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I Told A Man It’s Wrong To Pee On The Road, And He Decided To ‘Teach Me A Lesson’

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By Dr. Pooja Tripathi:

On Sunday night (August 7), my best friend Remya and I decided to celebrate Friendship Day. We were going to Hotel Maurya in Patna for coffee on a cycle rickshaw (Maurya is considered a 5-star hotel) and we spotted two men peeing right in the middle of the road. My friend in signals told them that they should not do this. Yes, they told them that they should not pee right at the public place. We didn’t make fun of them, we didn’t laugh. We just told them that it’s wrong.

A few minutes later, these men came from behind on a bike and the one sitting pillion tried to hit me. My hair was falling on my face and that is why he missed. But he had to hit me, the plan was to teach us a lesson, so he grabbed whatever hair he could grab in his hand and pulled me. The first thing that occurred to me after realising what has actually happened was to look for the vehicle number. The brave duo was smart enough to cover it with a gamcha before coming to hit me.

I was shocked, I was stunned, I was scared. Yes, I was scared, because, . I was scared to tell my papa, who hates the fact that I work in Bihar. I was scared of the fact that what if he had had a gun and decided to take revenge the other way.  I was scared to accept it publicly but when I thought over it, I decided to speak. The first thing that I did was to file a police complaint and thanks to CCTV in adjoining shops, I was assured by SP Patna that they will be nabbed.

The whole incident is not important in terms of what happened but the mindset behind it. The mindset that’s rotten, that’s disgusting to its core when they think, “Wait, I will come back to teach you a lesson”. How dare you not accept my proposal, I will come back to teach you a lesson with a bottle of acid. How dare you say a no to my advances, wait, I will come back to teach you a lesson and rape you. How dare you say a no to sex when I am your husband, wait, I will teach you a lesson. How dare you point out that I should not pee in the middle of the road, wait I will come back to teach you a lesson, wait, I will hit you.

I have been told that Bihar is the wrong place to speak up in, the wrong place to take a stand. But then if we shut up just because a pervert has the guts to slap me in the middle of a posh road in the capital city of a state, every place is the wrong place to speak up for any woman in any part of the world. I had to speak up so that they don’t think it’s so easy to go off after a show of masculinity. I had to speak up because in my small town called Bhilai, I have two nieces who want to be like their bua when they grow up and I don’t want them to grow up in a world where we live in fear. I had to speak up because I have a conscience to answer. I had to speak up because shutting up is not me, because I want that shutting up is not the way out for any woman.

For years, when everyone asked me if it was difficult to be an independent woman travelling alone, going to difficult places, living by myself, I brushed them off, saying you needed to know the rules, don’t fear, stand up, speak loud, and enjoy. Most of the days I am proud of being one of them, but one fine day, incidents like this strip you of all the mettle that you think you are made of.

People told me to always be cautious and to shut up (I myself did that the same day). Others will tell me that what happened to me was normal because we live in a patriarchal society. Others said that I should not get involved in FIR jhanjhat (hassle) and let the man go. It is bizarre that my options in this situation involved letting go of the perpetrators to avoid conflict or standing up to them.

Do you really think that these are options? I shouldn’t ever be asked to let go, to bhool jao (forget it), to stop thinking about it because standing up against an assault on your liberty is not even a choice at all. We owe it to the same society we live in.

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Image source: Uriel Sinai/ Getty Images
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  1. Parashar Kumar

    This attitude is not gender specific and restricted to male only but perhaps more prevalent in males. Doesn’t woman accuses male of fake sexual harassment and fake rape if there happens to be some arguement, if a boyfriend doesn’t want to marry the woman after having consensual sex. Doesn’t woman say my life and my choices when you point them that they are throwing garbage on the roads and making them unclean. And this attitude of wait I will teach you a lesson is also with man to man thing. You tell a man that he should not pee and he will also get back to you and could lead to ruckus. Now what is important rather very important is how we place anything which has to be said to anyone in which tone, way is very very important. No matter even we are right and someone who is wrong need to be told in a bit nice way so that he/she doesn’t get offended and at the same time we convey our message also.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A 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)’.

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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.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
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