Easy access to the internet in the current decade has allowed women to start online activism and empower themselves. They use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc. The internet allows women freedom to voice their opinions and organize campaigns for equality rights.
On May 29, 2013, three women started an online campaign to take down various misogynistic pages on Facebook that spread hatred toward women. In just one week, the campaigners roused hundreds of thousands of supporters who are part of the “great feminist revival.” The social networking giant Facebook caved into pressure. The campaign succeeded where many previous efforts failed. Facebook took action over contents that celebrated rape and domestic violence.
The following video titled “Woman Empowerment – I will fight back” by Unseen Passage Pictures is an eye opener. It carries the message that if women do not empower themselves, then nobody will.
While many praise the audacity of the young woman there are a few detractors, as expected, with their sarcastic, derogatory remarks. Some even insinuate that the video is a concocted one implying that the woman is an actor with makeup for bruises for the ‘skit’, and lying.
Whatever it is, the video impressed me.
Here is a transcription of the young woman’s rendering of the incident.
I usually don’t talk like this. It’s because my tooth is broken.
Actually, yesterday I went shopping with a friend to Sarojini Market. I love street shopping, but you know how crowded it is.
We were checking out some dresses in a shop. Suddenly, somebody touched me from behind. I felt very uncomfortable. I screamed out of fear and everybody around got to know what just happened.
It was very embarrassing. But that guy was simply walking away with his friends, laughing at me. I thought somebody would catch hold of them; somebody would take an action against them. But everyone was staring at me only as if I had done something wrong. Some people were even laughing. But then, an uncle stepped forward and showed some courage and he said:
“Dear, they are mannerless people. Nobody can do anything about it. They are incorrigible. You better take care of yourself and try wearing decent clothes.”
No. No. I didn’t wear a bikini to go shopping. I was just wearing a jeans and a sleeveless shirt. But, I am just another helpless woman, isn’t it? So, obviously everybody had to judge me only like they always do.
Whenever I am alone at the bus stop waiting for the bus or when I come late from the office and my colleague drops me, when I am with a guy, when I ask for help, or when I wear western clothes, and also when they feel like judging, they judge.
But, I am just another helpless woman. So, I said: “Uncle, it’s okay. I will handle.”
I called the woman helpline and told them my current location. Then, I ran behind them, grabbed him by his collar and slapped him hard. They hit me back. Then, people around came to help me and beat them up badly. You should have seen their wounded faces. They all are behind the bars now charged with ‘Women Harassment’.
Then, I understood one thing that in our country, it is very important to take your own stand. If we didn’t empower ourselves, then nobody will.
Take your own stand. Only we are responsible for ourselves.
A shameful incident happened in Bengaluru, Karnataka, India on March 12, 2015.
Ms. Nivedita Chakraborty, a Program Manager at NetApp, posted on her Facebook page the details with related photographs.
On their way to their office Nivedita Chakraborty and Archana Sharad were “shocked to see a girl aged about 25 being beaten black and blue by a strong, well-built man, with at least 50 people standing on the street and simply watching.“
The man, grabbing the girl by her hair, slapped her. When she fell down on the road, he kicked her groin.
Nivedita and Archana rushed out of their car. Archana pushed the man back in an attempt to loosen his grip on the girl while Nivedita tried to free the girl’s hair from his clutches. Once they freed the girl, the two brave women along with the rescued girl sought refuge inside their car.
But the man sat on the car bonnet and did not let them drive away.
The girl named Surya told her two rescuers that she was from Tamilnadu now working in Bangalore and the man was her father, a police sub-inspector from Madurai, Tamilnadu, India.
Surya’s parents on hearing rumors of their daughter having a love affair had come over to Bangalore to end the affair. When she denied that she was not having an affair, her parents had simply refused to listen or believe her. The father wanted to take her back to Madurai and forcibly marry her off to someone of their choice.
Her mother, a teacher in Madurai, a silent spectator during the incident until then bawled out blaming her daughter for the “shame she has brought upon her family”.
