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

I Hope You Know Mr ‘Super Feminist’ That You’re Actually Promoting Rape Culture

By Gautami Challagulla:

Recently I came across a debate on woman’s dressing which went viral on social media. I was intrigued by it and started reading up the main argument and counter arguments.

The debate started with a post made by a person called Kundan Srivastava on November 2, who took a photo of a woman without her knowledge and posted it on Facebook with the following comments:

I strongly disagree on such fashion in India. I would like to request, please avoid show off. Same applied for Man!I believe Woman is glory of creature. Being a Girl is a Dignity. Mind it!

Posted by Kundan Srivastava on Monday, 2 November 2015

 

A random man taking pictures of a girl without her knowledge is not just objectionable but also illegal. We all know that such perverts who click photos without our permission exist and this is not something new. But, I was curious why was this specific post gaining so much attention. Who is this Kundan Srivastava? So, I looked him up on Google and also on his website, and his FB page.

Who is Kundan Srivastava?

Kundan Srivastava happens to be a young social activist who works on women empowerment. He is founder of “Be in Humanity Foundation”, “Nation with Women” and also the author of a book on social and women-related issues.

What is interesting is that on his post, the discussion did not stop at just his statement. This post was attacked by feminists and other women, but was also supported by innumerable others. He did not stop here. He further justified his statements by emphasising that he works for women empowerment, he works with rape victims etc. He also continuously posted screenshots of others who texted him supporting his ideas. I kept following his posts and the responses. Some of his recent posts are as follows:

November 10:

Sapna Bhavnani exceeded her limits. What she wants to prove? Is this #WomenEmpowerment Is she a #Woman?Who’s responsible to destroy the Indian Womanhood? Comments are welcome!

Posted by Kundan Srivastava on Tuesday, 10 November 2015

November 12:

Yes! Sapna Aunty is very much impressed because I’m young and single 🙂

Posted by Kundan Srivastava on Thursday, 12 November 2015

November 16:

Sapna Bhavnani still thinking about me. Sapna Aunty, Are you a Woman? You are abusing Girls and you meant Girls are out…

Posted by Kundan Srivastava on Monday, 16 November 2015

He using word called bitch

November 17:

Nov 17

By now you may have noticed that some of his comments are extremely objectionable to anyone who respects women. But why is someone who calls himself a person working on women empowerment talking like this?

I wondered, “on one hand this man is talking of women empowerment, and on the other hand, he is also becoming part of the culture that perpetuates rape“.

So today, I write this article critiquing his posts and seeking answers for his behaviour.

***
Dear Kundan Srivastava,

I begin this letter with a short note of appreciation for the help that you extend to women.

Now, without further ado since you have been working with rape victims, what according to you is rape?

Rape is not just sexual exploitation of a person against his/her will! It is an exercise of one’s power. It is a tool to shame. It is gross violation of the dignity that every human body is entitled to.

Now, here is my second question: have you ever, even for a second, pondered/researched on why rape happens? I am sure you did not! Your post on woman’s clothes and dignity testifies to that fact.

Rape happens because of multiple reasons; the uncontrollable physical urges that a person imposes on the victim is just one. Most often, rape happens because the rapist wants to show the victim his/her place….”Aukaat”, as they put it! Rape happens because the rapist thinks that rape, inflicting pain on a body and mind is a way to tell the victim that he/she deserves that punishment for not conforming to something! Rape happens because the rapist thinks he/she now has a right to punish; to abuse the other because he/she was asking for it!

Now, let me get to the third and the most important topic – Rape culture. I am sure you are aware of Indian culture, sabyata, and sanskar because you have decided to post on the “dignity of woman”.

But you may be wondering what is rape culture?

Before I get into the theory, I will begin by telling you that by posting pictures of a woman without her knowledge and permission, passing value-loaded comments and deciding that it is incorrect, according to ‘rape culture’, I feel that you are a rapist sympathiser yourself.

Let me tell you a little about what ‘victim blaming’ is. It means that we try and justify the act of violence and in some way accuse the victim that he/she is responsible for the incident. So, a rape culture is a culture in which we justify, normalize the violence.

