#India – Little Girls Are Most at Risk #Rape #Vaw


MEENA KANDASAMY

Little Girls Are Most at Risk: Legislation alone cannot save women trapped in a patriarchal culture
TAGS: Rape | Girl raped in Delhi | Physical abuse in DelhiViolence against girls
Cold-hearted legal system sees no shame in serving the interests of sex offenders
When news of a five-year-old girl’s brutalisation and rape in east Delhi was followed by news of the police attempting to bribe her parents to prevent them from filing a complaint and beating up anti-rape protesters, it exposed the police officers as patriarchy’s foot soldiers.
Courthouses haven’t fared much better than their police station counterparts either. Kirti Singh and Dhivya Kapur’s 2001 study on law, violence and the girl child pointed out glaring incidents of the Indian judiciary‘s misogyny in the case of child rapes: The Delhi High Court considered penetration of a girl child and forced oral sex as ‘molestation’; another judge ruled out child rape in the absence of injury to the man’s penis; when a woman accused her husband of attempting to rape their three-year-old infant, the Supreme Court said in its opening statement that incredulous, eerie accusations had been made, blamed the mother for manipulation of the child’s vagina and refused to believe the victim’s assertion that her father violated her. When the police force normalises the occurrence of rape and the cold-hearted legal system sees no shame in serving the interests of sex offenders, it becomes clear that the state machinery has divested itself of the responsibility of protecting children.

Meena Kandasamy
Meena Kandasamy

Given the high incidence of sexual and physical abuse within families-statistics show that in a majority of the cases, the abusers were known to the children-no one can take shelter in the naive belief that children are safe in their homes or neighbourhoods. The unearthing of skeletons of at least 17 child victims who had been sexually assaulted and murdered in Nithari (Noida) in 2007 sent shockwaves, but it made the middle classes mistakenly assume that such gory things happened only to poor people’s children. This February, three Dalit sisters aged 11, nine and six were raped and murdered, their bodies dumped in a well in their native Bhandara, Maharashtra. There was not much noise because ‘they’ were not ‘us’. But when such unchecked sexual violence leaves its safe zones and comes knocking at any random door, people sit up, angry and shell-shocked.

Convenient assumptions such as rape of children is foreign to Hindu/Indian culture or that this perversion is merely a strange import from paedophile pornography is to wilfully forget history. The Age of Consent Bill of 1891 set a minimum age of 12 for girls with regard to cohabitation-a law that was structured because of cases of girl children dying from premature consummation (read rape) on their bridal nights. Nineteenth century religious conservatives raged against this Bill and upheld the marital right of husbands (frequently older men) to have sex with their child brides. They also opposed the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929: Raping young girls through the institution of marriage was constructed as a religious obligation in the Hindu framework.

Eighty-odd years later, India is still caught in the tentacles of the same religion-neither its patriarchy, nor its caste system has been dismantled or ruptured. In a society that voids sexual self-determination through its rigid caste system and compromises the bodily integrity of Dalit/Adivasi/Muslim women through its cultural sanction of rape, the commodification of women by treating them as mere tools to perform the acts of reproductive labour and pleasuring men is a natural progression.

Since dear old monster capitalism lurks around absorbing every evil into its own image, this commodification and consumerism spiral out of control. The obsession over virginity provides the market for 18 Again which sells a gel promising tighter vaginas. Tata Sky‘s ad puts women in the protective custody of their older brothers, seemingly oblivious to but actually celebrating the implicit threat of honour killings. The caste-ridden patriarchal standard is the norm. In this frenzied love-making between capitalism and the caste system, we, as women, are reduced to a mere fragment of our beings. We become less than our bodies. When sexual abuseis allowed to fester within such a culture fixated on sexual purity and the virginity fetish, little girls are the most vulnerable victims.

