#India – Sexual harassment claim rocks National University of Juridical Sciences #Vaw


sh

, TNN | Jun 20, 2013,

KOLKATA: The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), one of the country’s top law schools, has been rocked by a complaint of sexual harassment a week ahead of admission season.

A member of the vice-chancellor’s secretariat has brought charges of sexual harassment against a senior employee in the registrar’s department. The victim has alleged in written complaints to the VC and registrar that she has been receiving lewd e-mails and objectionable proposals from the accused. The harassment had allegedly been going on for over a year and the young woman had earlier verbally complained to the administration, but no action was taken. When she brought up the matter again with the registrar last week, he advised her to submit a written complaint.

Acting on the complaint, the university has set up a committee to investigate the case. The accused has been sent on leave. Two senior faculty members, a senior non-teaching staff and a teacher of Jadavpur University English department are members of the committee.

The accused, who has been with the NUJS for over a decade, called up TOI on Wednesday to say he had already resigned. “I have been framed. There is no truth in the accusation. There is a huge communication gap. In any case, I have resigned,” he said.

Registrar Surajit Mukhopadhyay, however, said he is yet to receive any such resignation.

“We have received a written complaint of sexual harassment and stalking from the victim and it has been forwarded to the committee for investigation. This is the first time that such a controversy has happened in the university and we have taken very serious note of the matter. If the accused is proved guilty, strictest action according to the law of the land will be taken,” Mukhopadhyay said.

Vice-chancellor Ishwar Bhatt assured that NUJS would do everything “to uphold the dignity” of the lady. “We are dealing with the complaint in the strictest terms. The accused is on leave andyes, he called me up to say he will resign,” he said.

Even as the NUJS campus was abuzz with the sexual harassment complaint, another controversy erupted when a final-year student was slapped in full view of others by a lady teacher. The student, who reached late for an exam, was stopped from entering the hall and asked by the teacher to first take permission from the VC. She argued that since she was just 15 minutes late she should be let in. This led to a heated exchange and the angry teacher slapped her.

Later, the VC intervened and the girl was taken to another room and given half an hour extra to write her test.

A committee set up to investigate the matter sent its report to the executive council which ruled that the faculty member be reprimanded for losing her temper. “We have tried to handle the incident in a very sensitive way, with full sympathies for the girl,” registrar Surajit Mukhopadhyay said.

 

Rape Culture: 3 Reasons Most Men Are to Blame For Misogyny #Vaw


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The discourse surrounding rape culture and the pervading attitudes of victim blaming are reaching an all-time epoch with each new shared and re-shared story on a new rape case making its rounds on social media platforms. These cases include most recently the Delhi gang rape case, the Steubenville High School football case, and the Rehtaeh Parsons story, all of which have churned our stomachs, broadened our vernacular around synonyms of “deplorable,” and made us shout “why?!”

Why indeed.

Why  we are asked in pictures and Tweets and statuses  are we centering our awareness and education on rape around “not getting raped” as opposed to “don’t rape”? It is a timely question, a highly relevant one, and in many ways the correct one, but one that is far too implicit about the root of the problem and circuitous in its blame.

Thus, I will come out and say it for you, ladies.

It’s men. We are the root of the problem and deserving of the blame.

Though I am sure there are those of us  that poor Ryan Reynolds or Ryan Gosling look-alike who must dash between campus security lights when exiting the gym in his Under Armour tank top or endure the humiliation of answering why he chose to go out in skinny jeans to a club after being sexually violated by a gang of sorority sisters, those circumstances are quite … rare.

No, it’s quite clear fellas that we are the problem. And the problem does not begin and end at rape, but extends to and permeates throughout the entire sphere of gender issues, from domestic violence to gender pay gaps. Misogyny exists because we, men, either push it or allow it.

There are three ways in which we are most culpable:

1. Most obviously, men are almost exclusively the perpetrators:

Except for a very small number of instances, it is men who are committing the most egregious gender crimes such as rape and domestic abuse, running the companies that are most flagrant in their unequal pay and opportunities, and in nearly every country creating the laws and conditions that keep women disadvantaged.

