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Indians are probably the biggest hypocrites. Growing up in this country, you experience several such moments every single day and after a while you get used to of it simply because you have no choice. Gender equality is an unheard of phenomenon in our great country. Religious freedom is another illusion. Freedom of speech is limited to a certain section of people. And don’t even get me started on the greatness of culture! A few examples that provoke me to shout it out are outlined in this post although I could write a similar piece every single day, several times in a day!

If we ever come across domestic violence, we do one or all of the following:

  • Refuse to believe the victim and advise them not to take the fight to ‘that level’ next time
  • Talk about the victim (man/woman) behind their back rather than the perpetrator of violence
  • Tell the victim they have no choice but to live with their spouse as that’s what the society expects

As a result, there are many men and women who choose to stay in violent relationships than become a topic of discussion. Women are scared every other man will hit on them because they don’t have a husband in their life. If a woman has left her husband, she must be ‘easy’ or ‘available’. She must have needs that any man is ready to swoop in to fulfill! Men, on the other hand, cannot even voice that they are physically abused because the society will blame them for not being man enough! What does that even mean?

When we hear of an extra marital affair, who do we blame? The woman. The woman must have used her charms to entice the man. Or, why would a man not indulge in sex when a woman is willing? Yes, of course, because it’s the birth right of men to get physical whenever they have an opportunity, while the women should be chaste and faithful.

When a child is abused by some relative, we ask them to be quiet about it. The child keeps wondering if they did something wrong. They grow up to believe they somehow were responsible for what happened to them.

When a woman wears short dresses and becomes a victim of eve-teasing or molestation, we say – well, what did she expect, dressing up like that? Why don’t we blame the molesters saying why did they do that? Of course, she aroused some feelings in them by her dress or behavior or any damn reason in the world. But the molesters are not to be blamed. I am unable to understand why all those memories of someone winking at me or groping me in a bus are painful for me and are probably something the man must have bragged about to his friends.

When we come to know that a certain guy is gay, what is the first reaction? Most of the time it is – he doesn’t look gay! How does someone ‘look’ gay? Or some people start analyzing why that person is gay. Well, does there always have to be a reason for something? Why are you straight? If you are exploring the reason behind someone’s sexuality, doesn’t it mean that you think something is abnormal against something else? I say – may be it is normal to be bisexual or gay, maybe it is abnormal to be straight. Who decides what is normal? Why should someone even want to define normal or abnormal in this case?

Take the other case in this matter. If you hear a woman being lesbian, most of the men start fantasizing about her making out with another woman. And for many people, being lesbian is a lesser abnormality than being gay. Why? Because the fantasies are far more exciting. Isn’t it?

Oh and we can’t understand a woman being expressive of her sexuality. That is such a big anomaly, an offense even, to our so called culture. If she knows what she desires and says it honestly without mincing her words, then she must be crazy or a whore. What else? Yes, there are other synonyms for such women, but she can never be called honest. Oh well, because the land of Kamasutra and Ajanta caves believes in sexual freedom for men only. After all, women are second rate humans. Right?

Now the matters of religion. We say Hinduism is a great religion etc. I agree that on the principles it is. In fact, all religions are great on the principles. But what about in practice? A religion is only as great as the people who practice it. Although I am very close to God, I don’t light a lamp every day. I don’t bow my head in front of each temple that I pass on the way. I have complete faith and I remember Him in happiness and sorrow. I am constantly thanking him for everything.  I may be called a Muslim supporter for this but I am going to say this. The whole country is voicing their support against triple talaq, but what about the dowry system, wife bashing, child marriages etc in Hinduism that we turn a blind eye to? Do we Hindus treat our women with respect? Does a Hindu woman have equal rights in marriage? Do Hindu men treat their wives with as much respect as they treat their sisters or mothers? Or worse, aren’t there any Hindu men who are violent towards their mothers and sisters as well? Do we rejoice as much when a daughter is born as we do on the birth of a son?

