On Being A Woman – Year End Post


It has been over a month now since I wrote anything here. I am not really in right frame of mind. Anger and pain has made me numb. Excuse me for this rambling and just ignore the errors for now.

kuch alfaz ab bhi seene me hain uljhe

kuch girahen abhi bhi khulni hain baki

hain sawal kuch jinke dhoondhne hain jawab

hain jawab jinhe ab bhi hai sawalon ki latash

Sometimes I feel my life is like an exquisitely embroidered shawl. Richly embroidered in vibrant hues which people see and appreciate but it is I who feels the inconvenient knots and tangled threads of its inside.  When anyone says “I understand how you feel” I say “No you don’t”, you possibly can’t imagine how tough it is to be a woman in this country, to struggle each day, to fight for survival. To live here is an act of bravery and then you see what ultimately happens to the brave hearts who dare to dream of living a life on their terms. What are these terms? you will ask.

 

The terms are – Dignity, honor , equality in all spheres of life, a right to LIVE as a fellow human being.

 

” Ha!, you say, don’t talk about these philosophical  terms that feminists quote. You have all that you need –  security, food, shelter, money, a husband to” look after” you, what else do you want? What is this about dignity and crap? Your dignity is within the four walls of this house. It is in your hand to preserve and protect it. Don’t listen to these so-called “committed/progressive women” these “feminists from women’s Organisations” they will try to lead you astray, they will break your home and fill your head with shitty ideas that will only take wrong decisions.  Dress”modestly” . It is because of these “dented, painted disco going women” that all these cases of rape and molestation happen.Stay within your boundaries, follow traditions and norms set by society for their women, know your duties and follow the moral code. If you do all this then only you can give good values to your children. God has been kind to you and given you two boys. Thank God for not burdening you with a daughter. Don’t talk to the neighbors, make only a few friends (although we don’t see the need of it) and mind you they should not be men. You are a married woman and your commitment is only towards your husband, children and in-laws. Your parents? Their son will look after them, it is his job not yours. Now you are part of this family and nothing else matters. Remember that silence and patience, tolerance and abiding to the wishes of your husband is the utmost priority in your life even above your own self for that self is also now His and not yours anymore.

Do you get what I am saying ?”

 

“Well,  yes I do see it. I followed it like an idiot for a major part of my life and screwed it. Now I intend to trash your “Codes for an Indian Woman” and chart my path make my own rules, take my own decisions, Live My Life.”

 

“What? Then you are not a good wife, daughter, DIL, and mother, you are not even a good woman. See, this is what happens when women are let loose. When they gain access to public spaces and get exposed to things like Internet. This is what corrupted you. Now your head is filled with all those lofty notions of independent living and all the crap about women’s rights. Mark my words, you will suffer, realize your mistake within no time and come back on your knees.”

 

***

“If that is what you think, Shame On You.  I do not wish to be labelled as a “Good woman” by Your Standards. I will sell myself if I have to and live under the open sky if push comes to shove but I will not give in now and will not come back to this prison with invisible bars and barbed web of rules designed to keep me in hold all through my life, that’s a promise.”

2011 saw emergence of a new Me.

Many women are not living their dreams because they are living their fears.

 