2. Men have perpetuated a culture around manhood and masculinity that is conducive to misogynist behavior:

Especially relevant to rape, we have defined manhood around sexual “conquests,” the who, how, when, and where of sexual intercourse (notice the absence of why). Our virility is becoming increasingly quantitative. This in turn has amplified the pressure on boys and men to “score,” or, in the best case scenario, lie or aggrandize about it, in order to secure their rightful place amongst the pantheon of their masculine brethren. You will find this narrative occurring in your local teenage boy’s locker room or in nearly any all-male social situation. To coincide with this, we have also effectively stigmatized active positive discourse around women’s issues  whether it is by questioning the manhood (there is that word again) of the men who do so or regarding their motives with suspicion. Apparently, it shouldn’t matter to us what women think about any of this.

3. Men’s contribution to the anti-sexual assault movement has mostly been a passive, or neutral, one:

We don’t rape, we don’t physically abuse, and we certainly didn’t ask to make more for the same work than our female co-worker. Maybe, occasionally, we’ll even do so much as “like” a comment on Facebook that supports a woman’s issue. Maybe, during our weekly poker game, when our friend belches out his newest drunken sexual experience with some “random b*tch” (of which he’s also probably bluffing about) we will merely giggle instead of guffaw. And then maybe, afterwards, we will pat ourselves on the back for not being like him. While the neutral measure is obviously necessary given the alternative, it is simply not enough. It is not effective in inducing change.

No longer can we just brush off the actions of the offending fellow male as a purely individual, psychological one (based on the notion that he must just be inherently evil and thus nothing could be done on our end anyways), or rue that biology and history conspired to create, somehow independently of us, a patriarchal, misogynist society that is so prevalent it might be fated or so powerful it can’t be changed. Men can’t just say “well that’s that,” and dust off our hands and put them back on the video game controller while our daughters, wives, sisters, mothers, and friends continue to get raped, abused, persecuted, and repressed. Humanity cannot afford this type of attitude any longer.

Which brings me to the obvious question: Well, what should and can we do that specifically targets men?

For the long term, education around gender needs to be introduced in schools at an early age and extend to the very end of compulsory schooling. Boys need to learn about gender issues around the world and why they should care, that gender roles are not predetermined and do not follow a specific narrative, and how to interact with their female counterparts as equals. Boys need to learn how to be men in the presence of women’s issues, not in the absence of them. Later, issues surrounding sex need to be incorporated, especially around the matters of what defines manhood and masculinity. Preferably, these classes would be taught by the world’s most testosterone-driven professional wrestler, just to drive the point home. But that’s merely a frill.

We also need to alter our conversation when we are around each other because our words and conversations aren’t harmless. In fact, the way in which we define ourselves as men and the accompanying roles we take on are very harmful, as they act as influencers for the type of behavior that typically surrounds misogyny.

Lastly, starting today, we need to openly and actively show that we won’t stand for rape, we don’t tolerate domestic abuse, we can’t fathom why our female colleagues are making less than us, etc. The more male faces we can add to the struggle around gender issues, the better. Social pressure needs to be applied to our male counterparts that this is far from normal and far from okay.

I hope that no one will take this simply as a manifestation of “male guilt” or me saying that men are scum. The truth is quite the opposite, as there are many, many more good men out there than bad ones. But I am claiming we are quite unaware and ignorant of our own subtle complicities and roles in regards to the culture we are very much responsible for creating and sustaining, and often do not take accountability in reigning in or stopping the most arrant of our same-sex offenders.

So take this as a call to arms, if you will. For those men who are just tired, and disgusted, and embarrassed, not just as a man but as a human being, every time you hear about another woman who has been raped, or subjugated and persecuted in some other way, know that there issomething that we can do about it.

We can begin by pointing the fingers at ourselves, and then act accordingly from there.

 

#India – Tribal women hit hardest by development: study #Vaw #Womenrights


 

STAFF REPORTER, The Hindu

When displaced by development projects, many migrate to cities as servants, some are lured into prostitution

A study conducted by Centre for Development Studies (CDS) on impact of development on tribal people has found that tribal women are the worst sufferers in this process of change.

The study, titled ‘Withering Valli: Alienation, degradation and enslavement of tribal women in Attappady’ and undertaken along with the Kerala Research Programme on Local Level Development, says the “displacement for development projects has deprived tribesfolk of their land and forests from which much of their food came”.

“Today, they have to walk much longer distances than in the past to collect food and fodder. Impoverishment forces women to migrate to towns and cities as domestic servants. Many of them are also lured into prostitution. Development schemes have effected a thorough change in the socio-economic and cultural life of the tribal women.Transactions are increasingly made in man’s name. Improved facilities of development like transportation, health, housing, and technology have not reached women.” The study has also found that “women continued to work hard and have no time to enjoy the fruits of development. Women’s work is considered unskilled and unproductive in the market sense.”