For instance, if tomorrow a woman who wears skirts and a sleeveless top (‘western dressed’) gets raped and comes to you seeking help to get justice, what would you do? Fight for her? Or think she deserves it because she wore those clothes? Give her a bhashan (lecture) on what to wear and when and with whom to go out?

Let’s say you call the rapist and ask why he committed the rape.

And he says, “This lady was wearing short clothes. It is against our sanskar. I told her that. She raised her voice; so, I raped her”;

Or he may say, “I was tempted because she wore a short dress. I could not control myself”;

Or he may say, “She wore a short dress; so, I thought she is a woman without morals and values; hence I can rape her”

All these answers are not fictitious; they have been cited by rapists in past incidents!

Now as someone working for rape victims, would you support the victim? Or as someone who has a notion of sabyata and sanskar, a moral about “what a dignified woman should wear” would you support the rapist? Technically, the rapist’s views and your views are the same, right?

Now, let’s move onto empowerment…women empowerment.

The meaning of empowerment is, “to give power”. It includes giving power to decide, to think, to act according to one’s will.

And, women empowerment is never complete as long as others decide what is good/bad, correct/incorrect for women.

How could someone who is so judgemental about what women should wear even talk about empowerment?

Now, let’s move on to the topic of Indian culture and dignity. Which culture are you referring to when you decide what is dignified clothing?

Is it the one during the Maurya and Sunga periods (about 300 BC), where men and women wore rectangular pieces of fabric, one on the lower part of the body and one on the upper part, and nothing else?

Or, are you referring to the Gupta period where women just started using stitched garments with breast bands?

Or, are you referring to the 15th century when Islamic insurgence introduced salwar kameez to Indians?

Or, are you referring to the Victorian traditions that the British brought with them to gift us the “blouse”? Yes! You read it right! We Indians, bharatiya naaris never wore a blouse before that! Not just those, the shirts that you men wear are also a gift of the British!

So, which Indian dignified attire are you referring to?

Culture is not an isolated patch. When people come together and live together, there is something called exchange of information, thoughts, and habits. This is called amalgamation of culture. So, every time a new thing is introduced into what we call “our” culture, it gets absorbed partially, rejected partially and customised partially! And then it becomes part of “our” culture. You just cannot separate them from one another and say, “This is my culture and this is that of the outsiders”.

Before I conclude, I would like to present some facts which may cause more cognitive dissonance in you…did you know that we all live in a country where the youngest rape victim is as small as 6 months and the oldest is above 80 years?

I am sure that both the infant and the old woman wore “dignified” clothes! I must also tell you that it is the same culture where husbands, sons, and fathers have raped. And last but not the least, small boys and young men are also raped. I am sure they are all quite dignified in dressing too. Mind it!

P.S: So, through this letter I would also like to invite you to an open debate on this topic. I want you to present references from written material and not just justify your stance by passing it off as rhetoric or using your fame as a celebrity.

You must be to comment.
  1. Monistaf

    What a woman decides to wear is her choice, it is personal and part of a very basic human right to freedom of expression. Both men and women often judge others based on their appearance and dress sense, but no one should have a right to dictate their sense of dress or morality on anyone else. As for this gentleman claiming to be working for women empowerment, all I can say is that there are a significant portion of men who claim to be feminists just to get more attention from women, not because they truly believe in the cause. Taking pictures of women in public places may be illegal in India, but in the rest of the civilized world, it would be considered as an infringement of personal freedom. Exactly the reason why in spite of the paparazzi effect, no one ie immune from being photographed in a public space. This is simply yet another female privilege in India. I do not believe that we live in a “Rape Culture”. Culture is the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time that are considered worthy of preservation from one generation to the next by social learning and acceptance. Rape is, and always has been against the law, and in some cases even punishable by death. After the Nirbhaya case in New Delhi, there were more men than women who protested all across the country, the perpetrators were arrested by male police officers, a male judge sentenced them to death and a male hangman will eventually prepare the noose. There were approximately 37,000 reported rapes in India for the year 2014, yes, those are the numbers from the National Crime Records Bureau. Even if there are 10 times as many unreported ones, that puts it at 370,000. For a population of 500 million women, that is 0.07%. To claim that we live in a culture where a crime that effects 0.07 percent of the population is accepted is simply a vain attempt to bolster the feminist narrative of the female victim complex. When it comes to victim of crime from 6 months to 80 years, I am sure you can find them on the other side of the gender divide as well.