Isolation, restriction, guilt, humiliation, denial, continuous controlling and criticism and  lack of empathy, love, companionship, shattering of a dream of ” a life long relationship based on mutual respect” breaks them. Emotional, mental tortured is hard to explain due to lack of  ” solid evidence” . 
Emotional Abuse comes silently most of the times camouflaged as “love, betterment, moral duty, guilt, emotional blackmail, and marital rape. Silence helps it breed and dig its claws deeper.
In our country ‘thinking’ for oneself is not encouraged. It’s always conformity & herd mentality. The  moment a woman begins to voice her thoughts she is condemned, ridiculed & told to shut up. If she rebels , her condition is even worse.
Does that mean we keep suffering ?
NO.
 Trust me it is better to raise your voice and make your life worthy than suffer and reinforce the fact that women can be used as objects and treated like an old newspaper.
Two years have passed since I cut those silken chains and  moved out to rediscover myself as a woman , as a person, as a human being. I had to pay the price. I had to leave my boys behind.
“What kind of mother is she? So insensitive and unconcerned, so selfish.”  I still hear it but in hushed voices.
Emergence of new woman who can defy everything that binds her and yet be happy is a painful, uphill task.
Today when I sit and look back I know I was privileged. I had friends who stood by me like a rock, I had patronage to be economically independent in some way after a gap of 22 years. I had a family to go back to though it was a halfhearted acceptance.
It is easy to say what took you so long? It is easy to say ” Hang in there, everything will be fine”, it is easy to sympathize but it takes immense courage to hold the hand of someone who is defying and rebelling against the system. I was privileged in more than one ways to have people with such strength.
I owe it to them as much as I owe it to myself .
 If anyone thinks it is selfish to think about oneself, to dream, to have desires then so be it.
I am selfish. I can’t deny the love I am supposed to give myself. It would be utterly dishonest to do so and if I am dishonest to myself how will I ever be honest to others?
I believed and hoped my boys understood. They stood by me.
They did not have a choice.
They said nothing.
It is tough to be separated in such manner. The guilt ate into the fiber of my being  day and night. It still does. But I had to make a choice – To live or to exist. I chose the first.
I have a lot to thank for, lot of people to offer my gratitude for helping me be myself but the battle is not won yet. Even after two years I   have one foot in the past and one in present. Sometimes I see myself at the periphery of a void at others I feel absolutely thrilled by what I have achieved in last one year. I have been able to break many mental barriers. It has been a productive year in many ways but still something is amiss. I have not been able to completely shake off the layers that hide the real me stirring and quivering underneath in want of  release. A lot remains entangled and knotted not just due to the rotten system we are part of but also because of my own failing to regain the confidence and courage. I am still a sucker of emotions, still vulnerable to the core, still seeking approval when I shouldn’t.
I took the step in direction of change but it seems like a move from a smaller prison to a larger one. A little more space to breathe and move about but still confined. It makes me question my decision. I lose my footing and begin to slip back. It scares me to venture into a society where every moment women are violated, sometimes so brutally.
Physical rape is just one aspect of VAW, the society we live in and are part of strips the female of their species  of a dignified life from the time she is conceived. Some live through the horror of it till they cough last and some are spared that trauma by getting  murdered in the womb itself.  There is only a small percentage that breathes the free air and lives as desire.
As we step into another year my thoughts are with all the women who are facing a challenge to free themselves of the chains that bind them, who are daring to break the silence despite of the risks involved, who are struggling to make a place for themselves  within the culture of violent subjugation and male dominated power structure around which everything revolves and in which women die many times over every day. Most of the times unheard, unsung. There voices stilled. I am thinking about the lack of a support system for those who have the spark to stand up for their rights and fight against the system.
I am not just thinking of women’s rights and gender violence but also about  gay rights, racism, casteism and coexistence which doesn’t exist in our society. I am thinking of equal opportunities, paid employment for women ( just 14.5 %paid employment as compared to men speaks volumes about the structure of our society. 2 million women lost their jobs in last five years), basic education,  basic hygiene and medical facilities. I am thinking of children and the crimes against them. Earlier too there have been catalyst who have shown harsh light on the stinking rotten interiors of our society. Earlier too there have been movements against every damn issue which is shoved under the carpet, How many more ? ? How many wake up calls, How many lives cut short before the change finally occurs?
Will there ever be one single day when a woman will feel safe in this country and breathe easy? When her security and self-respect will not be ground to dust? Will we ever be rid of our sexist culture? Unfortunately when I ask these questions the city that comes to mind is the city in which I have lived for more than forty years – the national capital Delhi.  Not a single moment of my life I have felt secure here. Fear has been a constant companion since I began to move out in public spaces. Fear of those so-called “protectors”. It started when I joined school and continues till now.
As I write this last post of this year I am wondering what lies ahead for the women of India, for me as an individual.  I know it will take a lot of effort and time to completely overhaul the mindset of people to bring some much-needed positive changes but I can begin with myself and my life. It is a rough path that I have chosen but am not giving up. Ever.
Here are two brilliant articles for you to read and ponder upon as I take your leave.
He says among other things,” Men abuse women in every society, but few males do it with as much impunity, violence and regularity as the Indian male.”
(TRUST ME IT IS TRUE)
And
The problem is us  by zigzactly
I have not been regular with my posts but I know you will understand. In a struggle to find my footing I have to sometimes give priority to other important issues that I am dealing with. Thank you for supporting me in all good and bad times and for encouraging me by reading and commenting. I appreciate it very much.
Do something constructive in the coming year.
Have the moral courage to Defy what in Unjust. Don’t be a performer.
You can view all the Previous Entries about being a woman and other social issues HERE 

Custodial Rape : Where could this girl have disappeared?


http://www.vakilno1.com/bareacts/indianpenalcode/s376.htm Section 376- Indian Penal Code. Punishment for Rape. 

 

Who Gets Raped http://www.dancewithshadows.com/rapes_india.asp

 

 

I am sharing a post by Indian Homemaker titled Where could this girl have disappeared  Please read  and copy the matter for signature campaign petition to President Pratibha Patil  from Jeanne’s comment on the post. Forward to all in support of this teenage rape victim. 

 

Where does a rape victim go for justice when her “custodians” turn into ” violators” ? This isn’t the first case where a rape victim( a teenager in this case)  is raped again in police custody. Expect a police officer to humiliate a rape victim, be foul-mouthed, discourage or blame her and even rape her.

A farmer’s teenage daughter gangraped  in Mahoba, UP, has disappeared after she was raped by the Station House Officer Deepak Pandey in the police station, Times of India reported ( LINK )

When the senior officers of district polic did not offer any help the family then approached a lawyer and sent complaints to the Chief Minister, Director General of Police and the National Commission for Women.While chief minister Mayawati and the DGP didn’t act, the  NCW directed the district police to get the complaint probed.Additional SP, Mahoba, R K Pandey probed the case.

On Friday,the victim was summoned by the police and sent for a test. As the victim was slated to appear before a magistrate the next day, she was directed to stay back at the Mahila Thana.On Saturday,the family came to know that she had disappeared from the police station.

So where has she disappeared ? I wonder if at all she is alive. 

Cases of custodial violence against women are horrifying reality of  this democratic country governed by “rule of law” . It is very intimidating when one reads of increasing number of such reports. Be it eve teasing or dowry harassment or rape women are too scared and hesitant to even lodge a complaint or to approach “men in khakhi”.

