Posts Tagged ‘molestation’

equality2

Can men be feminists? My answer is yes, absolutely! And in the last one year that I have been blogging on women’s issues I have heard myriad men’s voices and views that have enriched my own thoughts and perceptions. That is why I decided to run a series where men would give an insight into gender equality and violence against women. Like charity begins at home I believe feminism begins at home too. And for me it truly begins at home because of all the fierce feminist men I have met in my life, I guess I have been living with the fiercest one so far, since I tied the knot with him 12 years back.

I start off this series with my husband Jaydip Sengupta’s views that he’s penned down himself. Here goes…

It’s a given men and women are equal

I have often wondered if being a feminist makes me any less of a man. I have looked up the definition of the word feminism and it roughly means a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.

I have never felt the need to be part of any such movement, or to appreciate the burning of bras. Instead I have tried to figure out why it needs to be established that women are equal to men. I mean, shouldn’t that be a given, something that need not be reiterated time and again? Yeah sure, men are better at certain things but then women are better at most other things.

 Now, that’s a fact men have been unable to accept. History or for that matter mythology hasn’t been kind to our women folk and it hasn’t helped that they were written by us men folk. Women were worshipped, but in reality all they got to do was service to ‘mankind’. So now, when they work as many hours as their male counterparts and for extra measure cook, keep the house in order, bring up the children and do everything else necessary to keep the family going, they are still expected to continue that service. Why, may I ask?

There should be a code of conduct for men

It all seems hypocritical to me but I am not surprised. When I see and hear wise men in our country preach about how women should behave instead of how men should not, it somehow tells me that we have only been paying lip service to gender equality all these years. The instances of molestation and rape have come out of homes and into the streets, but really, are only the men to blame here?

equality

Women should alter their own beliefs

For generations, women have been conditioned to play the weaker sex. Most seem to revel in their subservient role, especially at home and it’s a state of being they have found difficult to shrug off elsewhere as well. Maybe it is part of their defence mechanism. Do you really have to be physically stronger to stand your ground and retaliate when needed?

I know that’s easy for me to say as a man, but how many times have I seen this role-play. Who convinced them that they can only be feminine if they are soft-spoken, gentle and hence ladylike, whatever that means.

I still remember an incident during my college days. I used to travel by local train and one day as I was making my way to the platform, I saw the sister of a school senior being followed by a group of boys, who, I could make out from the distance, were saying something to her.

Even before I had the chance to hurry up and see what was going on, I heard her voice boom around the platform, “Don’t you guys have mothers or sisters at home? Is this how you behave with them as well?” Of course, they scurried away pretty intimidated. The girl in question didn’t lose an iota of femininity by making herself heard.

I applaud the girl at Howrah station

That was 20 years back. The situation has definitely worsened for women since then. The incident that happened at Howrah station recently didn’t shock me in the least.

Check here: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-07-24/mumbai/40771008_1_howrah-station-tv-anchor-subrata

What, however, gives me hope is the way the girl hit back.  To me women’s empowerment is not about having separate seats in metros, buses and trains; it’s about behaving like an equal and when needed putting men in their place. And that again is something I am sure they can do as well as anything they put their minds into.

–         Jaydip Sengupta is a sports journalist, husband and father

The Guwahati incident

The Guwahati incident

Chances are you didn’t know. And even if you did you just browsed through it on the net or read it in the morning paper and moved on to TV to keep yourself abreast about what was happening after the rape of the 23-year-old girl in Delhi.

On December 7, 11 of the accused of the Guwahati molestation case have been given two years of jail term while four, including the journalist who covered the event, have been acquitted. For more details go to: http://blog.tehelka.com/guwahati-molestation-case-verdict-pricks-many-uncomfortable-questions/

But as Tehelka journo RATNADIP CHOUDHURYwrites : While the incident evoked a sharp response, it seems nobody cared about the judgment. No women rights groups were present in the court premises; there was hardly any reaction on the judgment from civil society who were up in arms to fight for proper justice for the victim. The fact that they did not bother to express their ‘happiness’ or ‘anguish’ over the judgment, makes it clear that public outcry is only immediate. The ‘national’ TV news channels only aired the judgment in ‘brief’ since it is no more the “TRP driver.”  Once again an issue from the Northeast faded out of the mainstream media mind space ‘too soon’, the disease long harped upon.

This goes on to prove that we are a flippant nation. As we observe Black Saturday today I raise a few questions:

Why are we so flippant?

India has a short public memory so it is easy to get away with anything and everything here. While it feels good that India has finally woken up to the issues surrounding women and people of all age groups and all classes have taken to the streets to join in protests not only in Delhi but all over India but the question is how long will the protests last and will there be any positive outcome?

First and foremost parents will tell their wards, “Beta don’t get involved in all this. You are safe why do you care for others? Tell what you have to say on Facebook you don’t have to venture out.” And as NDTV will move on to some new TRP-raking programme we will move with them too.

It’s a shame how the outrage we felt at the Guwahati incident fizzled out. Really, how many of us now care if two years is enough for the culprits or have we questioned why such criminals have been allowed to roam the streets on bail? And the girl, does anyone care about how she is and if she is okay? I just hope and pray the Delhi incident doesn’t die such a death.

Why are we so cowardly?

While we spring to social media with our instant reactions do we do the same when we are out on the streets?  How many of us can say that we have stood by a woman when she was being eve teased or molested? We talk, we write but when it comes to the real scenario we say, “Gosh! That’s none of my business why should I get involved?”  If the perpetrators of crimes against women knew that the public would be on the woman’s side if she raised her voice they would have thought twice before making a single move.

Let’s take it that the nation has woken up post-Delhi rape case then if I had been a journalist on the ground in India now the story that I would have done is by asking women taking public transport: Are more men coming to help when you raise a voice of protest inside a public bus or train?

A girl protesting in Delhi

A girl protesting in Delhi

Why are we so gullible?

It’s so easy to fool us. Really, believe me. The Government tried to prove that they were taking the girl out to Singapore on a six-hour flight for better treatment and we all thought they are trying to do their best. But not a single reporter asked a politician/doctor/government employee what exact treatment did they intend to give her there? Given MT Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore is the best in organ transplant but you can do a transplant on someone when that person is in a relatively stable state of health. Can you do it on a woman with her insides completely affected in septicemia? My layman’s brain says it’s not possible wonder what the docs have to say. The idea was to ensure Safdarjung Hospital docs couldn’t be blamed for her death. The poor girl has been yet another pawn in a political game.

By the way, there are 20 ministers in India with rape cases pending against them. Who are we kidding? We are pushing for capital punishment with this government?

There can only be rule of fear

Intellectuals are constantly talking about sensitization and changing of the mindset in India. It is possible but it is a long-drawn affair and can happen after 100 years. Definitely!!  What’s the immediate solution? I would say FEAR. Someone said on social media: If they sent the girl to Singapore for better treatment they should send the criminals to Saudi Arabia for better punishment.

The same Indians who pass lewd comments at women in their home country and don’t think twice before raping or molesting them don’t dare to look them in the eye in countries like Saudi Arabia or even in the UAE. Why? Because they are shit scared of the law and the police. They know one single complaint from a woman could land them in jail and end with deportation.

Capital punishment or no capital punishment there has to be fear of inevitable punishment then only women in India will be safer.