems like she wanted to let people know that she didn’t become invisible because she was bad at her job or wasn’t getting any offers. She is the one to quit despite being an award-winning actress.

Would you quit a job and let your friends or family think that you were fired or simply unemployable? Of course not. You would want them to know it was your decision.

Her bringing Islam into her decision reflects that she is trying to be a good Muslim which begs to ask if other Muslim actors in Bollywood are bad Muslims?

First of all, no, she did not say anything about other Muslims in Bollywood.

Second of all, I don’t think Bollywood would be the same without Muslim artists. From Dilip Sahab to Shahrukh Khan, from Nargis to Huma Qureshi, Bollywood is an epitome of religious diversity. Being a good Muslim or a bad Muslim means nothing if one is not a good HUMAN BEING.

Each human being interprets and practices religion in their own way and the Holy Quran allows that. The Quran and all the Hadith and Sunnah lay out a ‘way of life’ for its followers in order to live peacefully and have virtues like compassion and patience in times of distress.

The primary line that most extremists would conveniently forget is ‘there is NO COMPULSION IN ISLAM’. None of the prayers or anything matter if you do it out of compulsion rather than free will and love for God.

Also, this line was written because times go by and today the Quran is a book from another century. Times change and so have the meanings and interpretations. For instance, there is mention of treating your ‘slaves’ in a just manner, several times. But in this century, slavery is illegal. So, as common sense would suggest, the rule would apply to any person working under you or anyone from a poorer income/background.

Whether art does not mix with Islam, is an old debate that has been going on for centuries because it serves the extremists. It helps them create fear and hatred.

The reasons Zaira quoted though are more spiritual, rather than fundamentalist.

But let’s assume for a moment that they are fundamentalist, so what? In a nation where fundamentalists, religious extremists literally murder minorities in the name of so-called ‘god’, should our focus really be on a teenage kid quitting Bollywood?

If Sania Mirza wearing skirts for her matches is not wrong in my eyes, if thousands of Muslim artists working in Coke Studio are not bad Muslims to me, certainly one little teenage Zaira choosing NOT to be in Bollywood does not make her a target for outrage. My Feminism won’t be INCLUSIVE and INTERSECTIONAL if I did not respect Zaira’s choices.

The maturity that I acquired by being a Feminist is that I would respect people and their life choices, even if I would not choose that for myself.

For example, prostitution.

I personally would not do sex work. But that does not mean I can disrespect or look down upon those who do or mock some woman on the corner of the street for doing so. I would rather go my own way or if I feel weird, I might bother to ask if she was a victim of human trafficking, if she needed any help from me etc.

But what I would never do is call her names, mock her or feel superior because this is life and no one knows when tables might turn.

I have therefore learned to RESPECT people who are making their life decisions which I may not personally make for myself and having the maturity of giving them time and space to deal with their shit in their own ways.

So, FFS, chill and leave Zaira to discover her own life and her own path and find a better reason for your outrage.

 

 

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.

beb5b7776c7b3b75-372c30-150j

insta_1_052819054147

lk

mimo-999x570.png

nj

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.

 

Believe them~believe them not-why fans are finding it impossible to believe #LeavingNeverland & MJs victims of Child Sexual Abuse

Michael Jackson is no more. His legacy lives on, both negative and positive.

#LeavingNeverland is a chilling documentary that has been talked about since its first release in Sundance Film Festival.

And since then, there have been protests of all kinds and people have expressed very strong emotions about Jackson and their love for him.

I personally have been biased towards Michael, I want to admit it openly today.

I was a teenager myself when all this stuff about Michael abusing children first made the news. I purposely avoided watching this. The very thought of my favorite pop star being a child molester was so hurtful that I did not want to confront it. What if it turned out to be true? My memories would be ruined forever, memories of my childhood listening to his songs, dancing to his tunes. All of that would be overshadowed with filth and fear, hence I stayed away from any such news and did not even give the survivors a chance to be heard. It was convenient for me this way.

mj

Years passed by and I had been molested multiple times during these years. I had PTSD, learned how to make sense of trauma, read books, met victims of assaults, wrote books on the subject and counseled several survivors myself.

At this stage, when I first saw Leaving Neverland making the news, I did not ignore it like I did in my teenage years. I decided to give it a fair chance. It is still hurtful and I am aware that it would still ruin my memories and all those songs I loved growing up would now have to be deleted cause they would only remind me of the survivors. But still, I decided to watch it on TV when it was aired in the UK, two nights ago.

From the very beginning, not for one second, I felt that the survivors were lying. From their descriptions of how they were totally in awe of MJ, to the point where they had Stockholm syndrome and defended him, it was all familiar and in fact, hit too close to home.