Here is another  { LINK } to a report where an under trial is gang raped in police station.

and yet another “attempt to rape ” and murder of a minor girl ( LINK  )

I believe that the reason we hear about so many of such acts of violation of human rights is because the police feel that wont be held accountable and punished even if the truth is revealed. So they torture (mental, physical, emotional) , rape, kill at their will. It is just the power of strong over the weak and suffering. Flouting the basic right of a citizen and violation of human dignity. No women is safe in any village, city or state in India.

I cringe at the very thought of the mental agony of being violated inside the four walls of a police station under the shield of uniform and authority.

Here is a LINK to what Kavita Krishnan has to say.

Crime against women are on an increase and according to reports one woman is raped in every 18 hours in Delhi. The perverts who commit such crimes like rape many a time get away due to their ” connections” .Delayed justice , harassment by police, social shame and lack of support system are the reasons most cases go unreported and here we are not talking about marital rape which is still not considered a crime in our country. Rape cases are under reported throughout India and in only 6 percent of cases of rape and molestation strangers are involved, in the rest the accused is known to the victims.

People in power have always used it as a tool to sexually molest women. Abduction, assault, rape, murder is commonly done using power as a tool and if these people who are supposed to be provided help turn monsters then women in India  have a very bleak future as far as safety and dignified living is concerned .

 Bhawari Devi had been fighting for justice since 1994, she was gang raped by five men in front of her husband on  22 September 1992 for stopping a child marriage. A FIR was lodged and it was only after two years that a case was registered.  (  LINK TO THE CASE ) . Bhawari Devi was missing for last three weeks. Now it seems she was murdered. A complaint for rape and murder was filed against the accused minister of water resources Mahipal Maderena on 20th September 2011. 

She was the torch-bearer for women’s movement in our country and dared to raise her voice against the sexual assaults on women.  Though everyone remembers the name, few know that even 14 years after she was gang raped by upper-caste villagers for attempting to stop a child marriage in her village, Bhateri, about 45 km from Jaipur, this “icon” still hasn’t got justice and now possibly murdered. She was pioneering an ANTI RAPE Movement which helped so many other women but unfortunately not her. The political blame game has begun. ( LINK ) I hope She is alive and justice is delivered. ( LINK )

Reminds me of Aruna Shaunbag , Maimun and the Shanti Mukund case ( LINK )  These woman never got justice .

I hope justice is not delayed for this Dalit girl and culprits punished. Expecting police to be sensitive seems too far-fetched a thought.

The bottom line of rape is…a sense of entitlement, power and oppression, among other things and it needs to End.

Related Link https://tikulicious.wordpress.com/2010/01/29/rape-blame-the-rapist-not-the-victim/

Last Call : Mom I fear for my life


Doctor murders wife in Delhi, drives 1000km to dump body in Ganga 

This is the Times of India Headline today.

Another headline says

Last call : I fear for my life 

This is not the first time a woman is brutally murdered by an abusive husband.

This is not the first time that parents of the girl have refrained from prompt action and saved their daughter from the clutches of death.

This is not the first time that a literate woman has stayed in an abusive marriage and paid the price with her life.

The question is WHY? 

Why is it that parents wash their hands off once their daughter is married? Supriya Tussar was literate ( a BTech from Hyderabad and an MBA) she had an offer of a lucrative high paying job which would make her financially independent.Dr. Sahu was not in favor of it. Financial independence means strength to the woman and that would have taken the “control” from his hands. Her parents were literate too.(father was a retired superintending engineer of Jharkhand PWD).  Her husband , a senior surgeon was batch topper in master’s course.  Clearly it shows that education doesn’t really change the mindset of people. Dr. Sahu (31) showed no remorse for strangling his wife and told police that he was “physically and mentally incompatible” with his wife.

I use the word Literate because there is a huge difference between being ” educated” and ” literate” and most of these cases happen because of lack of education. Degrees have nothing to do with education I believe.

He had a history of violence in his ten month old marriage, the local police station was aware of the constant fights between the couple (Tussar had lodged a complaint there)  but no one bothered to take any action. The parents of the girl continued to seek reconciliation between the young couple even after their daughter was thrown out of the house.  She was their Only child and though they educated her for a secure future they never could muster enough courage to save her from an abusive marriage which ultimately took her life. If only she wasn’t raised to be a secure bride and taught to live with dignity irrespective of anything then today she would have been alive.

I fail to understand why the parents always think that “things would get better” ?  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Never-thought-her-body-will-be-carried-in-the-car-chosen-by-her-Mom/articleshow/10147405.cms

Why there is so much social pressure to let the daughter rot in marriage which is clearly heading for disaster?

Supriya was “forced ” to get admitted in Hospital tally challenged by her husband.

My question is

Why do girls, especially educated girls, tolerate such abuse?

She was denied food, pocket-money, he was beaten up, abused verbally even then she continued to live with him for she knew she could not go back to her parental home. This is true of many such Supriyas who are forced to live in abusive marriages for the lack of support system, counselling and fear of social stigma and being left out.

Why was Supriya’s humiliation, mental, emotional and physical pain, her indignity not enough for her parents to support her and get her out of the violent marriage?

Do these parents choose a dead daughter over their so-called izzat (honor) in the society? Why can’t they stand up for their child and help her get back to a dignified life she deserves?