  2. Dhruba

    Ma’am every man thinks like that(Technically, the rapist’s views and your views are the same, right?)… Every man want to sex, some can resist them, some sick-mentality people can’t… Like Mr ‘Super Feminist ‘ I also support ‘woman empowerment’… Like Girl Education, ‘Husband has no right to decide whether his wife will do job or not’, violence against woman etc. but can’t support such dresses… sorry… we are different from rapist in this way- they ll look at you even after you wear shree or salwar… They tell such ‘This lady was wearing short clothes. It is against our sanskar. I told her that. She raised her voice; so, I raped her’ bcz they need a reason why did they do so… I don’t want to talk about CULTURE… in every culture there is some bad things some good things… AFTER ALL BAD-GOOD IS MATTER OF RELATIVITY… may be I m wrong, most of man thinks like me… at least 99%… I don’t know any one from that 1%… I want to clear one thing ‘Most of the man I know are educated’…

    1. Tathagata Chakrabarti

      A simple, brutal, honest self assessment by an Indian male. Why was it disliked, I ponder.

  3. Ravi Ranjan

    Truly support your stand against this… These kind of people should know very well what women empowerment exactly is!.. . women don’t need you people to give your shoulder to cry upon it… while they just want a change… a change in perception… a change in ur thoughts about what to wear nd what to not…. even I’m a man… i do get attracted towards girls in their certain wearing styles… and yes that’s natural phenomenon … but no.. I never ever get a single thought of raping them… coz my moral values don’t allow that… one more thing to the author… you have just wasted ur time writing this coz no one’s gonna understand this thing… or still if they understood i think their ego will not allow them to express that… that’s it… even I’m wasting my time…

  4. Poonam das

    Hey… This is an amazing article and actually the truth… Rape culture is also indirectly supported in media aand movies… Like take the example of prem ratan dhan payo… The so called dadi at the end of the film says, “tofa ke badle tofa” it is a direct indication of the fact that women are nothing but a thing to gift, they are not human beings and if they try to be one, all the Indian culture crap comes to the picture and women are showed their “aukaat”.. Even watsapp messages where jokes are mostly female bashing are the token of rape culture…we guys who actually want gender equality first need to get gender sensetive. It would be really awesome if this open letter actually reaches the pseudo femenist who supports women disempowerment.. So that an actual dilouge is created..!!

    1. Samrat Kothari

      Pretty right there. I completely agree. Portrayal of women as a sex object feeds the perverted mindset. This doesn’t require a diktak on what women should wear and how should they behave. Instead, it requires a thoughtful approach in the direction of addressing the issue. Men and women alike.

  5. Samrat Kothari

    I don’t totally disagree with you through most of your letter and its pivot points. In a reference time frame of 2000 years, the later part of your letter sounds logical but is really nothing more than a craving for Utopia. What is present is harsh, cruel and should be dealt with same relevance. While accepting the fact that rape happens because of nothing less than a sickened mentality and so rapes are acts to induce shame, subvert, punish, establish subjugation, etc., how can you be blind to the fact that more often than not, improper or immodest dressing(subjective to diaspora) does incite sexual urge or a provocative thought to say the least which is a grim fact and which you seem to be bent upon ignoring. This in no translation sums up to, that rapists and men in particular have an excuse to act on their animal desires rather than hold fast their urges. But mam, are you willing to experiment with hit and trial methods to ensure women safety. To expect a wild animal not to attack just because you think he shouldn’t! Still emphasising that they are not deserving to be call humans and should be treated in line with wild dogs.
    So if you still believe clothes don’t really matter or at all then I’d ask you, Why clothes at all? Why not bare down to basics? If that’s too much, then shedding down to innerware might be justifiable. No one should have any problems with that, eh? Its only the mind set of 7 billion that has to be changed. Its really disheartening to see a man with good intentions at heart and maybe a record to support his claims being targeted senselessly.
    P.S. The picture he clicked and uploaded to present as an example is NOT illegal.

    1. Poonam das

      Sir,
      Clicking photo without asking permission is wrong legally and ethically. If you have ever done research work on actual human beings, then you will know that the researchers always asked their subjects permission to take their photos or write about their experience. If Mr. Kundan shrivastava would have asked these girls whom he is taking an example for the “wrong example of Indian culture”, then the debate would have been different but it is not.
      P.s: what is the difference between rape and taking pictures wothout permission then? Both are happening without permission.