Women also have to be at the beck and call of officials and contractors who come to tribal areas to implement projects of development, the study observes. “When development programmes are allotted to women, they have to go to various offices to get the programmes sanctioned. Some women have to undergo sexual abuse at the hand of officers. In order to get grants or subsidies for house construction and building of cattle-shed, women are sometimes forced to oblige to officials. Among the victims of rape and sexual harassment, 95 per cent are tribal women and children. Of this, all the victims were tribesfolk belonging to the age group of 6-16 years.”

There are no witnesses to the thousands of unreported atrocities on tribal women like rape, sexual harassment, and murders except the forests, mountains, and valleys, the report says.

The government promotes and even rewards mixed marriages, between tribal women and settlers from other parts of the State, with monetary awards. But the settlers who marry tribal women usually have wife and children back home. After a period, the settlers go back to their own native places leaving their tribal wives and children in lurch.

Among the sexual exploiters of tribal women, the people involved are the police, government officials, contractors, smugglers, flesh-traders, and immigrant farmers. Incidents of death and murder of tribal women have also become common; and almost in every case, the culprits go unpunished. ”

 

#India – Little kids in slums more vulnerable to sexual abuse


CHILDRAPE

Ambika Pandit, TNN Apr 21, 2013,

NEW DELHI: The voices from 1,580 families in 28 slums, resettlement and unauthorized colonies of Delhi speak in unison about vulnerability of their children and why they are more likely to be victims of violence and sexual abuse than a child living in a planned neighbourhood.

With 75% of the mothers labouring to run the house, the children in the age group of 0-6 years are usually left in the care of an older sibling or the neighbour. But with more and more cases of sexual abuse by known persons, the neighbourhood is no longer the safest option, says a survey by a network of grassroot NGOs working on issues of children under six in urban poor settlements of the capital.

The survey, carried out last year by the network Neenv (Delhi Forces), was followed up with public hearings in various settlements to lay bare the struggles of these people in bringing up their children.

Chirashree Ghosh from Mobile Creches, an NGO which has been working with children in resettlements for over two decades, pointed out that the survey and public hearings brought to fore the vulnerabilities of children in these pockets, home to 64% of Delhi’s population.

The survey also found that just 59% families owned a house. Worse still, only 57% owned pucca houses, reflecting the poor economic status of the families. Adding to the difficulties is the social scenario, with 66% families being nuclear, 67% children below 6 years and 76% working mothers labouring hard to earn their daily bread.

In such a scenario, inadequate anganwadi facilities make survival tough. The survey found that just 20% children were benefitted from anganwadi centres. About 20% children were left under the care of older siblings who are often made to drop out of school to manage the smaller children . Nearly 18% kids are left with neighbours and 5% taken along by mothers. It was also seen that 9% accidents of children took place in the absence of parents.

According to the women and child development ministry’s 2010-11 report , the Rajiv GandhiCreche Scheme had reached 5.83 lakh children in India and 7,700 in Delhi. It is estimated that there are 16 crore children under 6 years in India and six crores require care.

The public hearings also revealed that the most vulnerable among the migrants living in the slums are also the children.

Pune teacher sexually abuses 22 minor girls, arrested #Vaw #WTFnews


CHILDRAPE

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Pune: The Chatushrungi police on Tuesday arrested a 50-year-old visiting academic of a prominent English medium school in the Aundh area here for allegedly sexually abusing about 22 girls from the fifth standard since the last two or three months.
The school authorities learnt of the abuse on February 5 after one of the girls complained to her teacher about the academic’s behaviour. The school conducted an internal inquiry and found that the academic, Pradeep Gothaksar, a resident of Panchvati, Pashan, had abused about 22 girls from the same class. The school contacted senior police inspector Bhanupratap Barge of the social security cell of the crime branch on February 22.
Barge, along with senior inspector Ajay Kadam of the Chatushrungi police station, held a meeting with the school authorities and the girls’ parents on Saturday. Barge said the parents were told of the sexual abuse during the meeting. “We also told the parents about the new Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, and requested them to lodge a complaint with the police,” he said.
Barge said some girls had already told their parents about the sexual abuse but they had not approached the school authorities. “These parents were reluctant to approach the police too. However, we managed to convince them to lodge a complaint and also told them it would be considered a crime as per the new law if they didn’t,” he said.
Barge said a senior official of the school lodged the complaint against Gothaskar on Tuesday. Gothaskar was arrested by the Chatushrungi police in the evening and charged under sections 7, 9(F) and 10 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

