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After The Rape Of A 71-Year-Old Nun, Who Are We Blaming Now?

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By Maariyah Siddique:

“I will give you a tight slap.”

That was our beloved CM of Kolkata, Mamata Banerjee’s erudite response to a student who was asking her why no arrests had been made on the recent Ranaghat rape case. For the first time in her tenure, the ‘maatir maanush’ was gheraoed on NH34 while her return from Nadia. Nadia why? Because she’d gone there to meet the Ranaghat rape victim, and express solidarity.

rape case

Being an Indian girl in the 21st Century has trained me to be cautious of the length of dress I wear, the language I use on the street, and the company I choose to hang out with. I should be home by 6 or something fatal would befall like it befell the 23-year-old medical student on the night of December 16th 2012, in Delhi. Also, I am taught to behave properly when in front of men and I am instructed not to react however uncomfortable I feel about lewd comments on the bylanes. Another routine act for an Indian is to find daily news and print covering rape cases, molestation, domestic violence and other crimes against women on a regular basis.

It wasn’t a surprise when I read the headline on Sunday morning “Another Case of Rape in Bengal.” It was only when I dived into the matter that I experienced strong chills running down my spine. A 71-year-old nun residing at the Convent of Jesus and Mary in West Bengal’s Ranaghat was brutally assaulted in her attempt to fight back the perpetrators who were molesting the young nuns in the complex. The word ‘nun’ with the number ‘71’ only added to my shock.

Nuns are one of the most properly dressed women in the country in exact contrast to the ‘westernized’, ‘shameless’, ‘skimpy-dressed’ females that bring only shame to the culture. This 71-year-old nun who stood up for the other few nuns in the first floor of Ranaghat’s Convent of Jesus and Mary against the goons who had barged in, was dragged and brutally raped in the early morning hours. The approach was a very casual one, just like the attitude of the CM against the rapists. The rapists laughed, joked, had some bread and bananas from the fridge in the room. Then they started by desecrating the chapel, tore off the rosary beads along with the tabernacle, dragged the nun and raped her in another room. The whole incident took place in the premises.

Following the same, a series of rallies and protests jolted Bengal from the dusty roads of Ranaghat to the uber-sanctified Park Street. Students, activists, Sisters, and people from all walks of life joined in to demand arrest of the culprits as no substantial wording from the CM was established till then. And as mentioned above, the CM only had a ‘tight slap’ to offer in her defence.

Blame then, is the name of the game. It seems to be the upcoming national sport of the nation, as also a favourite of the daring ‘didi’ for she was quick to aggressively retaliate, falling back on the conspiracy theory, like always, blaming the CPM and BJP for triggering fierce protests.

The game continues with some of the most ‘seasoned’ political leaders raking the nation with their crude sexist remarks. A police commissioner of the business capital of India in defence of rapists advises us to “choose one between promiscuous culture and a safe environment.” A greatly worshipped spiritual guru uttersThe victim is as guilty as the rapists…She should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop!” With the best response coming from the chairperson of a women’s commission in India – Women are “equally responsible” for the crimes against them.

What to do, who to blame? Let’s not think further and just come forth and play the blame-game! For, as an Indian politician said of the Delhi gangrape “Just because the country attained independence at midnight, is it proper for women moving at midnight?

Now, who is to answer that!

You must be to comment.
  1. Shreya

    Looks like Batman themed trolling is an ‘it’ thing now.

  2. Amrit

    @Bruce Wayne and @Ra’s AL Ghul, you guys are sworn enemies, you should not be agreeing with each other.

  3. Ritesh Anan

    It comes out that culprits of Nun gang-rape were Bangladeshi extremists. Will Media, Church, political parties and communists douche apologize for blaming the ‘majority religion extremism’ for this?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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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.

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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
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