Some thoughts shared by women aged 18 to 40yrs – women who have lived out experiences – of their own and of other women around them.
These women are ALL from educated backgrounds and can easily be called “privileged”.
BUT their echoes of “What it is like to be a WOMAN in India?” are eerily similar.
(I have put in 10 broad themes out – and have tried to capture “as is” thoughts – I haven’t analyzed anything or tried to justify anything….)
- Women aren’t safe outside their homes: You are never ever safe outside home as per what elders say… But what about sexual abuse within the house? As a child or an adult? We don’t speak of it…
- Wearing short clothes leads to rape??? Don’t wear short clothes? What will people say? What if you get raped? Why don’t people accept that rape and sexuality don’t go together – rape is about control and mental and physical dominance. The Nirbhaya kand proves it… She wasn’t wearing a mini skirt! (Rape is a simple non-consensual / forced act of having sex. It implies complete dominance of body and decision-making power to the rapist. The brutality is not just on the body but on the soul of the woman – she lives it each day – every day!)
- The Great Indian SLAP : Oh, why is it so ok to slap a woman if she is wrong? Face palm slap across the face? Just watch any serial or movie… Even if she is a villain – why a slap across the face? The sheer violence of it – and then the worst is the acceptance of this violence as “normal and acceptable”. If a halla is made around a slap – the prompt answer is “it’s just a slap”. No one sees it as an act of authority and complete dominance – first to judge you and then to get physically violent with you! And off course the fact that “she was asking for it”…. something commonly told to us to explain away THE SLAP.
- Educated and well-placed women don’t want girl kids: Do you know women who are educated and working with a good salary want ONLY sons? They are fine with aborting a girl child – then it’s not about education and the money you earn – it’s about a DISGUSTING mindset! A mindset which says girls are inferior and a liability! Patriarchy and misogyny! An argument with such women leads to the defense that “don’t you know the status of women in society etc etc, also how unsafe it is…. etc etc” – and somehow they seem to forget that they too are women who were educated by their parents…
- WHY do horrible Patriarchal Marriage rituals still exist? Why do educated women allow for patriarchal marriage rituals like Bidai to happen? It gives complete control to the male of the house – where a father does “kanya-daan” to the husband – as if the girl/woman is an inanimate object. Are you aware that in some places the rituals are preposterous enough where the father of the bride goes down on his knees and washes the feet of the groom to be as a “mark of respect” (for God’s sake the guy is as old as his son – WHY this respect? Lets call a spade a spade – its NOT respect – its all about “DOMINANCE”)
- DOWRY is a CRIME – why do women allow it being given? Why don’t women refuse to marry men demanding dowry or mothers/fathers of the boy demanding dowry? If a man or his family has to be paid to marry your daughter – then why doesn’t he move into your home – after all you are buying him?If it’s about property rights of the girls etc etc – then let there be a property division where the girl gets what’s hers – and NOT the husband or in-laws! This shall ensure that no girl is killed! For if they kill the girl then the property would revert back to the father’s family in case of no heir or goto the child of the dead girl – the husband and in-laws would not be gaining… WHY don’t we push for this awareness?
- Why don’t we shame the rapists??? Why do we always shame the rape survivor? See any immediate hush hush reaction to a rape report! Do you know even the police try to hush up matters… So the moment any girls runs to you or anyone speaking of her rape – the immediate reaction is “Shhhh…. “WHY – shy should she Shhh? She hasnt dont anything wrong! She has been violated in the worst possible way… BTW – in cases of marital rape the Shhhhh is followed by “ye to hota hi hai, its his right” – so the woman has no control over her body?
- India has pedophiles! Why aren’t we acknowledging pedophiles? And creating strict laws and punishments around it? And why are we blaming western culture for everything? We never spoke about it earlier…. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen?
- Why do the women members of a rapist’s family never stand in favour of the victim? Why do they look the other way? Why do they justify the ACT as “boys will be boys”? And push for “mere ladke ki zindagi kharab ho jaayegi” – thus implying that the ACT itself didn’t ruin his life – and possibly that the girl’s life isn’t important enough…
- Domestic violence is an acceptable part of marriage: The family elders – on both sides tell the woman to “suck it up and brave it – it happens to everyone” and further add “You should try to please him and not annoy/anger him”. Adding to this is the fact that the police also tell the women that only…. and add “madam aap kaise thaane ke chakkar lagaogi…. ye sab to hota rahta hai”
Even lawyers discourage the woman from going to court unless she is rich! They simply see it as “normal occurance” and a matter of rights of the husband – and they claim that in any case the woman shall go back to the husband – so why bother…. (loads of arguements around fees for lawyers and paper work for police people)
These 10 thoughts are from women who have spent time in trying to change themselves and the society around them!