They actually “dispose off” their daughter in the hands of a monster just to abide by some sick social norms. What is the point of crying and all this drama later on when they couldn’t do anything for the daughter when she was alive ?

I want to ask Supriya’s parents what marriage means to them ?

Is it being tied to a man whatever the conditions and at whatever cost ?

What was the point of all this education when it could not enlighten them to break away from the customs that kill ?

I see no logic which justifies why parents would allow their daughter to be tortured thus. And if you can’t stand up for your own child, who can you stand up for?

This whole so-called traditional value system makes my blood boil. It has weakened our fiber and turned it into shreds and this is the reason girls like Supriya don’t have confidence to walk out of the marriage with or without the help of their “social status hungry” parents. Since day one, daughters are taught that subservience is the key to happiness, endure whatever comes your way-for if you don’t, you damage our(parents) reputation, society will condone us.

Most of the time girls have no faith in the support and love of their parents and in Supriya’s case she had seen that her repeated attempts in voicing her fear for life had not evoked any strong reaction. A battered, weak woman with lack of support and confidence often tries to “make adjustments/ compromises) thinking things will change for good which  of course never happens. With a broken spirit and constant reminder that “all will be well” most of these women end up dead either they commit suicide or are murdered.

I have no sympathy for parents who let their daughters to death by putting the blinkers on. I feel they are as much a part in her murder as the husband.

It is tragic that these girls, however educated, often succumb to social pressures instead of thinking about other alternatives. It is the result of  constant drilling by their parents that they should “learn to adjust and stay in the marriage” what ever happens. Most of the time it is the girl ( daughter or DIL) who is lectured but hardly anyone blames the parents for this rotten mindset.

I have always failed to understand What is so special about this so-called “sacred” marriage  that makes people tolerates some insecure, misogynistic bastard beating up their daughter, just to preserve this institution?

Till the time marriage is viewed as a “holy grail” and a “commitment till the end of life ” I don’t think many women will be able to walk out of abusive marriages.

I wonder how many more Supriyas will be murdered at the altar of marriage before this society wakes up from slumber and corrects itself.

When will we see a news headline where parents of a girl report an abusive marriage and help the daughter to put the culprit behind bars?

When will the women take their lives in own hands against all odds and be rid of guilt and pressures to walk out and say NO to domestic violence?

When will families start raising their daughters as individuals and not as prospective brides meant to please and be grateful to everyone, parents, brothers, husband, in laws and the rest of the world?

We have laws against Domestic  Violence  but they are effective only when there is a change within. What is the point of having stringent laws when time after time women are abused sexually, mentally ,verbally, physically in so-called “sacred” marriage. It make the headlines, accused are punished but in a few days another monster appears and kills. The  idea of the “sacrosanct” institution of marriage is dished out by the mainstream Indian cinema and daily soaps on TV is a myth and contrary to the reality. Our society is sick to be honest. It is heart wrenching to see that even after knowing their rights, even after being literate enough to support an independent living women prefer to stay in abusive marriages.

Even those who dare to take that first step and move out with or with out parental support life doesn’t come easy But I feel that it is better to step out and struggle and not give in and die. Ultimately it is your life.

I know this looks more like a rant or a rambling of an angry mind and so be it .Enough essays have been written , enough protests, enough campaigns have taken place. If that hasn’t shaken up the society what else will ? How many daughters need to be sacrificed to bring the change ? 😦

The post was shared on the Bell Bajao Site . An Honor. 

When she dares to dream of a life she imagines …


 

Amrita Pritam writes,

society attacks everyone who says its coins are counterfeit, but when it is a woman who says this, society begins to foam at the mouth..it puts aside all its theories and arguments and picks up the weapon of filth to fling at her.”

We are the forgotten species not allowed to dream and live a life we imagine. You may disagree but truly however she may rebel against established society and conventional morality a woman is compelled to compromise with life.

However independent, aggressive and powerful Indian woman may be she still has  to go a long way before she is truly liberated.

In our country  ‘thinking’ for oneself is not encouraged at all. It is always conformity and herd mentality. The moment a woman begins to voice her thoughts she is condemned, ridiculed and told to shut up. If she rebels , her condition is even worse.

In today’s society where many women have crossed the threshold of their home and become economically independent, they continue to face oppression and gender discrimination in some or other form. Crime against women is rampant in the form of eve-teasing, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dowry,marital rape,  workplace discrimination, rape, molestation, honour killings etc. She gets out of the hold of one master into the world of many masters. this kind of independence is a relative concept.

Many women feel it’s better to stay put with the known enemy instead of  an unknown one. Women continue to struggle in our traditional patriarchal society from the time they are born. She  remains bound by the silken chains,dominated by her parents, in-laws, husband ,boyfriend etc.

Emergence of new woman who can defy everything that binds her and yet be happy is a painful, uphill task.

what does independence mean for today’s woman?

Is it freedom from oppression,  self-rule or doing whatever one wishes to without any hindrance? Is it a life of dignity where she has her ” own space” and is considered capable of analyzing and  using her own mind neutralizing the age-old male domination which is so rooted in our collective unconscious .

To me it is a simple life of dignity and respect, of acceptance as part of human race and not some scum of the earth.

