3 Reasons The Bhilai Gangrape Victim Committed Suicide And Many More Will

In case you didn’t see in the news, a victim of gangrape from Bhilai has committed suicide after constantly being tortured and denied justice by our great Indian Legal Justice system.

You can read the whole story here but in short this is what happened:

This poor girl was gangraped by a doctor and two police constables and was harassed post rape. They blackmailed her saying they had made a video of hers while she was drugged in the hospital and after being constantly failed at her court hearings (guess what- the judge was absent in all five of them) and being discouraged by her lawyer, she finally ended her struggle and left behind a suicide note that says at least now people won’t call her a prostitute. 

No one in the world can imagine her pains and pangs of her trials that led her to end her life. Most people will judge her and immediately say blunt things like “only cowards suicide” or ” she should have fought for justice” bla bla bla.

But the truth is, no one commits suicide for fun. Here are 3 reasons why I believe she committed suicide and I request you to honour those reasons too.

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1- Double PTSD

Rape itself is an extremely traumatic event whether or not it involves physcial injury. Research says that different victims have different reactions to rape. The most common one that the society expects a victim to have is to cry and isolate herself from the world. Though it happens but not always. Many victims do not cry much. Many are in shock. They have a cold, frozen face and they disassociate themselves from the reality. Several other things happen that are summed up by medical professionals as the PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

In a Indian society though, one PTSD is NOT enough. The victim is forced to shove another dose of PTSD down her throat by the society that taunts her. It takes a long time and therapy and support usually for a victim to come out of the first trauma. But when the people around do not let you come out of it, you’re in for a double dose.But why does that happen, don’t we all have sympathy for rape victims now? That brings me to my second point.

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2- Condemning Rape For The Wrong Reasons

Can there be wrong reasons for condemning rape? Yes, most certainly. Indians condemn rape because it is an act of taking away a woman’s honor or dignity. The phrase ‘izzat lootna‘ literally translates to ‘looting or robbing one’s honor’. 

The act itself is hateful but believing that a woman’s honor can be taken away by a jerk and after the rape her honor is lost forever is ridiculous and outright caveman thinking. If anything, the rapist looses his honor for doing such a henious crime.

Rape is wrong because it’s inhuman ; that’s reason enough. Adding all this useless baggage of honor and dignity only increases the trauma of the victim and makes a mountain of an already big cancerous mole. By hating rape for the wrong reason, you’re NOT helping the victim in anyway.

3- Hypocrisy of Indians

Being an Indian myself, I cringe at comments and rape jokes from friends and family. No matter how much you explain, people plainly refuse to see the connection between all the misogynistic comedy, the sexist attitudes and the oppressive cultural practices they follow blindly. When they see a rape news, they would all abuse the system, sympathize with the dead victim and feel sorry for her family. But when it comes down to taking action, NO ONE even sees the need to react.

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Whatsapp groups are filled with rape jokes. How difficult is it to realize that rape isn’t funny. But people- including women, share and laugh like it’s so normal.

This so called funny act from Comedy Circus featuring superstar Govinda as judge for example-

One guy cries and says “my girl friend’s honor has been looted”.(rape)

Police constable replies “you must take revenge”.

Guy responds “I’m blind, I’m thinking of rather taking PAYMENT”. 

Watch the clip here from 5:25 to 5:45. The title of the video says BEST OF KRISHNA AND SUDESH! Ya, this is the best we can expect from Indian men, right?

The noteworthy thing is that this video has more than 3 MILLION Views, more than 3100 thumbs up and 159 comments, NONE of which got offended by those lines…???????????

And you’re telling me these people have sympathy for rape victims? Or this society has any support or place for a victim to survive?

No wonder she committed suicide and I wouldn’t be surprised if every one of them did because that is the kind of environment they are forced to live in.

We can put rapists in jail but what punishment is there for the society that perpetuates rape? That laughs at such disgusting and offensive jokes about the most chilling crime that can be done? 

Hence that poor victim from Bhilai wrote in her letter that now they won’t call me a prostitute. Imagine the extent to which women are forced to go to prove their innosence and that’s how men see the act of rape- something that can be compensated like a commercial transaction?

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These 3 million people who laughed and moved on- what if their moms had been through rape, would they ask the rapist for payment?

