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‘You Rape Our Women. You’re Taking Over Our Country’: Charleston & The Rationale Of The Terrorist

More from Abhishek Jha

By Abhishek Jha

There are two things regarding the recent Charleston shooting. The way these shootings are characterised by conservative media, and the terrorist-organisation-style rationalisation that Dylann Roof gave before murdering nine people.

When a male white shooter is only termed a “lone gunman“, a “mentally ill person” etc., the nomenclature denies that there is a systemic problem, that there is a hatred being methodically fed to the person by the establishments and structures around him.

Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof

In the critically acclaimed TV series ‘The Wire’, there is an episode where Prez, a supposedly incompetent police officer, shoots a black officer in plain clothes when responding to a distress call. His colleagues loathe him for being “a goof”, but most of them deny a racial angle to the shooting. But Prez himself admits that he would not be able to ascertain if that was in his head. Another colleague questions in private whether the plain clothes officer would have been shot if he had been white.

When structural violence by the police passes off as just law enforcement, when entire wars are waged killing innocent people in the name of “national security”, it is bound to create prejudices that run deep in the psyche of the people. Dylann Roof didn’t think he was doing something bad. He thought he was killing people who are “taking over the country“. Isn’t this the kind of rationalisation that terrorist organisations give for attacks?

Reportedly, before murdering six women (and three men), Roof said, “You rape our women. And you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” We saw a similar kind of fear being articulated against a woman who was wearing a hijab in a commuter train in Sydney earlier this year. And there is a lesson to be learnt by those of us in India. Wasn’t a similar mythical figure of the Muslim man as rapist invoked by the VHP and the rest of the Sangh parivar before the 2014 elections? Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai, a documentary by Nakul Singh Sawhney on the Muzaffarnagar riots, shows Amit Shah justifying the riots as a fight for protecting the “honour” of Hindu women in a public speech. The VHP is also calling for a strike in Gujarat this month after a woman was allegedly abducted recently in Nadiad town of Gujarat and is calling this an act of “love-jihad”.

As philosopher Slavoj Zizek in ‘The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology’ said, “Because, isn’t it that, for example, the most extreme case of ideology, maybe in the history of humanity, the Nazi fascist anti-Semitism worked in the same way? Imagine an ordinary German citizen in the late 20s, early 30s. His situation is, in an abstract way, the same as that of a small child. He’s totally perplexed…What does society want from him? Why is everything going wrong? The way he perceives the situation is that newspapers lie to him. He lost his work because of inflation. He lost all his money in the bank. He sees moral degradation and so on. So what’s the meaning of this all?…You need to generate an ideological narrative which explains who things went wrong in a society, not as a result of the inherent tensions in the development of this society but as the result of a foreign intruder. Things were okay until Jews penetrated our social body. The way to restore the health of our social body is to eliminate the Jews.”

Similar misrepresentation is also at work in our country. On a right wing website, which I found when researching the Muzaffarnagar riots, I found a similar image of the Muslim rapist being conjured through misrepresentation of reports. None of the reports it cites actually could point to which religion the victim of the rape or sexual assault belonged to. But since the offenders could be named and, in all cited reports, they were Muslim, it could help invoke a threat to the Hindu community.

Terrorists are often people who feed too much on these mythical figures, which simplify the confusion surrounding them. The work of a society then should be to eliminate the conditions that allow for this. Because it doesn’t matter whether Dylann Roof is mentally ill or not. His act would qualify as an act of racism and of terrorism because of the practices of American institutions against people of colour – racial profiling, for instance. They really have a well-equipped police department, which helped them apprehend Roof within a day. But policing is not the answer to the problem that has and might yet again make another Dylann Roof.

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  1. Jigsaw

    YKA is kindly requested to stop censoring my comments. You cannot censor the truth.

