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

My Friend Never Spoke Out About His Sexual Abuse Because He Was Expected To ‘Be A Man’

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Submitted anonymously: 

bullying
For representation only

One of my friends in high school had a high pitched voice and did not ‘walk like a man’. Moreover, he had been sexually abused by a senior. It was no later than his first year in school that he was nicknamed ‘Shikhandi’, the transgender from Mahabharata. The effort of these bullies was to portray my friend – who did not identify as a female – as effeminate. If he did have any desire to identify as a female, he could not have done so in our high school environment.

With patriarchy come a whole set of norms forced upon all genders. Ross, in the popular sitcom Friends, is regularly mocked by his closest of friends for having played ‘girly games’ in childhood. He himself feels embarrassed about this period in his past and even insists that his son, who does not feel interested in masculine toys, does not play with a Barbie doll.

We often see Men’s Rights Activists (MRA) or men, in general, shun feminism as a hateful campaign against men. Men should understand – and this has often been repeated – that feminism and women’s rights movements don’t seek to abolish men but the idea that is a ‘man’. They seek to abolish the very idea of gender.

This too doesn’t go down well with men who have gone through rigorous conditioning in the norms of masculinity. Men are repeatedly told to be strong and extrovert, to be never afraid of anything, and never cry. This is why my friend would never complain about the treatment meted out to him to the authorities because that too would mean that he was not ‘man enough’ to handle bullying on his own. Nor could he seek help from anybody else in stopping those bullies.

When men argue that women are treated more “nicely” by authorities, that the sexual assault of men does not get as much attention as it should to prove that feminism hurts men, they arrive at a non-sequitur conclusion. Chivalry is not what feminists seek and it is feminists who are the fiercest advocates for laws that prevent sexual abuse or assault of men. It is for patriarchy, on the other hand, that these issues are problematic. Patriarchy cannot acknowledge that it is not the duty of men to protect women. Within the patriarchal field, my friend should learn to grin and bear the sexual abuse that he suffered.

There are several such instances of patriarchy hurting men. One of the most amusing instance that I find is of men who, when faced with facts, agree that wars are bad and lead to disproportionate civilian casualties but nevertheless feel the need to engage in it.

I have also seen the expectations from patriarchy: from being “a sissy” for not participating in some risky adventure to derision for choosing something ‘feminine’. I have rejected such expectations. Will you?

If you also believe that patriarchy oppresses men or have faced a similar situation, share your story with us.

You must be to comment.
  1. ItsJustMe

    “Emasculating and degrading men was the right thing to do, but we should have left little bit of dignity of men so that they were still useful to us” – Gloria Steinem. Yes patriarchy hurts both sides, but feminism is and has always been a war against men (or if you want to take gender out of it, people with penises). You cannot take away people's gender identity just because a doctrine you believe in, demands that you do. There are people, both men and women in the world who feel proud about their gender identity. It exists in all of the species on the face of the earth.
    Coming to the case of male rape victims, specifically in India, feminists have been a major road block for amending the rape law to include male rape victims. I have several sources of were can show you instances women leaders who identify themselves as feminists including Kavitha Krishnan, shutting down people who tried to talk about the amendment with furious rage. So “Chivalry is not what feminists seek and it is feminists who are the fiercest advocates for laws that prevent sexual abuse or assault of men” – is just plain wrong in India. In fact the biggest advocate of men's right in India have been Deepika Narayan who is really vocal against feminism. If men cannot report rape,against themselves, how are men in India supposed to deal with being a victim of rape?

    1. vaspri

      You are right. If men cannot be victims of sexual assault, rape, sexual harassment or domestic abuse how exactly are they supposed to find closure, justice or any form of reconciliation? The attitude of “grin and bear it” is not because it is dictated by the mythical patriarchy but because there is no other option. Just imagine if your friend was a woman, there would have been an outpouring of public sympathy, there would be many manginas running to protect her and she has the full force of the law behind her. Is this the “patriarchy” you talk about?

  2. Jigsaw

    Patriarchy is a scapegoat. The problem is pathetic articles to emasculate men, through which feminists propel their heinous agenda.

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Javed Jaffri

By Asra Naaz

By arisha ahmed

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 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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below