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

Lessons Learnt From A Rape Survivor Who Chose To Fight Back

More from Meghana Rathore

By Meghana Rathore:

“Tired of hiding, Park Street rape victim reveals identity”

This is what the headline read in the Indian express after the rape victim chose to reveal her identity and fight back instead of succumbing to the society’s regressive attitude. It brought to me nothing but disenchantment. This one line is a revelation of the fact about how life goes on from being idyllic to being immensely brutal for a rape survivor. Rape is considered to be every girl’s worst nightmare. It indeed is, but it is considered to be so for all the wrong reasons. It is considered to be so not because it is a brutal act that hurts a woman’s bodily integrity and not because a woman is sexually assaulted and not because it’s inflicted upon her without her consent. It’s a regretful act because of the numerous stigmas and stereotypes attached to it. It is because a woman’s and her family’s virtue is in question that it is analogous to a woman’s worst nightmare. And this is wrong and a retrogressive ideology. Rape is one traumatic incident and leaves an impact that lasts forever but it certainly does not take away a woman’s virtue. Life still has so much more to it. And if you fight back, it’s a matter of immense pride.

park street rape

The Park street rape victim was rather valiant when she revealed her identity without any hesitation. And, the entire woman fraternity must revere her and look up to her. Yes, a rape victim is more or less a survivor. She does not have to be inured to the misogynist conceptions linked to it. She should extricate her of all the guilt because there must not be an iota of it. It’s not her fault. Society will behove her to hide and not fight. But, no matter what, she has to take a stand and make sure that the perpetrators are indicted.

One is not born a girl, one becomes one”

suzette jordan

It’s imperative we understand the relevance and significance of this statement. A girl is brought up to believe that this society will go on to tame her and she has to be submissive and bear with it. She is taught to never speak up and in case she is raped she should not fight back because her family’s virtue is in question. A girl is brought up to believe that the moment she is raped her life has no meaning so she should be careful. People of utmost moral rectitude go on to exacerbate the condition by stating parlances like: “she led him on” and that “it’s her fault”. The park street victim must have gone through all this as well, because she accepted a lift from the culprits and so, such statements must surely have been on the rounds. A woman has to follow what the society edicts. Most of the rape cases go unreported because of this hypocrisy and such doctrinaire attitude.

However, this revelation has questioned all this and proved that rape is a crime and the perpetrators are criminals of the highest order. One has to fight back brazenly and make sure that such criminals are punished. The park street rape victim has sent across this message and a sense of strength has been permeated across the entire society.

You must be to comment.
  1. Raj

    Really great work by this lady! I agree, women should not consider getting raped a matter of shame and instead must openly fight back. It plays straight into the regressive mindset that a woman’s virginity is sacred and she is defiled when she is raped. That’s BS, she is a victim and a survivor (in most cases) and must be given full access to the legal resources and processes sanctioned for such crimes.
    And that goes for men too. A large number of men get raped especially in prisons and that shouldn’t be ignored either. This article talks about rape primarily from the point of view of a woman/girl, but it can be extended to men as well.
    Also the author deserves kudos for not blaming men/patriarchy (which is usually the norm in such articles) and using correct neutral phrases like society/retrogressive ideology/perpetrators.

  2. Meghana Rathore

    Thank you Raj. I am glad you liked it. In the previous article too I read your comment and I wanted to clarify that patriarchy does not always connote male dominance. It applies equally to men. Societal roles are accrued both to men and women so strictly that it ultimately leads to subjugation of anyone who fails to follow it.

    1. Raj

      Thanks you for going through them. I do not use the term “patriarchy” since it unfairly blames men and implies that all men had power and enjoyed lives. I try to focus on the individual rather than which gender or religion or country that person belonged to

  3. Sukant Khurana

    Great piece. It should be the rapist that should hide and not the victim.

More from Meghana Rathore

Similar Posts

By Poonam

By Archana Pandey

By Praveen Kumar sharma

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