Now, let’s talk about working women. Although this is a global issue rather than a national one, yet I think we are still in the mindset that a woman is not a bread winner but is working as a hobby or just to pass time. We almost never take women employees seriously and they are paid much less than their male counterparts because of the assumption that she is not a bread winner. We always assume that if she is single then what does she need the money for? She doesn’t need to save for her wedding as her father would have saved the money for it. Plus, the husband will take care of her after marriage so she doesn’t really need to save anything. If she is married, then of course, she has a husband, so her salary is just a bonus for the family. And then, she would never be as dedicated towards her work as a man because she must be doing it just as a hobby! This assumption comes from both men and women, by the way. Even in IT industry which is very progressive so to say, there are very few women in high positions. In my organization, in the top most executive level, there is only one woman head, in the legal department.

Look at the other side of the coin. Take teaching industry, specially schools. Most of the teachers are female and the male teachers are looked down upon. The general thinking being a guy must not have got any good opportunity anywhere else so he became a teacher. Still, the male teachers are feared more by students and parents. Students hit on female teachers, objectify her and parents too sometimes think she is easier to talk down to. Male teachers may not have to go through these issues but do not earn as much respect from society in general as they would if they were not in this industry.

Then, look at how we treat our children. Oh we are so great parents, aren’t we? We allow our kids to stay with us beyond 18, unlike some western countries. We take so much pride in our so called “family values”. The truth of the matter is this. How good a child is considered in the family is directly dependent on how much potential he/she has to earn for the parents or help them in any way. As soon we have kids, we start teaching them how they have to take care of us or return our favor of taking care of them, in our old age. In fact, many parents shamelessly say that it was the reason to have kids, so that we have someone to care for us in our old age. After all, didn’t we bring them up, fulfill their wishes, spent all our lives on them? Well, we do spend a lifetime in bringing up the kids. But if you don’t want to see them as individuals, just as your caretakers, then it’s better you don’t have kids. I have seen parents forcing their children to do a certain course or a job just so that they can be near to their parents. I am not against children caring for their parents, I am against parents’ seeing their children having only that sole purpose in life. I personally look forward to the day when my children will start living their lives, doing what they want to do, what they are best at, going anywhere in the world their passion takes them. I don’t care if they live with me or not, they should just be happy in their lives and they should be trying to fulfill their life goals, not mine! I had a whole lifetime to do what I wanted, why force that on my kids? Why should they have the responsibility of living my dreams? They have a right to live their lives as they desire, it’s that simple. As a mother, I have and will make sacrifices for them, but I have no right to ask them to do it in return.

Look at relationships, specifically friendships. A man and woman can never be friends, says our revered Bollywood industry. Then, it must be true since that’s where the youth gets its education from. So the fact that a woman has many guy friends and she can discuss anything with them, must mean she has a ‘lose character’, correct? What about a guy who has many female friends? He must be so respectful towards them, he must be popular, he is even branded as “Kanhaiya” – God! Really? So it’s a God-like quality to have many women friends, but it is a slut-like quality to have many men friends.

A man making jokes about his wife, in her absence, in front of his colleagues is considered cool. If a woman does that, well, you guessed it, she is a thankless bitch! How dare she? Almost all the jokes about marriage out there put a wife in a negative light, not a husband. If a couple is working, then what does the man do when he returns home? Watches TV! After all, he has to know what is going around in the world, or he needs some form of entertainment, doesn’t he? What does the wife do? Well, she has to cook, watch the kids, prepare for the next day etc etc. And then, after all that, she is supposed to please the husband in bed, because he needs it, you know!

Although the wife is the primary caregiver for the kids, they carry the name of their father. In fact, in our great country, the school admission still requires a father’s name for filling up an application form, although mother’s name is optional. So a child is always required to have a father, but can be without a mother. Wow! Even in the case of a divorce, the children still carry the name of the father. The schools will allow admission to a child if the father just leaves the mother’s details blank, however, a mother will have to provide the name of the father as well as a reason why his details would be absent, from the application. What a wonderful system we have. How awesome it is that a woman is supposed to do everything for a man to make his life easier, yet when it comes to having rights, she has none. She just has roles – mother, sister, wife, friend, daughter-in-law, daughter…Men will be men. No roles, no responsibilities.

Well, isn’t it easier for men to remarry whatever the situation? So is the case when the spouse dies. Sad but true. A woman wanting to remarry is again going against the expectations of society, while a man has right to remarry even when he becomes a widower at 60.

