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Men too can become victims

We all have grown up in a society where we are made to think, act, and work according to some pre-set notions. And if you oppose the society’s ideologies, then get ready to be labelled. Since our childhood, we are taught that a female should act soberly. According to the society we live in, a woman is delicate, emotional, and ideal for taking care of the household chores only, but what about the men living in our society? The men are looked upon as the strongest individuals who are beyond perfect in almost everything. Even the film industry is not behind in personifying a man as the strongest individual on the planet. Heard Amitabh Bachchan saying the lines “Mard ko kabhi dard nahi hota” (A man never feels pain) in one of his movies?

Well, sorry to disagree with you on this point sir, but I think even men undergo situations of extreme pain. I have seen my father working tirelessly for our family without even expressing his grief or discomfort even once. When my father returns from work, his facial expressions explicitly convey his pain that he beautifully hides behind his smile. Whenever something unfortunate happens with a woman, she has the option to file a case against her perpetrator by reaching out to the nearest police station. Every alternate day our news channels are flooded with headlines surmising the rape of women across the country. Sexual violence against men is hardly as pervasive as that against women.

Since women were not getting equal rights related to employment, pay, and freedom as was being enjoyed by the men in the society, the concept of feminism gained significant momentum. Yes, India needs feminism but not the way some females are using it to their advantage nowadays. If you feel I am supporting the male section of the society in this article, then you are wrong. I am neither supporting the male part of the nation nor the female one. I am just defending the humans who are right. Please take a look at some instances and decide whether I am right in my way of thinking or not.

First Case:

Everyone knows that Mumbai local stations are always jam-packed, especially during the office hours. Yes, some perverts try to take advantage of this situation and touch women inappropriately, but don’t you think you should be able to make out the difference between an “INTENTIONAL” touch and an “ACCIDENTAL” touch? A man around 45 years of age was running late for office, and he accidentally hit a woman on the platform. He apologized for it multiple times and tried to explain his situation, but the lady became furious and decided to push him towards the railway track. As a result, he fell on the tracks while a train was about to come and had to give up on his life.

Now my question is, was it justified from the women’s end? She could have handed over the men to the police authority. Or if what she did was justified, then why didn’t she come ahead and threw all the accused men of the Kathua gang-rape case on the same railway track?

Second Case:

Unlike other millennials, even I spend time streaming videos on YouTube. I am sure you must have seen roast videos on the platform. Well, roast videos are made with a fun intent where the roasters make fun of other people without taking the video content to a personal level. People who watch roast videos must have noticed that almost all the roasters have made videos on each other in a humorous way. One day, while streaming videos, I was aghast to see that a famous YouTuber’s channel was put down as a female YouTuber decided to put a strike on his channel. What amused me was not the course of action that she chose, but her reason for putting a strike on a YouTuber’s channel. Ideally, the lady I am talking about is a female YouTuber who is also a roaster, and even she roasts other people. Her previous videos also contained abusive words that were not fit for the platform. Now the irony is, the female YouTuber decided to put a strike on the other YouTuber’s video for the reason that even she exercises on the same platform.

Suppose both a male and a female have a good sense of humor. Now when the female cracks a joke on the other person it is completely wonderful, but the moment a similar thing is done by the male he is subjected to lewd remarks. How will you react to it if something like this happens with your brother?

Third Case:

While I was researching on this topic, I had a discussion with some activists on Twitter who fight for men’s right (Yes, they exist). A weekly meetup is held in different cities wherein all the men who have fallen victim to fake cases gather to come up with some useful idea to fight their way out. As the discussion proceeded, I was astonished to know that there are men who are subjected to physical abuse, domestic violence, fake dowry and rape cases, and whatnot. One person even had to sell his kidney to pay the amount imposed on him against a phony rape case. Now if the person was a rapist or was that bad, then don’t you think he could have come up with some other heinous act to arrange for the amount instead of selling his kidney?

Just because men never open up on such topics, it doesn’t mean that they never get victimized. Be it a female or a male; anyone can become a victim. When a man gets raped, he cannot even think of reporting it to the police because he knows he will be laughed at when he discloses something like this. We all have received and forwarded several messages on Whatsapp wherein a male being beaten up by his wife becomes the subject of mockery by everyone in the group. These messages are considered to be “Jokes.”

When you fight for justice, please make sure that justice is given to the victim, irrespective of the gender. It should be a fight between the “right and wrong,” and not between the “male and female,” section of the society. Just like not all fingers are equal, not all the men are wrong. Similar is the case with the females also. Please be sensitive towards people. If you want to punish, then make sure punishment is given to the person who has actually committed the crime and not to any random person, based on his gender.     

 

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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