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Why Do We Ask Women To Dress “Appropriately” But Never Tell A Guy To Behave?

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By Syed Akrama:

Rape is the fourth most common crime against women in India.

According to the annual report released by the National Crime Records Bureau in 2013, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012. Out of these, 24,470 were committed by someone known to the survivor (98% of the cases). 36,735 rape cases were reported in 2014 & the number has been increasing.

A huge number of rape incidents are not even reported due to fear of death & shaming. Most of the unreported rape incidents are from rural areas where females are bound to believe that they don’t actually have any rights & they are just a toy for men.

We Indians are somehow exceptionally brilliant in making females believe that being raped is their fault.

In my opinion, Indian media is not even close to bringing justice for rape survivors. I don’t think they are doing enough to cover this issue & make it as one of the primary concern for this nation.

Journalism has the power of doing great things but unfortunately today the Indian media has merely become a puppet of commercial agendas & profiteering. Movies like “All the President’s Men”, ” Frost/Nixon”, “Spotlight” reveals the impact of journalism.

These movies are based upon real incidents which shook the world. A president had to resign & the most powerful organisation of the world was brought down to its knees by constructive journalism. Spotlight even went to receive the Oscar for Best Picture this year.

There are women in rural areas who are abused & raped frequently & they don’t even report these issues because they are unaware of the policies of the system & they are too much ashamed. Two-year-olds are being raped, 75-year-old women are being raped, teenagers are raped & then some are thrown like garbage to die, what is this country coming to?

According to some politicians & others, it is considered habitual for men to behave like perverts & do “things” which boys are meant to do. We have panchayats who punish girls for getting raped & then they have raped again as a part of punishment. Girls are forced to marry their rapists as a part of compensation in some cases, how absurd is this.

I’ll be shocked to see if someone considers rape just as a matter of concern. It’s a matter of shame for us & women safety should be an issue of national importance. What kind of a country are we offering in which we can’t keep our girls safe? The concept of “MARDAANGI” is nothing but just broken logic in India.

I’m in favour of complete equality between genders & I want this discrimination to stop. I’ve full trust & confidence in females I know but yes I’ve concerns for them as well because I know that not everyone has a mindset like me. There are people who think females are provoking them. There are people who still blame women for getting raped.

I believe a serious reform is necessary to bring this issue forward & it is extremely important to make people realise that rapes are happening & everybody should contribute to stopping this completely inhumane act.

Unfortunately, the Indian media is too busy in blame games. We cannot possibly imagine the pain a rape survivor goes through & we are by no means in a position to say that we understand their pain.

There are many social concerns & all of them deserve a great deal of attention, but if we can’t keep females safe in a country which worships numerous goddesses, then we seriously need to give it a thought.

When someone comes to know about a boy drinking alcohol or smoking, they don’t create much hoopla about it but if a girl is doing the same then “oh my god,” she must be a slut.

Why do we ask females to wear “full & appropriate” clothes & never ask a guy to behave? Whenever a sex racket is busted, why does the media always focus on females involved & not on the male members?

Everybody discusses the clothes of a rape survivor, nobody asks about what the rapist was wearing. This patriarchal society is the base for such incidents & we need to change this.

We need to step up with unity & realise that this issue is harming our society in greater extent. Today it’s someone else, tomorrow it can be your sister, mother, wife, daughter, friend, or anyone that you care for.

We need to make a secure environment for EVERYONE in this country.

Image Source: Sajjad Hussain, AFP/Getty Images
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  1. Daniel Xraig

    Highly idiotic article

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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, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’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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