THE HONY POST THAT ROCKED ME TO MY CORE

HONY_UKRAINE_RAPED_WOMAN
This story is about a Ukrainian woman who was raped by three boys at the age of fifteen, while she competing at a gymnastics tournament. The lady went onto collect the trinkets of shame she felt back then and how she stood on a train track, and waited for the train to come… trying to jump away at the last moment. She woke up after a month.. in the middle of the night, absorbed by the feeling that something was missing. When she started to feel all over her body, she realized that she had lost her arm. I generally believe that those who sometimes attempt to kill or bruise the sacred human body, end up scarring and wounding their souls too. But this lady (and I’m sure there will be many such survivors) who converted their pain into a new path, a path that was soul stirring. I’m happy in the fact that they continue to dream. As was the case with this lady, with the help of UNICEF Ukraine, she now counsel teenagers who have been diagnosed with HIV…. Meet them first, after they get their results.. explaining them that there’s a way out of even the most impossible situations.”This lady, her story rocked me to my core. And also many others. The comments were soul stirring on that portrait. (I’ve tried to capture some of the best ones.) But I thank everyone for their thoughtfulness (I wish this lady reads them someday.) I kept on looking for a comment by a man or men. And after too much scrolling, I could find it. Maybe, they refrain from commenting because they feel bad for what a fellow man did. But, they really don’t need to take that blame upon themselves.
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All of this made me recall of an article I wrote two years ago (which of course, in the opinion of a lot of men) began with an unpleasant tone.
The opening lines of my article were : “Women suffer from harassment everyday in many forms at the hands of men, who continue to be heathens. Why are their actions defended by shifting the blame on women, that’s the question I ask of myself? I am a pacifist in all ways but one. And that is in the defense of women. Nothing drives me toward violence quite like sexual harassment. The sexual harassment and objectification of women by men has provided a fertile ground for various forms of violence. Those punches, slaps, kicks and bile-filled screams are happening all around us – yes, undoubtedly on our own streets.”

Now, I’d like to mention the background and purpose of writing that article, which was purely to cover some reflections in the wake of brutal gang-rape incident on the fateful night of 16th December, 2012, of a 23 year old paramedical student. Her intestines were pulled out and she (along with her male friend) was thrown out of the moving bus by the six men who raped the girl. Ultimately, she succumbed to her injuries.

That incident numbed the nation on one hand and led to an awakening of public consciousness regarding rights, safety and oppression of women. Despite the restriction on word limit, I didn’t restrict myself and went onto talk about the objectification of women, by not just men, but by women and this society altogether, (giving due importance to how every men, women, children, elders stood in solidarity after that incident and continues to take a stand.)

I also talked about how that case highlighted the apathy of civil society and also the inaction of passers-by and bystanders, who failed in their duty of rendering help to the victim and her companion lay injured and disrobed on the roadside for a considerable amount of time in the chilly winter night. case highlighted the apathy of civil society and also the inaction of passers-by and bystanders, who failed in their duty of rendering help to the victim and her companion lay injured and disrobed on the roadside for a considerable amount of time in the chilly winter night.

But what followed my article was a series of responses by few men who tried to berate me for writing it, calling me sexist to the core and having gynocentric views. I was told that I had no respect for a man’s life or dignity, otherwise I would not have made one-sided statements like “It is not up to a handful of men to respect women. It is up to every god-forsaken man to respect her.”

I STILL STAND BY MY WORDS. Most men respect women and vice versa, but in so many societies, many men even vilify women.

Just as women, I was aware of the fact that men were also victims of violent crime. Apart from rape, men get beaten up, robbed, murdered, kidnapped far more often then women. Somebody brought up the point of our military, CRPF, police casualties are men, who give up their lives defending HUMANS from terrorists and criminals. They were victims though they wear the uniform. And even for rape, men are routinely raped in prisons (and no, they don’t deserved to be raped even if they are criminals or undertrials), not to mention outside of prisons. [SO, I WISH TO ASK THAT PERSON AGAIN : IS IT THE WOMEN WHO RAPE THESE MEN INSIDE PRISONS OR IS IT A DOING OF ANOTHER MAN?] No matter what, the onus is still very much on men for they perpetrate these immoral actions.

Also, my attention was drawn towards those young men who are often asked to perform sexual acts as a part of ragging. [I ASK AGAIN : ARE THEY MADE TO DO THIS BY A WOMAN OR A MAN?] Having said that, I do not refuse on the point that men are also likely to be abused physically as well as sexually at school and colleges. But young girls are vulnerable too, whether in schools, or as a working staff in schools, hospitals, hotels etc.

When I wrote that article about violence and harassment, I did not conveniently left out a discussion on men, but rather my approach was very specific. Neither did I feel it is was the fault of every men, because the perpetrators are men too nor I believe in the concept of victim blaming or justifying violence against men for being men.

One by one, men came commenting upon my post, expressing that they have the ‘right’ to take me to task for it and trying to expose my insensitivity to one-half of the human race.

While women are the majority of victims of adult sexual assault, there’s no denying the fact that it does happen to men too. And as with female victims, men are usually assaulted by other men. This reminds me of a case I read where a MAN was abducted at gunpoint by three men from a rush-hour train on the London Underground, taken to a park and raped. Guys are supposed to act tough and strong, because of which they can’t also openly talk about the atrocities they have to go through. Male-on-male rape has historically been shrouded in secrecy due to the stigma attached to it, mostly because of the fear that they won’t be believed. Because society doesn’t like to admit male rape happens, any man may be drawn to such a point that they would ‘punish themselves’ with self-destructive behavior. But I did not feel the need to discuss that matter as it didn’t have anything to do with Delhi Gang Rape Case. While these questions were thrown at me, I put forward my best effort to make clear my intent, in the comments.