Even as our search for quick-fixes goes on, we must remember that to eradicate and curtail this crisis in the long run, we must smash the oppressive structure of caste, class and religious patriarchy that regiments our bodies and sanctions our rape. The collective struggle for our liberation will not end with just a piece of legislation.

Meena Kandasamy is a poet and activist.

Read more at:http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/violence-against-girls-in-delhi/1/267857.html

 

Our bodies, our selves #womenrights #gender #Vaw


Female homicides in Ciudad Juárez

 

 

 
NILANJANA S. ROY, The Hindu

 

Until we embrace the idea of consent in all relationships, including marriage, there can be no gender equality. Its absence makes discussions on sexual abuse meaningless

 

The man who was my abuser was a fine host, a good husband, a caring father, a respected elder whose generosity and kindness were as genuine as the fact of the abuse. These qualities were important, because they helped him conceal the abuse he carried out over a period of four years.

 

As a much-loved older relative, a close friend of my parents, he had unrestricted access to our house, and we visited him often. It was only at 12 that I began to feel uncomfortable. I didn’t know the term “child sexual abuse,” and had no words with which to describe my discomfort with the “games” he played — but I sensed there was something wrong about the silence that he demanded. When I was 13, I left Delhi for Calcutta, to study in that city, and left my abuser behind. But he didn’t forget, and when I came back to Delhi as a 17-year-old, he was there.

 

FIERCE, PROTECTIVE BARRIER

 

At 17, I knew now that he had no right to do this to me. When he sent poems, said that despite the four decades that separated us, we were supposed to “be together,” I broke my own silence — but only partly. I told my mother and my sister, and they formed a fierce, protective barrier between me and my abuser.

 

But the man who had started his abuse when I was nine was still invited to my wedding, because we were all keeping secrets, trying to protect one family member or another. (He was married, with grown children of his own.)

 

Years later, when my abuser was dying of old age and diabetes, I visited him. There was no space for a long conversation, but I did tell him that I would not forget, even if forgiveness was possible. The silence around the abuse festered and caused damage for years, until finally, in my thirties, the difficult, liberating process of healing began.

 

If this story saddens you, please think about this: my story is neither new nor rare, nor was the man who abused me a monster, or in any way out of the ordinary. According to a 2007 survey (the largest of its kind in India) conducted by the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, over 53 per cent of Indian children have experienced some form of sexual abuse — a slightly higher percentage of boys than girls. I am only one of many.

 

As I learned to cope with the fallout from the childhood abuse, I made unexpected connections, found good friends, found strong mentors, found help, found my voice again and built a happier, more free life. If I bring up the abuse today, it’s to make a point about the importance of consent in the debate over gender equality in India.

 

Child abuse survivors are experts in two areas: we’ve taken a masterclass in the toxicity of silence and secret-keeping, and we have doctorates in our understanding of the importance of consent. It can take survivors, like rape survivors of either gender, years to reclaim a sense of ownership over their own bodies. The body is the site of so many violations, starting with the chief one: our abusers did not ask us for permission to use our bodies as they pleased. Children subjected to abuse learn one harsh lesson — their bodies are not their own.

 

RIGHT TO OFFER OR WITHHOLD

 

Over years, those of us who are fortunate enough to find counsellors and healers learn to reclaim our bodies. We learn as adults what children are supposed to know by instinct: we learn that we can be safe in our bodies, we learn to allow ourselves pleasure, to take care of ourselves, and most of all, we learn that we have the right to offer or withhold permission to other people, when they want access to our bodies, our selves.

 

In December 2012, a violent gang rape in Delhi took the life of a young woman and set off a raging debate over women’s freedoms and rape laws. In all the complex arguments we’ve heard in the last few months in India on rape, violence against women, we have not discussed consent as much as we need to. When we talk about rape, women’s bodies are often discussed as though they were property: how much freedom should the Indian family allow its daughters, wives, sisters, mothers?