Since I am writing all this, I must be someone who hates India or men or the institution of marriage, right? Go on, tell me to leave the country and stay where I don’t find such hypocrisy!

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I have worked for about 10 years now, mostly in the IT industry and also as a professor in an engineering college. All the organizations have something weird in common. Most of the people I have worked with had what I call ‘I Don’t Know Why Women Work’ syndrome. Most of those who suffer from this problem are usually men, but women also can sometimes show the typical symptoms. The most common symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Treating women differently from men despite the same qualifications because they think that she is just working to pass her time since clearly she cannot be the bread-winner of the family.
  • Offering lesser salaries, lower designation to women for the same skill set and experience because they believe that she will never be as serious about her work as her male counterpart. And he needs it more.
  • Promoting an incompetent man over a well-deserving woman simply because he needs the extra money more than her. The reasons for thinking this may vary from him being the only bread-winner, having one degree more than her, needing a morale boost etc etc. (Note that none of the reasons pertain to his or her performances at workplace).
  • Labeling a man’s leave for sick children as ‘dedication’ towards his family while that of a woman as being ‘what do you expect from a woman!’
  • Viewing every married working woman as an ‘ambitious’ bitch who doesn’t care about her husband or children enough to leave them.
  • Viewing every single working woman as a ‘greedy’ witch wanting more and more money to spend on herself.
  • Gossiping about working women all the time and branding them as feminist, bitch, non-serious, undeserving, disloyal etc.

I was asked in an interview “Being a married woman, how will you balance work and family?” And I was like, “Are married men asked the same question?” Of course, I didn’t clear the interview!

One of my bosses told me that I had taken the most leaves in my team. And I asked him, “How many of these are ‘Leave Without Pay’ because if they are not, then it is the amount of leaves the organization has given me as part of my benefits.” He never mentioned my leaves to me again!

When I resigned from one organization in order to move out of the country with my husband, my boss gave me a hard time getting my clearances and salary because he thought I was lying about the reason! Even if I had been, did he have any right to stop me? On the other hand, when men resign, it is assumed they are doing so for more money and it is completely alright with everyone. Why? Do women not deserve to look for better opportunities?

But there are some good bosses out there too. I have known at least a couple myself. They did not treat me any different from my male colleagues. There was this organization where I worked only for a few months and had to leave due to personal reasons. My boss there did not even then have any issues with me. In fact, this was one of the jobs where I felt they gave me what I deserved in terms of salary and position. Also, I was never treated lesser than my male colleagues and never had any issues because of my gender at all. In fact, my boss even told me I was welcome to return anytime.

Then, there are those women bosses who mistreat other women because they think that the other women are not making as many sacrifices as they had to make. They even get into gossiping about other women with their male counterparts just to show that they are ‘one of the guys’. I was in a meeting when one of the managers started commenting on the waist size of a woman he had worked with at onsite and this lady manager who was also present actually started participating in the discussion. I had to get up and excuse myself from the meeting because I couldn’t take it any more. And then I was branded the ‘conscientious bitch’!

One of my bosses told me during an appraisal discussion that some people think I am after the position of one of the guys! When I was finally able to overcome the shock of such an unprofessional and unheard of accusation, I said – “Why his position? He is at the same level as I am. I am after your position!” That was enough to shut him up but till date, I am not able to understand the skewed mentality of this person and the entire team that was perhaps having this kind of discussion about me behind my back.

Then, I was told once that I did not get the highest rating in the appraisal because I leave in time while everyone else stays back. Though they understood I had a family yet I should make an effort! I asked, “Has there been any single task which I was not able to complete in time? Perhaps I manage my time better than everyone else and hence, don’t ‘need’ to stay back! And what about the extra 2 hours that I put in the mornings because I am the first one to arrive at work while everyone comes at their own leisure? What about the long coffee breaks that I don’t take?” Of course, it was all useless because I did not pretend to work by staying back after work hours! I always left ‘in time’!

