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

We Are All Guilty Of Breeding Rape Culture In India. Here’s Why

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Swapna Chidambaram:

A member of All India Mahila Sanskritik Sanghatan (AIMSS) holds a placard during a demonstration against what they say is violence against women ahead of the International Women's Day, in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad March 6, 2009. The International Women's Day will be celebrated on March 8. REUTERS/Amit Dave (INDIA) - RTXCF65
Image credit: Reuters/Amit Dave.

This is not the first or the last time that anything other than the rapist will be held responsible for Indian women getting raped. A Swami or something is ‘trending’ on Facebook for mouthing asinine stuff like women could get raped because of worshipping Shani. Yes. It is ridiculous but what is worse is armchair activists and Facebook vigilantes taking umbrage at such remarks. These are the people who actually do not give a crap about rape. They are the ones (or should I say ‘you’?) who post everything from the Nirbhaya case to this Swami’s stupid comments on their page with a comment expressing disgust and shock and loathing, but will never question their own mindset.

I know so many of you who post or ‘share’ such links and obnoxious videos and pictures with politicians and rapists talking rot and stupid photos of Deepika’s cleavage or Kate Middleton’s ‘Marilyn moment’ with remarks like “wtf” and other forms of disbelief and shock and rage. The discussion is often just a momentary reaction. There are no deep, meaningful conversations on even exploring their own gut reaction. Because aside from the collective revulsion towards the perpetrator, what is it that you all feel exactly?

Rape is horrific because of the physically violent nature of the crime and instantly provokes a reaction. But, this is not about the nature of the crime. It is about the perpetrators of crimes against women blaming the women. Have you ever blamed someone for walking down the street ‘provocatively’ dressed for ‘asking for it’? Or have you ever said she was asking for it when you saw a father hit his daughter? Have you said that it was “her fault she went to the guy’s apartment”, or wondered “what was she thinking when she slapped her boss’s arm playfully”? Have you called someone a ‘slut’, or condoned a ‘guy’ for just being a ‘guy’? Have you laughed when someone made an inappropriate sexually offensive remark in your presence? Or wondered how a ‘guy like him’ could be with such a ‘behenji’ type?

All these attitudes go a long way towards shaping how as a society we condone the perpetrators of the so-called softer crimes and then we are so shocked when somebody does exactly what we have been doing – blaming the ‘victim’.

Rape as a horrific outcome always gets our goat. But, we ignore the collective mindset which encourages gender discrimination and male privilege and never examine our own attitude, which endorses this rape culture. How are you helping this culture thrive and creating an environment where people mouth off like this Swami? I would like each vigilante to explore the answers to a few questions:

What would you do if someone close to you told you they had been sexually abused? What would you do if they told you that it was some ‘guy’ who you know very well and could never in a million years imagine he could do something like that? What would you think if it was somebody in your own family who was being abusive or offensive or guilty of any other crime against women, which is not rape? Are you going to be concerned at all? Or is it like the dowry crime to you; someone has to burn the bride for you to sit up and take notice? Daily verbal torture is not enough?

There are a few of us who seek to understand what we can do as a society to change. There is a simple solution:

“Be the change you want to see.”

Sit up and take note of all behaviors that violate a person’s body or mind, or both, instead of sitting back and getting outraged at murders and rapes. Female mutilation, rape, infanticide, foeticide and other physically violent crimes are horrific. But, the ones that don’t leave a very visible trail are scarring too.

Well, here’s a list of things you say or do, which contribute to creating a society where rapists reclaim ‘family honour’ and marital rape does not have legal recognition. Before you argue about how rape is horrible and rapists are psychos and that these 20 statements are innocuous and not really responsible for a heinous crime like rape, think carefully. And STFU if you have been guilty of any of these:

“She is such a slut, she has so many boyfriends.”
“Don’t come home late, it is dangerous.”
“What else do you expect with the clothes she wears?”
“Her poor husband, wonder what she feeds him after reaching home so late?”
“I can’t believe he would hit her. She probably deserves it.”
“How can we interfere? It is a family matter.”
“Why are you wearing lipstick? You go to college to study or attract boys?”
“Be a ‘good’ girl.”
“Take a pill to postpone your periods, puja hai.”
“It’s a little girl’s birthday. Let’s buy her a Barbie. What will she do with a Lego set?”
“Boys do so much ‘masti’. You are so lucky you have a girl.”
“You are a brave boy na? Don’t cry, only little girls cry!”
“So what if your in-laws say that? So many of your women friends get beaten or worse!”
“She is pregnant, should we give her a promotion?”
“How many female chess players do you know?”
“Women’s cricket is a joke!”
“You are a woman, you won’t understand.”
“You are one of the boys!” (And that’s supposed to be high praise!)
“God is a man. We refer to him as ‘he’.”
And the old classic: “You are a girl and don’t know how to cook?”

This list could go on and on. But the point is this: crimes against women will not end till we put a stop to it collectively in our own family, in our own neighbourhood, and our offices. Stop thinking that it happens to ‘other people’. I know that in India women are supposed to put up with a lot and we do, but we need to put an end to it at some time. This is my time. Hope it is yours!

You must be to comment.
  1. Sid

    All makes sense except…”dont come home late, its dangerous”
    Thats just safety and concern for your loved one, male or female.

  2. Visage

    Even women don’t watch women’s cricket, and I bet you don’t either. It really is a joke. “Fast” bowlers seldom cross 120 km/hr, and sixes are rarer than diamonds.

  3. Swapna Chidambaram

    You are right when it is general safety comment. The scenario I was referring to is when
    people say that only to girls and late could be anything — 7.30 in the evening, 9.00 or
    any arbitrary timeline fixed for women but does not apply to me.

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Payal Tatwal

By Anju Kanwar

By Dipali Banka

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