A Story to Share

Kirthi
Posted February 23, 2016 from India

Welcome to India: the country where a woman can be a president, but must fear for her safety; the country where women are beatified in its mythological lore but abhorred and abused in society; the country where no lofty speech is spared in proposing causes for empowering women but where women fight for a place in society; the country where news channels have women as reporters and shows devoted to women’s rights, but – devoid of any compunction – film the molestation of a woman just to add to the sensational value of the case; the country where men may frequent pubs, but the moment a woman does, she becomes a prostitute. Welcome to India: the fourth worst country in the world, to be a woman (Thomson Reuters, 2011).

And all this, right in a place that boasts of an exhibit in a museum that etches Mahatma Gandhi’s words (circa 1921), stating thus: Of all the evils for which man has made himself responsible, none is so degrading, so shocking or so brutal as his abuse of the better half of humanity; the female sex.

Abuse of women in India is an everyday affair, literally. And this is not a reflection of the mere extent depravity, but a transgression of the standards of decency and an exposition of the failure of governance in keeping violence against women in check. That a law outlawing sexual harassment and molestation is still evading India is a terrible amplification of this sordid reality. All the country has, is a Neanderthal penal code that goes back to 1860, where save for rape, only the “outraging the modesty of a woman” is punishable – with either seven, or two years, as the case maybe. There’s nothing to punish the crimes “in between” – and the latter is a terribly archaic and ambiguous term. Needless to say, the hotbed of impunity that India is when it comes to women’s rights abuses and violence against women, is facilitated by the climate of legal, governmental and policy-based apathy.

A man in Rajasthan bit his wife so brutally that she lost her face, literally, for her refusal to get more money from her parents for dowry. In Udaipur, a woman’s head was shaved, and she was stripped and beaten for having had an extramarital affair. A man in Indore, I read to my horror today, kept his wife's genitals “locked”. He drilled holes on her body and before going to work each day, would insert a small lock, tucking the keys under his socks. A woman was sexually abused for years, and then had acid thrown on her face and absolutely no one seems to be listening to her case. A few children near Bhopal were found playing with a female foetus they had mistaken for a doll in a bin. A dentist in Karnataka made his wife to drink his urine because she refused to meet dowry demands. A father beheaded his daughter in Rajasthan and paraded her bloody head as a caveat to other young women lest they fall in love with a boy from a lower caste. As all of this transpires without respite, the Parliament is still wondering if there is any reason for them to pass stronger laws on the Sexual Violence towards women.

The most common thing is that people are quick to blame ‘women and their ways of dressing’ for all of this. But does what a woman wears, says, or does, is no reason for her to be ill-treated.

Why the hatred, really?

Unless we change mindsets towards women, this situation will not change. Unless we understand that women and men must coexist, this will not change. How do mindsets change? Through sensitised and equality driven education that teaches respect for men and women equally.

Comments 9

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GetRude
Feb 23, 2016
Feb 23, 2016

Kirthijay

I can not stop the tears from falling down as i read this piece. It has always seemed to me that there were differences in our cultures but truth of the matter is there are things you write here that speak out the atrocities many women are facing. It is a sad reality. Thank you for sharing. All the best in your quest for change!

GetRude

Kirthi
Feb 24, 2016
Feb 24, 2016

Thank you dear Getrude, for reading and for sharing your powerful thoughts. Sending you lots of love and good thoughts - you are so right, we are all in this together, and even if it is a sad reality, we are SO going to change it together :) *hugs*

Smeeta Hirani
Feb 26, 2016
Feb 26, 2016

Your voice Kirthi! Powerful and incredibly inspiring. The way is being paved... we are in this together. 

So happy to have *met* you - my life just got a boost.

Lots of love coming your way!

Smeeta

Kirthi
Feb 26, 2016
Feb 26, 2016

*hugs* LOVE! You are incredible, Smeeta, you inspire me tremendously!

Maya Muñoz-Tobón
Feb 26, 2016
Feb 26, 2016

Dear Kirthi,

I am empowered by your bold voice. The horrific stories you describe are not less common in many other parts of the world, which saddens me deeply. However, I can already tell that the pain, anger and shock that you have experienced and that many others have experience, is the fire that ignites your leadership to change the situation: to speak boldly to bring the decision-power to those who are affected by years of indiscriminated violence. We are all here to support this change.

Natasja
Feb 27, 2016
Feb 27, 2016

I can only imagine the horror stories beeing told in the newspapers that men may or may not frown upon, while women read the same paper losing hope ean and every day.

I can only imagine the pain and suffering many women feel, while living a fearful life. Looking over their shoulders, as they vanish into thin air as their soul can only whispers and not speak out loud.

I can only imagine the strenght of these women I deeply respect.

I can only imagine that one day their whispers will be heard and their prayers will be answered, as there are too many women not accepting this agonizing faith for women in your country and others.

X

Natasja

Nancy Harkrider
Feb 27, 2016
Feb 27, 2016

Bravo Kirthi!

While your beautifully crafted post moves us intellectually, it is images that grab our hearts, stirring us to action.  Now that women, and those men who stand with us, have access to a digital world with no borders, we are unstoppable.  A new world is coming and World Pulse is in the vanguard of that world.  

Kirthi
Feb 27, 2016
Feb 27, 2016

Thank you Maya and Natasja! Your lovely thoughts make all the difference - we are all one in solidarity! Thank you for your reading and for sharing your thoughts!

Nancy! YOU ARE THE BEST VISION MENTOR EVER! :) :) All of this is possible only because of the confidence you give me, and becuase of your unconditional guidance <3 thank you, a million times!

ARREY- ECHI
Mar 11, 2016
Mar 11, 2016

Hmmmmmm! These stories pull at the heartstrings. It is one horror after the other. Women truly have a long way to go in this fight for equality,respect and appreciation. Thank you for raising your voice to this pressing issue! All the very best as you press on.