    Woman sentenced to 3 years Jail for a false rape case. Reason – Property dispute. Accused ended his life.
    http://www.patrika.com/news/woman-made-fake-rape-allegation-sentenced-3-years-jail/1080735

    Cops raid her home to find her husband, apparently accused of a crime, she CRIES rape by Cops! They plead innocence
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/Woman-accuses-3-cops-who-raided-house-of-rape/articleshow/46148533.cms

    This article basically nails the trend. Tougher rape law leading to increase in false cases?
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Tougher-rape-law-leading-to-increase-in-false-cases/articleshow/30807940.cms

    Classic case of rape law misuse: False gangrape
    http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/a-classic-case-of-misuse-of-rape-laws/article4561657.ece

    Journalist arrested in false gang rape case
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/noida/Journalists-arrested-in-Ghaziabad-gang-rape-case/articleshow/30751752.cms

    Delhi woman misuses rape law, held for extortion
    http://news.oneindia.in/feature/2013/delhi-woman-misuses-rape-law-held-for-extortion-1259736.html

    Men who face false rape charges – BLOG
    http://creative.sulekha.com/men-who-face-false-rape-charges_486653_blog

    Girl faces 7 years Rigorous Imprisonment for false rape allegations
    http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/court-initiates-criminal-trial-against-gangrape-victim/

    Rape filed when husband discovered wife coming out of someone else’s house
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Bombay-High-court-upholds-rape-acquittal/articleshow/23928047.cms

    Punishment for falling in LOVE
    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-10-06/ahmedabad/42763164_1_16-year-old-girl-two-firs-amraiwadi

    Consensual Sex of Four years turned Rape
    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-10-09/gurgaon/42861203_1_ashok-kumar-district-and-sessions-judge-high-court

    Sexual Adventure turned Rape
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Delhi-man-acquitted-of-rape-charges/articleshow/23927246.cms

    Love, Sex and Dhokha…..all given the name of Rape
    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-10-02/mumbai/42614448_1_nude-pictures-woman-former-lover

    Girl Pregnant, Property Dispute among neighbours, RAPE charge is the Solution
    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/man-accused-of-raping-neighbour-acquitted-by-court/1134641/

    Father and Daughter both retract from their statements of Rape, refuse to identify accused
    http://news.oneindia.in/new-delhi/girl-resiles-from-statement-3-acquitted-in-gang-rape-case-1301948.html

    A false rape case by a MAID on an 82 year Old employer, Court issues guidelines to placement agencies
    http://www.indiatvnews.com/crime/news/82-year-old-delhi-man-acquitted-of-charge-of-raping-18-year-old–3257.html

    Got pregnanant with consent, but she was raped
    http://www.firstpost.com/fwire/delhi-man-acquitted-of-raping-deaf-and-dumb-woman-848235.html

    Settlement after Rape…or Rape charges for settlement
    http://www.rediff.com/news/report/5-jamia-law-students-acquitted-of-rape-charges/20130805.htm

    She stayed with cousin with her own ‘sweet will’ but it was a rape for the girls father
    http://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india/delhi-court-acquits-youth-accused-of-raping-15-year-old-cousin-24190.html

    Court acquits man of Rape, wants curb on False cases
    http://www.northindiakaleidoscope.com/court-acquits-man-of-rape-charge-wants-curbs-on-false-cases/

    Rape on a Road Side???
    http://bharatchugh.wordpress.com/tag/rape-case-acquittal/

    Unable to pay debt, father coerces daughter to file a rape case. 13 years. Another accused woman dies during pendency of the case.
    http://law.geekupd8.com/2013/09/Supreme-Court-Acquits-two-from-the-False-Rape-charges-and-also-warns-lower-courts-to-beware-of-False-Rape-cases.html

    Two brothers acquitted. If there would have been three, charges would have been on three, four, five…..
    http://www.deccanherald.com/content/340855/two-brothers-acquitted-gang-rape.html

    Teacher-Student infatuation, baby born out of it, Rape case filed anonymously …acquitted
    http://m.indiatoday.in/story/bombay-high-court-acquits-teacher-of-raping-class-10-student/1/267757.html

    Rape filed to force the boy into marriage
    http://www.kashmirmonitor.in/news-youth-acquitted-of-raping-robbing-lover-54621.aspx

    Acquitted after 11 years of struggle
    http://post.jagran.com/supreme-court-acquits-two-persons-in-11yearold-gang-rape-case-1344437990

    Dispute over property, turned rape by a young empowered woman against an elderly senior citizen
    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-07-28/delhi/40848274_1_false-cases-false-allegation-anita

