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I Am Ashamed To Belong To A Country Where A Rape Occurs Every 54 Minutes

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I was walking home in the evening as the darkness started to descend. I heard a distinct ruffle behind me. Immediately, my senses heightened. My imagination started to run wild. I thought about everything and anything that could go wrong the next instant. My first thought? I don’t want to get raped in a street corner.

It’s a harsh thought, yes, but sadly, it is also the most probable thing to happen. In India, 106 rapes occur every day. In my head, it is just a matter of time that I’m a part of that number. There is fear, but it is numb. It now feels like a reality that one day, I too will have to face. Every time I hear ruffles and strange sounds behind me on an unlit road, my hearts shouts, “I do not want to be another Nirbhaya.” Every time I step out of my home, I check if my pepper spray is inside my handbag and easily reachable. The last time, the ruffle was by a cat, and I breathed a sigh of relief. But I know, tomorrow, the fear will start all over again.

India today, is asking for justice – justice for the eight-year-old rape victim, justice for Unano survivor. Didn’t we all scream for ‘justice for Nirbhaya’ a while back? Did it change anything? Did it change the number of rape instances in the country? Did it reduce the sexual harassments women suffer from? I don’t think so.

In fact, it seems that these barbaric acts against women have increased. Pardon me, I should now include ‘women and girls’ together. Just when Indians are raising their voices in support of Kathua and Unano, a small girl was once again raped a 100 feet from her home. All these shouts for justice don’t seem to deter such men from acting inhumanly.

Can’t he hear the pain in the screams of a tiny girl? Can’t he see the bare eyes that couldn’t cry anymore? Can’t he feel the fragile body withering from the unbearable pain? Can’t he see the innocence in her eyes when she couldn’t even understand what is happening to her?

What happened to humanity? What happened to pity?

What happened to that organ inside every human’s body called ‘the heart’?

The reason behind raping the eight-year-old girl seems just a facade. There are a thousand other ways to scare people. You do not target a weak, small girl and torture her for days! You call yourself a Hindu when you raped the small girl inside the temple? What did you think you were doing? Purifying the temple with her screams and her blood?

Among the many men who raped her, did not even a single person feel remorse or guilt?

I can’t begin to understand how anyone, even in their wildest dreams, could ever do that a girl. It is not the law that is wrong. There can be a thousand laws for to protect our population against rapists. But what actually protects them from not being in such a situation in the first place?

Considering the increasing number of rape cases, the system cannot bring about a change unless the people are ready to. These are not typical petty theft cases that stringent laws can help deter. People shouldn’t commit the act not because they are scared of the laws, but because they have a shred of humanity.

I am totally ashamed to say that I belong to a country where people rape at any chance they get. No matter if it is a baby girl, a small girl child, a teenage girl, a middle-aged lady or even an old 60-year-old woman, no female is safe in this country unless these savage men are taught to be a human.

Laws are to protect the citizen. So what can be done to prevent such happenings?

I would say, teach our men to be human. You may think that your brother would not do such a thing, or your son is as good as one can get. Didn’t all the rapists’ mothers and sisters think so?

In every 54 minutes a rape occurs. Statistically, there a high possibility that many men indulge in such acts. So don’t think that they would never do it. Teach them why it’s so wrong. Instead of justifying and turning a blind eye to the men in your household, teach them how to be human. Please do it for all the little girls out there, please do it for me.

You must be to comment.
  1. Shahla Khan

    True, this is out of hand now. Women’s safety is a distant dream already and now children are not safe either. What have we come to. Thanks for writing this piece.

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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.

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 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.

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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.

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