Why can’t their bodies tremble and fists tighten when it comes to other women? Are other women not human? Why should a female be related to you and only then you would feel sympathy for her?

Unless we begin seeing each and every female as human first, there is no shock if more victims keep ending their lives.

If you want to do them a favor- PLEASE STOP LAUGHING AT RAPE JOKES AND TAKE A STAND WHEREVER POSSIBLE, TO RAISE YOUR VOICES AGAINST SUCH CRIMES. 

May her soul rest in peace.

Peace and love,

Shahla

 

 

 

 

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I Quit Wedding! A Call to Civil Disobedience by Single Indians to Criminalize Marital Rape in India

Marital Rape in India is NOT a criminal offense according to the Indian Penal Court.

I, as an Indian woman DO NOT want to get married at all if my constitution does NOT protect my rights as a wife.  I urge other single Indians to quit weddings until marital rape is criminalised in India.

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WHAT WOULD THAT DO?

It is estimated that over 15 million weddings take place in India every year. That makes the profits estimated to be a staggering 25.5 billion USD or Rs 1,42,596 crore– the economy of a small country and this is growing at the explosive rate of 25% per year. The average budget of an Indian wedding is around Rs 19.01 lakh. This doesn’t include cash and valuables given as dowry.

Imagine what would happen if just for one year this sweet contribution to the Indian budget stops or lowers significantly?

Imagine how much population control would that bring about?

Imagine the far reaching consequences of this CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE MOVEMENT!

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WHY SHOULD MEN QUIT WEDDINGS TOO?

Indian men are the first FEIMNISTS OF INDIA. The movement of feminism and fight for women’s rights around the world was fought by women but since Indian woman were always oppressed under patriarchal norms, it was MEN who began the fight. This wasn’t because these men were agaisnt their fellow gender bros. It was simply because it was humanity agaisnt crimes.

It is obvious to consider that while women are at the recieving end of this civil disobedience movement, what’s in it for men. I believe that men equally suffer from crimes such as rape. Speaking of Nirbhaya incident, her male friend who was with her and her loving father are secondary victims of the rape-murder brutality. It is silly to consider rape criminailzation agaisnt men because it is NOT. It is against crimes and only those men would oppose it who consider it their right to subjugate women in their marital relationship.

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Any decent man would want his wife to feel comfortable and loved around him. Frankly speaking, only jerks need to force themselves on their wives because normal guys are desired by their partners and they exchange love NOT rape.

Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary, a Home Affairs minister, said in a written statement to India’s upper house of Parliament that marital rape could not be criminalized in India due to several institutional factors and that these factors include the “level of education, illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values and religious beliefs” in India.

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Mr Chaudhary, has an M.COM degree and he has worked as an agriculturist and a busniessman, according to Wikipedia. Has two sons and a daughter.

I wonder if having an M.COM or MBA or experience in farming does actually make someone qualified enough to understand anything about abuse, trauma, social services, women’s issues or anything remotely close to justice, equality and human rights.

Neither the level of education, poverty, nor the myriad social customs and religious beliefs can make a human right violation justifiable.

IF YOU THINK MARITAL RAPE IS NOTHING CRIMINAL?

Sadly, there are people who fail to see why a man and woman who normally live together, sleep together and may be even have children together can call any event ‘rape’. The difference between both is CONSENT. People ask whether this has any damages at all on the wife because a rape where the offender is a stanger, it is hard for the victim. On the other hand the rapist being the victims husband would make things easier, simpler because of the pre existing relationship.

I would like to clarify here that firstly, there is NO competition between the victims of both rape cases. Secondly, as psychology dictates, in a stanger rape case, the victim has a chance to move on and forget about her troubles if she is physically unhurt. This usually takes years of therapy and healing but there is a way out and many victims have successfully overcome their trauma.All victims have different reactions to the trauma and there is no one size fits all therapy for all rape survivors. In case of a marital rape however, the victim has to see the jerks face day and night, feel threatened every second and remain under constant depression,anxiety and other mental disorders due to the relationship.

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Please note that there is an extreme violation of trust here that we are talking about. I recently conducted a survey where out of 100, 2 women said they would ever report if their husbands raped them! This is simply because women are moulded like that in our culture- the famous Saas bhi kabhi Bahu thi icons of Indian daily soaps…PARVATI…the living embodiment of sacrifice… Indian women are programmed to be forgiving and obedient.

