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‘We Can’t Be Selective In Our Outrage Because Misogyny Affects Us All’

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Not all rapes need to be reported, punished or publicised, speak men and women of the political kind. They are almost familial that way when they try to hush it up back in our backyards.

Gone are the days when one had to mention about their assault to the world to gain an authority to speak against sexual crimes. Today, thanks to extensive surveys and campaigns like #MeToo, we all know that almost all of us today have been assaulted or subjected to gender-based violence at least once in our lives.

Crimes arising from passion, power play, perversion, political vendetta, climate and conflicts are primary drivers of such violence since the beginning of time. That’s also one thing indisputably nobody can challenge our saffron pundits with either. Across borders and nations, the violence surges and we live in the extremely fragile post-capitalist time where inequalities are fueling our insecurities and innocence is caught in cross-fires.

In light of another national outrage at the Kathua and Unnao incident, I found this inspiring call for National Strike:

Calling All Sisters: Women, Girls, Trans and Non-Binary Folks to Strike Work on 10th May 2018!

Sisters we protested when Nirbhaya was brutally raped and murdered. We had hoped that post those protests no girl child or woman would have to live in fear. Our hopes since then have been dashed again and yet again. Even as we rage and grieve for the 8-year-old in Kathua and the rape survivor in Unnao, its time that we as women come together collectively for justice for all our sisters who have suffered or are suffering sexual violence – whether in situations of communal violence, caste violence, family and community-based violence, workplace violence, conflict areas, violence in public spaces. We cannot afford to be selective in our outrage because misogyny affects us all, curtails our right to life, liberty, safety, equality and dignity.

Let us go on a strike for one day on the 10th of May 2018 to coincide with the date of the Kathua victim’s kidnapping on the 10th of January. Let this be a strike across sectors, at home and outside, across states and divides of religion, class and caste. Let us, the woman of India. bring this country to a halt in protest against the sexual violence that we face daily for being women and the culture of impunity that comes in the way of justice being done. Come and join us in taking the pledge to make the strike a success. 

Sisters Unite! Sisters Strike!

(For any questions/ feedback/ suggestions please write to

Strike As An Act Of Love And Responsibility

All our ‘liberally’ educated lives, we were taught to see strikes as a Left-led lazy and disruptive propaganda to halt development and progress. Coming of age, I realise that among all the lies I grew out of, this one is the most recent and most powerful. Throughout it’s becoming a truth universally acknowledged that “well-behaved women (and non-men) seldom made history”. As we go down this painful path of demanding the right to live, dignified and safe, it is time that the women – just them; the feminists, queers, non-feminists, matriarchal, married, single and all other sorts – set aside the subtle differences in practices and politics to show solidarity against this relentless patriarchal parade of false solutions to our grievances. Against capital punishments, honour killings and all such synonyms of patriarchal association of sexual abuse and rapes as a violation of honour but not recognition of our human rights being violated.

Imagine a nation of 1.3 billion, where almost half of us are females and non-males (almost since others are missing for many reasons), some of us dreamers and doers come together to strike for our rights. We organise and agitate, become a vote bank force to be reckoned with! Will our needs and requirements still be neglected? No matter who we are and what we believe in, to have the basic inclusive spaces where we are not always on a high-alert fearing for our safety is a decent demand to ask. Instead of pointing fingers at acceptable definitions of womanhood and feminism why not focus on the fundamentals of life and living? Can we recognise that as grown-ups we have the privilege to go out and be heard, while many young souls are smothered and buried in the backyards that we had once trodden? That we have the responsibility to step up for their futures?

We will chant during our gatherings. This May 10, as women united, we shall never be defeated.

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  1. Saurabh Bijalwan

    Insightful read.

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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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