28 Stories From 2018 That Were Read The Most By You On Youth Ki Awaaz

2018 has truly been the year of speaking up. From the debate over breastfeeding in public at the beginning of the year, to the second, much bigger wave of #MeToo and the landmark judgements passed by the Supreme Court – the Youth Ki Awaaz community has been a loud voice of reason.

As we usher in the new year, here’s a look back at the most read stories on Youth Ki Awaaz that sparked debate, positive conversations and was read by tens of thousands of people.

1. How to become a doctor in India

NEET PG Scam 2018: What Is The Future For India’s Doctors If Seats Are Being Bought?

I was also receiving messages from a whole lot of people, telling me that they can fix MD/MS seats even before the results could come.

Page views: 53,904

2. For those who think child marriage only happens in rural India

I Was Almost Married Off To A 14-Year-Old Girl

Is marriage just another business?

Page views: 65,479

3. A powerful story of coming out and celebrating identity

Meet Ankita, The 20-Year-Old Roadies Contestant Who Came Out On National TV

From battling depression to coming out to her parents through a letter, she has had a difficult, but inspiring journey.

Page views: 59,763

4. Cinema that boldly speaks about women’s sexuality and desire.

In These 3 Films, I Found Stories That Boldly Explore Sex, Sexuality And Women’s Oppression

Those movies had a message, and so do I. I say to all women – speak up, say no to abuse, say no to oppression, share your stories, and do not let men overpower you.

Page views: 71,251

5. Exploitation in the name of centuries-old ‘tradition’ in Kerala

Chooral Muriyal: What A Sick Temple ‘Ritual’ Is Doing To Young Boys In Kerala

The best-kept secret about the practice perhaps is what happens to these children after the festival.

Page views: 69,303

6. How we continue to be shockingly ignorant of the way our bodies work

The Story Of My First Pregnancy Scare Isn’t Just A Silly Story To Laugh At

My body was largely made up of trials, errors and incorrect ideas that I only addressed once it was too late.

Page views: 62,500

7. The true colours of Holi.

Nandgaon Holi: Where Male Children Aged 7 To 15 ‘Proudly’ Molested Me

We should stop treating children committing crimes in isolation from how we are raising them in the first place

Page views: 69,208

8. For those who call the ‘merit’ card.

My Upper-Caste Uncle, A Civil Servant, Perfectly Explained Why India Needs Reservation

In light of what actually happens in villages, I would say that the SC/ST Act is not used at all. Maybe the educated elite of the cities misuse it, but what about the downtrodden people in the villages who do not even know of the existence of such laws?

Page views: 81,895

9. Is this our culture and civilisation where religion is more important than bringing justice to a horrific crime?

The Rapist-Murderer Of The 8-Year-Old In Kathua Is Being Defended In The Name Of ‘Bharat Mata’

How can people who prey on an 8-year-old girl for the satisfaction of their psychopathic sexual desires, and the people who support them and then take refuge in nationalism, have love for the motherland?

Page views: 69,503

10. A shocking account on the ugly side of customer service.

An Amazon Pick-Up Employee Assaulted And Threatened To Kill Me For My Negative Feedback

Long after I had given the negative feedback, the pick-up employee beat me up severely and told me he would make me disappear instantly.

Page views: 103,900

11. When Youth Ki Awaaz users boldly spoke up about breastfeeding in public.

What Is The Youth Ki Awaaz On Breastfeeding In Public?

The Malayalam magazine ‘Grihalakshmi’ took a bold stand by featuring a model breastfeeding a baby on its cover. The cover sparked a nationwide debate. We asked the Youth Ki Awaaz community what they felt about the issue of breastfeeding in public, and the ‘Grihalakshmi’ cover. Here’s a look at some of the responses.

Page views: 67,157

12. A mother who fearlessly stood strong against regressive wedding traditions.

‘I Will Not Do Kanyadaan, My Girl Isn’t A Commodity’: A Mother’s Inspiring Stand

“I don’t see any good in that unseen, dubious moksha achieved after the huge suffering and pain of a kanyadaan. I cannot even imagine abstaining from my daughters for a lifetime.”

Page views: 50,805

13. A moving report on events that followed the shocking rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua.

You Were Never India’s Daughter

Prime Minister Narendra Modi came out in December 2012 in support of Jyoti Singh aka Nirbhaya and called her Bharat ki Beti. Is Asifa not Bharat ki Beti for him?

