18 Disturbing Stories Of Everyday Sexism That Reveal The Horrors Of Gender-Based Violence

By Shreena Thakore:

Every act of sexual violence is nested within a much broader network of other social imbalances.

Instances of sexual violence cannot be isolated from the cultural context within which they occur. The prevalence of rape is a manifestation of a much larger social problem involving cultural norms, mindsets and attitudes toward gender. These mindsets and attitudes infiltrate every strata of society and lead to everyday incidents of gender-based discrimination. Often, such incidents tend to be ignored. The individuals perpetrating them can be unaware of the implications of their own actions, as most gender-based discrimination happens on a largely subconscious level.

The trivialization of gender-based discrimination leads to a culture of silence that strengthens existing discriminatory social systems. Daily occurrences – such as belittling boys for crying and expecting girls (but not boys) to learn cooking at a young age – can easily go unnoticed, because we think of gender roles as normal. Additionally, the fear of being stigmatized and ridiculed often keeps us from talking about our experiences. We are told to “not make a big deal and move on”. We remain silent because we think we are the only ones, or because we write off the problem as “trivial” and “not serious”.

Until we recognize the significance of seemingly “harmless” incidents and understand how they feed into the same imbalanced power structures that lead to rape, we will not be able to tackle India’s gender-based problem at its roots.

NCFW presents: Break The Silence is a campaign based on visuals created from anonymously submitted real-life stories of gender-based discrimination. No Country For Women (NCFW) asked you to share your experiences and make it known that it is not okay to continue sanctioning gender-based oppression. These visuals are meant to elicit conversation about what may otherwise get ignored or trivialized.

Email your submission to contact@nocountryforwomen.org with SUBMISSION as the subject.

Featured image credit.

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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 Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’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.

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