Isn’t it time to raise voice against this symbolic violence of male domination ? A violence that  manages to perpetuate itself easily through various channels and is often possible for the most intolerable conditions of existence to appear as acceptable and even natural.

Women in our society, especially married women and among them those who are economically dependent on their husband’s income suffer the most. Their life concentrated between the four walls of the house , their boundaries set. Anyone crossing the proverbial rakshman rekha is doomed . It’s not just an ancient story of Sita it is the story of millions of Indian women. Sita suffered because she crossed the line of control drawn by her brother-in-law and any woman who dares to as much as think of stepping out of the LOC will meet the same fate  – A life full of tragedies. This deeply ingrained belief  keeps many women caged to their ” limited world cage” – frustrated and helpless. Mostly resigned to their fate.

These women seem like cold embers. Seething from within but docile and fearful from outside, living their mechanical lives day after day, rotting away with religious rituals, social, moral bonds, customs and duties.

Who will find this life respectable?

The whole personality of her being is stunted.

Most of them don’t revolt and those who do , cut their chains and try to soar in open sky, mostly find it very difficult to come to terms with the dazzling ever-changing world outside. Not all women have choices and some who are privileged either sacrifice them for emotional or  any inner reason. What roles are these women playing – flattering men , please them in order to survive only to be played around with and finally kicked out of houses they call homes.

I feel personally that women like me who are self-aware and have managed  to take that first step towards a dignified life still lack confidence to take on the society. Years of being home bound shred the self-confidence and gives rise to deep feeling of distrust.

The very fire that burns in them consumes them.

Social taboos and limitations , even if the women are  educated and living in urban society, makes them suffer emotional torture they are subjected to; of the verbal – or in the worst cases even physical violence. In many cases the reluctance and resentment with which their economic independence or earning power is accepted. They face rejection, envy, jealousy, subtle contempt and ungratefulness, they are not allowed to hold their opinions or exercise their rights. The sword of Damocles is always hanging on the heads of even the most powerful and independent of women.

The life of a woman, however progressive, educated or modern  is in first place under control of her parents and then in her husband’s home which becomes her permanent address for the rest of her life. She waives off her rights of the maternal home and if the new home doesn’t welcome her she is cheated of her basic rights there also. In any case of distress she is left hanging in an abyss as family structure is the only welfare sector that our society offers. Parents shrug their shoulders and under social pressures don’t  support her and she is already an outcast in her married home. Most parents wash their hands off their daughters the moment the ” burden” is off their heads.

Women are expected to adjust , compromise, suffer, make peace, forgive the offenses and injustices inflicted at them and go through difficult marriages with ” patience and tolerance” .

Their aspirations, dreams, priorities are nothing and should be put under lock and key to ensure a  ” peaceful happy married life“.

Often in lack of  a support system these women carry a heavy inhuman burden and the relationships crack up under pressure.

Is it that the moral downfall of our society turned many women into insecure lot continuously looking for support and appreciation?

Is it this what causes them to turn selfish and leave their sensitive feminine nature .

In this competitive world some women no doubt who get life in packaged deal with attractive bonanza understanding family  and great career, love support and stability but then there are a huge number of those unfortunate ones who suffer continually and their life is nothing but a struggle to survive.

The male dominated Society wants women who  sinks their individuality and drown their dreams and aspirations.

When she dares to dream  most women are caught in catch 22 situation of submission and rebellion . To free herself from the so-called ” safe and secure environment” of family and home  is a tough choice for most of women in India. Those who dare to break away are at loggerheads with the society. It is no cake walk for them.

Indian women , a major section of them, live a subjugated life devoid of any soul. They are humiliated, used , abused and preserved in stinking jars, they are flaunted as trophies, made to obey the commands like marionettes and barely a few break the chains and escape to live a life of dignity.

Then there is the other perspective . The male perspective which is deeply saturated with years of conditioning and domination of women. They do not see any flaw in a woman living within the four walls doing what she is ‘supposed” to do . Even if reluctantly they “submit” to her ” rebellious emancipated ways poisoned by the  ‘feminist ideas” she is always a butt of ridicule.

One can see why.

Mainly because they can’t think otherwise. Their thinking is limited , they are repeating only what they have seen and learned from the women in their household and community but that doesn’t make it justified , does it ?

Does it mean that the woman should be sympathetic and understanding and even after all her efforts for a healthy dialogue  fail she should continue to be humiliated?

We all know women are being oppressed , we know the reasons What then is the solution?

Is the institution of marriage losing its importance in the fast paced society ?

Is marriage essential ?

Is it not more like a relationship problem ?

What about single unmarried women , widows, single mothers? Are they liberated ?

What needs to be done to the sick society we are living in?

Are all these orthodox rituals, customs, codes of conduct , so called moral values  generated by the double faced society worth anything for the growth of human race ?

I ask these questions to myself and to all my readers .

What change is needed individually and collectively that will ensure a dignified fear free life for women?

Looking forward to your responses on this rather long post.



Bhed (discrimination) – A short story


“The children are starving since last two days. Please get us something to eat from somewhere.” “I can not see them suffering.”

“I am trying dear, morning till evening I try to get something that can sustain our children. Even I can not see the family going hungry each da

“Why don’t you try the garbage dump?” “Maybe you may find some leftovers there.”

“Absolutely out of question, that place stinks and the entire colony throw its garbage there, it’s such a bad place, I won’t go there.”

