This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Basanta Nirola. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Where Are We Going Wrong In Our Fight Against Rape Culture In India?

More from Basanta Nirola

From the Nirbhaya case of 2012 in Delhi to the present, there has been a lot of hype to prevent rape cases. The government, the opposition parties, the media, unions or groups of people, social activists, Bollywood celebrities, or the individual; everyone stands against this horrific crime. No one supports rape culture, and everyone wants India to be free from sexual abuse and crimes against women. From the streets to our social media feeds, from TV studio debates to Parliament session discussions, the voices are the same, and many of us clearly speak against rape. But the situation is still unchanged! We protest crimes against women but the big question is this: who supports this type of inhumanity? Why has our voice not reached their ears, while we protest?

Is protesting the only way to prevent the rape cases in our society or we will have to move forward from this to make society free from rape? Have our protests become so selective that we are unable to carry out a solution in the long term? In my opinion, we protest via our political narratives against sexual abuse, but failed to pick up on the real problem. Our protests focus more on the political establishment that we need to stand against it rather than ensure justice for the victims. The political masters if our country always influence this type of protest to gain the votes in the next election. And we just give in! We never speak for ourselves. We are following in the steps of our political masters, whether they may in the government or in the opposition’s seat. We have the misconception that we have spoken a lot, but that’s not our voice when we’re following them.

Let’s look separate cases, and different timeframes; the Delhi rape case of 2012, and of Unnao, Kathua, and Mandsaur. This may be BJP opposition of 2012, or the Congress opposition of 2018. But while they are in the power, they make only one statement: rape can’t be politicised. Along with his council of ministers, our PM Narendra Modi and repeats the same line too. But it’s interesting to recall that before 2014’s general elections he appealed to the people to remember the horrific crime of 2012, before casting their votes. Rahul Gandhi from the Congress party took the part in a protest at India Gate. The same thing happened in 2012, but the protesters were from BJP!

Neither Congress nor the BJP or any previous ruling parties support the inhumanity and brutality against women. Then why they don’t come forward together to prevent the crime? Why won’t they make any strict laws? Why are they only playing blame games with each other? Are the rape cases then political issues for them? Or are they just trying to clean up their own image, are they covering up their multiple failures with a blanket of other issues? This is also something voters must ask our politicians before the next election.

On the other hand, we have seen that some of our political representatives speaks up about the issue, but many make senseless remarks! After all, how can we solve the problem when some talk nonsense, and others are in favour of the rapists! Even providing garlands to accused of horrific crime like lynching!

The problem lies with us. Do we leave these problem only as political talk? Do we only see it through a political and religious perspective? We failed to understand that rape is not a ‘political’ or ‘religious’ problem; it’s India’s problem. We care more about our religion and our politics, and this diverts attention from the issue.Caste-, community-, and region-wise selective narratives also divert people’s attention. We merely believe in social media posts, divisive dialogues, and naming and shaming one another. But we fail to empathise with the emotions of a survivor, of another human being. We remember our religion, caste, community, language, and the region where we live within the Indian territory, our likeness dis-likeness within our political sphere, all in time to react or to make our voice heard. But, most interestingly, we forget to live and act as human beings. Justice should not be denied because of the religion, caste, community or region to which any person belongs!

Reports of rape are increasing day by day in our society, which is a shame for society. But we never shout out loud against such crimes equally. Now we protest nationwide against the Kathua and Unnao rape cases, but how many of us in mainland India care about the brutality faced by the women in Assam in recent times? There are several cases of rape registered in recent times, but our media fails to make those national headlines. No TV news debate, no candlelight march at India Gate, not a single tweet!

But why am I telling you this when it will not affect the people’s mindsets anymore. We do not know how many rapes there are. Newspaper reports are for entertainment and promoting causes; police reports from states are either too low, or too high. This type of selective outrage pulls the nation into a problem, and makes trouble for individuals.

To conclude, rape is a horrific crime, not a religious or political issue! If today we fail to raise our voice then the next generation will not forgive us! The state machinery and law will not succeed alone in preventing these horrific crimes until we don’t change our mindsets and those societal views that only cause an increase in rape cases. Therefore, we must also deal with the psychological aspects of these crimes through proper education and counseling. Meanwhile, the lack of administrative support on the part of police and delays at the judicial level also must be highlighted. Some sort of reform is also required in our education system, along with the judiciary system. Political dialogues should also be reduced, and we should instead focus on prevention of such crimes. On social media, we should also avoid naming and shaming, which never helps solve problems. And finally, there should be a free and fair inquiry in all rape cases, and the guilty should be punished immediately.

You must be to comment.

More from Basanta Nirola

Similar Posts

By Abhimanyu Mishra

By Md Ghalib Hussain

By World Animal Protection

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below