 

Recently, rejecting the Verma Committee’s strong appeal that marital rape be made an offence under the law, the Standing Committee on Home said that (a) the Indian family system would be disturbed (b) there were practical difficulties and (c) marriage presumes consent.

 

These assumptions expose the toxicity at the heart of a certain view of the Indian family. For marriage to “presume consent,” you must assume that a woman gives up all rights to her body, to her very self, once she goes through the ceremony of marriage. You must also presume that a man is granted the legally sanctified right to access over his wife’s body, regardless of whether she finds sex unwelcome, frightening, painful, violent or simply doesn’t feel like it that day.

 

MEDIEVAL VIEW

 

This diminishes both genders, in its assumption that men are little more than lustful beasts, unable to restrain their libidos, that women are passive receptacles without desires of their own, forced to submit to demands for sex regardless of what they want. This is a medieval view of marriage and sex, and it is dismaying that Parliament appears to subscribe to it.

 

What is missing is the key question of consent — the consent of the woman, of any person in a sexual contract. All people — children, women, men — have a right to their own bodies.

 

In any equal partnership, the only possible basis for sex is on the mutual understanding that consent is an active process — to be offered freely and gladly, to be withdrawn just as freely. Underlying the principle of consent is the equally strong principle of respect; respect for one’s self, as much as for one’s partner. No one should be forced to share their bodies against their will.

 

On an active, day-to-day basis, consent embraces the idea that any woman or man is free to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a sexual encounter, inside or outside marriage, regardless of whether they are, in the ugly phrase of the courts and police stations, “habituated to sex.”

 

Child abuse survivors and sexual violence survivors understand instinctively that true respect includes giving all people the right to say ‘no,’ the right to choose when they will be touched, and by whom.

 

If it is hard for Indian society to understand why everyone should have this right, then perhaps we should start with the basics.

 

You own your own body. Everyone has the right to live without their bodies being violated. Everyone has the right to demand that you ask for permission before you touch their bodies.

 

Perhaps in time, Parliament and the government might understand this. Justice Verma Committee and thousands of women trapped in marriages where they do not have the right to refuse sex certainly do understand. (For those who believe that marriage in India is a perfect, unsullied institution, read the statistics: over 40 per cent of women in marriages have reported domestic violence. That’s reported, not experienced. In addition, we rarely discuss the experiences of men who have gone through childhood sexual abuse — currently, the percentage is slightly higher for boys than girls, but men are doubly silenced, by shame and the demands of masculinity.)

 

FROM VICTIM TO SURVIVOR

 

My own journey from victim to survivor and then to a kind of freedom, took years. Even so, I had less to deal with than many whose stories are reported in Human Rights Watch’s recent study of child sexual abuse in India — no institutionalised abuse, no caste abuse, no extreme violence. In time, I became a writer, a listener, and a collector of stories. The shared stories of survivors allowed me to let go of shame — child abuse was too common and too widespread for that. I also learned that your memories, however dark, will not kill you, or prevent you from creating a better life.

 

Reclamation happened slowly, sometimes painfully. I was lucky to have the support of my partner, friends and great counsellors. But that journey started with believing that I did have the right to say ‘no,’ that my body did belong to me.

 

The debate in India over rape laws, particularly marital rape, is about such a simple thing: acknowledging that women (and men, and children) have a right over their own bodies. Why is this being treated as though it were a dangerous or radical idea? In a country that calls itself modern, as India does, it’s time we embraced the idea of consent, in all relationships.

 

Even though it’s so common — more than half of all adults in my generation of Indians have experienced some form of childhood sexual abuse — few survivors speak about their experiences because of the Indian family’s insistence on silence. That silence transferred the shame of the abuser’s act on to the child, and on to the family; it is powerful and crippling, and it actively enables abuse.

 

The silence around marital rape is strengthened when the Indian social and legal system refuses even to acknowledge that it exists; for an abuser, and for a rapist, these silences are frighteningly empowering.