“Please this one time,” she said with her eyes welling.

“Oh! Alright I will go.” He turned and hurried towards the garbage dump at the end of the long road.

It was cold, foggy and there was no sign of sun.

She waited impatiently. Her children cuddled close to her. She looked fondly at all of them .They sure will have food today.

Hours passed and she started getting worried. Her eyes fixed on the road.

She could hardly see beyond the nearest tree, but then she saw him running toward their home. He held something in his mouth.

The children gathered around her full of hope.

He dropped what looked like a loaf of meat, in front of her. Trying to catch his breath, he sat on the ground.

“What is this?” she started inspecting the thing lying in front of her.

“Oh God! This is a new-born human girl child.

Their eyes widened at the sight of the dead female infant.

“Are you sure”?

“Yes, I am”. “Someone who did not want a girl child threw her in the garbage dump.”

“How heartless and cruel these humans are. Thank God we don’t discriminate between our children.” She said licking the nearest one fondly.

The puppy, happy at the sight of food and love, wagged its tiny tail.

“Let’s have our meal quickly, it is a question of our survival”, he said.

No one moved.

this is an indivine post , vote for it Here

Laadli- A Girl Child Campaign- Have you pledged support against female foeticide?


Laadli is a campaign against female feticide. I came to know about this site while working on a story and I decided to promote it as part of my campaign for the girl child.

You can pledge Here or   SMS LAADLI to 575758 to pledge your support.

Although we have a law against sex selection  it has proved inadequate and every year 10 million girls go missing due to either foeticide or infanticide.

The law :

The Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act (PCPNDT Act) 2003 provides for the prohibition of sex selection, before or after conception. Its purpose is to prevent misuse of technologies such as ultrasound that enable determination of the sex of a child before it is born. It is illegal to test the sex of the foetus for the purpose of eliminating the female. The law provides for imprisonment, which may extend to three years and fine up to Rs. 10,000 for the first conviction.

When we talk of female foeticide there is a lot that needs to be considered

the fact that a girl is killed before she is born , a crime so appalling  and yet it doe not shake  conscience of the people involved in committing it.

that  sadly women are the abettors in these crimes and  encourage or force the mother to be to go for sex determination tests and the moment sex of a fetus is determined to be that of a female; the unborn is killed.

that there is technology privy to this heinous crime and those very doctors who should stand up against this practice help it take stronger roots for the love of money.

They are  involved in first determining the sex of the baby, then carrying out “safe medical termination of pregnancies

that it is a crime under the Indian Law

the Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) 1994 Act, the Section 307 IPC (of attempt to murder) and along with crime of abatement of murder .

yet no arrests are ever made nor any case registered as millions of girls go missing.

With more advanced methods  being used for sex determination the practice which was once done slyly has gained a bolder form. Doctors who are considered life savers take part in this heinous crime against womanhood just to make some extra money and it is unfortunately not just the lower strata of the society which goes for the tests but the so-called educated middle and upper class too visits these clinics for  termination of pregnancy if it’s a girl child.

The slogan of many ultrasound sex-determination clinics is: “Spend five hundred rupees now save five lacks later”

These are the lines from a folk song  from UP which tells how unwanted a girl is

Prabhuji mein tori binti karoon
Paiyan Paroon bar bar
Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Na Dije
Narak Dije Chahe Dar…

Oh, God, I beg of you,
I touch your feet time and again,
Next birth don’t give me a daughter,
Give me Hell instead…


I have written some more on this issue , one can read the articles here

A daughter that never was

Nanhi kali – I too want to blossom

discrimination – A short story


First they died of neglect or poisoned after birth and now they are killed for just being girls right there in the womb.

There is an urgent need to start a crusade against female infanticide and foeticite. There is a need to change the mind-set and evolve a system with a strong enforcement mechanism to check the strict implementation of the laws that protect the rights of living for a girl child.

Why is GIRL CHILD  still a curse word in our society ? Who is responsible

Here are some books one can read related to the topic global sisterhood network

also a very informative article here on Gendercide watch: female infanticide

As the International Women’s Day approaches , let’s join hands and raise our voices for every little girl born and unborn .

This is a Indivine post. vote for it here

Rape : Blame the Rapist not the Victim


Center for Development of Women’s Studies (CDWS)  disturbing statistics  say 42 women are raped every day in India, one every 35 minutes.

Only one in about 70 cases of rape gets reported. This means that about 69 women get raped before one lodges an official complaint. Of the reported cases (only one out of 70), only 20 per cent are convicted. Consequently, only three out of 1,000 rapists ever get convicted. So most rapists can get away with rape.

From 9 to 90 every woman is unsafe here.

Age, status, caste ,creed, looks NO BAR, a woman is raped for just one reason : Being a woman. Nothing else.

When my maid came up with the news that a 90+ woman who had gone to a nearby “jungle” close to where she stays for morning job , she was raped by four men. The men ran away leaving the traumatized victim in a state of shock. The incident which happened very close to the local police station was pushed under the carpet. No complaint was launched. Case closed.

The maid , who was still under shock kept wondering  WHY an old woman for God’s sake ? and then came the reply from with . Because she was a woman.

She said in hushed voice, ” it does not matter if you are old or young , beautiful or ugly, rich or poor, what matters is you are a woman. what they(men) need is a hole and two boobs.”