    2. Samrat Kothari

      I mean no offense but it is hilarious that you have come to compare rape and taking pictures without permission. Unbelievable. What a rape victim suffers is unimaginable and you know that too. So I’ll not further this notion and jump to your other misconception.

      Even if we keep our morals aside for a while and talk by the book, no law in the country bars you from taking pictures in public unless you photograph police on duty or other government servants or if u wish to wage war against nation. No section or statue in constitution or IPC stops you from doing this. Your only assured legal action and punishment if the picture has been used for defamation, intent to cause hurt or loss, loss to privacy or infringement of copyright or intellectual property. Here? None. The man was dignified and did it want to shame the lady. Here, the picture is only used as an example with annonimity of lady intact.

    3. Gagana

      So by your analogy, men are equal to wild animals? The difference here is we are dealing with men who are educated and are a far cry from their savage selves. They need to have the decency to put their penis where it belongs, inside their pants instead of making exuses by saying they cant control their primal urges. Do you steal food from shops just because you are hungry? no because you know that you will get a sound beating from whoever you tried to steal from. The difference here is rape is about power. They know they can get away by violating a woman.

    4. Samrat Kothari

      Yes mam, real men don’t rape. Rapists are wild animals if they cant keep their dick in place and should be treated as such. Period.
      Women are respected not because they demand it but because they have earned it through most of their selfless life.

    5. Gautami

      It is illegal because it violates the fundamental right of article 21- right to privacy.
      Face is not shown but the fact that it was taken and published without her knowledge is not just invasion of privacy but he
      Could also be booked under other cases if the girl establishes thay it is her photo and he had defamed her!

    6. Samrat Kothari

      The Justicial system works to establish intent and awards verdict if it is established or concluded damages. None here. I am sure the girl if she chooses to identify herself unnecessarily, can try getting Mr. Kundan booked and he’d come out unscathed anyway. Only because his action did not infringe on privacy or had the intent of defamation. He surely respects her like we all do.

    7. Monistaf

      @Gautami – does it make it illegal for you to have defamed this gentleman with your article? You happen to disagree with his perspective and exercised the right and privilege to express your outrage in a public forum. As much as I disagree with his point of view, I will still defend his right to express it. In India, the right to “privacy” in a “public” space is yet another female privilege. I have taken hundreds of photographs on the streets of India and there are plenty of women in the background that can be clearly identified. All the public CCTV’s should then be illegal because they capture a Indian woman’s image without her consent. Any woman should be free to dress how she wants and should be comfortable with her choice when in a public space. What exactly is she afraid of? Legislation like article 21 only serves to infantilize women and strip them of all agency instead of empowering them to take responsibility and live with the consequences of their own decisions.

    8. Gautami

      CCTV installation in public space is done by government; if you or i go into public and start filming anyone, then it is a crime! Ha ha i am amazed how people start debating without even taking a look at facts and links provided in the article…

  6. Maitreyi

    Hello Gautami,

    I agree to disagree with you in different points. When you say ‘women empowerment’ is to give women the power to decide on her own, you are absolutely right.
    But there are certain facts, which we forget or pretend to forget. We are living in society of human beings. Here all kinds of people are there. Aspiring for perfect society is good but you cannot forget that in a society both good and bad energy will be there. That’s nature. That’s how it meant to be.
    You have lock in your home. Why? You can just preach the thief when he comes to steal right? In fact, everywhere from school days we are being taught that stealing is wrong. But why still there are thieves in the society?? It is just that simple! It is not that you have door and lock at home and your freedom of movement is curbed. You should know when to close the door and lock it and when to keep it open.
    I am not telling we should sit inside the home always. But women should be wise. We should certainly try to take all the measures to curb the inhuman disease of rape. But not by putting ourselves into risk.
    I have heard this argument thousand times that what dress an old lady can wear to instigate men for rape and so on. But women is being materialized everywhere including in media. These creepy men do watch all these things and when they get some female creature they rape. It does not mean always that because of the rape victim’s dress a man get instigated. And I am not telling the dressing is the sole reason for rapes. But it contributes directly or indirectly many times.
    Women empowerment is fighting against the materialization of women. It is rejecting the songs like ‘Mein to tanduri murgi hun yar, katkaale mujhe alcohol se.. (Dabang 2, Kareena song)’. It is rejecting the advertisements like of ‘gillette’ products where women are being shot in ‘hot’ outfits where women have no connection with the product! Women empowerment is to join military, civil services, judiciary and to prove women can do better than men! Women empowerment is to create thousands of Indira Nooyis, Meri Coms, Kalpana Chawlas, Parveen Sultanas, Indira Gandhis (People may have problem with this name, but we must agree that she had overpowered men!) and so on!
    Neither by wearing a saree or by wearing a short skirt you can show or prove that you are empowered. A human being is measured by his life and not by his outfit! (p.s. As per general clauses act, he includes she!)