Nivedita called the police and they came after about 30 minutes and took Surya and her parents to the Ulsoor Police station.
“Not only, was the parents behavior shocking and gruesome , but what was more shameful was the silent spectators on the street who stood watching the entire drama, not willing to save the girl or aid and support us, who were at least trying.
If a policeman chooses to physically and publicly abuse his adult daughter , how are we safe in the hands of such ‘protectors of law’?
If a teacher mistrusts and blames her adult daughter while supporting her husband’s abusive behavior, how can we entrust our children’s grooming to such ‘educators and shapers of young India’?”
Yesterday, a Waseem Memon posted on the Facebook page of Archana Sharad:
I got a call from Police commissioner’s office, Madurai. The guy’s name is Jayaraman and he is no more into active service. He was suspended two years ago.
PS: The sad part is that no FIR was filed against that ******* as the family decided to amicably resolve the case after relatives intervened. (Got this info from Ulsoor Police Station).
The controversial BBC documentary “India’s Daughter” directed by the British filmmaker, Ms. Leslee Udwin, banned in India, made it to the World Wide Web.
The documentary focuses on the horrific case of the brutally beaten and gang-raped Jyoti Singh on December 16, 2012 in New Delhi. The incident sent shock waves around the world and led to protests all over India demanding changes in attitudes towards women.
Mukesh Singh, the Delhi rapist says victim shouldn’t have fought back (Source: bbc.com)
Mukesh Singh, one of the four rapists, now facing the death penalty, recounts his crime by talking to the camera. He does not show the slightest regret. He does not seem to have understood the gravity of his actions, nor the actions of his criminal companions. He just says:
The 15 or 20 minutes of the incident, I was driving the bus. They switched off the lights. My brother was the main guy. They hit the boy and he just hid between the seats. The girl was screaming, “Help me! Help me!“
My brother said, “Don’t stop the bus. Keep driving!“
They hit her and dragged her to the back. Then they went in turns. First the juvenile and Ram Singh. After that, Akshay and the rest went. Someone put his hand inside her and pulled out something long. It was her intestines.
He said, “She’s dead. Throw her out quickly.“
First, they tried the back door, but it didn’t open. So, they dragged her to the front. They threw her out.
My drunk state wore off completely. I couldn’t even control the steering. I only drove the bus. It’s lies that my brother or Akshay
took the steering. Only I drove.
People say this happened, that happened, that the driver was changed. Show me how we changed drivers, and I’ll accept I also
went to the back and killed her.
We went straight home. They were saying, “Where’s their stuff?“
It was in the front. The mobile, the watch.
Pawan put the shoes on, Akshay put the jacket on. They wore the stuff. They had no fear.
And on the way, the juvenile said: “Sir, I threw it away… What I pulled out of her body I threw it away. I wrapped it in cloth and threw it out.”
We reached home in about 10 minutes.
We agreed no one would say anything, and if the police got involved, no one would name names.
There was a lot of blood. Blood on the seats, blood on the floor. Akshay and the juvenile both cleaned the bus.
Vinay had a lot of blood on his hands. He washed them at my house.
I went to sleep.
I can’t say why this incident – this accident – happened. Mainly to teach them a lesson.
My brother had done such things before, but this time his intention was not to rape or fight. He had the right to explain to them. He asked the boy why he was out with a girl so late at night.
The boy said, “It’s none of your business,” and slapped him.
There was fighting, beating. Those who raped, raped.
They thought that if they do “wrong things” with them, then they won’t tell anyone out of shame. They’d learn a lesson.
When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they’d have dropped her off after doing her, and only hit the boy.
People say, when you hang, they put this on your neck. The eyes pop out, the tongue sticks out, that’s what they say. They’ve made this such a big issue. People have committed bigger crimes, and nothing had happened to them. In Barabanki after the rape, her eyes were taken out. Sometimes they put acid on girls. There was another rape where they burnt her alive. Wasn’t that wrong? If ours is wrong, then that was wrong too.