#India- Download Full Justice Verma Report #delhigangrape #Vaw #AFSPA


Download  here JS Verma Report on Gender Violence

Justice Verma Committee Report on Gender Violence AMENDMENTS TO CRIMINAL LAW

Appointed by Prime Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on December 23, 2012

Released  on January 23, 2013

Justice JS VERMA Justice

LEILA SETH

Gopal Subramniam

Over 80,000 suggestions were received by the Committee. Among these were those made by  Women against State Repression and Sexual Violence, Women with disabilities, human rights groups and many others 

The committee has suggested a range of reforms dealing with all kinds of sexual crimes against women. It is not that the report is immediately going to alter the effectiveness of policing, crime investigation or court trials in India. However, what is particularly heartening is that the committee has not looked at crime against women purely through a lens of ‘protection’ of women. That lens looks at public spaces as a male prerogative, and woman as a fragile creature that needs to be kept away for her own benefit.

Instead, the committee has looked at crime against women through a lens of autonomy, which says that all women have a right to bodily integrity, in all spaces, and all circumstances. That itself is a good start for a country like ours, where women’s ‘character’, clothing and ‘background’ are the first things to be examined in the event of a crime.

1. When a woman is raped, it does not mean that she has been shamed or ‘dishonoured.’ Nor is it a crime against her community’s ‘honour’. 

“We believe that there is no danger and no shame or loss of honour in a victim seeking redressal by filing complaints and must in fact exercise,  consistent with fundamental rights of women, the right to file complaints and bring offenders to book. We also think that it is the duty of the State to encourage such a climate and also to make  available such resources that enable them to file such complaints.”

“We think that it is necessary for the police officers to be completely sensitised against the honour-shame theory, and to treat every woman  complainant as an individual in her own right capable of asserting her grievance…We think that there has been a completely erroneous connection which is being made between a woman and a community. In other words, we feel very strongly  that an assault on a woman is an assault on the person of the woman.”

2. The absence of violence does not mean the presence of consent.

“Consent must be real… Thus, if the consent is obtained after giving the woman a threat of spreading false and scandalous rumours about her character or destruction of her property or injury to her children or parents or by holding out other threats of injury to her person, reputation or property, that consent will also not be consent under the third clause as recommended to be amended…The 84th Law Commission Report correctly said that violence was not mandatory.”

3. There must be consequences, if police fail to register FIRs.

“What is most surprising is that Parliament has ignored the recommendation of the 84th (Law Commission) Report, which calls for the punishment of a station-incharge who fails to register information of a cognisable offence given to him.”

4. The definition of sexual assault, while including rape should also include any other forms of assault that challenge women’s bodily integrity.

“We are of the considered opinion that in the Indian context it is important to keep a separate offence of ‘rape’. This is a widely understood term which also expresses society’s strong moral condemnation. In the current context, there is a risk that a move to a generic crime of ‘sexual assault’ might signal a dilution of the political and social commitment to respecting, protecting and promoting women’s right to integrity, agency and autonomy. However, there should also be a criminal prohibition of other, non-penetrative forms of sexual assault, which currently is not found in the IPC, aside from the inappropriate references to ‘outraging the modesty’ of women in Sections 354 and 509. We recommended the enactment of Section 354 in another form while we have recommended the repeal of Section 509.”

5. Marriage is not a license to rape.

“We, therefore, recommend that: i. The exception for marital rape be removed. ii. The law ought to specify that: a. A marital or other relationship between the perpetrator or victim is not a valid defence against the crimes of rape or sexual violation; b. The relationship between the accused and the complainant is not relevant to the inquiry into whether the complainant consented to the sexual activity; c. The fact that the accused and victim are married or in another intimate relationship may not be regarded as a mitigating factor justifying lower sentences for rape.”

6. Acid attacks need greater focus – in law, and in terms of practical support for victims.

“The gender specificity and discriminatory nature of this offence does not allow us to ignore this offence as yet another crime against women. We recommend that acid attacks be specifically defined as an offence in the IPC, and that the victim be compensated by the accused. However in relation to crimes against women, the Central and State governments must contribute substantial corpus to frame a compensation fund. We note that the existing Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2012, does include a definition of acid attack.”