However, this doesn’t excuse the Indian Constitution to not mandate a LAW in place just in case a woman decides to NOT take this abuse anymore.

WILL LAW END MARITAL AND OTHER FORMS OF RAPE IN INDIA?

Sadly NO. Law can only help citizens when they ‘ask for help’. This doesn’t reduce the importance of the law being there but it simply means there are more things we need to do.

Engaging men at grassroot level is the first step towards ending rape culture. If young boys are raised to believe that wives are human toys made for their disposal; there can never be a change in the system. Similarly if young girls are raised to see their existence as nothing else but a prop in the SASURAL,  a thing of assistance for their husband and children…. NOW LAW CAN EVER raise the standards of women’s human rights in India.

Media must also take responsibility for over sexualization of women while body shaming and color shaming the average Indian woman. Parents need to commit to change. Probably need to lessen their grip on their children’s lives and allow them freedom to choose their careers and their partners. The oppression just has to end before the country breaks down totally. Law is a piece, an important piece in the puzzle.

WHY THE EXCUSE OF SOCIAL CUSTOMS IS LAME AND USELESS?

India has committed and signed the charter of UN on the Elimination of all forms of violence agaisnt women and India has to keep up its promise.

Sati system and Devadasi practices were also the so-called SOCIAL CUSTOMS of India. Nevertheless there came a time when it had to stop. This could never have happened if a few thoughtful Indians wouldn’t have dared to point out the brutality of such practices.

I personally feel that marriage is as holy or sacred as you think AND as mechanical and materialistic as you play it. According to the tons of money spent on Indian weddings, clearly its more of a mechanical exchange because most of our households do not allow courtship and the ‘getting to know each other’ thing.

If marriages are so sacred, I urge the Indian Government to incarcerate every wedding organizer who has organized a wedding outside a temple-church-mosque and denounce any exchange of dowry.

WHY THEY DON’T CRIMINALIZE MARITAL RAPE?- THE TRUTH

That’s because criminalizing marital rape will bring out the ugliness of Indian arranged marriage system…

In fact, Indian marriages being ‘arranged’ is the only reason why marital rape is not being criminalized in India. Let me explain why.

Most weddings are without the girls consent. To get a girls consent is to allow her freedom to know her choices, discover her options and then be in a totally non-forceful position to decide whether she wants to get married or not. Our culture on the other hand specifies a photoshopped photo exchange between the parents who also decide what will be the dowry depending on the financial stability of the groom. Beauty is exchanged for money and gifts. HENCE THE GREAT INDIAN WEDDING!

Now think about consent. If there was no explicit consent to the wedding, how can there be consent for intercourse? There is NO such thing as implied consent. Just because I married her, just because I paid for the wedding, just because I signed a contract, just because she is sitting on my bed in a wedding gown are NO signs or signals of CONSENT.

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Unless both parties mutually agree to engage in any form of activity, its not consent.

Criminalizing marital rape in India will shake the foundations of that centuries old-rotten-sick-oppressive-arranged marriage system of India. So ofcourse its OK for women to be raped by their husbands but its NOT OK for the centuries old beliefs to be kicked in the crotch.

When Indian youth are publically ridiculed for dating or hanging out on Valentines Day, why would they allow freedom to choose your spouse or to fall in love with ‘your kind of person’ and only then get married. Of course they wont.

So, here’s the thing: Its NOW or NEVER!

Indian youth has the power to nudge age old systems of oppressing love and freedom of choice. Indian youth can allow their women to stay in rotten marriages with rapist husbands or stand up for happy healthy relationships where men are desired by women equally.

I AM DOING MY PART BY NOT PARTICIPATING IN ANY WEDDING ACTIVITY UNTIL MARRIAGE IS SAFE ENOUGH FOR ME AND MY RIGHTS AS AN INDIAN WIFE ARE PROTECTED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA.

What will you do? 

Please respond if you  dare to participate in the second CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE MOVEMENT OF INDIA where the oppressors are not foreigners but old beliefs and patriarchy.

No matter how small, you can make a difference.

Demand your right as a woman to be protected whether or not you choose a husband.