I have on several occasions told people around me it is simple physics that efficiency is ‘output/input’ not the other way round. But somehow, this simple equation is not so simple to understand by the morons who think a woman who is working is doing so for fun, or for extra pocket money, or to get away from her children, or just because it is the trend.

One of my colleagues told me once that women do not know how to dress up in meetings since they wear an Indian attire to a meeting. I asked him does he look at the men’s attires in a meeting? And you don’t know but there might be someone else who would be criticizing my pant-suits because I was trying too hard!

I consider myself a very ambitious person, yet I have taken breaks from work after the birth of each of my children. When I know I won’t be fairly balancing the work-life, I quit. I was lucky to have the option but sometimes, some people cannot. But I think women who feel that they have to choose one thing over another, usually give more to both work and family and end up being even more effective and efficient than most of us.

In an ideal world, I would like to be treated the same as any colleague of mine, irrespective of my or their gender. But then, in this less than ideal world, I would appreciate if these smart-mouth, clearly-sick men and women kept their thoughts to themselves and when given a fitting answer, either take it in their stride or learn to shut up!

Maybe they are right….I am a feminist 🙂

I have steered clear of reading fiction in last few months. The average fiction books do not stimulate me and there are too many of them out there. So when I saw this novel, supposedly bestseller, from an Irish author, I thought to give it a try. At the end of it, I wondered why it was a bestseller. The story doesn’t really go anywhere, doesn’t make you sad or happy or feel anything at all, except of course relief that it is finally over (thus saving me from adding one more to the ‘unfinished reads’ list). But I did feel something – disgust at the way the author has branded ambitious women. The story has 2 ambitious women, both shown as bitches who do not deserve any kind of happiness. These two women have been shown to be lesser women as compared to the other women in the novel. The other women are better women since they never had any desire to reach at the top of professional ladder, hence had more time to ‘properly’ bring up their children. These women deserve to be happy as they are the ideal women while the ambitious women are to be hated by everyone as they are not fulfilling their ‘duties’ as a woman.

If a woman feels that any woman does not need a man in her life, then that women must be crazy! Isn’t it wonderful to spend all your time and energy in trying to get a man to marry you, elaborately planning your wedding, gossiping about the ‘ambitious’ women, congratulating yourself for bringing up your daughter in a way that her only ambition is to get married? Why wish for a good career, professional advancement, skill development and financial independence because desiring these things automatically makes you a bad wife and a bad mother? If you are serious about your job, then you obviously won’t have time to cook for your children and take care of your husband. Your child will be overweight and your husband will go after a ‘non-ambitious’ woman!

I do not understand what is with this branding? There are so many movies which show the same crap – an ambitious woman must be a bitch. She is always arrogant, snobbish, patronizing and crazy. Either she does not have a family or if she does, they are not happy because of her dedication to her job. I do not remember watching a movie or reading a book that brands men like that. The most disturbing thing about this is that the novel I am talking about it is written by a woman. This author earns her livelihood by writing novels that demean women! This particular novel is described as a “comfort read” by popular media. That is even more disgusting. A story that never moves forward, demeans career-oriented women, revolves around a wedding and showcases that as the ultimate goal of a woman is repulsive beyond words.

Why blame men when women themselves think that their true role in this world is that of only being a wife and mother; the true reason for their birth is to just find a husband, keep him and raise a family. So, the lives of women like Razia Sultan, Laxmi Bai, Indira Gandhi, Kalpana Chawla, Margaret Fuller, Marie Curie, Malala Yousafzai and several other such women have no meaning?

I think we women should learn to look inside us before we blame men for our status in the society; for not respecting us and for not letting us live our lives on our terms. We should first ask this question to ourselves – do I judge women for being ambitious/different/single; do I teach my daughter that all she needs to do is marry right (as if that is a thing); do I beat myself/someone else up for not being a perfect mother/wife; do I despise women who don’t have a care in the world; do I comment on those women who live free from any societal pressures?

Stop blaming others and start with yourself, your friends, your daughter, your sister, your mother. Let’s start with us women – be the change in bringing a revolution.

Yes, I agree with you! After arguing with you over the years, after getting frustrated at every stupid comment of yours, after being naive enough to think you are educated enough to understand, after sincerely believing that your mentality needs correction, I have decided to finally agree with what you say about Indian women.