  7. vishwa

    I Just felt both of you are hopelessly wrong on the core subject..

    whenever dressing of women issue arises everyone takes subject of ancient period (ajantha ..ellora..etc) and try to make a absurd comparision

    @Gautami Challagulla,just one question: if you wear the same dress as in that photo..what will your parents say..

    and do post what your parents say..and then decide..

    1. Tathagata Chakrabarti

      Pretty irrelevant.

    2. Gautami

      Dear whoever,
      What i think or my parents feel is NOBODY’s business! It’s a matter of personal choice. and i can vouch for onething that
      no woman’s respect is dependent on what she wears or what she does…

      You seem to have missed a basic point of argument in the article- WHAT A WOMAN DECIDES TO WEAR IS NOBODY’S BUSINESS!

    3. Deepika

      Just curious – would you be okay if men come out on streets wearing just “Jockeys” and I am talking about underwear and not boxers!

  8. Rajesh

    Guys, no one is allowed to rape a girl for wearing short clothes NO DOUBT.

    Men need to accept that there are all kinds of women, the ones who love to wear the dresses, which in their opinion make them look sexy, hot, attractive… and those women who love to look beautiful with western traditional clothing. Its THEIR choice.

    However, when the girls accepts to habitually wear short clothes, coz she feels she looks better, attractive; I feel somewhere in life, down the line, the guys they attract are those who relate to them due to their looks. And most girls know this brutal truth.

    Therefore, such girls should not feel sorry for lack of interest from a guy or broken relationships when such beauty fades away and the guy had his joy.

    Its their life, their choice.

  9. Batman

    Dare to call a spade a spade. The modern Indian woman is a bitch and media is their pimp.

    purushatma.wordpress.com

  10. Kundan Srivastava

    In truth, there is much power and I believe in it. The first time I was so criticized for my work and want to tell all those people and online media that picture was not taken by me, rather it was shared on Facebook since few months. Some online media and their representatives must realize that you can not write a one-sided story without knowing the true facts. If I had captured the photograph according to you then prove it otherwise Facebook users will prove that they are more intelligent than you!

    Yes! I want to tell you a few facts: “I had posted it on behalf of my 50K+ followers and mostly are Women & Girls. I had requested to the Women and Girls of my country that being a Girl/Women is a Dignity and We should avoid Vulgar Dress, Nudity on Road and in Street. What’s wrong, I said?”

    I respect women and womanhood, just because of the courage I’ll keep fighting for women’s rights. I didn’t link my post to Rape & Women Empowerment, and I’m raising the voice for so many years that Skirts do not cause Rape – Sick mentality Does (http://www.kundansrivastava.com/skirts-dont-cause-rape/), Penned by me on January 25, 2014.

    I was also appreciated Nivedita N Kumar because of her pure intention – Yes, I wear a Bra and Yes, it shows. So? (http://www.kundansrivastava.com/yes-i-wear-a-bra-and-yes-it-shows-so/) ….The difference is that we can’t do that intentionally.

    No Girl is a body to be used, Support those Girls who became rape victims. Will you stand by those Girls ? Delhi Man Rapes Office Colleague for 2 Months – Justice System Fails For Rape Victims in India (http://www.kundansrivastava.com/delhi-man-rapes-office-colleague/)

    One suggestion for the Boy’s families who are planning to take heavy Dowry from the Girl’s family just because their Son is a Doctor, Engineer or something, In order to crack the best deal please register on http://www.olx.com instead of http://www.shaadi.com (http://www.kundansrivastava.com/dowry-system-in-india/)

    My intention was very much pure behind the post and I knew that some women feel worse and were targeted me as a Male. I would like to tell those women who really understand freedom mean, vulgar and nude clothes. Let me tell that India is the Nation of Villages and more than 60 percent women living in villages have to wait for the night to go to the toilet.