Demand your right as a man to make this nation safe for your fellow citizens.

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Every drop counts to make an ocean.

What is the Similarity between India’s Daughter and The Stoning of Soraya M.?

If you don’t know already, The Stoning of Soraya M is a film based on a true story by Director Cyrus Nowrasteh.

You can watch it on YouTube if you haven’t seen it already. The stoning scene, I was guessing would be a blank light and then they might show a dead body. But unlike my imagination, the scene was pretty graphic with each stone filmed clearly. I cried, yes and after a little while I could not watch. The Dailymail informed that the film got banned in Iran. Why, you ask? The simple reason why India’s Daughter got banned in India! Cause the truth is sour!!!

Watching the movie I just wondered what was the last injustice I complained about. Oh yes, my GP is not giving me a letter to certify that I am unable to travel simply because they are lazy and everytime I complain, they come up with an excuse.

Speaking particularly of women’s rights, when I speak of it, I am frowned upon by many people I personally know. To be honest, they don’t want to know how violent and unfair the society is against women. If it is a film about a woman who is a great wife or a sex object, it’s all good. My family would watch it. But if it is a movie about an injustice against a woman or the struggles of a prostitue, the channel will be instantly changed. That’s how I was grown up and all my friends.

We are girls of a middle class family growing up in a country that is not in the middle of war so lets just forget or simply deny to admit that women are still oppressed. Our only ambotion in life is to learn how to cook and study just enough to get a rich guy interested to marry us. Thats it. Stories about violence and specially those like Soraya’s are mood killer for people and they must rather be left for Amnesty international to worry about.

Well, I choose to talk about it. As a Muslim woman, I hear similar things that were mentioned in the movie although India being a secular nation, stoning isn’t a common practice. However though, some remarkable things from the film:

If a man is committed adultery, the woman has to prove his guilt.

If a woman has committed adultery, she has to prove her innocence.

In either case, a woman is at a disadvantage and this doesn’t require a PhD in Law to be seen.

Please note that the two sons she gave birth to, after building their bones with her own bones, muscles and blood, the sons were equally excited to STONE her. I wonder if motherhood is only one way connection.

Her father was infact the first one to try stoning her. Is that the kind of parenting our religion teaches us?

Also, when in the end the truth comes out and people get to know that she was innocent- there is NO consequneces of lying for either her husband, the mullah or the accuser Hashem. As if a woman’s life is just like an oops, sorry.

When men scream Allah-u-Akbar loud, they forget that the same Allah and His Prophet talk about FORGIVENESS and humility as the CORE of religion.

Soraya was a young woman trying to feed her daughters that her abusive husband had abandoned. Her husband plotted all this against her just to save alimony.

She was denied an honorable funeral and the last of her body was humiliated in the worst possible way.

Watching the film, it is easy to jump to the conclusion against religion. But that isn’t what religion says is it? That’s what some misogynist scholar decided to propogate to ensure his supremacy over women and of course other men support him because it allows them to loiter freely while put a chain around women’s necks.

That is the similarity between India’s Daughter and Stoning of Soraya M. They both tell the story of extreme violence in the lives of women although there is a difference of 26 years in between the two stories.

For now, all I can do is 2 things:

1-hope and pray that other women on death row for such hideous accusations be saved

2- do whatever the hell I can to change circumstances around me

If you want to help, please visit their site here and do anything, whatever tiny bit you can, to make stoning history and save women from being killed.

Whether it is Soraya from 1986 or Jyoti from 2012, as long as women are targeted for being women, there is NO rest for me. So should be for you too.

May the souls of Soraya, Jyoti and all other women who I consider SHAHEED/ Martyers rest in peace… Ameen

‘India’s Daughters’- Ugly, ‘white supremacy’ or Sour Truth India Cannot Deal With???

To honor the International Women’s Day, a major documentary is about to release this March 2015. The documentary called ‘India’s Daughters’ made by Leslee Udwin, a British Filmmaker.

The documentary has received extreme criticism and is about to be banned from broadcast in India because of the controversial rapist interviews.

I had extremely mixed feelings about this documentary because of the aggravating content. So, I decided to write about the good, the ugly and let you decide for yourself.