Examples such as that of girls emulating ‘Sheela ki Jawani’ with high esteem, were given to me. The guy said, “Nobody forces you to bear catchy looks”. He contended that in most professions, men aren’t allowed even collarless T-Shirt, while girls can wear round, sleeveless and what not. The point is when we (AS IN, THE MEN) can wear sober dresses with an accuracy of 99.99% and show our focus and dedication is more on work and less on the appearance, why can’t the entire female fraternity do the same?

Yes, girls are seen emulating songs such as “Sheila ki Jawani’, ‘Chikni Chameli’ etc, but that cannot rebut the fact that even the boys enjoy songs like “Proper Patola” or feel jaw dropped seeing the size zero actresses who flaunts their sexuality on the big screen.” When you acknowledge what the entertainment industry is creating, you give them your approval to make more of it. Indian society would gladly accept a porn star to feature in Bollywood films, but at the same time, shun or look down upon those girls who got caught in prostitution rackets.

The psyche of majority of people is to blame the clothing for getting raped. The clothing issue is always thrown up in political discussions every time a girl is raped. Let me just say, enough of that piece of crap. No men or women are ever roaming/wandering in an exposed state so as to attract anyone’s lust to rape them. Why is that wearing a different style of clothing can sometimes be considered obscene and the presumption that it draws the attention of the other to rape is disgusting. It’s victim blaming and horrible to think of!

If that was so, why would teenagers or young kids who are dressed in properly or the women in traditional clothing, become a subject of molestation or rape? I’m ever so sure that those who face sexual assault in schools, shelter homes, hospitals were not wearing such body fitting clothes that demanded rape.

And let me just say it, the horrifying thing that I had ever known is the urge of few men who (according to a research) had sex with dead bodies in mortuaries.

I might have made a sweeping generalization against men, but then the series of comments only reminded of how hard people try to place the fault on woman alone. Maybe they needed to be enlightened about other social issues such as Devdasi Prostitution tradition, female genital mutilations etc The assault and violence on men is there, but on a broader level, women and girls suffer much.

Even the way consumerism has swept our society is a breeding ground for objectification Remember how Jessica Lal was shot dead because she refused to serve Manu Sharma the drink at that party. It’s like the GenX want everything they ever lay their eyes on and on refusal, it becomes more of an insult to them. Considering all this, I assert that there are quite a lot of factors behind such objectification.

Unnecessary personal remarks were made on me that suggested me that : ‘If I ever have a boyfriend or a male friend, I must reject his offers to pay for your dinner, or offer such help or admiration which is not absolutely necessary and which he wouldn’t have offered to his male friends in similar circumstances.”…. Don’t sit and wait for men to make the change. Unless you shed your dependencies on men for whatsoever reasons including those to make the first change, nothing is gonna change. Take the baton in your own hands. You ( women in general) may have to take certain uncomfortable decisions. Most women know about Aishwarya Rai. How many know about Karnam Malleshwari ? Why should muscle training and strength gaining in gyms be an exclusive propriety of boys and why should girls limit their gym activities to only loosing weight and looking better ?

A little truth in there somewhere. My most humble reply to the guy was that even men indulge in hardcore gym and muscle training, as they want to improve their personality. If girls do the same only to enhance their looks, why to debate over it ? We do know the countless examples of many women athletes and sports star who train themselves day and night. To them, strength is a far more important asset than anything else.

As if all that wasn’t enough, I was lastly suggested that it would be better off if I could just go to a police stations or courtroom and voice my concerns there instead of blogging.
The reason I chose to write this post is only because, for the first time in the social media, that I felt thoroughly moved by writing something and knowing that my words resonated with so many and gave HOPE to some. Here’s what I wrote on the HONY post :It is hard to comprehend the unfathomable panic that comes with clothes being ripped off of you when you most need them on and as you scramble to keep them attached, the subjugation, mocking and indignant statements heavy with insinuations that your body is owed to others? The pain, the anguish doesn’t end with rape. The nightmares follow every single day after the fateful event, and no matter how many layers you still have on your body, you would still feel naked, and haunted by the flashbacks. But out of suffering sometimes emerge the souls who try to convert their pain into a new path. I feel sorry for what happened to her and continues to happen with our sisters, and even to our fellow men (as women aren’t the only one who are raped.) 
HONY, once again, you covered a story that rocked me to my core.
I realized the impact I left when I opened up a flood of messages in my inbox and my eyes got moist when I read this text from a lady. She said, “Hi. I saw your post on the article about that woman from the Ukraine who was raped. I have never felt so understood by anyone. Your comment made my heart ache and tears formed in my eyes, as I revisited the trauma I went through, and the feelings that emerge still, when men “cat call” to me. It seems like nobody can understand it, but you made me remember that that isn’t true, many people do. I just wanted to say that you made me feel hopeful, and I will pray for you and your happiness. Thank you for giving me hope.
I would like everyone to remember what she wrote. Not many will understand but some will. Continue to pick up the broken pieces of your life, connect with those who knows your journey and know that you are not alone. (I write this message for all my fallen sisters and fellow men.)
May peace be with you.
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