7. The presence of AFSPA should not give armed forces personnel impunity for sexual violence in conflict zones.

“At the outset, we notice that impunity for systematic or isolated sexual violence in the process of Internal Security duties is being legitimized by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which is in force in large parts of our country… Sexual violence against women by members of the armed forces or uniformed personnel must be brought under the purview of ordinary criminal law.”

8. Rape is not about “lust” or “loss of control.”

“Thus, rape and other forms of sexual assault have been found to be consistently deployed as an expression of power and must not necessarily be seen as ‘crime of passion’ only. Sexual assaults on women and children has been found to be have been used consistently by State and private persons in conflict areas including in communal violence; where by raping women, men attempt to establish their superiority over the other. The Committee is of the view that such forms of sexual assault deserve to be treated as aggravated sexual offence in law.”

9. Imprisonment terms in sexual assault cases can be strengthened. Capital punishment is not necessarily a deterrent, while it can be applied in the rarest of rare cases (as provided for in Indian law), 

“As far as term sentences are concerned, section 376 of the Indian Penal Code currently provides for punishment of either description for a term which shall not be less than 7 years but which may be for life or for a term which may extend to 10 years. We however recommend that in the proposed Criminal Law Amendment Bill, 2012, the minimum sentence should be enhanced to 10 years with a maximum punishment being life imprisonment…We therefore recommend a legislative clarification that life imprisonment must always mean imprisonment for ‘the entire natural life of the convict’”

10. Drop the two-finger test.

“It is crucial to underscore that the size of the vaginal introitus has no bearing on a case of sexual assault, and therefore a test to ascertain the laxity of the vaginal muscles which is commonly referred to as the two-finger test must not be conducted. On the basis of this test observations/ conclusions such as ‘habituated to sexual intercourse’ should not be made and this is forbidden by law.”

 

 

A nameless piece, like hundreds of victims #Vaw #Womenrights


by Charanya Kannan on Saturday, 29 December 2012

I was in my engineering second year. Finished a dance practice at Mylapore, took the legendary 12B bus to go home. I was groped by an asshole in the bus. I was not new to that, I don’t think any woman,especially in India,is new to that. I knew exactly how to handle it. I’ve always handled it that way, ever since the first incident happened when I was in class 6, if anybody touches me I would scream out and call the attention of the bus conductor, the conductor would then ask the man to get down, and I’d be satisfied that I’ve done by bit as I see the guy humiliated, embarrassed, hiding in his face and running out of the bus, knowing that he would never dare to do it again. So that day, I did the same. Except, this time it was different.

The conductor looked up and said “Stand somewhere else, away from him”. I was shocked and appalled, and said “What? Ask him to get out of the bus” and as I was saying this, the asshole kissed me, yes in front of everyone, while I was hurling this complaint against him. He curled his lips and gave me this vicious smile which silently said “You are but a helpless woman”. I screamed in rage, EVERYONE stood silent. ALL the passengers, stood silently, watching. The conductor looked up and said “Galatta panadha, buss virtu erungu”. (Get down form the bus, stop overreacting)  I was fuming and burst out in tears as I got down from the bus,I noted down the bus number and went crying to my dad. My dad agreed to take me to the police station. My mother pleaded with us “Are you crazy, why would you take our teenage girl to the police station? Its unsafe ,besides what would people think”. Can anyone blame her for thinking that way? So we telephoned the police instead.

My father had to use his position -’gazetted officer’ to even so much as to get their attention. We said we have the bus number and need to file a FIR against the bus conductor and the driver. We got a call from the police station 10 minutes later, and a lady officer spoke to me.  She said ” If you press charges, we’d have to suspend the driver and conductor. We would never be able to trace the guy who did that to you anyway. The driver and conductor would complain to their union, and if the union decided to go on a strike , then the issue would be picked up by the media, and your image would unnecessarily be tarnished. My suggestion is to just forget it”. And thats what I’ve tried doing, tried forgetting it for the last 8 years. But I still remember his face, that sadistic smile, that I’ve been wanting to wipe it from his face forever, but just can’t.  And when I was discussing this issue in my college with a group of friends, a random guy who overheard it actually said ” What sort of a girl is she, why would she speak in public about all this”. THIS. THIS is exactly the problem with our country. It wasn’t wrong for the guy to have done that, but it is wrong that I spoke about it. A dutiful girl should have kept it  a secret and carried on with her life. Even now, I’m very sure my mom would call me from India and ask why I publish notes like these.