The death penalty will make things even more dangerous for girls. Now when they rape, they won’t leave the girl like we did. They will kill her. Before, they would rape and say, “Leave her, she won’t tell anyone.” Now when they rape, especially the criminal types, they will just kill the girl. Death.
In the film, the convict Mukesh Singh’s comments are not the only ones that shock the audience. Despicable and disturbing are the warped misogynistic ideas and comments voiced with great flourish by M.L. Sharma and A.P. Singh, the two lawyers representing the rapists..
Lawyer M.L. Sharma says in the film:
“That girl was with some unknown boy who took her on a date. In our society, we never allow our girls to come out from the house after 6:30 or 7:30 or 8:30 in the evening with any unknown person.”
“They left our Indian culture. They were under the imagination of the filmy culture, in which they can do anything. “
“She should not be put on the streets just like food. The ‘lady’, on the other hand, you can say the ‘girl’ or ‘woman’, are more precious than a gem, than a diamond. It is up to you how you want to keep that diamond in your hand. If you put your diamond on the street, certainly the dog will take it out. You can’t stop it.”
“You are talking about man and woman as friends. Sorry, that doesn’t have any place in our society. A woman means I immediately put the sex in his eyes. We have the best culture. In our culture, there is no place for a woman.”
“He would like to create a damage. He will put his hand… Insert, hit! It is just like that kind of action. Beat him. Putting his hand forcefully inside. “
Lawyer A.P. Singh says in the film:
“If very important or very necessary, she should go outside, but she should go with their family member like uncle, father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, etc., etc. She should not go in night hours with her boyfriend… “
“If my daughter or sister engaged in pre-marital activities and disgraced herself and allowed herself to lose face and character by doing such things, I would most certainly take this sort of sister or daughter to my farmhouse, and in front of my entire family, I would put petrol on her and set her alight. This is my stand. I still today stand by that reply.”
“A number of criminal cases of murder, robbery, rape are pending against approximately 250 members of parliament. Sitting members of parliament. But their cases are not being tried in fast-track courts. Their cases are not being tried based on day-to-day hearings. Why? If you want to give a message to society against rape, against robbery, against murder, then you should start from your own neck.”
In one scene Puneeta Devi, wife of Akshay Thakur asks:
“Am I not a daughter of this country? Don’t I have the right to live? Will there be no more rapes in Delhi? Will you hang all rapists? A woman is protected by her husband. If he’s dead, who will protect her and for whom will she live? I also don’t want to live. Priyanshu, my son, is a child. He understands nothing. I will strangle him to death. what else can I do?”
These and other scenes showing force used by the Delhi Police while trying to quell the protests by students and the public has led to the ban of this documentary film in India.
Director Ms. Leslee Udwin said:
“I have constantly stressed this is not an Indian problem, it is a global problem. I remain confident that this film will be a powerful tool for change.”
Each year the world celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8th. The film was due to be aired in the United Kingdom on Sunday, March 8, 2015 to coincide with IWD. In the wake of attempts by the Indian government to block the release of the film worldwide BBC brought its broadcast forward. BBC Four broadcast it on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 3:30 am IST.
The BBC said that nearly 300,000 viewers tuned in to watch the film and received only 32 complaints against it.
Rape has, of late, become an acute disease in the Indian society. Prima facie, this is a problem arising out of a mental disorder, but there is also a larger cultural context that, to an extent, explains how the Indian male became so brutal.
Our cultural upbringing conditions male minds to behave in a cruel fashion with women. Family upbringing, societal conditioning, religious sagas and political animus, all construct our men and women into being what they are — men as aggressive and women as submissive. Which is why men here, in India, are different from men in other countries.
Their cultural milieu is different. Their spiritual systems train them differently. It’s not that only Indian men rape and kill children aged three or five. This happens in other countries too, but they are the rarest of rare cases. Daily reports of infants being raped across the length and breadth of a country is a phenomenon unique to India, a society that’s otherwise highly conservative. Clearly, the institutional upbringing, including that in family, needs to undergo change.