My best friend who is also a huge fan of MJ, her and I have been sharing our views about this whole issue and she has been adamant on MJ’s innocence. And no matter what the survivors say, her end remark is just one “MJ is dead now so you can say whatever you want”.

I suppose many fans of MJ would say the same. But here is the thing: yes he died, which means this is not about MJ, this is not about revenge, not about getting even or anything else at all.

This is about the survivors. About their unburdening themselves, about the charming power and influence of a superstar that blinded the parents of a kid.

Child sexual abuse is extremely complicated and I think that is the lesson we need to learn from all of this. It is not as simple as a binary ‘go tell someone’ as people think it is. The depth of this manipulation is so intense that not only you don’t realize you have been abused, you, in fact, think of yourself as a special, gifted person because the molester makes you think that.

And you can only see the abuse for what it is when you see it happening to someone else or imagine it might happen to someone you love.

Like in the case of these two young men. When they had their own sons, their life went down a spiral. As their own children grew closer to that age, they began to have nightmares about MJ doing all that sexual stuff to their own boys.

And this is how things got so bad, they went to therapy and finally made sense of what happened to them. They could then admit it to themselves that they had been abused.

Fans all over social media are arguing whether or not to believe the survivors. To me, there is not a single ounce of doubt that these two young men would be liars. People don’t just wake up one morning and decide to accuse the pop God MICHAEL JACKSON of sexual abuse because it is so much fun to be on the receiving end of all this hatred and trolling from his fans, right?

The mothers of these boys blame themselves and they have to live their entire lives with this guilt that they were not able to protect their children when they needed them most.

The wives of these men, their own children, so many lives have been affected by this. And these are just two. We don’t even know how many others were there who never came out and who still might be suffering in silence.

And when the world is going ballistic against these two men, guess who is standing by them? The feminist! The same people who you accuse of hating men.

Whether you choose to believe these two men or not, it is your choice but remember that every time you chose not to believe a survivor of sexual assault; a woman or a child around you suffers in silence knowing that you won’t believe their story either.

You may have your own idea of what a ‘perfect victim’ looks like or talks like. Just like you have an image of the perfect pedophile or the perfect rapist. But the truth of the matter is that rapists and molesters don’t look like monsters, they look absolutely normal as any other human. And victims also don’t have to have any special skills or characteristics, they are just usual, regular people with human flaws, who trust easy and share their vulnerabilities with us.

The only and only and only reason why someone would not believe these men after watching this documentary is that they are giving MJ the benefit of doubt and they are blinded by the star power of a super talented artist and fail to see the human with flaws that he was like all other humans.

 

We Need To Talk About Men’s Entitlement to Women’s Explicit Photos & Videos

“A recent study has shown just how common it is for teen boys to coerce or threaten girls into sending nude pictures: an analysis of 500 accounts from 12- to 18-year-old girls about negative experiences sexting found that two-thirds of them had been asked to provide explicit images — and that the requests often progressed from promises of affection to “anger displays, harassment and threats.” In an article about the study for The New York Times, psychologist Lisa Damour writes, “Teenagers are drafted into a sexual culture that rests on a harmful premise: on the heterosexual field, boys typically play offense and girls play defense… Most schools and many parents already tell teenagers not to send sexualized selfies. But why don’t we also tell adolescents to stop asking for nude photos from one another?”

‘Send Nudes’- A New Study Shows How Often Boys Pressure Girls For Explicit Photos

While I was ending school, personal mobile phones were becoming common and home video cameras were still a luxury for some but gaining a place in society slowly.

As the use of technology grew, so did the pressure from men. Sometimes this would be for sending explicit pictures, sometimes to do video chats in skimpy clothing and other times just sex chat with explicit language.

I always had reservations and never, ever gave in to such pressure simply because I am a shy person and never felt that the pressure and threats from the man in question were a reason enough for me to withdraw my personal boundaries. In fact, I blew off several guys who were pretending to be ‘friends’ but turned out were just perverts that today we call ‘fuck boys’.

Years passed and now I am in my early 30s.

But guess what?

The pressure from men has not gone down.

Recently, I was catching up after 10 years with a guy friend who I had never met but had text and Skype conversations with at times. This guy had revealed his liking for me in the past and asked if I would consider marrying him.

Considering that I am still single and have no plans to tie the knot, you can imagine how ridiculous the idea of marriage was to me back then.

Anyway, he got married and now has 2 young daughters about 6 and below, the pictures of whom he often shares on his timeline.

Catching up with him after 10 years on FB Messenger was a delight. I thought it would be good to know how life has treated him and exchange some grown-up talks on a lazy evening.

Unfortunately, he had different ideas.

For him, the conversation was about how awful his wife was despite working as a teacher and looking after the household chores entirely alone. And then it came down to turning the video camera on and posing.