A bunch of people reading this are invariably bound to think how “unwomanly” it is for me to write all this. And a few people reading this would probably think “Wonder what dress she wore in the bus”. Thats why I specified dance class in the first line- Indian classical dance implies wearing Chudithar with Dupataa.  I read a blog on this issue where the author had to issue a disclaimer “..want to clarify that not all of the examples of harassment or abuse I mentioned in the post involved me directly..” Because we get judged for writing these. Its easier to speak in third person.  Its almost quite impossible  for any girl in India ot have escaped such experiences. But no one speaks about it. And thats the inception for trouble.  What happened to me was nothing, nothing at all, in light of what so many other women undergo in the country.

I’m probably not even thinking right when writing this, I’m just really depressed when I heard the news about that girl who died today. I may regret writing this tomorrow, as the society does expect me to be ashamed for speaking out. I could be termed ‘Dented-painted”.

But still, a few arbid thoughts that come to my mind right now:

  1. While this rape case is being discussed extensively on electronic media, a 17 year old girl has committed suicide, as the officers were trying to convince her to withdraw the case, by casting aspirations on her character and asking her to marry the rapist.Should I be happy that the officer I spoke to was at least courteous to me?http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/27/india-gang-rape-suicide_n_2370859.html?utm_hp_ref=world.
  2. These are the views about ‘rape’ expressed by our politicians, in the last one year. A sordid compliation. These are our law makers, what co you expect from others?This made me nauseous. I’m not sure what else to say about this.  http://ibnlive.in.com/news/rape-sexual-assault-womens-rights-s-politicians-said-in-2012/312791-3.html.
  3. Everybody in korea wears skirts, the length of it being so tiny that it would not even qualify it as a skirt in India. Yet there is no eve teasing here. NO EVE TEASING. People drink, a lot. Girls drink, a LOT. They drink till 4 am. They hang out with guys. Yet girls don’t get raped, they don’t even so much as get stared at or judged. People eat a lot of chow mien here, yet there is no hormonal problem.
  4. A few months ago I posted this image of a girl, who’s face was charred when a guy hurled acid at her face, because she refused to humour him. When I published this photo, I got two messages from friends saying “We log into Facebook to see happy stuff, that image totally put me off, stop posting such gruesome stuff”. I apologize in advance to those people who find such a compelling desire to stay away from news of this sort.Please live in your happy fairy tale land.  And please don’t read the next point.
  5. Engineering 3rd year. Gajalakshmi Prabhakaran came a little shaken to college that day. I asked her why. Her mother is a nurse. Apparently the previous day, her mother saw a one year girl, a tiny little girl, brought bleeding and dead to her hospital. Apparently the father of the girl raped her. The little baby was dead in her mothers arms. Gajalakshmi’s mother was helpless and tormented. So were we, on hearing the news. The same thing has happened again, this time the tiny one is 2.5 years old. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_2-year-old-vadodara-rape-victim-dies-of-injuries_1781807. The case handled by Gajalakshmi’s mother was never quite reported in the media. I’m sure there are hundreds of nameless 2 year girls who die every year.
  6. My undergraduate college was very liberal in a conservative city, there were no ‘dress codes’. Yet when girls wore kurtas and jeans to college, they invariable earned the names ‘bitch’ and ‘slut’ and ‘pros’ by fellow classmates. I was stunned and always wrapped myself in a dupatta for the next 3 years of college. When I see some of those guys’ photographs on Facebook, I now smile, as they’re standing next to a wife/grilfriend wearing jeans. Does that mean there is hope after all?
  7. Speaking about dress, how can you blame the poor guys of Tamilnadu when the youth icon, actor Vijay makes such crass third rate movies ? (I know I can be admonished by Vijay fans for this). Check out this scene where he tells Asin, that if she dresses in a sari, men would worship her. Seriously vijay? Do you want to know some statistics about women who wear a sari and get raped? Our stupid censor board which censors even a simple kiss scene from an english movie, lets such chauvinistic movies make their bucks. Do watch this video, it comes with english subtitles. And remember to hate it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8g9c9FNJ89M
  8. A few years back the rebel in me would have died to return to India to fight injustice. Now I’m just glad I’m away form that place. I’m thinking twice if my daughter should grow up there.
  9. All my dear friends in Delhi /Gurgaon, please leave that wretched place as soon as possible. I love you all too much.
  10. I’ve already  given a few shout outs to this, but I guess this is the opportune moment, when everyone is keen on doing something. Go ahead, read this blog by Sunitha Krishnan, She was raped by 5 men when she was 15 years old, yet she survived. She not just survived, but has been fighting against sex trafficking through her organization @Prajwala (its a community on fb tagged in this note). Please support that.  http://sunithakrishnan.blogspot.kr/. Do spend half an hour reading her various articles.

