I didn’t ask for it.
He (and I shall refer to him in variants of that word) is in his 50s. I won’t describe him. I can. But I won’t. Because he knows who he is. He is a rapist. Not the kind of rapist you hear about on the news- kidnapping, molesting, raping, murdering- not those ones. He belongs…
The article by Anuradha Sachdeva spoke about the ironical problems faced by the privileged class. Living in such a house and surrounded my girls and women in the same situation has me made me realize just how big is this “golden cage” issue. We are given everything we ever wanted, even the freedom when we are young. We love our parents, the world and are happy.
Then the dynamics start shifting as we grow older. At first, its just the smaller things. You don’t even realize whats happening then, too young. Like, “No, you cannot got there with them” or “You better be back before dark”, or “Don’t go too far from home”. In the household, where brothers and sisters were considered equal before, isn’t the same old household anymore. The boys are getting their freedom in almost everything now, but the girls?
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Privileged houses and well to do parents want their children in the best of the schools. The girl soon realizes that the atmosphere of the school, one of the best in her city, is completely different than the one at her home. The girls at her school have much more freedom to do what they wish to do. Their parents are supportive of everything they do. This makes the girl sad at first, which gives way to jealousy, forcing her in a shell. She is termed as “different” or “uncool” by everyone and according to them why shouldn’t they term her as that? The girl never goes out with her friends, never goes on any school trips or excursions, nothing.
No one understands what such an environment does to this girl, hardly 14 or 15. She either ends up hating her school and retreats further in her shell or ends up hating her home, her family. Both of which are too heavy a burden for a 14 year old.
Then comes graduation, and the girl thinks she is finally free. But then she realizes that this is just the beginning of another story. Her parents don’t care which college she goes to, they just want it to be near and preferably an all girls college. She argues at this point. Saying her brothers had gone to the best of colleges so why couldn’t she. The reply she got back? “They need to study. You don’t.”
She turns out to be better educationally than all her male siblings but receives no recognition. The parents are busy making sure that their sons all make it. The only attention they spare for her is ensuring she doesn’t spoil the “izzat” of the house by staying out till dark, or by wearing clothes which were not already selected by them.
She wants to study further, she’s good at what she does. But her parents are already scouting for potential suitors for her. She again argues, saying her brothers are much older than her and that she wants to study more or build a career but in vain. She isn’t asked anything. Her parents choose someone for her, plan a lavish wedding and put together her dowry and term it as “gifts.”
All she can do is hope and pray that life on the other side isn’t like how it was before. And even if it was as horrible, it’s just going to be her fault and her failure.
Because she was born a girl, she had to live her life for others, for their “izzat.”
(Note: The Author requested to keep this submission anonymous)
A set of definitions that can get you going when supporting the LGBT movements!
Forms a very trivial (for most) but a fundamental part of our identities on basis of which we are assigned roles and privileges. Also forms the basis of how we view and percieve others and in turn are viewed and percieved by them.
Basically has 3 parts
- Gender Roles
Decide what somebody of one gender does. Dated. Oppressive. Unnecessary.
- Gender Identity
Personal. Who somebody identifies as. If you are not sure, ask them. Don’t be rude. Don’t assume. It could be one of the two, it could be neither, it could be different at different times. It could be one of 5 if you are in Indonesia. India added the ‘other’ gender in this census.
- Gender Expression
Averaged at best and based on stereotypes and learning during the developmental phase. Somebody’s actual gender expression may be different from the one expected.
These are not interlinked as such. However, with the prevalent heteronormativity and gender gap, these three are seen together.
Part of the developmental process of every person. Boys stick with boys, talk like boys, be boys. Girls do the same. Anybody breaking that is either gay* or a slut.
If gender is in our heads then so is the gender gap.
Gender Dysphoria (formerly Gender Identity Disorder)
Is not a disorder. It is a natural variance. In a more accepting culture there would not be any dysphoria, people would just be. The dysphoria occurs when labels start to be applied and there’s a mismatch.
Somebody who comes out as a supporter so that others might feel comfortable talking to them about their sexuality / identity. They usually aren’t queer themselves, but are neither bigoted nor uncomfortable of themselves. Also take part in discussions on queer issues.