The first problem that I have is the attention this rapist is getting from the media. It is a rapist’s comment; what else would he say other than blaming the victim. (I don’t want to give him more importance by quoting him here, you can read his quotes if you want to here.) Activist Kavita Krishnan rightly points out that amplifying the voice of a rapist is actually counterproductive to the immense amount of hard work Indian men and women have done until now to fight for women’s safety in India since the December 2012 gang rape.

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My personal reaction was weird itself. When I saw the news that there was a documentary on the brutal rape, it gave me the feelings that can’t be described in words. I am enthusiastic to know more about what had happened and the details of the protests in hopes that this would lead India to make tangible changes. At the same time, I feel bone chills, shock and aggravation at the disgusting event and I do know it will trigger my PTSD and keep me in a disturbed mental state for days if not weeks.

The only hope I have from this movie is that it would show us Indians a mirror and see how ugly we look defending patriarchal norms. The bigger risks of this however are that the rapist could be a hero for the misogynists and get much more fame and attention that he doesn’t deserve.

Speaking particularly about the rapist, is there really a need to know why he raped? There was a defenseless human being and he was in a group and he raped. It is as simple as that. In fact every single rape that occurs has only and only one reason- the existence of a rapist. Does it matter what he thought? NO. Why? Because it doesn’t matter if he slept walk into raping the woman, she is dead now and nothing can change that.

Why his thoughts don’t matter? Because he made a conscious choice to rape. You cannot expect to hear Buddhist teachings from his mouth now because if he practiced it, he wouldn’t be where he is. And mind you, this was not only rape but also one of the most brutal acts done on a woman that make my heart sink when I hear about it. Let’s say he feels sorry now for the R.I.P brave girl who didn’t stop fighting. Let’s say he apologizes. What does that change?

But after listening to her interview, I can some how see why Leslee met and interviewed these rapists. She wanted to know what can possibly be the reason for this brutality which a normal human would not wish upon his/her worst mortal enemy. May be we already know the answer. Yes, its because he did not value the life of a woman or any of her rights. And who told him that?

His mother? His father? His teachers? All of them???

Other points of criticism against Leslee Udwin are regarding her not being an Indian but a white woman who has just attempted to show how pathetic Indian men are. Well, any woman who feels for a cause must not be judged for her nationality but her efforts. The other way to look at it is that a British woman spent two years of her time running around Indian jails and streets to throw light on a subject that needs attention. Whether we regard it as ‘white rescue mission’ or ‘white supremacy’, we cannot disregard her effort and intention.

Yes rapes do happen in UK and USA. A documentary on Campus rapes in the USA, called Hunting Ground has won several awards for similar work recently. But just because the filmmakers were Americans, they deserve credit and if they were Indians they wouldn’t? For me, her nationality doesn’t matter until I see any major flaws in the film that show something that does not belong to Indian culture.

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Every feminist knows this but for the last time it bears repeating that- no, it was not the victims fault. It needs two hands for a clap does not apply to a criminal situation because only this rapist wanted to clap while the woman didn’t. So if there is no other hand to clap, you cut it off from someone’s arm and clap. That’s what exactly a rape is. She could have been out on the 25th hour and be alone and dressed in any damn thing, she didn’t deserve this. No woman does.

About the attitudes and mindsets of Indian men- activists are unhappy that Leslee Udwin commented on it and said she was shocked at the brutality. May be Indians feel ashamed that now the world would know what their wives and mothers have been keeping quiet about since forever. May be Indian women who silence the activists and other rebellious women would feel the shame. Yes there are Indians who are voicing and protesting but there are billions who don’t and are making efforts to shut the activists down. A global outrage is very helpful in our situation.

For Indians-as Kavita said, it is no shock to hear that the rapists’ comments were exactly the same as those of Asaram, a so called god man who proved to be the devils assistant. So, we Indians know how normal it is for our men to think that way. That is what we expect from them and we are not surprised. However, a non Indian woman would most certainly be shocked. You can call it rape-culture shock.

Rape culture shock is when an Indian woman who has no autonomy over her life sees or hears about a woman in the West getting raped after she was drunk. For a middle class Indian girl, living under tight restrictions at her parents’ home, it is anything but imaginable to have that kind of autonomy to be able to 1.go to a club, 2.consume alcohol and 3.out in the night! Rapes occur in all parts of the world but under different environments. The only thing common in every single rape incident in every part of the world is- the rapist.