 

Just as children have the right to ask that their bodies remain unviolated by the people they should be able to trust, a woman has the right to say, no, she does not give her consent. Even, and perhaps especially in, a relationship as intimate as marriage.

 

(Nilanjana S. Roy is a New Delhi-based writer)

 

 

 

 

#Mumbai-17-year-old uncle molests minor girl at Mahim #Vaw #WTFnews


CHILDRAPE

Published: Sunday, Mar 3, 2013,
By Little Yadav | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

In yet another case of sexual violation, a seven-year-old girl was repeatedly molested by her maternal uncle for over a month. Both the victim and the accused are residents of the Ramgarh slums located in the Fishermen’s Colony in Mahim. The victim’s mother, who filed the complaint, approached the Mahim police on Thursday.

The incident came to light after the victim, who initially thought what the 17-year-old accused was doing to her was a game, told her mother what he had done.

According to the police, the accused started molesting the victim since the second week of January. Since he was related to the victim’s mother and had free access to the house, he would take the victim out under various pretexts.

However, on Thursday when the victim’s mother asked her whether she enjoyed going out with her uncle, the truth came to light.

The victim told her mother that the accused would take her to a secluded spot near Mahim pipeline, where he would undress her and touch her inappropriately. She also stated that she had been molested at least five times in a month. According to the victim’s narration of events, it appears that the accused had even tried to rape her but could not succeed.

Acting on the complaint registered by the victim’s mother, the police immediately arrested the accused. However, since he is a minor, he was sent to Dongri Children’s Home.

The accused has been booked under sections 375 B (attempt of commission of rape), 354 (outraging the modesty of a woman), 363 (kidnapping) and 364 (kidnapping with the intention of murder). He has also been booked under The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 and will be tried be in juvenile court.

@littleyadav

 

Kolkata Park Street rape witness “thrashed” and ‘molested’


Jun 12, 2012 – RAJIB CHOWDHURI|

  • Age Correspondent

A former BPO professional, who is said to be a key witness in the Park Street gangrape case, was allegedly molested at a night club in New Market.

On Sunday night, the 24-year-old woman had gone to the resto-bar and lounge with her two female friends. When they hit the dance floor, Harpreet Singh Chadda, 46, of Tiljala requested her to join him. His two friends Manwinder, 34, and Kamal Sabriwal, 31, tried to do the same with her two friends. But the other two women refused them. However, getting close to her amidst the loud music, Harpreet allegedly molested her. Immediately, a fight began and the window panes of the night club broke in the process. One of the women received injuries. The incident took place at around 11.30 pm.

Desperate to save her life, the victim tried to get on to a bus. But the trio stopped the bus and pulled her out of it. The men then beat her up even as the bus passengers remained mute spectators.The men thrashed the girl until she started bleeding following which they got nervous and fled.The three fled and the night club was closed.
Acting on the women’s complaint, the police lodged a case under Sections 354, for molestation, and 307 for attempt to murder, of the IPC.
On Monday, Harpreet, Manwinder and Kamal were arrested by the police. Later in the day, the Bankshall court remanded them to police custody till June 15. According to police sources, the 24-year-old woman had quit her job at a call centre in Sector V in Salt Lake worrying about her safety after she identified the original culprits in the Park Street gangrape case. She was partying with her colleagues on February 5 night at a hotel at Park Street.

 

Kolkata‘s Park Street rape case: 10 big facts

Monideepa Banerjie | Updated: February 20, 2012

Kolkata's Park Street rape case: 10 big facts

Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee has been caught in a controversy of her own making in West Bengal over a rape that left Kolkata cold. The city is usually considered safe for women, especially when compared to other metros like Delhi or Mumbai. Remarkably, Ms Banerjee had dismissed first reports of the case as an attempt to defame her government. Here are 10 big facts on the case:

  1. The chief minister met this morning with the city’s senior-most police officials, reportedly to discuss their progress in investigations.
  2. Three men were arrested on Saturday; two others are missing.
  3. At a rally in Kolkata yesterday, the CPM, which was defeated by Ms Banerjee in elections last year, targeted the chief minister for her insensitive handling of the case.
  4. On the night of February 5, the victim was at a pub at Kolkata’s famous Park Street. A man who befriended her at the pub offered her a ride home in his Honda City. When she climbed in, there were two men in the car. But soon, another three entered the vehicle. She was raped at gunpoint.
  5. The victim filed her police case a few days later, on February 9. She says she had been traumatised by the event and needed some time to recover before going to the police with her story.
  6. The victim, who is 37-years-old, alleges that the police mocked her when she tried to get a case registered. Officers allegedly used the fact that she had been at a pub to judge her character.
  7. The media began reporting on the story last week. As the police announced that it was searching for the rapists, the Chief Minister said the case had been fabricated to malign the government, triggering a debate about her perceived insensitivity.
  8. The investigation was complicated by the fact that the men involved assumed other people’s names when introducing themselves to the victim. When the police searched Facebook for their photos, the images did not match the men who the victim had met.
  9. Footage from security cameras installed near the pub that the woman visited helped the police identify the men who drove away with her.
  10. Medical tests on the victim were conducted on February 14. Sources say that the reports do not confirm rape, but doctors attribute this to the delay between her assault and her medical check-up.

Satyamev Jayate: Of downright manipulations and status-quoist revolutions


By Saswat Pattanayak,  Kindle Magazine

Aamir Khan claims to address the roots of social evils, engages statistics, experts and pending court cases to illustrate his findings while offering solutions to overturn Indian feudal structure, all within an hour’s televised show, intensified with tears, hopes and resolutions. And the unprecedented success of ‘Satyamav Jayate’ underlines that this tactic is effectively working. If a generation had somehow failed to awaken following Rang de Basanti, it is wide awake, this time.