Every time a gruesome rape gets reported, we all are ashamed and angry. That’s one thing; but working out ways and means to eradicate such evil is another thing. We cannot leave it entirely to the police or the judiciary to tackle such heinous acts. For, rape is also a cultural problem; and it is a more serious problem because of the extermination of the victim. We need to treat the malaise from its very roots.
We are a society that derives its sense of good and bad from our mythologies and spiritual ethics. Our gods and goddesses are not only worshipped but also adored. And it is our lifelong endeavour to emulate them. This is the cultural environment that shapes the lives of most people in India. So it’s natural that what gods do influences us much more than the moral lesson at the end. Now consider this: we have gods who, for instance, have cut the nose and ear lobes of a woman who approached them professing her love (Lakshman is depicted as having done this to Shurpanakha), and yet we adore him and see him as a symbol of loyalty, sacrifice and righteous indignation.
Lord Krishna stole the clothes of women while they were bathing in the Yamuna river. He did so to tease them and for the pleasure of watching the beauty of their naked bodies. We hang miniature paintings of the same act in our homes proudly. The young men who grow up seeing this, or listening to the story told in an amused tone are bound to not find such an act abhorrent.
We also have a god, Shiva, who insisted on entering the bathing arena of Goddess Parvati and did so by eliminating a child who was keeping guard at the open door. Lord Ganesha is said to have emerged out of such a union. Is this right or wrong? Our mythology tells us that what a husband does is right, that his will is greater than the woman’s. If a mythological hero is praised for his acts of killing, drinking and fornicating with multiple women (like Indra did with Rambha, Urvashi, Menaka, Tilottama and so on), it is glorification of such behaviour.
When such stories are a part of the mythological texts, they should, at least, be critically evaluated and given a more contemporary, political reading which is rooted in the concept of equality. Instead, the tendency is to not question what our gods did, but simply admire such acts.
Barring a few exceptions, there is no appreciation, per se, of a healthy man-woman relationship which is rooted in the concept of equality. Indian women are shown as lathangi (a person of delicate body), never strong enough to resist her dehumanisation. Though Durga and Kali are shown as strong, in real life such militancy is not seen as feminine.
Now let us turn to the political spectrum. We have had many great men — Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan etc — who got married at a young age with girls of much younger age, went abroad for higher studies, leaving their wives at home totally illiterate or semi-literate. We do not know how these men, or Gokhale and Tilak, treated their wives.
But we know that they were all devotees of the deities mentioned above. The only man who treated his wife as a friend and educated her right from the first day of his marriage, Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, is not taught as an example to be emulated in our texts. Somehow, in our patriarchal cultural milieu, unkind and inhuman treatment of women has never been a matter of concern. It’s considered sacrilegious, for example, to question Lord Ram for leaving his dutiful wife on the random outburst of a dhobi.
And Sita’s action, in turn, to not question, but to commit suicide, is considered the epitome of all that is pious. Even Gautam Buddha left his young wife, with an infant child. Questioning such acts has never been part of our public discourse.
Or, look at our cinemas. Ever since the industry came into being, silent or talkie, it has used woman’s body as a money-making object. The song and dance sequence that it has adopted as an art form falls into a common pattern — every hero is licensed to misuse the body of the heroine. The romance in our film industry is not romance; it is vulgarity bordering on the criminal.
So is it a surprise that men of this country see it as their right to violate women in all spheres of life?
The writer is director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad
Kancha Ilaiah (5 October 1952) is an Indian activist and writer. His books include Why I am not a Hindu, God As Political Philosopher: Budha’s challenge to Brahminism, A Hollow Shell, The State and Repressive Culture, Manatatwam (in Telugu), and Buffalo Nationalism: A Critique of Spiritual Fascism.
BULANDSHAHR: A panchayat in Bulandshahr passed a bizarre diktat on Thursday ordering a man to get married to the girl who was sexually assaulted by him three days ago. The girl had been alone when her neighbour’s guest entered the house, gagged and raped her. The victim later informed her family about the incident. The accused is a resident of Kasna in Gautam Budh Nagar district.