I agreed to talk on a WhatsApp call after a ton of please..please and begging.

And while we talked he was worried that if he wanted to talk the next day, would I still take his call. Actually, his wife was visiting her parents for a few days and he wanted to make the most of his time by flirting with women.

The next day when he called, I was in the bathtub and when he began pushing for the camera, I told him I cannot and knowing about the bathtub his pervert inner self just jumped out of his balls and he began pushing madly to turn the camera on.

The guy is blocked till eternity so that was the end of that. But did it really have to go like that?

136eece4ebb03f5a11ae0d7fc26cfa04.gif

Why do men feel it is OK to bluntly ask women to send nudes or sext or come on video and worse, why do they handle the rejection so bad?

The article I talked about in the beginning was about teenagers but even as grown-ups, that entitlement from men does not stop, does it?

And I have no words for the manipulation they try to trap you in when you say NO.

They will appear all sad and try to make you feel sorry and pity for them.

Then they will try anger and the ‘I won’t talk to you either’ threats.

And ultimately when they go out of patience, they even abuse and say all sorts of curses because they did not get their way.

We are talking about teenage men but grown-up men, father of two young daughters… when they have no respect for boundaries and exploit every second the wife is away to flirt and fuck with other women, what can we expect them to teach the younger generation of men?

 

 

3 Things Men Must Learn From Liam Neeson’s Rape-Revenge Fantasy and Racism Row

I’m sure you may have come across this news about Hollywood actor Liam Neeson’s comment on a movie junket about this deep revenge urge.

Basically,  a friend of his who was raped about 40 years ago had confided in him and Liam talked about his reaction to the news.

And his reaction had 3 major points:

1-The urge to lash out
2-The need to defend her honor
3-The desire for revenge

Before we go ballistic on him criticizing him, calling him a racist, let’s focus on the fact that Liam was not ‘caught’ being racist. He in fact admitted to having this hatred that he felt. There are 3 things to note:

1- Admitting the fact that this happened
2- Willingness to change and learn (still continues)
3- Sought help after

Trevor Noah has the most logical take on this issue which summed up to: people have taken it more seriously than they should because it’s Liam Neeson. Also, Liam going around saying he’s not a racist is just making it worst.
Of course, it was racism, hatred against the entire community for the crime of one.
Muslims would secretly be muttering “been there, felt that”!

5eGS.gif

But the point here is that aside from the race aspect, the most important thing is absolutely undiscussed.
What help did he offer to that friend?
Did she visit the doctor?
Did she get the appropriate help from the police if she reported?
Could she report it?
What was it /would have been the consequences of openly admitting to being a rape victim?
How did his Catholic community treat rape victims and what help was provided?

Just like this incident, a million movies are made where the rape of a woman is used merely as a plot point that unleashed the wrath of the powerful male protagonist and women are reduced to mere props and eye candy.

What men need to learn from this incident is that this is NOT ABOUT THEIR REVENGE THEIR FEELINGS, THEIR HONOR OR THEIR WOMEN.

1gfl.gif
It’s about the woman in question and for once in your lifetime just please take the backseat and ask what does she want. How she feels. What could you do to help?

Don’t make it impossible for her to share her pain with you because she may already be feeling guilty (as society does a very good job of blaming women for rape) , upon that when you lay the burden of a revenge murder or revenge rape on her, she may take her secret to the grave but never share it with you as she may fear you going to prison and that would also be somehow upon her.

Does that make any sense at all, guys?

What Liam did well was:
Admitting his act
Talking about bigotry
Urging to have difficult discussions on race and toxic masculinity
Willing to learn and look for the teachable moment

The 3 things you should thus learn from this incident are:

1- When a woman confesses her pain to you, keep your savior/knight in shining armor cape aside and just be there for her, empathize with her.

2- After listening, ask what she wants, what is her wish, how does she want to deal with it. Don’t force her to tell the police or family and neither force her to hide. Let her take the wheel of her life and let her decide what she feels is best for her.

3- Don’t lash out to hurt other people in order to take some sort of ‘revenge’. Not against the people of that race/religion and not against the women of the rapists family either.

I had a friend who once confessed to her husband about her rape incident and the husband was insistent that he will have revenge by raping the sister of the rapist.

Ultimately, it is an innocent woman who will suffer the consequences of a man’s actions. Please don’t fulfill your rape fantasies and justify them as ‘revenge’ for the pain caused to your wife/girlfriend.

Yes, it is awful to see your friend or wife as a victim of rape, traumatic even.

But remember you are not the primary victim here. Try to be there for the rape victim who actually suffered that trauma instead of acting out in a way that is the opposite of helpful.

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.