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

If You Deny The Existence Of Rape Culture, You Too Have Violated My Childhood

By Utsarjana Mutsuddi:

Trigger Warning

This is for:

The 14-year-old boy who made me help him masturbate, when I was 6, because apparently there was no harm in it and I would forget about it anyway.

The 50-year-old man who promised to magically send me home from school, which was 15 kilometres away. I was 8-years-old and he picked me up and asked me to close my eyes. I did, he fondled my nipples constantly asking me if I was feeling like I got home yet. He stopped eventually, while I sat completely bewildered and confused about not getting home. Then I was told by the man that he took me home and brought me back. That was the magic.

Photo Credit
Photo Credit

The carpool driver who thought it would be fun to fondle my cheeks while driving and occasionally let his hand wander off towards my growing adolescent breasts.

The flower supplier for our gardens who assaulted me, took my money and refused to give me the receipt.

The passenger in the auto who thought poking my nipples in broad daylight was a fun and entertaining activity. I got back at you. I remember that clearly. I stabbed you with the pin behind my school badge. That one time I stood up and fought back.

The passenger in the crowded bus who tickled my hip bones from under his big office bag. I got back at you too. I pulled your bag away and glared at you. You ran away.

The man that groped my ex boyfriend’s ass in the metro. Hardly any man can complain about getting groped by a man. He came and he complained to the only person he could that day. And yes, he was hurt and offended.

To the cyber stalker that sent me photographs of his penis and threatened to rape me one day.

To the men behind the countless catcalls every time I kiss my partner in public or even hug him.

To everyone who judges others for expressing love. To everyone who feels that it is okay to violate someone’s body or will, simply because they can.

All of you destroyed something precious to me, bit by bit. I am still trying to figure out what it is that you have destroyed but I know that you have destroyed something. No, I did not forget how weird it felt to rub your penis. I remember clearly because it felt wrong and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do that. A part of me had realized that day that there was no magic in getting your nipples erect by a stranger. It violated something, only I could not point out what exactly. I realized that it was grossly wrong to have your hands wander off and that’s why I complained about it to elders. But I got the feeling that it was my shame that I spoke of it. So I never spoke of such things to elders ever again.

I learned how to fight. After being groped, assaulted, manhandled and hurt by strangers, every person comes up with a guard of their own. Every person eventually learns either to ignore or to fight. The flight or fight instinct. Ignoring is convenient, easy and demands a lot less work; so, for decades, that is exactly what we have been telling ourselves to do. Look where it got us? Nowhere. Just the same vicious circle of violation-ignoring-discussions about how to avoid it by taking precautions – and more violation yet again. However, now that we are fighting back, we are referred to as feminazis fighting for a cause that doesn’t exist. Every one of you that denies the existence of rape culture in India – you have contributed to every one of the acts that violated my childhood and that of a million others like me. To all the people on the streets that day who turned a blind eye when the man played with my nipples – it is your fault that I still have to live with the shame and confusion. The auto driver who never said a word – you watched through your rear-view mirror and did nothing, which makes you an accomplice to the act. The 14-year-old boy who thought it was okay to make me give him a hand job, I can only wonder about how misplaced your priorities are in life.

Why am I saying all this today when it is all in the past? I am saying all of this because people need to know. Diaries aren’t just about the unicorn dreams we had at night, this is the diary I never wrote because it felt inappropriate. You assaulted and groped and scarred me emotionally for life. Why? Because you can. I am going to talk about it, write about it and tell the world that you criminals exist. Why? Because I can. For every one of you people, who think it’s an entertaining activity to overpower fellow human beings simply because you can, I promise each and every one of you that someday those that you have overpowered and hurt and scarred, will stand up, will fight back, and the world will know your dirty little secret. So, if you do not want to be labelled as an assaulter, here is a very simple solution for you – do not assault! Women like me are going to teach their children to always fight back against humans like yourselves, no matter what the odds.

If you want the fight against gender inequality and violence to be a thing of the past, start with yourself. Every time you see something that looks like a someone being violated, speak up, please, otherwise you too are responsible for the pain, confusion and misplaced sense of shame that the survivor will have to go through. A lot of people are talking about this these days, but it will not make a difference unless you finally bother to listen and speak up. So, please, it is my earnest request – fight back.

Read Next

If you are a survivor, parent or guardian who wants to seek help for child sexual abuse, or know someone who might, you can dial 1098 for CHILDLINE (a 24-hour national helpline) or email them at You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.

You must be to comment.
  1. TempleTwins

    Rape culture truly exists. The term was originally coined for prison culture, as it is the culture which endorses rape, even those who had the authority like the prison guards would turn a blind eye to prison rapes. Rape culture exists in prison and the war prone area, until feminists hijacked the term and rendered the meaning useless. As they say even joking about rape or the usage of the term rape in other context is rape culture, thus rendering the term useless.

    Every one of you that denies the existence of rape culture in India – you are personally responsible for every one of those acts that violated my childhood and a million others like me.

    We’re all guilty of inaction but taking that road will put the blame on everybody. Are you not guilty of inaction knowing there are people who starve in India while you were wasting your dinner? No one is personally responsible for what happens to others until they are the ones who are assaulting or if they are directly responsible for your protection like your watchman, police etc. It is a common courtesy to speak up but not mandatory as Indian people are easily scared themselves, they would rather mind their own business, instead of putting themselves in harms way for others.

    I empathize with what happened to you though but I don’t agree that we live in a rape culture, a culture which endorses rape like that of a prison.

    1. ABs


  2. Ducard

    Rapists should be hung in public, but what are we doing about the ‘false’ rape culture, where 75% of rape cases are fake?

  3. The Joker

    I have a hard time believing everyone you met wanted to play with your nipples…

  4. Ananya Barua

    Thank you.
    For writing about those grotesque events, that weren’t and will never be a part of your life, alone. These incidences are those that almost every girl has encountered, endured, struggled to ignore, and only some have spoken up or fought back.

  5. Soumashree

    It was very brave of you to write this, Utsarjana.

More from Utsarjana Mutsuddi

Similar Posts


By Sara Bardhan

By Shraddha Iyer

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