The victim’s family then approached the police. By then the accused went to the panchayat and asked them to hush up the matter. The panchayat ordered the accused to get married to the girl. They even threatened the girl’s family if they did not follow the diktat.
The family had approached the Bulandshahr SSP Gulab Singh but failed to get any respite. Later, after the matter came into the media, the accused was arrested and a FIR lodged under Section 354 of the IPC.
Yesterday, April 17, 2013, just a few weeks ahead of key elections in Karnataka state (scheduled for May 5, 2013), a blast ripped through the Malleshwaram area of Bangalore near the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office. The blast gutted several vehicles including a police van parked near the BJP office and injured 16 people including eight police officers on duty.
According to several eyewitnesses on spot it was a “big explosion that shook nearby buildings.” Television footage showed several cars and two-wheelers at the blast site were badly damaged.
Television footage showed several badly damaged cars and two-wheelers at the blast site.
There are conflicting reports about the blast. Initial reports suggested that a gas cylinder had exploded. Raghavendra Auradkar, Bangalore police chief told reporters: “We initially thought it was a gas cylinder explosion. [Now] we believe it is a motorcycle blast – a motorcycle [has been] destroyed,” he said. BBC reported that “bombs had been planted on bicycles 150 metres (500 feet) apart near a crowded fruit market.”
Press Trust of India news agency quoted Lalrokhuma Pachau, Karnataka police chief: “Due to the blast, 16 people are injured – eight policemen on duty and eight civilians. Nobody is critically injured. All are being treated at hospital … As of now, we do not know what material was used in making the bomb.” Pachau added that officials of the anti-terrorism National Investigation Agency had reached the site.
This is the first major bomb attack in India since the September 2011 blast outside Delhi’s High Court that killed 13 people.
R.P.N. Singh, Federal junior Home Minister, said investigators were “looking at all possibilities” and requested the public not to “give credence to rumours.”
R. Ashok, Karnataka Home Minister, said it was a “terror attack”; however, he did not elaborate.
The Union home ministry has pointed to an Indian Mujahideen (IM) signature in targeting crowds.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday took suo motu cognisance of media reports about detention of a 10-year-old rape victim by the police in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh recently.
The apex court has now sent notice to the state government, asking how the police put the rape victim in custody.
The callous response of police came to fore after the girl’s rape as she was put behind the bars by women personnel when she approached them to file a complaint along with her mother. The victim was rescued after several hours only after locals protested over the matter.
Two women constables have been suspended while two sub-inspectors, including the station-in-charge have been sent to police lines following the incident, SSP Gulab Singh said.
In Saudi Arabia, authorities beheaded a Yemeni man convicted of murdering a Pakistani national. The execution took place on Wednesday, March 27, 2013, in the southern city of Jazan, the Arab News reported.
On Wednesday, the state news agency SPA carried a statement of the Saudi Interior Ministry that said: “The Yemeni citizen Mohammed Rashad Khairi Hussein killed a Pakistani, Pashteh Sayed Khan after he committed sodomy with him.”
The Yemeni was also charged and convicted of carrying out several robberies.
The execution took place in the southern city of Jizan followed by crucifixion of the dead body and the corpse put on public display for three days.
Under Saudi Arabia’s ultra-conservative Sunni Islam, murder, rape, apostasy, drug trafficking and armed robbery are all punishable by death. The grisly ritual of crucifixion is reserved for more serious crimes, including sexual offences.
Beheading with a sword remains the most common method of execution in Saudi Arabia. However, due to a growing shortage of swordsmen throughout the kingdom, the authorities were considering abandoning this traditional method of execution in favour of firing squads.
Sevag Kechichian at Amnesty International said:
“The execution is shocking, no matter how heinous his alleged crime. His beheading and posthumous ‘crucifixion’ were acts of sheer brutality. This comes at a time when the Saudi authorities are saying to the world that they are currently holding responsible discussions about capital punishment and the supposed mercifulness of various methods of execution.”
Every year, around 700,000 visitors from around the globe visit the Maldives, lured by its pristine beaches. However, this paradise nation has become increasingly conservative in recent years due to influence of more fundamental forms of Islam.