I agree that it is my dress that provokes you to misbehave with me. I agree that if I did not dress up smart and did not have a pleasing personality, you would never pass lewd comments at me. I agree that I should not go out with you at all. If I am going out with you, for lunch, dinner, dance or drink, I am trying to provoke you to rape me. After all, I am an adult, I should know the risks of meeting up a man in a public place, especially if my behavior has indicated to you that I like you or trust you. If in the slightest manner, I have shown to you that I think of you as a good person, and I trust you enough to go out with you, you have every right to make me pay for it. How can I expect any man to control himself when a woman is being good to him? If I do not hate you or like you even to a slightest extent, it automatically means that I am looking for a sexual encounter with you.

I also agree that when it comes to your mother or sister, you would kill anyone who as much as looked at them. But since I am not your mother or sister, you have every right to insult me, demean me, hurt my self-respect, play with my dignity and ravage me physically and emotionally. I also agree that it is just me and only me who is responsible for every snide remark, every molestation, every groping, every single sexual crime that I encountered. I definitely should not have any right to feel safe in the company of a man/men, and I should not expect you to respect me or my wishes. After all, the fact nature made me biologically weaker than you, must have meant something. Yes, nature wanted you to assault me at every opportunity you get. So please continue your assaults, tease me, pass vulgar comments, show lewd gestures, grope my body, rape me. You have every right to do all this…after all you are a man, who has a penis that needs to be used every time it sees a woman.

Today, on behalf of all Indian women, I say this. My dear Indian men, I am happy that I was born into your company, otherwise how would I know my right place in this world? Who would tell me that I deserved whatever has happened to me over the years? Who would, despite being my friend, boyfriend or husband, would still believe that I got molested since I must have asked for it, or was inviting someone to do it to me? What right do I have to wear short dresses, or go to bars, or go to a place where there is a slight risk of men getting overboard with their attentions? And you have every right to do the act and then later say “it just happened” or “she provoked me” or “she was drunk” or “what did she expect me to do when she went out with me” or “her dress said it all, she wanted it!” or “wasn’t she looking for it” or anything else to indicate that it was my fault, not yours, since you are worse than an animal and do not understand “no” or cannot control yourself. While if I was such a “sati, savitri”, I wouldn’t have been in such a situation in the first place!

I will also confess my sins in front of you. When you pinched me on my butt while I was trying to board a bus, when you grabbed my boob while I was walking down the street, when you showed me your penis while I was going to the market, several times when you said vulgar things to me, I was actually looking for it. I went out of the house because I wanted all this to happen to me. I was born a woman in your country because I wanted to invite you to do these dirty things to me. And I am so happy that I experienced all these atrocities and insults at your hand; if you were not kind enough to do this to me, my life would be such a waste!

I will also add here that it’s never your fault when you do not understand even when I clearly say no to your behaviour or touch, even when I might be just a little child ( it doesn’t even matter how old!), even when I am your own blood relative, or your brother’s/friend’s woman. I now understand, if I trust you in any way, it is always my fault…you should blame me for any sick thoughts that enter your mind, every time you look at me.

So all the fellow Indian men, this is all I have to say to you…continue what have been doing to the women in your country. This is my punishment for being born, after all I am woman! This is my life!

P.S. I want to thank all the men who motivated me to write this and helped me to finally come out.

P.P.S. I sincerely am grateful to those men who helped me or supported me when I went through a harsh experience; the person who made sure no one touched me in a crowded bus, the person who joined me in shouting at someone who hit me from behind, and every single person who has ever helped a women in such a situation and have been able to prevent a sexual abuse or rape. My sincere thanks from the bottom of my heart!

Sunday, there was a heinous crime committed in the capital city of India. A 23-year old was raped by 6 men, and they did not stop at that. After sexually assaulting her for an hour, they inserted a rod into her vagina, damaging her reproductive and digestive organs.