Scream if you are being sexually harassed, says Eve Ensler #Vaw


TNN Jan 5, 2013, 03.00AM IST

MUMBAI: Scream if you are being sexually harassed on a bus (or any public place), or at the workplace. “Screaming draws attention to what a man is doing, and if women start using it as self-defence, sexual harassment at the workplace will stop,” said Eve Ensler, playwright, actor and activist.

The author of Vagina Monologues and initiator of the One Billion Rising campaign against sexual harassment was speaking at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s Savitri Phule Gender Resource Centre, which was celebrating the birth anniversary of Phule on Friday.

Ensler said she learned the screaming technique from two Kenyan women who teach self-defence.

Violence against women, she said, whether subtle (leering) or extreme (rape) sustains patriarchy and women have been trained to be quiet or make the best of the situation.

“We live in silence. Everything is allowed to happen as we choose to be silent,” she said, adding, “We are trained neither to protect ourselves nor our sisters and we are always afraid of losing our husband’s affections, promotions and afraid of being stigmatized.”

To fight sexual harassment, she said, women must band together as harassment is personal and thus not allowed to become political.

Ensler said she was sexually abused by her father and though her family knew about it, they chose to keep quiet. “Years later, when I came out and spoke publicly about it, my mother apologized, saying she had sacrificed me. I do not blame my family as they were part of a power structure trying to survive.”

For such “sacrifices” to stop, she said, women must stand up for each other. “We can’t do it alone as it is too scary. We get too isolated and can get hurt. But if we are unified, then they can’t hurt us,” she said.

“So, if you hear a woman scream, you scream too,” she signed off.

 

Bras and domestic violence- awareness or exploitation ? #advertising #vaw #Wtfnews


Breast Intentions: Of Violence, Advertising and Lingerie

Social Commentary post by Richa Kaul Padte, Submitted by Richa Kaul Padte on November 9, 2012 – 8:06am; tagged advertising, Amanté, domestic violence. at http://bitchmagazine.org/

Amanté bra ad: Suffocation is the Worst Kind of Abuse"

In both a national and global context where the rates of domestic violence against women are consistently soaring (according to the United Nations Population Fund Report, more 55 percent of women living in India face violence within the home), awareness campaigns and messages which seek to address this particular manifestation of gender-based violence are incredibly pertinent. Calling on women to recognise that they are not alone in what they experience, and highlighting the ways in which this violence manifests itself and affects other facets of a woman’s life are key components of such outreach.

“Suffocation is the worst kind of abuse”

“It always starts with the little nicks and cuts”

“Respect the space you really deserve”

“How much longer will you adjust?”

These taglines, part of a far-reaching poster campaign, seem to fit the bill. Or they would, if violence against women were their subject. In fact, they’re being used to sell bras.

Launched in early October 2012, Amanté Lingerie’s “Break Up With The Wrong Bra” campaign appropriates the language of anti-domestic violence initiatives to sell women the ‘right’ bra. Featured widely on billboards across major Indian cities, in daily newspapers, and in women’s magazines, each image features a woman’s face accompanied by one of the above taglines. Below the tagline are messages that, once again, are eerily reminiscent of the domestic-violence statistics that often accompany DV awareness initiatives. One reads, “8 out of 10 women are wearing the wrong bra and don’t even know it. A poorly fitted bra that needs adjusting all day interferes with your overall appearance and self confidence.” In a country where more half of all women face violence within the home—and where the majority stay silent about it, or worse, feel like they deserve it—the decision to exploit the lived realities of violence to sell a foundation garment is one that must be questioned.

Amanté CEO John Chiramel, quoted in an Adrants report on the campaign, assured everyone that “This campaign has been carefully thought through in not trying to objectify women, but [is] more about dealing with the real issues and educating the consumer, so that they have an enjoyable experience wearing fine lingerie.” And the fact that the campaign avoids the usual bra-selling objectification of women’s bodies was noted by Jezebel.com’s Dodai Stewart, who wrote that “the brand chose a really clever way to advertise bras without actually seeing any bras…. Even if you don’t like the ‘worst kind of abuse’ slogan, the company deserves kudos for attempting to think outside the cleavage.”

Amanté bra ad featuring confused-looking Indian woman

Kudos! JK, this is still wildly disturbing.

