Saturday, August 24, 2013

How Women in India can Stop the Hand that Touches Them

India has been in the news with the way women are being harassed, molested, and raped in the streets of urban cities. This isn’t a new thing. This kind of female objectification and subjugation has been going on for ages. I think the internet has made it a lot easier for these stories to reach us. And, lately I feel as if the scumbags perpetrating these kinds of barbarisms in India have gotten emboldened and have decided to stop at nothing. They are shameless, disgusting men and should be treated the same way they treat women.

I am writing this post today because I am done with all the Western media shaming India relentlessly about the way Indian women are treated in India. I feel that part of it is the “look Indians are brown skinned savages who brutalize women constantly” orientalism at play. The other part may be the sensationalization of sexual abuse in India - after the brutal rape and murder of "Nirbhaya" in Delhi, this story is selling. Let’s be honest here, for every story that comes out of India about one man or many men raping or brutalizing a woman in India, there are thousands of other stories where men are kind, helpful and gentle. Obviously the crimes are happening, but what good is the publishing of these stories on CNN and Huffpost doing to the bigger picture?

I am also writing this post because I am disappointed. I realize that what I am about to ask for may be perceived as victim blaming, but this isn’t victim blaming. Because, I am not blaming women for what is happening to them in India. I am saying that they can be part of the solution and change what happens, after they get molested, raped or touched. I know that I am asking for an incredible amount of strength; the strength to fight back, not just against the men who are subjugating them, but also against centuries of Indian “tradition”. 

We can’t hope that once something bad happens, things will change. Now it’s time to take matters into your own hands. I know it’s difficult to twist the arm of the man who is touching you on the bus. But just find it in yourself and do it once. Look into the eyes of the man who is fingering you, clench your teeth, twist his arm and say, “I’ll break your arm so you won’t be able to touch another woman again”. I know, women are taught to be “soft” because if you aren’t soft and tender, you aren’t feminine. Bullshit. Remember all those Goddesses that we are taught to worship when we are children? They fight back. They are the reason good wins over evil. Tap into that part of your identity. Not the one that patriarchy and chauvinism decides to shape for us. 

Let’s not allow those with power to further victimize. Fight back. Use your vocal chords, your arms, your legs and your hands to fight back. Every woman in India has access to chilli powder. Carry a plastic bag of that good stuff in your purse and don’t be afraid to use it when necessary. It’s time to stop being a victim. It’s time to rise up and fight back. Spread the word, talk to other women and men about how you want their support, and that you want them to help. Talk to your friends, your family, your maids, and your neighbours and ask them what they would do if they saw a woman being victimized. Talk to your brothers and your boyfriends and ask if they respect your right to your own body, a woman’s right to her own body. And if they say that they do, ask them what they would do if they saw a woman being victimized. I just want a few of these stories to make it into the news: of women reclaiming their bodies, of women standing up to the scum of earth, of people beating the crap out of scoundrels who dare to claim ownership over another woman’s body. Barbaric scum should be forced to think a million times of what could happen to them if the women they were about to touch decided to stand up and fight back.

And one last thing, if you are a person who has children, teach your daughters to be proud of their bodies, to have ownership over their bodies, and to NEVER allow anyone to have access to it without their explicit permission. Teach your sons to have respect for all women, to understand the beauty of feminine strength, that they are NOT superior to women and that a woman’s vagina is not their right. 

It’s time that women reject the male chauvinism (perpetrated by both men and women) that teaches us that women are weak. Challenge it, stand up, fight back and woman, use that chilli powder.

P.S. I know that many people will not agree with me. I know that it is wrong to expect a victim to carry the burden of justice. I wouldn't if I could help it. But, at this point I see no other hope. I feel that if women don’t take matters into their own hands, if we don’t all band together and claim what is rightfully ours then things will never change.


  1. I agree with you for the most part, except the "centuries of tradition". That part is not true. For most of Indian history, women have been extremely strong, and men have sacrificed their lives to protect their women: mothers, daughters, sisters, wives.
    The entire trample-on-women is a very recent phenomenon, if you think of the timeline of Indian history and how long it is. The image of women in India was never a sexual one. Rather for most of history it has been that of mother and sister: very asexual. In the west however, women are viewed as wives, girlfriends, lovers. Those are sexual relations. Fairer sex, weaker sex are but western terms. However, in the west, this sexualization matches the openness of society and therefore there exists no social tension. If women are sexualized, sex is available. Not so in India. In India there is a mismatch. The advent of western culture has sexualized women, but society hasn't opened up enough to make sexual relations common place. This dichotomy is the reason for what is happening now. These mostly uneducated men watch it on TV, in movies how women are available for sex. This fuels their desire, but in reality there aren't many women who are available. And then these men resort to force to realize their fantasies.
    This is not the result of centuries of tradition, this is the result of adopting a foreign culture and to make it worse adopting only half of it. Injecting foreign material in the body of an organism never ends well.
    But I completely agree with the remedy you suggest. Women have to be strong. Physically, mentally, spiritually.

  2. Oh Golden asexual India! Look at the Indian arts, sculptures, epic religious texts, Ajanta, Elora. There is nothing wrong in sexuality, it is natural but it has be with consent and respectful.