The whole nation is witnessing an uprising, as everyone stands united against the gang rape that shocked the country. Yes, it is a good thing India is asking for justice, but has anyone asked a question to themselves – justice for whom and against what? Do these people holding protests and demonstrations even realize that it is not only those 6 men who are criminals, and it is not only one woman who is a victim? Have we, as a nation, even thought about one second why this happened in the first place? Why do thousands of women get raped and assaulted in this country, every single day? Why do most of such cases go unreported and many a times, the criminal wanders free while the victim lives a scarred life? Has India forgotten about Aruna Shaunbag who is semi-comatose for 37 years while her rapist has led a normal life all this while, after spending just a few years behind bars?

Why are we creating such a furore over this particular case? Because it happened in the capital city of India! What about thousands of equally brutal crimes that are committed in the rural and backward regions of India? There are a number of women, young girls and boys, who are raped every day and still choose to stay silent because there is no one who will hear their voice. And also because they are forced to worry more about the hunger and staying alive than their dignity! Do we raise our voice for those helpless people, do we hold protests to bring their assualters to justice? For a big section of the Indian society, the poor people do not even exist! These young children go on with their lives with the memory of the crime etched in their memory and with a realization that it doesn’t matter to anyone else. Why don’t we feel bad about a 40-year old women raped by 3 men, one of them being the father of another rape victim this woman had helped! Why are we not shocked at the rape of a 3-year old girl? Why are we not shocked when a young boy is sexually assaulted by his teacher? Why do we not shed tears and hold protests when a farmer, who grows crops for us and expects only a very normal standard of life in return, commits suicide because he has given up on the system? Why is our reaction based on what media and politicians feed us?

The brutality of the crime cannot be overlooked but are we really looking at the mental state of these criminals when they commit such hideous act? Why does the main accused in this case does not even feel remorseful and he simply says “it just happened”. Can any sane person believe this statement? Every single day, we go though many moments where we become very angry with circumstances but do we let anything just ‘happen’? I am sure we control ourselves. So are these men not normal; are they sick; do they have some psychological problem that needs to be addressed? Maybe. But let us first look into the lives of such criminals; let us take a trip into the mind of a criminal.

A man lives in slum in inhuman conditions, where there is no clean water to drink, no hygienic place to stay, no education to give an opportunity for a good life, no electricity. He is born, lives like a pest, rather, treated like a pest by people and then he dies an anonymous death. Between those two events of his life, he looks at the other section of the society – the rich and powerful. He observes that these people go to fancy places to eat, waste half the food on their plates, go around in expensive cars and when they come face-to-face with him, they shoo him away like a dog. When he had no idea where his next meal will come from, these wealthy people get involved in scams worth thousands of crores rupees. He does not even have an idea what a million rupee means, and when he hears these people talking in billions, what does he feel? Most in his situation feel sorry for themselves and accept their fate with bitterness.

Then, there are others like Ram Singh, who want to give back to the society the treatment they have been receiving since the day they were born. There are many such Ram Singhs who decide that they would rather have their 15 minutes of fame, causing a damage to the society, than living a life of lowly existence. What does he do then? He finds ways to commit crimes – a robbery, an assault, a rape! He influences other weak men and takes them along since he is too scared to do it all alone. He finds an opportunity in a girl, who would be unable to defend herself against 6 drunk and crazy men. He ravages her, and then, hurts her so bad that she cannot lead a normal life, sending a message to the society that he was capable of something! He is sent to the jail and he might be hanged; but that doesn’t really bother him. He has got his 15 minutes of fame and he knows he need not worry about any more meals or a warm place to sleep till he is in jail. Who knows perhaps, when he is alone, he even smiles at himself at achieving a feat no one in his family has even been able to? Probably Ram Singh considers this as his victory since he could not really have any woman from that section of the society ever in his life and when he raped that girl, he knew he had full power over her life and he could decide her fate in those moments. He might have felt as powerful as he would have never felt or would never be able to feel in his whole life! For him, the victim was a symbol of everything he could not have, and so he decided to destroy her; for him, it was an act of rebellion against the atrocities he has been subjected to. We need to ask ourselves why does Ram Singh lead such a helpless existence that a crime for which he could be hanged, gives him an exhilarating feeling? Should’t we be worried that our society has reached that point where a particular section does not care what punishment they get if only they are able to do what they are sure they cannot achieve in their lifetime?