I don’t believe that stereotyping all Indian men as misogynists is a solution. Yes, there are great guys out there, I know many and I would hope to believe so. But global research and personal experience says there are many more men and women that really have brutal feelings towards women. If I wouldn’t personally know people in family and friends circles who actively blame the victims of rape, I would never believe that people can be like this. But admitting rape is wrong and blaming the victim at the same time is less than helfpul.

If a woman fights back, they say, you should have let it happen so your lfie would be spared.

If she does not fight back, they say you allowed it, you wanted it. You could have screamed if you were a ‘real vicitm’.

This also perpetuates marital rape. Just because you are his wife, you cannot be raped?

I wish this sounded just as ancient and backward to others as much as this sounds to me…

Being an active feminist, I explained those myths and facts to people who know and trust me. And after hours of explanation, they ask-

“but why did she go out in the night wearing jeans?”

India’s problem is not  rape but the patriarchal mindset that Leslee talked about, that allows rape and many other violent crimes against women. The root cause of the disease as she said, is not the rapists. They are the symptoms of that disease.

I don’t know whether the film would help challenge or simply narrate those mindsets with no actual outcome. Frankly speaking we need to challenge those anyways, with or without this film.

But do we have it?

Yes, I believe we have what it would take to change it.

My worry is- HOW?

As an Indian, I admire Leslee’s work and do not feel it is a white rescue mission and non Indian femisnists must stay away from. Plus I personally believe that an outsiders perspective can be very helpful many times. It helps us see what has become normal to us.Her film can be criticised on many points but not on the basis of her nationality. What do you think?

Wishing you equality and rights,

Shahla

PS.

Watch Leslee’s interview here.

The Last Thing You MUST Know About #Blurred Lines

#Blurred Lines has been one of the most talked about phrases since the song based on the same name created havoc last year. 

In case you haven’t heard it, you can easily find it on Youtube. It was banned at many student organisations due to the sexist lyrics and for promoting misogyny and rape culture. 

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On the one hand you will see feminists protesting against the usage of this phrase completely rejecting its premise while on the other hand you will find a large number of young people who believe otherwise. Let’s dig deeper and find out what it means and why it’s important.

In the hook up culture, sexual double standards prevail, we all know that. This means, women who are open about their choices, dating preferences and lifestyle are often labelled as ‘promiscuious’ (using the better word).

Those women who want to date or have random one night stands but without being called promiscuois must do it the ‘good girl’ way- meaning, they should reflect blurred lines. 

If you believe this, you are in for a loooooooooonnnggggggg trouble!

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The TRUTH About Women- for Men

Gone are the days where girls had to pretend to be anything. Most women now are open about their choices. If they want to be with a man, they will not only tell him but also fight for him when needed. Whatever name you call, women don’t really care anymore because they are much more open mided than you think. If she is not going for you, she really really really doesn’t like you. Instead of taking that on your EGO and trying to convince yourself that she wants it, you must take some lessons in handling rejections and get on with your life. You cannot rape everyone who rejects you and you cannot murder every employer who trashes your CV. The earlier you learn this lesson, the better it is. Most of the times, it is not even about you. Don’t take it too personal and move on.

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The TRUTH About #BLURRED LINES- for Women

You may be dating someone or you may like them and you have or haven’t thought yet about sharing a bed. 

No one but you, has the right to decide whether you want to sleep with someone or not, and when.

Sometimes, you just meet someone, you like them, you feel the chemistry but you dont want to sleep with them instantly. You don’t even have to have a reason for it, you just don’t. This can happen with men too by the way.

The moment you hear the other person say “oh come on, you know you want it”… my suggestion is………..

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RUN!!!!

Run as fast as you can, and don’t look back! Trust me you won’t regret!

 

Why am I so confident?

When people say “oh come on, you know you want it” what they really mean is “I cannot use force or aggression straight away because I fear prison, so I am trying to MANIPULATE you into thinking that YOU are the one who wants it”.

There are many sorts of rapes and the three most common you hear are:

  1. Date Rape
  2. Acquaintance Rape and
  3. Stranger Rape

We fear most the last one, the stranger rapes because most often there is a use of a weapon or force. But guess which one of the three kinds has the largest number of victims???