Each episode is a testament to this resounding success. Aamir poses significant questions in the beginning, acknowledges the conventional answers, moves on to  dismantle those very assumptions, and the audience bursts into tears at its own ignorance and at the promise of a new tomorrow bereft of the maladies.
Just when the cynics wonder if he has turned self-righteous, it turns out ‘Satyamev Jayate’ works precisely because Aamir identifies himself entirely with the audience. He, too, learns of the bitter truths about Indian society from the very show itself, live on the stage. “Mujhe bhi aaj yeh seekh mili hai” is oft-repeated. Along with the audience, he is shocked at the barbaric, with them he sheds the tears, with them he signs petitions. The routine criticisms usually reserved for holier than thou shows simply find no outlets here.
Finally, it is the content area where the Aamir Khan effect shines. Female infanticide, dowry tortures, child sexual abuse – the themes so far – are societally entrenched as innately problematic, inherently evil and acutely in need of redress. They are so commonplace that they should have ideally lost any shock value by now; and yet Satyamev Jayate revels in the euphoric disconnect of the audience with their harmful consequences.
And yet, what goes almost unnoticed is that Satyamev Jayate is a reality television show, not a reality; that the truth has not triumphed in the show capitalizing on our national motto. What remains deeply unsettling is that the solution evinced in the show is part of the problem, that the answers gathered are critical question marks, the lulling agents are masquerading as the antidotes, the normative as surprises, and the status quo as revolution.
Aamir Khan, along with his corporate sponsors, the so-called philanthropy partners and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, have together created a recipe for unparalleled commercial venture, the most gigantic instance of private capital earning public respect, a creative collaboration that gloriously abolishes economic class as a social determinant, an immaculate shield against revolutionary restructuring.
A reality television show is entirely scripted, and Satyamev Jayate is no exception. Where it resorts to downright manipulation is where it hides behind the cloak of social change agency. What percentage of Indian children are sexually abused, asks Aamir Khan. Two percent, says one, four percent, another. All nice and dandy, except that either the reality show does not arrange for a single informed member to be present amidst the audience, or that the host chooses not to ask this question to people whose answers can upstage his assumptions. No Pinki Virani there. Does female infanticide take place majorly in rural areas or how does one plan one’s wedding could likewise – effortlessly – generate opposing views, but Aamir, bent upon cashing in on the shock value, chooses to register the answers that suit the script.
So are the ignorant answers from the audience a result of random sampling? Hardly so, considering each episode has target audience representing a certain age/gender group. Instead of facilitating a dialogue among the people representing diverse views owing to unique social locations, Aamir Khan chooses to engage in a linear fashion, as a preacher, as an instructor, and eventually as the tool of social change.
As part of the script, the critical voices in the audience are not asked for opinions independently, but only as supporting evidences that embolden Aamir’s heroism. It would have upset the stage had the members of Tanzeem Khuddam E Millat engaged in a dialogue with the young people who advocated lavish wedding in the beginning of that episode. Hence, after the unassuming audience was sarcastically applauded for its wedding preference, and after Aamir had made forceful arguments against audience perception, Mausim Ummedi is introduced as his supporting voice, whose adulations for Aamir’s mammoth sacrifices are then televised to the viewers. One wonders if becoming the highest paid anchor in the television history to showcase impacts of poverty is the sacrifice, or being a descendant to Maulana Azad itself constitutes this acclaimed sacrifice of Aamir Khan.
Turns out, neither. More disturbing is the claim on part of the elite host that women’s rights issues have nothing to do with economic class. Infanticide is a practice across classes, dowry torture equally universal, sexual abuse as well. Political economy is not the culprit, and there is no need to address feudalism, let alone capitalism. Both rich and the poor suffer equally, and even the poor are romanticized as happier survivors. There is light at the end of the tunnel because patience with the system, and not privilege redistribution holds the key. In fact, so content is Aamir in the status quo, that his constant disclaimer is his complete and unwavering faith in our judicial system and that he – on behalf of us all – is perfectly assured, justice shall prevail in each case.
That, the oppressed state of women and children is a necessary consequence of patriarchy, which in turn is unequivocally interwoven with capitalism, is entirely lost to our beloved renaissance man. While claiming to be addressing the root causes of social evils, Aamir conveniently blames it all on individual conscience without addressing a commodified society that must treat its weaker sections as non-entities. In an increasingly individualistic society where profit – and power – accumulations are ruthlessly preserved – and whose direct beneficiaries include the illustrious host himself – the next logical step is to sign the petitions in a dramatic manner and repose trust in the law and order system of our assumedly robust democracy.
So the woman continues to be worshipped as a sacrificial mother, motherhood as a moral virtue, every abortion is a killing without a word spoken on abortion rights of women, wearing jeans and miniskirts continue to be slutty, big weddings remain fine so long as the couples pay for them, child sexual abuse victims should forgive their abusers, belief in the gods and religious scripts remain the saviors, and the pending court cases shall invariably meet justice. In Aamir Khan’s troubled India, trouble is forever over, when he comes back to reassure the awestruck audience, after the break.
It is not the disbelievers, the radicals, the Maoists, the agitators, the ones who have given up on the political economic system that inherently sustains the wealth and gender gap who should be emulated. It is the pacifiers, the collaborators, the petitioners, the forgivers, the individualists who must pave the way. Contrary to the claimed exceptional values this show provides, the truth is we have continually worshipped the heroes, the successful and the glorious, the judicial system and the political democracy, just as Aamir envisages. Moreover, we have always waited for the superhero to come fix what is wrong with the system while leaving its roots intact. The role of the messiah is not to discard the god, after all; just to empower the masses into believing a tiny bit more.
When this season of televised empowerment started, Aamir outlined India’s biggest obsessions, he mentioned cricket, films and weddings. The truth would have surely triumphed, had he not overlooked the most apparent one, the one obsession he has willingly turned himself into becoming: the Messiah. Alas.
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