So what is responsible for crimes – the dress of the woman, the fact she was travelling at night, the lawlessness or it is the attitude of the society as a whole, who gives a shit to the poor people? Though these people form the larger section of the society, they don’t even exist for the other section! I think we all are accomplices in the crime that happened in the bus that night; I think we all are culprits for any act of immodesty committed against any woman on Indian soil. I am ashamed to say that it is not one Ram Singh who is the bad fish in the ocean; it is the politicians, the wealthy businessmen, the rich & powerful people, and us; we are the ones, creator of thousands of Ram Singhs, that are really responsible for any crime that happens in  our society.

I see these protestors screaming and shouting on the streets and I want to ask them – do they even know what they are fighting for? The police is already doing their bit, the criminals are behind bars and they will be severely punished and I am sure they will be made to pay for their crime. I am so sure because these men do not belong to a politician’s or a businessman’s family, because they are not wealthy to bribe someone and escape and because they belong to the larger section of the society which always gets punished. Now, I am not saying we should not raise our voices against what is wrong in the society but I think, in this case, the anger of the crowd is misdirected. And no one has ever achieved anything great with a misdirected anger or a misguided revolution.

The youth of India is capable and frustrated with the law, the state of affairs, and they want to do something good. It is a good sign, but what is the basic problem of the society? Only that men don’t respect women? Only that some men think they are above law and can do whatever they want? Only that most of the time, we get angry at such an incidence and then, some other news catches our attention and we abandon the case we were so fervently  supporting? The basic cause is the divide in the society, the attitude of those running the country and the impotence of the common man. We do not know what are we supposed to fight for. We don’t realize that when we are feeling emotions of helplessness, rage and sorrow over an event, it is because the media is making us feel those emotions. The media itself is also a puppet in the hands of the politicians who are just using such incidents as a vote-strategy. The media is creating frenzy over this particular case, but seeing the history, I am sure they will forget this terrible incidence as soon as they find something more worthwhile to raise their TRPs. The usual journey of anything shocking that happens in India is page 1 to page 5 to ‘who is interested anymore’.

Why don’t we rally against the corrupt politicians who control the wealth of the country and hide it away for their future generations while the current India is going through a crisis? Why don’t we hold a Sonia Gandhi, a Robert Vadera, a Manmohan Singh, a Shiela Dixit, a Hooda, a Mayawati responsible for the monstrous act that was committed and is being committed every day? Why don’t we rise against the rape that these people commit on our motherland every single moment? Let us join hands to stop the rape that started it all – of India, by corrupt politicians, TRP-hungry media, money-sucking industrialists, over-ambitious and easily-influenced youth (who are apparently ‘serving’ the country), the common man (voting the corrupt politicians into power year after year).

Yes, we need a radical change in the Indian society; yes, we need a revolution; yes, we need India to stand united against crimes. But the only question we need to ask ourselves before we stand up and fight is – do we know and understand what crime is? Are we sure that we are shooting the arrow in the right direction and on the right target? Why don’t we first do a root-cause anaylsis and then, we will be truly ready to carry forward an insurgency.

(This post contains strong language and adult content)

My insides convulse with rage and I grit my teeth in anger, every single time I hear someone say these words. I have heard many men pass such comments while giving their opinion about the sexual harassment women have to face in their everyday lives. So these sick men mean to say that every person who stared at a woman’s body, who groped her in a public place, who passed lewd comments on her while she walked on the road, or who raped her, was actually “invited” by the woman to do these things to her? Do they really think that a woman, by way of her dressing or walking or just by being good-looking, is asking the men to commit heinous crimes to her? Does this imply that every woman who covers herself properly and is not-so-pretty is safe from lechers? That further means that if you dress well and have a pleasing personality, the men have a right to commit sexual crimes against you? That’s how these sick bastards see women?