I was more shocked than her. Shocked at the truth she was speaking. The words burned into my soul like embers.

That was the truth, complete and honest.

This is the reality which glares at us from every part of the country be it villages, cities anywhere.

Little girls , young women, old women no one is safe in this country.

In most of the cases the rapists are known people.

A father, a brother, an uncle , a friend. Who are we supposed to trust?

Rape doe not happen like they show in films, it comes from unexpected sources, hits hard and stuns the victim.

I remember Gulzar Saheb’s poem Rape’s few lines here :

” sirf aurat thi wo, kamzor thi wo,

char mardon ne, ki wo mard the bas

pasedeewar use rape kiya

translation

Just a woman, weak, vulnarable

four men, only because they were men

pinned her against the wall and raped her.

Unfortunately  most of the times women are blamed for the rape and sexual abuse cases. I have heard even other woman saying ,” aaise ban than ke nikalegi to mardon ki nazar to kharab hogi hi ” ( if she goes out all decked up like this men will get tempted)

“kapde to dekho iske , phir hum aadmiyon ko dosh dete hain ( look at her clothes and then we blame men”)

“aaj kal auraten hi zyada khul khel karti hain , niyota denge to rape to honge hee( these days women have become so outgoing, if they invite, rape will happen”)

I ask those  who blame the woman for “indecent behavior” such as wearing skimpy clothes, going out late at night ot ” inviting” men, are women in burkhas and salwar-kameez not eve-teased, raped or molested?

Don’t rape cases occurs in broad daylight.

What about the little girls who are raped by their own family members, relatives or friends?Child sexual abuse and incest is growing in large proportions. Here is a poem I wrote about it  The Lost Childhood

Do they even know what’s happening to them leave aside” inviting”. what about the old woman who could never dream that she too can fall prey to these lecherous men?

What about women who are raped in police custody by the very people who are supposed to protect her?

What about  Aruna Shanbaug who was attacked with a dog chain and brutally raped in the very hospital where she was a nurse, and abandoned by her family thereafter.The rapist was convicted for seven years in jail, and is believed to have started a new life in another hospital in New Delhi.  She lies in a state of coma in a room of the same hospital for the last 37 years. What was her fault ?

How did a nine year old ” provoke ” a man to rape her in Goa ? Link

Why there is always a “moral code of conduct” for women? Why women are blamed for a crime where they are the victims?Why can’t they live the way they want to without the fear of sexual abuse, molestation, rape hanging over them?

Why the rapists do not get punished severely, Why the cases are not registered and those which are , never get justice?

Why there is this widespread misconception that women are sexually available and that some men simply cannot help themselves?

What about rape within marriage ? Who is responsible for this intimate betrayal? A crime which is  not even considered a crime?

I wrote a post on this sometime back  marital rape

A few days back I got a twitpic from a friend originally posted on Jagori.org

Came across this Jagori.org poster (Credits: London Rape Crisis Centre) entitled “बलात्कार से बचाव के लिए मार्गदर्शन” translates to “Guidelines for prevention from Rape” #women

This fried wanted me to do the translation for this. This what he posted LINK

This what I translated

Do not step out in the darkness
it is an invitation to men
do not step out alone anytime
in any case it is an invitation to men
do not stay inside the home
for both relatives and guest can rape
do not stay without clothes
it evokes (boosts)desire in men
do not wear clothes
because these types of clothes
it is an invitation to men
beware of childhood
coz some rapists prefer little girls
beware of old age
some rapists prefer old women
do not have father, uncle, grand father, brother-in-law and brothers
these are the relatives who usually rape the young women of the house
do not have neighbors
they usually rape
do not get married
rape within marriage is permissible
but , if you need full protection
do not live.

The poster tells a story by itself. I wonder how many men will feel ashamed reading this!

we also found an original translation

For how long women will live in fear, suffering at the hands of men is something to think about.

In a country rooted in age-old beliefs, conventions and rules set by men for their benefits and convenience, a woman has little say. She is either a ” virgin wife” or a “slut” there is no in betweens. Any woman who stands up to raise her voice against the unjust society, who breaks free of the “usual social norms” is crushed brutally.

Rape victims live a life of humiliation, are denyed justice most of the time. They are conditioned to believe that they are the cause of their misery and the best thing to do is remain silent.Who wants to be humiliated twice in a society where law makers to law breakers all men speak one language: A woman who “asks for it” ” gets it”.

Is a woman safe from the time she is born till the time she dies? At every step she faces challenges which threaten her very existence.  All her life a woman’s conduct is put under scanner. Her every word is daubted. She has to prove her innocence, her purity at all levels.  Lines are drawn for them but never for the men. She is not “allowed” to step out of the ” laxman rekha” ( her line of conduct) and has to give ” agni pareeksha” (proof) for the things she is not responsible.

WHY?

Why

why the blame is always shifted to women? Even when she is raped, assaulted, burnt, termed a witch it is her fault. Men are never wrong. How inhumanly unfair is that?

I remember reading in ‘A thousand splendid suns’, “A man’s pointing finger will always find a women to blame” .

The moment a rape occurs people raise fingers at the ” loose character” of the girl/woman. If some men get “provoked” enough to rape by mere sight of a woman and can not control themselves  and are compelled to commit the crime then the only sentence should be castration.