Its the acquaintance rape! It is also the most UNDER REPORTED rape kind.

Date rape is usually in a car or somewhere quiet after a date but acquaintance rape happen at people’s own homes and hang out areas, dorm rooms, libraries etc. This is because there is an element of trust involved. The rapist is a trust authority or friend and the victim has no idea of what is coming. Taking advantage of someone’s trust is plain crime, there is no blurred line about that. Just because someone trusts you enough to be with you, does not make give you the right to break that trust.

Blurred lines is the phrase used by these offenders to:

  • firstly manipulate the victim to think that she ‘asked for it’ or ‘she liked it’ when she didn’t.
  • secondly to force her to blame herself post rape, that will ensure no reporting

Manipulation is more powerful and more commonly used in rape than a weapon.

When it comes to dating, we may take our time to decide whether or not we like someone to go out with them again. Even if we don’t and our friends or someone else thinks we make a good couple, sometimes we consider it and say “OK I will give it another chance”.

However when it comes to sex, there is NO #BLURRED LINE.

We know if we want it or not, straight away.

And if you have to try to convince yourself to have sex with someone, you are NOT doing yourself any good.

“I owe him sex, he paid for the dinner”

“He brought me that expensive gift, may be I must reciprocate”.

“I have to look cool, I have to do this to get popular”.

“I am married to him, it’s his right”. WRONG

Neither of these are good reasons to sleep with someone and the worst one is “he said I wanted it, may be I do but I just don’t know it yet”.

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Sex is an expression of your body and your connection with peace and pleasure. Who you have it with, must be your choice based on your feelings. Even if you want it and half way though you change your mind for whatever reason, you still have the right to STOP and walk away. 

There is NO blurred line even if you stop halfway through the sex.

I hope that clarifies the never ending blurred lines debate and make sure everyone understands that blurred lines mean plain and simple manipulation. Now you know what to do next time when someone says “you know you want it”.

 

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Why Corporate Men Avoid Discussing Rape & Abuse And Consider These To Be ‘Women’s Issues’

This article is based on the story of my interaction with one corporate man but the logic applies to men in general.

My upcoming book is called ‘Friends With Benefits’ which is based on sex education for adults focused on prevention against gender based violence. I have been initiating & negotiating sponsorship proposals for my book tour in Europe with different corporate organizations to this end. I want to share my experience with one specific organization.

I wouldn’t disclose their names due to obvious reasons but they are based in London and have a multi million dollar annual turnover. I initiated them with a sponsor brokership proposal for the tour.

Their top manager responded back saying that they like the project but would recommend sending proposals to corporates that sell women’s products & services. Their reasoning simply was because gender based violence is a women’s issue, only women take interest in fighting agaisnt this issue and no gender neutral orgnisation such as banks would be interested to sponsor this proposal. 

I wrote back to him explaining the project further in detail which was why men needed to jojin this campaign more than ever and he never responded back!

I can understand why he felt that it would be sensible for a corporate organisation dealing only in women’s products to be interested in this project. It is not his fault entirely, its the whole structure of the society that we live in.

This made me feel that men don’t even want to be associated with gender based violence prevention in anyway, and this was not the first time I felt it.

For years, feminist crowd, mainly women have been fighting for women’s rights and protecting women and children from the misogynistic blind attitude of society. This generation fortunately has some great men that are franticaly advocating gender equality and gender based violence prevention.

Tony Porter, Jackson Katz, Ran Gavrieli and Will Muir just to name a few. For instance, Will Muir brilliantly puts it when he says that “if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem”. Tony Porter explains how male culture and gender box trap men in orthodox gender biased mentalities and govern their entire lives. Ran talks about the impact of pornography on making men violent and creating demand for human trafficking. Jackson Katz is furious about the way the society puts women in spotlight while they are not the ones perpetrating these crimes. 

Another awesome guy is Carlos Andres Gomez whose poem ‘Hermano’ I am sure you must have seen across social media platforms. His message is on positive masculinity, mainly on violence against both genders. Jeff Perera advocates messages on gender limitations and how violence in our communities, schools and lives in general have changed our worlds drastically. 