Page views: 61,405

14. Relationships that challenge the norm.

I Dated A Woman 20 Years Older Than Me: First It Was All About Sex, Then It Changed Me

I think if I met Mahima now, things might go a lot differently between us, because she’s still a really special person, and I’m a lot more sorted in my lifestyle and priorities. My whole life is less chaotic because I’ve grown up too.

Page views: 63,103

15. A grim reminder that Indians continue to be intolerant of anything they find ‘unusual’.

‘Get Out Of India, Go To China’: Threatened In Delhi Metro For Speaking My Native Tongue

It was just another regular Sunday. I took an auto from my hostel to the Hauz Khas metro station where

Page views: 80,930

16. Sex, sexual health and reproductive rights need to be a bigger part of our everyday conversations.

The Condom Broke: An Unplanned Pregnancy, And A Planned Abortion At 22

The doctor knew from our faces what we were going through and told us that we had not committed any crime.

Page views: 67,187

17. Before we ask men to stop pulling women back, let’s make sure we have each other’s backs.

An Open Letter To Shahnaz Husain After She Rejected Me For Being A Woman Photographer

Before we ask men to stop pulling women back, let’s support and choose each other based on capabilities and not gender.

Page views: 50,761

18. How to not portray women’s empowerment.

‘Veere Di Wedding’ Is Neither Women-Centric Nor Powerful

This movie (read, music video) shows typically high-class women (read, people) doing everything they want because they are loaded with money. That’s all that it’s about.

Page views: 102,805

19. In broad daylight, this is how unsafe women continue to be.

Drunk Man Openly Harasses Girl On A Chennai Bus – This Is How The Public Reacted

Here cometh a this man-all drunk and horny. He can’t stand straight and blabs something quietly to a girl in the first seat. And then…

Page views: 106,618

20. An unapologetic ‘victim’ of ‘Love Jihad’.

I Was A Safe, Upper-Middle Class Brahmin Woman. Until I Fell In Love With A Kashmiri Muslim

I consented to this relationship. I love my Kashmiri Muslim man with all that I’ve got. My love is my personal choice, none of anybody’s business.

Page views: 76,888

21. The big, fat Indian wedding and what it really costs.

A Rough Estimate To Prove That Indian Weddings Are A Giant Waste Of Money

This is a sassy opinionated piece garnished with some statistical evidence to inspire intellects and perhaps even ignite some much-needed

Page views: 79,344

22. Studying abroad isn’t just about #TravelGoals and living the ‘first-world life’.

I Spent 2 Years Studying In Paris And London And The Experience Wasn’t What I’d Hoped For

The experiences in these cities were beset with racism, discrimination and ignorance. Whether or not you feel gloomy, the weather always will be.

Page views: 112,690

23. A shocking reality we continue to ignore.

Meeting Asha: A Harrowing Glimpse Into The Lives Of Homeless Women In Delhi

For most women living in shelters, there is often no difference between having that roof over your head and sleeping on the roadside.

Page views: 56,490

24. A moving account on marriage, sex, love and women’s desire.

For 25 Years I’ve Stayed Faithful To A Husband Who Refused Me Sex

I was young, alone in a big metro, no relatives or parents whose shoulder I could cry on and definitely no friend because to everyone else I had somehow and most undeservedly got hold of the best man on the planet.

Page views: 96,525

25. An important perspective on the web series that shook up Indian audiences.

Troubling But True: The Sexual Dynamics In ‘Sacred Games’

Whatever “Sacred Games” has succeeded in, it has also succeeded in opening a whole new valve that will now normalise sexual intercourse – and that’s always a good thing.

Page views: 56,150

26. September 6, 2018 – the day India finally said yes to love!

8 Most Powerful Things The SC Said On Section 377

Social morality cannot be used to violate the fundamental rights of even a single individual. Constitutional morality cannot be martyred at the altar of social morality.

After the landmark judgement, stories from young Indians poured in on the platform with messages of celebration and hope. Check them out here.

Page views: 54,825

27. From the big-O to a big NO.

‘He Was My Professor, 40 Yrs Older’: Indian Women Share Sexual Encounters They Can’t Forget

We asked people to contribute a story about a sexual experience they couldn’t forget – awful or awesome or ho-hum – in this anonymous form.

Page views: 86,134

28. When trolls couldn’t handle the idea of a ‘Hindu terrorist’.

5 Irrefutable Reasons Why Priyanka Chopra ‘Deserved’ The Recent Trolling For ‘Quantico’

Priyanka Chopra was recently trolled and received heavy criticism on Twitter for playing an FBI agent foiling the plot of Hindu terrorists.

Page views: 66,179

Your words, your stories have undeniable power, and we hope you use this power to make the world better in 2019.

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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 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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