    I am working towards it…. Women Empowerment & Freedom according to me – Freedom from Rape, Freedom from Attacks, Freedom from Dowry, Freedom from Domestic Violence, Rights to Education, Rights to Live and so on….

    Photo 1: On November 02, 2015, I posted “I strongly disagree on such fashion in India. I would like to request, please avoid show off. Same applied for Man! I believe Woman’s glory of creature. Being a Girl is a Dignity. Mind it!”

    Post Link: https://www.facebook.com/founderkundansrivastava/posts/1160364307310595:0

    Sapna Bhavnani misunderstood my post and started abusing me continuously for 15 days. She posted a few photographs tagging my name, which you can’t expect by a true human being and Woman. I was invited her to debate at National Level because the post reached to approximately 29 Lakhs People, 6,229 shares, 12,303 likes and 3K+ comments. I am still inviting her for healthy debate via honest & true Media.

    I respect Women and Humanity too, it doesn’t mean you abusing me and I should go on listening. She was forced me to speak more. There is a limit to tolerance!

    She is my mother’s age and I respect her, but, If she doesn’t regret to show such underwear photograph, abuse and vulgar words then I can’t respect such woman.

    With due respect, It’s my answer to all on behalf of myself and womanhood…I am not Anti Women…I am a fighter for Crime against Women. Thankyou!

    1. Jaspreet Sidhu

      we appreciate the work you have done. regardless of that, you telling girls what to wear and to “preserve their dignity” is what is being discussed here. By your post you imply that woman’s dignity is in her clothes. According to you women are ethereal creatures who need to be respected by everyone and not abused. But if they don’t dress modestly, they lose their godly status? You need to learn to see women as human beings first. Consider their rights as human rights. And you cannot tell humans how to dress. As an activist you need to protect their freedom. No matter what they wear.

  11. astha pandey

    Dear Gautami……totally agree with you …..actually majority of Indians want to live in a set of standard norms…….this reflects our overall coward persona…..we never want do something beyond, always reluctant to accept newer versions……..n pass various bullshits……and I strongly think that……a good education have always been lacking since ages in our vast continent……..many of our people actually don’t enjoy the gift of knowledge and explorations……….this might be seems to you out of topic but I think it affects the current problems in their deep foundations..

  12. Crystal (Foreign Indian Wife)

    Women are allowed to wear whatever they want to. I prefer modest clothes myself, but that's what makes me comfortable.
    No one can decide what “women empowerment is” except each individual woman – it's different for every woman!
    Some women are empowered by nudity, some are empowered by modesty.

    And it's just insulting, the stereotype I receive in India, as a “Western” woman. I wear Salwar Kameez and sometimes sarees. Yet me and my Indian husband get stared at like celebrities and have to face all kinds of judgements about “Western” women being easy, rejecting Indian culture, divorce, etc.

    The problem is not in how these girls are dressing. The problem is the sick mentality of many men and women in India.

    Once, in a market, I was wearing full salwar kameez and shawl (it was winter) and I was groped by a man. I ran to my husband, a few steps ahead, and they pushed him to the ground and walked away.
    Clearly it does NOT matter what girls choose to wear.

    I hate when uncles in my husband's family compare me to other Indian girls. “Wow,” they will say, “Look at this foreigner accepting Indian culture when Indian girls are rejecting it.”
    The only “Indian culture” people want these girls to accept is the culture of modesty and obedience. It makes me sick and I don't blame them for rejecting that.
    If someone pressured me to wear yoga pants and crop tops all the time, I too would reject that.

    Let the women be comfortable in whatever they are wearing. It is the sick mindset that needs to change.