Came across this blog which is a must read Rape Culture

Isn’t it time we stopped these double standards in the code of conduct for women and men? It is unfortunate that women from one generation to the other pass on the legacy of these utterly rubbish ideas of a woman being responsible for any sexual advancement towards her. It is time to set an example by making strict laws and enforcing them with even more strictness. It is time to give complete support, counselling, justice  to rape victims and not judge them and humiliate them further.

THIS IS A INDIVINE POST. PLEASE VOTE FOR IT HERE

Marital Rape :Intimate betrayal ….The untold trauma


I had wanted to take up the issue of Marital rape for a long time now .The movie DAMAN by Kalpana Lajmi where Raveena Tondon plays the role of a marital rape victim, made me write about this heinous crime against women.

Violence against women within the family has become a major issue in our society.

Marriage is perceived as ‘socially sanctioned sex’. A legal right to a woman’s mind, body and soul.

I often see men commenting that they “allow “their wives to work, go out and engage in hobbies she likes or do certain other things and wonder who gave them the right to give permission? Do we lose our right as a human being to decide things for ourselves, the moment we get married, and become a slave to the man we choose as a partner for life and do only those things he ‘chooses” to “”allow” us to do.

Centuries of conditioning of male minds makes them believe that they have a right over women. Under the broad term of patriarchy women are treated as second class citizens at home, at work and as citizens in the society.

Domestic violence is itself a small part of the larger subjugation of women by men in society.

A woman is given to understand that her desires and dreams must henceforth be subject to those of her husband. Once married a woman feels guilty of denying her husband his conjugal rights. Under such conditions, many women find it difficult to talk about the physical violence that takes place under the guise of conjugal relations in the marriage. Any mention of rape or sex fills them with shame.

All over the world, steps have been taken to ensure that marital rape is regarded as an offence. In India, however, we do not even admit that marital rape is a reality, let alone a crime. Marital rape is an issue that has long been swept under the carpet. It is something no one wants to talk about.

Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, says, “Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, not being under 15 years of age is not rape.” Marital rape doesn’t even fall under domestic violence.

Quoting section 375

375. Rape.

A man is said to commit “rape” who, except in the case hereinafter excepted, has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the six following descriptions: –

First: – Against her will.

Secondly: -without her consent.

Thirdly: – With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested in fear of death or of hurt.

Fourthly: -With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband, and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.

Fifthly: – With her consent, when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent.

Sixthly: – With or without her consent, when she is under sixteen years of age.

Explanation: – Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the offense of rape.

Exception: -Sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.

Our laws do not consider marital rape as a crime and only in cases of excessive physical abuse; a woman can file a case for cruelty. Domestic violence is prevalent in many forms in the society and for most of them there is a legal remedy except Marital rape.

There are so many loopholes in the law, about gender, age, caste and so on.

Rape with in marriage is not just the violation of sex; it’s related to a woman’s consent. Her autonomy and bodily integrity are at stake all the time. It’s the violation of self-determination and breach of trust. Marital rape betrays the fundamental basis of marital relationship.

It is an issue of denial of the human rights of women.

I feel that having sex with a person at one time does not “imply” consent to any future sexual acts but in our society a woman is subjected to all kind of sexual atrocities against her will. Not only are wives commonly viewed as the property of their husbands, but more specifically, they are seen as the sexual property of their husbands. Illicit sex, sex on demand, forced sex and sometimes brutal, humiliating sex is experienced by innumerable woman in a marriage.

Unfortunately not many women are aware of the fact that there is a thing called marital rape as they are discouraged to talk openly about sexual issues even within marriage.

And those who are aware do not show enough courage to stand up for their rights for various reasons, social or personal

Many of the marital rape victims end up with HIV and STD’s, unwanted pregnancies and abortions, physical mutations or wounds physical as well as psychological because they lack necessary courage to deny sex without contraception.

The impact of sexual assault lasts a lifetime and the victim suffers from Rape Trauma Syndrome. Feelings of betrayal, anger, guilt, humiliation, fear of intimacy, acute fear of being assaulted again and denial are some of the repercussions of marital rape.

In India, a societal change is needed as much as a legal one. Along with strict laws women need to be courageous enough to come out and report the crime against them, and then only the law can be enforced.

Women go through the most unimagined forms of abuse under the name of marriage. Once we accept this reality we may be able to take the first step towards protecting women.

Until then women will continue to be abused and raped by the one person they trusted most.

Also- Economic empowerment of women is a must because that will break their dependence on men at home.

There are many questions that need to be answered

Is the law a suitable and sufficient remedy for marital rape?

Will women want to have police people intervening?

Will the police give protection to a woman against her husband?

Can a woman walk into a police station and file a complaint against the man she’s married to?

Will at least the women police officers come to her help?

Is the society ready to tackle such an issue?

While a law will help as a deterrent and also in extreme cases, it is equally necessary to raise the consciousness of people, especially men, regarding the status of women.

We need to be aware of our rights; it’s not just the man’s prerogative to enjoy a physical relation. A woman too needs to be a willing participant and not just a provider; she should be able to state when the lines are crossed. Women themselves must break free of societal shackles and fight for justice.

I hope all the men who read this post will take that first step needed to give women the respect and dignity they deserve.

All the women will show courage to come out and fight for their self respect and take the first step of saying “NO”.

This is a indivine post . please vote for it here