Some incidents, which I am sure have nothing to do with a woman’s looks or clothes or even her age:

  • A woman is gang-raped on a moving bus in the capital city of New Delhi. This woman is hanging between life and death while the criminals are at large.
  • A handicapped man tries to rape a woman in a moving train. When she resists, he throws her off the train, and then rapes her. She dies on railway tracks.
  • A minor girl is gang-raped by 12 men in Haryana.
  • A 50-year-old woman is ravaged by four strangers.
  • Girls are playing in a school near the compound wall, while a man approaches them, opens his pants, shows them his penis and starts shagging. The girls are too shocked to react while he is busy passing lewd remarks, pleased with his “show of his masculinity”.
  • A group of 18 men grope a woman, try to strip her clothes off, drag her by her hair, and all the while smile at the cameras that were filming them! The woman was abused for 45 minutes while the onlookers just captured the humiliation, instead of calling the police. To top it all, she was blamed as the authorities claimed that she was drunk and perhaps a prostitute.
  • A 19-year old rape victim is married to her tormentor since the family is unable to find a groom for her.

Did all of these women “ask for it”, “were looking for it”, “invited it upon themselves” or “deserved it”? Do you really think that they wanted to be hurt, physically and mentally, or they wanted to get killed in the process of asking for it?

These are just a few of the reported cases, there being many many more which are hushed by authorities, parents, society etc. And then, there are countless cases where a woman is asked for “favors” at her work place; she is groped in the crowded buses/trains; she is leered at, commented on etc etc. So the men who opine that the woman was asking for it really mean that a woman enjoys being molested, groped, raped/gang-raped and then likes being judged by the society for being the victim of such a crime! The emotions that I experience in hearing even so-called educated men utter these senseless words, is beyond shock and cannot be explained in words!

We Indians are probably the biggest hypocrites in the world. On one hand, we have many female deities and we perform elaborate prayers to them, however on the other hand, we treat our women like crap and then, blame her for “inviting it upon herself” or “a lesson taught well”. And above all, we have the guts to say this publicly and think it is such a macho statement to make!

I am sure such incidents are not unheard of in other countries as well. I am sure that women face many other crimes of violence against them, apart from sexual crimes. I am also sure that after every violence committed against a woman, there are at least 10 men proudly stating that the victim was responsible or deserved what happened to her. To such men, I have only one thing to say – guys, your mother is/was a woman too, and so is your daughter (if God has been kind enough to give you one)!

I think the men who accuse a woman to be guilty of making the crime happen, are actually themselves sick to the core and in need of psychological help. It is their frustration for not being successful in putting down women in general or a woman in specific that speaks when these dirty words escape their equally filthy mouth. Men, in general, are scared of women being better than them and hence, they find ways to curb their capabilities by destroying her dignity. And who the hell decided what a woman’s dignity is and how it can be rescinded? I am sure it must have been men who declared that once a woman loses her virginity, she is shamed and loses face in the society!

I challenge such men to dress up like a woman, cover themselves appropriately (according to their belief of proper attire for a woman) and walk the streets of any Indian city for a day. If they come back and tell me that not a single man tried to hit on them or touch them, I might reconsider my opinion. I am sure that though a man dressed up as a woman would definitely look hideous, yet at least one person will surely lech at him or ‘her’.

It gives me immense pain to admit that there are women who might have a similar opinion. But also on the other hand, there are men who lay down their lives in protecting a woman’s modesty. When Indian youth was organizing slut walks in the country last year, it was heart-warming to see men participate in these events, with as much passion was women did. Though there is a change in the thinking of the youth, the change needs to be more radical, and more penetrated to all the sections of the society. All men and women should understand that a sexual assault is painful to a woman not only physically, but also scars her mind for life. Many women commit suicide after experiencing a crime and many cases are not reported because of the shame associated with it. If women live in fear in a society, the nation cannot really progress, however strong economic resources it develops. All of us should learn ourselves and teach our children, respect for women. India is a country that boasts of women Prime Minister and President, it should not be anywhere on the list of the unsafe countries for women. I do not want Indian women to prefer staying abroad for the reasons of safety. I would love to see a day in my country when I will not have to fear going out alone even at night and I would have the freedom to dress as I choose.

To the men who think women invite it upon themselves – you are an asshole, so f*** off!

I end this post with my favorite quote by Rebecca West – “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.”

(P.S. If you are offended by the sentiments expressed in this post, in all probability, you are a man in the ‘sick’ category! In that case, I don’t care what you think!)

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