  13. sam 1996

    Dear Author,

    I am a woman of 19 years. I am a sexual abuse survivor from Childhood by two different men. From what I saw. Let me qoute him “I strongly disagree on such fashion in India. I would like to request, please avoid show off. Same applied for Man! I believe Woman is glory of creature. Being a Girl is a Dignity. Mind it!” Did he say this is the cause for rape? Did he say Men should not also adhere to this, What same applies for Man too mean? And for god's sake THE DRESSES ARE GOD AWEFUL AND DOES NOT SERVE ANY FUNCTIONAL PURPOSE!!!!!! I wear western clothes but comfortable ones!!!!!! Jeans , shorts uptil the knee, shirt above the waist. Helps me do my work functionally and better.

    No1. He is an activist against crimes against women. He has actually has done something for women. You probably haven't read his site but most of his articles are unbiased in support of women empowerment. And this post is just stating his opinion in a polite fashion as possible. No it does not justify rape! But know this! Most rapes happen to underage children and saree clad women. I don't see why maligning him is required.

    No.2 Look ! Honestly !!! Underwear?????? I mean why underwear?????? Why can't she approach him talk to him about it? Or even politely disagree. Have you heard of “Agree to disagree”? See this is not the purpose of women empowerment. Please don't misunderstand like this and label any man a perpetrator.

    Now! Coming to the point, No I am not a man despite the name, No! I am not a traditionalist! I am an Atheist with a progressive mindset. But for me progress is a large Haldron Collider (I doubt you even know what this means.) rather than messed up Spaghetti tops. Wear what you want, no problem. But don't cry if people stare at the hilarious get up like above. It will make me stare dude.!! I do not agree much with Kundan Srivastav's writings and I don't think his post was entirely correct.

  14. Chanchal Sharma

    Dear Gautami,
    While your views are well researched and are clearly interpretated. But at the same time I wish you had gone into a little more detailing on why rapes happen rather than its definition. No one hear will agree with the tag that wearing shorts mean availability to be raped. But thats not the issue anyways. The issue is the sick mentality of such men. Have you ever thought why this short clothing enterd this debate of being raped.
    I assume You must have access to TVs since ur chilhood and now to other means of entertainments and all. Have you ever noticed that since the time a boy started watching it, the only thing he is made to learn is that every product regardless of its type or quality can be sold off by letting a female model appear in its ad in a way to woo the counterparts {this is the way they showed not my personl view}. Then what that female model do to woo the counterparts…in most of the ads by that kind of clothing or in others by certain expressions. And if its not an ad go for the movies or serials you will find plenty of ladies their working on the same concept of wooibg men by showing of or by their body language. And this is how entertainment defines today not just in india but across the world. ‘Showbiz’ has now become a well accepted synonym of it. Well to make it more clear, all these contents are not created by men only or ladies are not brought in to represent this system by any force, the model, actress or others aspiring feel proud to do so.
    Now lets come back to the main discussion the clothing and rape commection- did you still get ot what these females feel pround to do…. they feel proud to represent themselves as sex symbols {not my sick mentality, but a very common word in todays media). They feel proud to establish an ideology in a grownup man-that yes we are here to entertain you, and we can make you purchase anything by showing our curves. And with the same thing being watched by a growing girl, she understood it as that this is the trend and thats how I can seek attaintion.
    Some gets matured with age and learn to control over themselves while other turns rapists. The need it not to change the way you dresses, the need it to understand that females are not here to entertain us or to ignite those sexual desires within men. And for this every woman has to take a stand to stand against this culture. The idea of all this is that if by making a little change in our mentality or the way we represent ourselves, it can prevent atleast some of such shameful acts and save someone’s life.
    One more thing to clear, what I was trying here to explain was just the connection between clothes, attraction and rape. There are a lot of other reasons for rape. A sick mentality, a rage to show of their man ego etc. A rapist is a rapist and I am not here defending any of them and they are to be punished at hardest to set example for others.

  15. Kamini

    WIth this analogy; i guess as a woman i should get easily tempted when i see naga babas and go and rape them. if men can get aroused by seeing a gal who is in short skirts or strap tops and justify their rape attempt; then I can easily go and rape the naked men or the half naked pujaris. who are u going to arrest then? as our lovely ministers said: agar jalebi khuli rakkhi hain to makhiyaan to aani hi hain! and apparently all the DOs and DONTs are only for women. if u can tell a woman to dress properly; u can definitely tell a man to not go out of the house or not look @ woman as a pervert !

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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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