In the summer of 2012, in the remote Feydhoo island in the Maldives, a police investigation after finding the corpse of a baby buried beneath an outdoor shower area outside the home of an unfortunate 15-year-old girl revealed that the teenager gave birth to her stepfather’s baby, which he allegedly killed and buried.
The teenager reportedly confessed to the police that apart from her stepfather she had consensual sex with another male. It is unclear whether the police has identified or charged this person. The police have charged the girl’s stepfather for raping her for years and murdering the baby she bore.
On February 25, 2013, a juvenile court in the Maldives, instead of sympathizing with the plight of the 15-year-old girl, has found her guilty of having “sex outside marriage.” The Court sentenced her to spend eight months under house arrest and to receive 100 lashes according to the Sharia Law when she turns 18, unless she requests it earlier.
This incident has triggered widespread worldwide condemnation.
Under the current laws of the Maldives, pre-marital sex is a crime and those found guilty are often flogged. Flogging as a punishment for this ‘crime’ directly violates international law, which completely prohibits cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments. Yet, flogging remains all too common in the Maldives. In 2009, the courts sentenced over 180 people for flogging for the ‘crime’ of fornication. Almost 90 per cent of them were women.
However, under the international human rights laws and standards, to which the Maldives is a signatory, ‘fornication’ is not a recognisedoffence and member states must not criminalize or punish young people who engage in consensual sexual activity, or are victims of abuse.
While visiting the country in 2011, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Navi Pillay called flogging “one of the most inhumane and degrading forms of violence against women” and she requested the Maldives to stop this barbaric practice.
Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said: “The girl is already a victim and is traumatized. The authorities should be trying to protect her, not punish her.”
President Mohammed Waheed Hassan of the Maldives is already feeling global pressure. The president’s office has released a statement saying that the girl is a victim to be protected and not punished by the government. A government spokesperson has also said that the Maldives are considering changing the law.
The Amnesty International UK / Blogs says:
If one good thing could come out of this case, it is that the international outrage prompted by this girl’s story and focus on the darker side of life in this seemingly idyllic holiday destination will convince the authorities to end the practice of flogging and decriminalise consensual sexual activity.
Chennai: The attacks by fringe groups on Sri Lankans arriving in Tamil Nadu, in the name of protests against human rights violations against island Tamils, has drawn criticism from rights activists in the state.
At least five cases of attacks on visiting Lankans were reported in the state in the last one month. This is apart from the attack on Sri Lankan institutions in Tamil Nadu. “I condemn such acts. Such kind of violence cannot be justified. These acts of terror against individuals should not be tolerated,” noted Dr. V. Suresh, national general secretary, PUCL.
Echoing Suresh’s views, another human rights activist, A Marx, said nothing could be gained by attacking visiting tourists and Buddhist monks. “While students are taking the protest in the right direction, some groups are indulging in violence,” noted Marx. These violent groups fear that the students will push them out of the protest arena, he said, adding, “So, to stay in the picture, they indulge in violence, which is highly condemnable.”
Pointing out that all Sri Lankans of Sinhalese origin, are not anti- Tamil, Suresh said many Sinhalese human rights activists had been fighting for the Lankan Tamils’ cause for years. “The house of senior lawyer J. C. Weliamuna was bombed for supporting Tamils in Lanka,” he recalled.
A senior official from Tamil Nadu police said almost all the accused in these cases had been arrested. “11 persons were arrested in the case of February 21 attack on Sri Lankan MP’s vehicle in Nagapattinam.
In connection with the attack on the Lankan monk on March 16 at Thanjavur, 12 persons were arrested. All the three persons connected with the attack on the Buddhist monk at Chennai central station on Monday, were secured,” the official pointed out.
In Trichy on February 26, the police had to intervene when a bus carrying Sri Lankan nationals was targeted. Similarly on March 3, vehicles carrying Sri Lankans from Chennai airport to Egmore were blocked on GST Road by a group. The police had to escort the Lankans to their destination.