But does the measure for the objectification of women always lie in the amount of skin being shown? To praise the Amanté ads for what they don’t show seems not only culturally irrelevant, but ignores other manifestations of objectification at play. For instance: The women featured in these ads, like the women featured in practically every aspect of public visual culture today, are undoubtedly beautiful. And Amanté’s slogan (“Love Yourself”) contributes to an existing global vocabulary of advertising that suggests only the beautiful deserve love. Furthermore, using the language of domestic violence here contributes to a construction of not only the beautiful woman, but the beautiful who is beautiful and thereby unabused. Both self-confidence and freedom from violence are linked to fashion and beauty itself, thus negating the class, caste, race, and other realities of gender-based violence.

Chiramel and Stewart may not see it, but to those who have worked on anti-violence campaigns—and, more poignantly, to those who have lived or continue to live with domestic violence in their daily lives—the allusion is glaringly apparent. Mumbai-based sociologist and feminist activist Manjima Bhattacharjya says, ‘Parodies are fine and have their own space as creative expression. But you have to be careful when you parody something like domestic violence, which is already trivialized in the everyday, something activists and survivors have struggled against for decades. To trivialize it further could make it even more difficult to change harmful popular perceptions about it.’ As this campaign is viewed by thousands of women across the country – outside their homes, in their newspapers, and so on – the violence they experience is now the face for a new bra, thus reinforcing the societal frameworks that negate and normalize their experiences of abuse.

Could the campaign’s appropriation of the language of domestic violence help create a dialogue around violence against women? Backed by large corporate budgets with a reach much further than, say, a nonprofit domestic violence–awareness campaign, do these “Break Up With The Wrong Bra” ads provide a wider platform for important conversations? Nope, argues Bhattachrjya. “Other companies, like Avon or Body Shop, have used such [visuals], so it’s not unusual to see such images or text used by women’s brands. But they have mostly used campaigns against domestic violence as the vehicle to promote their products, believing that speaking to women about things that matter to them would make for more sustainable partnerships. [In Amanté’s campaign], domestic violence is not explicitly mentioned at all, in spite of the obvious allusions. Even a line about the issue they are alluding to, or links to support services, would have been honest. On the other hand, the absence of any reference to DV shows it for what it is. For all the big words they’ve used (respect, deserve, confidence) they just want you to buy the right bra—theirs.”

Rajasthan-Helpline for women in distress #mustshare


 

TNN | Oct 3, 2012, 01.15AM IST

 JAIPUR: A helpline meant to help women in distress, is now functional across the state. In a unique initiative, the Rajasthan State Women’s Commission has started a helpline number where female victims can call and speak to the experts in various fields ranging from law, sociology and psychotherapy for counseling.

The service was started with an aim to protect women’s rights in the state and ensure justice for victims.

Commission’s chairperson Ladkumari Jain told TOI that the helpline was introduced early in September. “As of now, we have a regular seven-digit landline number-0141-2744596. We will soon get a four-digit toll free number,” said Jain.

Jain added the helpline service is open 24 hours and seven days a week. “We have appointed counsellors who are experts in various fields including law, sociology and psychotherapy. These counsellors work in shifts and are available even during the night hours,” she said.

To know more, TOI called the helpline number, where a counselor Santosh Sharma said the service is becoming a real-time solution to problems faced by women in the state.

“We get calls even from rape victims, following which we immediately take action. If a woman is a victim of domestic violence, we speak with her husband and family members. If the issue can not be resolved by talking, we even advise the women to take the legal course. Women can also register complaints if the police or other authorities fail to respond to their complaints,” Sharma said.

The chairperson also said the victims often hesitate to approach the police and other law enforcement agencies fearing it might boomerang. “In most cases, they don’t get proper response also. Besides, they have to go through several legal formalities. But the helpline provides swift solutions to their problems,” said Jain.

She added that woman can also seek assistance on how to register their complaints on the helpline, “We take cognizance of the women’s complaints and initiate action on our own,” said Jain.

However, the helpline service is getting a lukewarm response even a month after its launch because most people are unaware of its existence. Counselors are getting only 3-4 calls every day. spread awareness regarding the number

“We are waiting for the four-digit toll-free number which will be introduced within a few days. We will popularise the service after that,” said Jain.

Service at a glance

- Helpline number – 0141-2744596

- Four-digit toll free number in the offing

- The service is available 24×7

- Access to various experts from fields like law, sociology and psychotherapy