An umbrella term for people identifying as a different gender than assigned, people identifying as neither in the gender binary, people with fluid gender identities (gender fluid), people wanting medical intervention (transsexuals).
A person who identifies as the gender assigned.
Process of finding one’s fit in the world. May or may not include physical / expression changes. Usually it is a tightrope walk between what is and what should have been. Nobody wants to put cognitive load on somebody else and genderfuck their minds on a regular basis. So people do tend to feminize / masculinize. The need and the ‘extent’ of it is again personal.
SRS/GRS (formerly sex change operation)
Not castration. No change in a person, apart from one.
Somebody who wants to undergo medical treatments to help aliveate their dysphoria. Might or might not desire / require SRS.
Somebody who gets arousal / gratification from feminine things / clothes etc. You know who else gets all that from feminity? A Woman.
Traditional Indian transgenders. Marginalized and treated with disrespect and hate most of the time.
Shemale / Tranny / Ladyboy / Chick with Dick / Chhakka
All offensive terms.
Somebody who identifies as a man. hint – their first name, usually.
A man who was initially assigned the female gender. Same as Man.
Somebody who identifies as woman. hint – their first name, usually.
A woman who was initially assigned the male gender. Same as Woman.
Collective term for transgender / transsexual people.
Well, legally, yeah. But remember variety!
Invalidating the identity of a transperson altogether. By objectifying, by hate speech, casually.
Isn’t a phobia, it is just bigotry. It propagates hate.
I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a while, because for too long now we have been hearing of how ‘provocation’ often results in sexual assault. Too many people claim that ‘men just get provoked in certain situations and cannot help themselves’ in too much of a matter-of-fact manner and it simply does not make any sense. Somehow we end up using this as a statistic for increased sexual assaults in an area, drawing a parallel to how ‘provocatively’ people in that area may be dressing; and this then leads into the whole “if you want to avoid their gaze you must cover up” argument.
What we seem to forget with this it’s just how men are argument is that the society never just is, it is conditioned into being a certain way. Social conditioning of a society is responsible for the principles that the society will adopt. Whatever is validated and normalized will be accepted as a norm in that particular society, and whatever will be spoken against and actively rejected will be discarded from that society. Hence, by accepting that men just get provoked, what we’re actually saying is that it is not possible for men to be any other way, which is obviously not true. In fact, there exist more men who can in fact control this apparently undeniable urge to sexually assault other people who in some way provoke men. So if there must be a norm, technically it would be that men do not possess that insuppressible urge and can, in fact, ‘control themselves’.
Yet, as a society, we believe that a certain kind of attire can provoke men. Why? We believe that because we believe society believes that.
Think about that for a second.
Would the same kind of attire invoke the aggressive assault it invokes on, say, a beach? Probably not at the same degree, because the society normalizes it. If there was something in men that ensured they could not help themselves, as many people seem to claim, then the beaches across the world would be site for constant non-stop harassment and sexual assault, which is, at least to that degree, not the case.
In fact, provocation does not simply have to do with the way a person dresses up. A closer look at the word tells us that it refers to something that ‘arouses, stimulates or instigates’. It could be anything from what a person is wearing, to how a person talks, to something as menial as what are a certain persons’ set of values. It can even pertain to something unchangeable like a person’s education/religious/regional background or maybe the skin colour. It does not have to do with what action is taken after, say, a person is provoked, however; what provocation leads to is completely dependent on what as a society we accept. For example, I may not personally like the colour yellow too much, maybe because I for some reason connect it to fire and anguish, hence a person wearing a yellow tee-shirt would technically provoke me. It is not societally acceptable, however, for me to go to that person and punch them in the face. In fact, I wouldn’t even try to state that as a reason if I do in fact end up punching that person in the face, because I would know that’s not the way things work.
But when we’re talking of sexual assault, we feel we can talk about how the persons’ attire has a role to play in the actions that followed. This is not because men are designed in a certain way, but because this is what the society has accepted and normalized.
