This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

A Nobody”s Perception: Why “Never Again To Rape” Means So Much?

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Siddhartha Roy:

Now, should we treat women as independent agents, responsible for themselves? Of course. But being responsible has nothing to do with being raped. Women don’t get raped because they were drinking or took drugs. Women do not get raped because they weren’t careful enough. Women get raped because someone raped them.” ~Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth


My father told me over the phone yesterday, “Do you know, son? The country is in a lot of chaos right now.” I silently nodded. I’ve been following the ‘news’ all the way and tried to pick up my pen several times to express how sick, how appalled I really feel. I couldn’t. As a student here in the United States, I hear people around me — fellow students & families away from home — openly discuss the gruesome and gory details of the violation of an innocent woman’s body and a nation’s spirit (which is already sick, I think). Rape, they call it. More than that, it is horrific violence. And coupling it with sexual assaults, India is 3rd in rapes in the world; Delhi designated the ‘rape capital’ of the Earth. You’d be amazed at how much India is discussed & dissected in living rooms of Indians in the US.

I just remain in a corner — my fists clenched, my body shaking a little — unable to be as evocative as I am in verbalizing my stand. What do I want to say? Nothing, I guess. Sitting here in America, all I want to do is get back to the nation’s capital, stand at candle light vigils with my fellow citizens at Jantar Mantar or wherever, BE A NOBODY IN THE CROWD and just be there as a testimony to the values I’ve been brought up with, for a country I am unfailingly counting on and try to wipe off some of the “SHAME” attached to ‘Being a Man’.

I feel vulnerable for the women in my life. And being thousands of miles away from my swades only makes it worse. Should I take that my near and dear ones are not safe outside celebrating/dining out/having fun in the night? That they have never been safe? I read the butcherly account of what happened to Damini that night and, with all rationality in place, I want those uncouth animals skinned inside out. Come to think of it, even castration doesn’t seem that evil a punishment. Death penalty? No. That is too quick an escape for the torture they subjected the girl to.

However, I belong to a democracy and a legal system I ‘should’ trust. And I am trying to let my anger simmer while fervently hoping the system doesn’t fail its citizens this time. The system — whose police and politicians make archaic and wretched quotes on why the girls “deserve” to be raped or why it was their fault. These primitive brains clearly hold the reins to a country and we, the young, are appalled by our leaders and protectors. My insides churn imagining what she went through and I am ashamed. But I cannot hold her hand. She’s no more.

I am counting on my country more than ever before that it upholds justice. And it will gain in me an even more persevering citizen who will stand by the land of the law and contribute to the country’s upliftment — not only as his duty but his personal responsibility. I will fight the fight in my own way being the ‘nobody’ in the parade who will uphold values of respecting women and standup against wrongdoing.

I understand commenting on something while being continents away is the easiest thing one can do. When my peers here tell me, “There is nothing left in that country. Settle here. Life is much easier”, I stand up and say, “No. I am going back in a few years”. Since it has been just six months of my being here, they say, “Wait and watch”. And so I begin to think. What kind of a society do I want to go back to and be a part of/contribute to? I am 24 but a few years from now, I will be starting a family and raising kids. And what environment would I want them to blossom in? Would my parents approve of such a society?

Not just high speed internet-fuelled pornography, movies and advertisements too are objectifying women to the limits where it is no longer creative but plain eye grabbing (and lust inducing). I wish we were more creative than ‘just’ that. It is one thing to celebrate a women’s sexuality; quashing it to a 24×7 orgy is a completely different scenario. We elevate women to a divine status in our prayers and yet don’t think twice reducing the standard to ‘sexual gratifier’ so often — What a paradox of the collective sickness of our heads!

It is critical that our society’s conscience is resurrected and further raised. Constantly. And I know that I — with countless others — have a significant role to play. To see that when boys and girls are raised in schools and colleges, the values instilled in them come from strong role model teachers and educators. To see that the parents of a child talk to him/her more about what kind of a person s/he should try and become, instead of what career to choose. To see that our inner moral fabric is strong enough and we raise ethically strong children who are not isolated by technology but more bonded with family and friends. Those boys have values similar to Keenan, Reuben and the guy Damini was with. And that we collectively can be Viktor Frankl and view this as our Holocaust, ‘award’ strict punishment to these and every perpetrators and build a better nation.

Let this lamentable act of horror be the lowest our society sank to. Never again.

Photo Credit

You must be to comment.
  1. mahitha

    Very well written!!

  2. Rhea Kumar

    beautifully written, if all men felt this way, what a different nation we would be!

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Archana Mishra

By Prakash Chand

By Fazlu Raheman

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below