These are few examples of those men who don’t blame women for the epidemic of gender based violence and who are not busy finding out what excuse next to blame women. But what about the rest? Why do men react the way this manager did? Why do they think it is only women’s responsibility to fight gender based violence?

Here are a few reasons why-

1- General philosophy

Growing up, we all develop a philosophy about the other gender. For instance- ‘all men are perverts’. Yes, the  majority of gender based violence perpetrators are men but it does NOT mean all men are perverts. As a woman, I can testify I might have believed in that for a very long time too when I considered the opposite gender threatening. 

Most women have developed this attitude for obvious reasons. While jumping on an elevator late at night, we shiver if there is just one guy inside and not many people around. We shudder walking back home alone through a dark neighbourhood. We fear in public spaces in the middle of a thousand people because in that crowd we do not know when some pervert would attempt an assault and walk away smiling. 

This fear lead us to see all men as in one category and we develop a ‘philosophy’ about them. This seems just  a measure of normal precaution in the women’s world but how does it impact men? Specifically those men who are NOT perverts? Jacob Anderson-Minshall describes it as being cut off from half the humanity or rather in his own words ” Can being viewed as a predator turn you into one?”

Sadly, trust between men and women in general has been shattered due to the crimes of few. This is one reason why I decided to write ‘Friends With Benefits’ because I see that men and women need to trust each other again. Be friends again. See each other as more than sexual partners. Now, Trust is not something I can teach or built at the push of a button. Rather we can educate and empower men and women how to earn the trust of one another. 

We desperately need a society where all men in general are not categorised as threats or predators. This is the first step towards inviting men to join the dialogue on gender based violence prevention. I can empathize with men on this that it is normal to feel judged, isolated and blamed when you are part of a community and the other community is furious about the acts of few. 

Isn’t this similar to the issue of Islamophobia? Some criminals go out and do their nasty while the entire Muslim community is hated and feared. 

Once men feel that this is not about women against men rather humans against crime, it certainly would make them feel ‘we are on the same team buddy’!

2- Alienation- 

I read the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and did believe in that ideology for more than half my life. According to the bestseller status of the brand, I reckon our entire generation believes and follows this ideology. While there is some merit to understanding the biology behind the construction of male and female anatomy, I now realise the fatal influence of this doctrine on our behaviour towards the opposite gender.

Need examples? How about- when women raise an issue at home or in public, they get belittled by men saying “she is just hormonal” or “all women create drama”. Women’s emotions are disregarded by men as if they don’t want to and they don’t need to get into it. As if it is not their concern.

Think about this for a moment… I am sure you must have seen at least one alien movie, thanks to sci-fi Hollywood. What is the first word that comes to mind when you picture that movie?

ATTACK!

Aliens are people from different planets and by design are supposed to fight until one species survive and get hold of all the resources. Books like Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus begin by creating that alien mindset. Women are from a different planet, they are people we need to read books to understand? Are you kidding me? Who needs to take a course just to have a life partner? This seems like a lot of work to do, it makes relationships like homework. 

What happened to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs?

Don’t men and women have similar wants and desires?

Don’t they have common goals?

Don’t they need the same things out of life- love, happiness and peace?

By changing the focus from our differences to our similarities, don’t you think it would be easier to co exist?

And if we truly need to focus on the differences, then why should those differences be based on gender? I have never seen two women alike. Each individual human being is different and diversity of an individual must be respected.

3- Focus on fixing women

I have mentioned this above but would like to reiterate this point. Type ‘rape or abuse’ helpline on Google and you will find thousands of women’s organizations, crisis centres etc offering support. This is great but why only women? Women’s crisis centres offer cures and therapies to victimized children and women… how about creating prevention centres so that the women don’t have to go through the crisis in the first place?

Thanks to the men I mentioned above and many more that are working towards the prevention by putting men under the spotlight of gender based violence and training men to unlearn the authorotative rules of masculinity taught by societies. But we need more men to join, a lot more.

The above are the reasons why men in general do not feel obligated to join the conversation on gender based violence and why they should be encouraged to do so. 

If this message relates to you at any level as a man and if you have felt this isolation or felt the guilt burden of entire ‘men’ community, please share your story and spark a conversation. 

WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER, WHY FIGHT ALONE?