This is because the fact is because even though we understand what provocation means, there is a difference in how we treat sexual assaults as compared to physical assaults. Even though we understand that it is not alright to physically assault someone no matter what the provocation may or may not have been, the same idea somehow does not apply to rapes and sexual assaults. We tend to look at the victim’s attire, their company and the time of the day because somewhere, as a society, we still believe that sexual assaults are just something that happens, that men cannot help, something we just cannot stop. It is through this acceptance that we normalize it in the first place.
The fact is, the society needs to actively reject these notions. That is the only way out. We often question the validity of ‘speaking out’ against violence, and we underestimate what a simple act of active rejection can do. It can do wonders, since historically it has been the active rejection or condemnation by the society in large numbers that has led to shaping how people in that society live today. This is the reason sometimes it is alright to protest against an idea not necessarily demanding action from the government (although we should do that as well), because sometimes, it is through a protest that a society can actively get together and reject an idea that has long been accepted as a norm.
This is what we mean when we talk about ‘working on the mindset’; and this is not as ridiculous a notion as it seems when we just think about changing the way people think. In fact, it is very possible. It is through constantly raising your voice and protesting against an idea that like-minded individuals can join us and that is how a society is formed in the first place. What we need is active condemnation, but not of the so called modernization and western culture, but of the way we think about issues in context with sexual assault and rape.
So go out and protest. Raise your voice everywhere you can, and stop normalizing the idea that it is logical for someone to get sexually assaulted if they were dressed in a certain way. Yes, people have a right to express their discomfort or voice their disapproval with a certain attire, but no one, and we mean absolutely no one has the right to invade someone’s personal space physically or otherwise based on what may or may not provoke them. The only way this can happen is if we make it happen, and it is not as ludicrous as it seems.
We are society, and we can change what we believe society believes simply by believing differently and advocating for it.
So this was some 2-3 years ago, I was 22 years old then. I live in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia to be precise. I was out shopping in mall with my mom and dad. It was there in the parking lot when I was walking up to the car with my mom and dad a little ahead of me that a woman walked past me with her husband or brother right behind, and in that split second that guy grabbed my ass. I was too shocked and stunned to even react. I couldn’t believe that a guy in this country , which is so strict about male and female segregation and is known to hand out harsh punishments if a man commits indecent acts, could actually do such a thing all the while with his wife or sister in tow. And just imagine what I was wearing? A Burka (a full body cloak worn by some Muslim women). Its frustrating when people actually blame you for how you dress when infact it has nothing to do with how a man can behave. I know this because even after being covered from head to toe I still got groped. #stopblamingthevictims because #Itsnottheirfault.
This was about 11 years back. I was at a stationary shop close to school. it was packed. with kids and parents howling and talking to be heard by the shopkeeper. suddenly i felt a hand touching my vagina. it tried to penetrate really inside through my school uniform. very hard. i look behind. i saw a man. about 70 years old! can you believe it?! 70!! he was grinning at me, like he thought i enjoyed his touch. i moved a little and then the same hand grabs my ass really hard! i ran. no even looking at his face for a second time. i couldn’t! i’m sorry. while i walked back to school i still had the sensation in the parts where i was touched. i felt dirty! never once spoke about it to anyone. no even family!
today i am 22. this event still haunts me. and i think of a 100 things i could have done that day. but it’s no use now. i dread when i think when i think if at all my neices or my childer (of course, future children) have to go through the same. maybe we’l get fast track courts, laws and better security, but a little can happen until the very seed of thought process changes in our country. I’m glad you guys are trying the same.
Kindly let me know if there is something i could do!
“The fact is, the society needs to actively reject these notions. That is the only way out. We often question the validity of ‘speaking out’ against violence, and we underestimate what a simple act of active rejection can do. It can do wonders, since historically it has been the active rejection or condemnation by the society in large numbers that has led to shaping how people in that society live today. Sometimes it is okay to protest simply against an idea or a notion, because it is through a protest that a society can actively get together and reject an idea that has long been accepted as a norm.” read more at http://www.gotstared.at/blog/editorial/the-provocation-molestation-connotation/ (An Article by Dhruv Arora)