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Carry pepper spray/ talk at home

This post also features in my FutureChallenges blog with a few edits here

We are living in a fucked up world.

For every incidence of sexual violence I get to know of experienced by my friends, a sickening feeling overcomes me & fills me with dread. dread for the many girls who will never tell their experience to anyone. dread for the unimaginably horrible world we live in. If very close friends too share such experiences only when they are sure that they won't be judged, I shudder to think of how many of the women I interact with everyday or pass by would have had to go through such ordeals as well. Is any woman/girl/child safe at all in this country?
We might build walls. we might only travel in our own cars and never in the dead of the night. But is it any safer?
How can it be any safer for women, if their world is built on the notions of shame, purity, 'decency' and so on? By defining our 'culture' squarely on the basis of men's right to judge a woman, we are creating the ground for sexual violence that gets justified in one perverted way or the another.
A girl gets pinched and people look at her as if she invited it because she was wearing shorts. what kind of twisted culture is this? Let women roam around naked if they wish to. Nothing should give any one the right on anyone else's body.
If as a family unit, we indulge in judging women in perverse logic of decency, we are bound to fail. None of my friends who have shared the experience with me, have shared it with their family members. If your sister/mother/daughter/neice can't tell you what she has/is going through, what use is the family and the 'sanskaar' bullshit?
For this world to be any safer, the family has to be more open and give up on being judgemental. How often do the men in the family know anything about what their women counterpart are going through? how many have a clear understanding of menstruation? how many families can talk about body and sexuality without getting weird about it? my hunch is zero. but we can try to build such families in the future, can't we?
If we remove the mystery, the sexual perversion around women's body in our culture, perhaps, then the men will know better than to be so hopelessly pathetic and clueless about sexuality. If there is no cultural anxiety about 'choli ke peeche kya hai', there will be less frustration, less show of power through sexual violence and less every day horror of eve teasing. i hope.


sonaljhuj said…
 in india we separate men and women so much that there is a huge gap in understanding the life and times of the opposite sex. Which is why even after a man is married and has a daughter, he may still not know much about menstruation.However i dont think that it's about getting people to talk more. that's not it. men need to be made sensitive, yes. but there are very few who are sensitive enough to listen to the stories and respond appropriately. i've been blessed that the men in my family are such. but in many cases the family itself will shame the woman. so while your argument is fair about opening up the family and removing the concept of shame. it must begin with the education of young men. sigh. it all boils down to education. and while i agree that a lot of learning about social equalities happens through observation of adults around you, a good teacher can still make you question the status quo in your own family.So then the answer to all women issues is:1. women need to speak up2. schools should have good teachers :|
Ajinkya Pawar said…
i agree. the future is in the hands of the teachers. but how can we expect for a teacher to guide the child in forming his/her personal moral fibre when there are 60+ students in the class. more so, when the teachers in most schools are neither qualified nor have moral ascendance.
these days, at least in the cities, the parents are better equipped than teachers in terms of education, exposure and interest. and they have an immensely big veto power over what the child accepts. so if parents are coaxed to be a little more circumspect and empathetic, we can hope for the better.
Swarna said…
i also feel that its not only teacher's responsibility, the media should also play a role in such things. if media portrays "reality" and women being oppressed, harassed, or they show murder of someone in the family as a "matter of fact" things wont change. What u see on tv and what u read on internet are far more impactful in today's day and age, they should also encourage in creating a healthy mental picture.

you only see gossip about affairs and sneak peak (into women's clothes) in the glamour sections.... is that glamorous?? is it soo interesting??? being a human being.... dont people have the right to explore themeselves and their tastes?? i might sound too bold and too open.... i apologise if i have hurt anyone.
Ajinkya Pawar said…
@62b08e37fc603a90c8d4a615decaf1d9 i agree. and u needn't feel apologetic for anything. media does play a very important role and sadly the media is run by ignorant douchebags. they are creating mess and are unaware of it.
sonaljhuj said…
i don't think anything can be expected of the media. we're being quite hopeful if we think that the media can change things. as long as there is money to be made, you will never get quality programming. it is inherent in our nature to seek the taboo. and media will feed us that till the day we die. let girls and boys study together. teach them to respect each other. they probably will be less interested then in the rape scenes that news channels recreate much to our collective horror.
Ajinkya Pawar said…
true. but there are humans behind the media programming too. they themselves
must be shown the horrors of what they are creating. currently, i think, its
run by idiots. hence the rot. i saw a minute of 'comedy circus' and it
supremely cringe worthy. their jokes were misogynistic and the women judge
was laughing at every other utterance like siddhu.
Aparna said…
If there is no cultural anxiety about 'choli ke peeche kya hai' - brilliantly put- fabulously articulated. so true. Getting you bum pinched is actually an infiltration of a woman's personal space in a very obscene way - and should be seen like that only -  so to be able to deal with, in an efficient way - without all the emotional hocus-pocus.basically in my opinion - men need to open their minds to the fact that their near and dear ones can indeed go through the horror of having their personal space invaded.Getting abused today is totally a woman's paradigm - as if getting molested was not enough - they have to deal with the guilt of having ruined the dignity and image of their family. its like a double whammy.

Men need to stop seeing acts of sexual abuse/violence towards their women counterparts - as a maligning of their own personal dignity and esteem - probably that would emancipate the woman today from the paradoxical guilt at having being molested and help them confide and seek solace from their relationships with males.A certain stigma needs to be removed from the whole notion of sexual abuse - and 'women' as a phenomenon.I say this because - I dont see sexual abuse of boys leading to maligning of family name - in the same way as it does, when it comes to a woman's abuse.I think Ajinkya you are absolutely right - when you coin the term 'cultural anxiety about choli ke peechche kya hai' - A line comes to my mind vehmently - 'cognitive dissonance in sexual matters of the Indian super-consciousness'

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