    They raped but dropped her home. Then her father slapped her. Then she slept. Then police found her. OMG.
    http://www.amarujala.com/news/crime-bureau/two-men-arrested-in-safdarjang-enclave-gangrape-case/

    No words….First elope with boyfriend then charge him with rape.
    http://www.amarujala.com/news/crime-bureau/man-raped-minor-girl-in-hydrabad-hotel/

    Medical examination declares no rape, claim of sedation also false, still FIR registered
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Madurai-woman-claims-she-was-raped-by-boyfriend-3-others/articleshow/28497480.cms

    Rape on pretext of Job, marriage and many other promises
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/noida/Woman-alleges-rape-by-property-dealer/articleshow/28157671.cms?intenttarget=no

    Girl agrees rape complaint was false as boyfriend turns husband
    http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-woman-admits-her-rape-charge-false-as-boyfriend-turns-husband-1858814

    Consensual sex turned rape, Judge says women should sleep before marriage at their own peril
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Premarital-sex-immoral-no-religion-permits-it-Court/articleshow/28424592.cms

    Raped continuously for a year by facebook friend
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/Facebook-friend-rapes-woman-promising-marriage-in-Surat/articleshow/28445845.cms

    Thrown out of Job, files rape case against 8 people
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/Multinational-companys-director-accused-of-rape/articleshow/28484810.cms?intenttarget=no

    Rape cases conviction low because of false complaints : Mumbai Commissioner of Police
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Rape-convictions-low-because-of-false-complaints-Police-commissioner-Satya-Pal-Singh/articleshow/25609124.cms

    Don’t always believe rape victims evidence : Supreme Court of India
    http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/Don-t-always-believe-rape-victims-evidence-SC/Article1-1124474.aspx

    CRY RAPE: http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/nation/cry-rape

    False cases behind Delhi’s tag of RAPE CAPITAL: Judge, Delhi Court
    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-07-27/india/40832087_1_maid-false-cases-additional-sessions-judge-virender

    Woman arrested for extortion after filing 11 false rape cases
    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/woman-who-filed-11-rape-cases-held-on-charge-of-extorting-an-accused/1141887/1

    90% of rape cases in Kishanganj False: SP
    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-01-04/patna/36148093_1_bahadurganj-police-kishanganj-sp-complaint-cases

    74% percent cases consensual sex turned into rape: Pune Police
    http://www.punemirror.in/index.aspx?page=article&sectid=62&contentid=201004282010042800020376672f460c5

    Fake rape victims danger to society: Court
    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-07-17/india/32713694_1_district-court-delhi-court-real-victims

    Be Vigilant against false cases: HC tells trial court judges
    http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/newdelhi/be-vigilant-against-false-rape-cases-hc-to-trial-judges/article1-1065107.aspx

    Boyfriend, his friends also in false rape trap….O Boyzzz so sorry for you!
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Madurai-woman-claims-she-was-raped-by-boyfriend-3-others/articleshow/28497480.cms

    Consensual relationship, pregnancy, then Rape
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nashik/Doctor-arrested-after-nurse-alleges-rape-over-two-years/articleshow/21152808.cms?intenttarget=no

    BLOOMING THREAT IN AN AGE OF JUDICIAL CONSENT
    http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/The-blooming-threat-in-an-age-of-judicial-consent/2013/07/02/article1662956.ece

    GO GOA and then GO crying rape
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/Hyderabad-girl-accuses-friend-of-raping-her/articleshow/20723131.cms

    Rape victims brother is the child’s biological father
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/indore/Rape-victims-real-brother-is-her-childs-biological-father/articleshow/20756347.cms

    Women misuse rape law to force lovers to marry them: Delhi HC
    http://ibnlive.in.com/news/women-misuse-rape-law-to-force-lovers-to-marry-them-delhi-high-court/393929-3.html

    ‘Fake’ rape cases reported as Love Turns Sour: Ranchi Police
    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-05-18/ranchi/39353985_1_police-station-investigation-police-officer

    When live-in turns sour, man becomes ‘rapist’
    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-10-09/chennai/34341916_1_live-in-relationships-godman-nithyananda

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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.

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.

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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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