My heart aches every time I hear about the news of rape. Rape is one of the most heinous crimes all over the world. These rapists don’t spare anyone, be it a 5-month-old baby or a 90-year-old woman. No explanation or reason can justify rapes. According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s annual report, 33,356 rape cases were reported across India in 2018. Out of these, more than 93% were committed by someone known by the victim.
Myths about Rapes.
•Rapes happen because of wearing short clothes.
If only rapes happened due to revealing clothes, a woman wearing a burqa or a salwar kameez wouldn’t have been raped. Did a 3-year-old girl wear revealing clothes that she was raped or an 80-year-old woman wear revealing clothes that she was raped? Rape has nothing to do with the clothes a woman wears but it has everything to do with the rapist. Clothes aren’t provocative, it’s the mindset of people that needs to change.
•If a woman is intoxicated when she got raped, it’s her fault.
So it’s okay for men to drink and if women drink then they’re to be blamed for anything that happens with them. This is what some people actually think. A woman who’s drunk isn’t an invitation for rape. It’s her choice to drink and party late at night. Stop blaming women and becoming a shield for rapists.
•It’s impossible to rape a woman unless she wants it.
To all the people who think so, no woman wants to get raped or forced. Not only women but babies are also raped. Did a 2-year-old baby who can’t even speak properly give her consent? No woman would’ve been killed after being raped if only she had given her consent to do so. How low will you people go in order to not blame the rapist?
•Being in a relationship or marriage is consent for sex.
Marital rapes aren’t uncommon. Marriage isn’t a consent to have sex and neither is being in a relationship. No one gets a right on the other person after getting married. No men can force their partner to have sex. No matter what, sex without consent is rape.
•It’s the fault of a woman if she is raped late at night.
Many people believe that women should not go out alone late at night. To all the people who think so, women do get raped in broad daylight and even inside their houses. So how come it’s a woman’s fault if she’s raped late at night?
•Men don’t get raped.
Most part of the world still believes that men aren’t raped but in reality, men are raped too. They’ve also become victims of this heinous crime. They are suffering too but it becomes difficult for them to even talk about rape. According to a survey, 1 out of every 5 males is assaulted or molested in India.
In many cases, I’ve read and heard people saying about some girl that she deserved to be raped. The reason they gave for saying it was that the girl wore short clothes, hung out with boys at night, drank and partied etc. No reason can justify raping someone.
Recently, I read about a female stand-up comedian who got rape and murder threats on the public platform from a guy because according to some people, in one of her shows, she insulted Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj but in reality, she had no intention of doing so yet she apologised for hurting the sentiments of people. I read a post about it on Instagram and saw people commenting that she deserves to be raped and she should be punished like that so that in future no one even dares to do such a thing again. What shocked me was that people were actually justifying why she should be raped. They had reasons and they argued on why she should be raped. Rape threats have become so casual now. No matter what, no one deserves to be raped.
Rape is the fourth most common crime against women. In India, every 15 minutes 1 rape case is reported yet there are many cases that go unreported. The cases are only rising and not decreasing. Even the justice system isn’t strong enough to severely punish the rapists. Much stricter laws are needed now to eradicate the rape culture.
She looks back at the girl she was a year ago and sees herself changed like never before. The one who would laugh her heart out rarely even smiles anymore. The outgoing girl is lost somewhere now. All she does is recollect the broken pieces of life and try to mend it somehow.
A year ago, the girl who had everything in control isn’t even left capable of mending her heart anymore. She screams silently to let her pains out. Sleeping is her only way to escape from reality without any doubt. This is the only relief she gets as while awake, she’s always troubled by the thoughts in her head.
A year ago, her life was beautiful and lovely, but now it’s all messy. She looks back and sees how time changed her, from a simple girl to the most complicated girl ever. She misses her old self and searches for ways to be the same again, but every attempt she does goes in vain.
There’s an educated woman who got married and is managing her household and kids giving up on her dreams.
A girl drinking and going out with male friends at night is being called shameless and a slut by society.
A 40-year-old unmarried woman staying alone and doing all the work by herself is being judged by people.
These are just a few examples of how women are looked upon by society which has defined respective gender roles for both males and females. Since childhood girls are given dolls to play and pink to wear. As they get older, they’re started being restricted. Women should not go out after 8. Women should not wear revealing clothes. They should not go out too often. They should know how to cook and manage the family. This is what society believes in.
A few months back, I went for a job interview related to marketing and during the group discussion round, the interviewer asked if all the female candidates were prepared to do the job as it’ll demand physical work like going from place to place all the time even in burning summers because it is not a women’s job. Even the jobs are divided on the basis of gender. In schools, homes, colleges, workplace and almost everywhere women are underestimated. From sports in school to unequal pay at workplace women face gender-based discrimination.
I’ve seen women sacrificing their dreams and getting married due to family pressure. Family is supposed to be the support system of every person but sometimes it does stuff which isn’t okay. I’ve seen families who have stopped their girls from studying at a certain point because they wanted her to get married. So many women compromise with their dreams and aspirations and get married. Their dreams are caged and they are forbidden to fly in the vast sky.
A girl who drinks or smokes or hangs out with male friends is ultimately tagged as a slut by people. I’ve seen a girl being called a slut by her own family members for having a boyfriend. How could someone even justify saying such words to a girl?
These stereotypes affect the self-respect of women. They affect the dreams and aspirations of women. Many women even get depressed when they face these stereotypes. But women have come a long way now. They’re breaking these stereotypes everywhere and proving themselves. Today’s women know their worth. They know what they deserve. Even society is trying to reshape itself now. Hope that the coming times would bring a better world for women so that they don’t have to struggle to prove themselves worthy.
“Don’t cry like a girl” “Be a man, carry the weight” “Earn more, you’re the breadwinner of the family” “Don’t play with dolls, you’re a boy, play with cars” “Pink makes you look feminine, don’t wear it” “Be strong, men don’t cry”
These are just a few of many sentences that men get to hear from their childhood. They are told about their roles from the beginning. When children start growing, their parents automatically start defining their roles and interests according to their gender which ultimately develops in their personality. This is how most of the households mould their children since birth. From “boys play with cars” to “men don’t cry” gender stereotypes are reinforced by society.
When a kid hurts himself and starts crying, people tell him to stop crying like a girl as if girls are born with the trait of crying and boys are insensitive to pain. When a boy plays with dolls, parents try to incline his interest in cars and superheroes. According to the society, an ideal man is the one who is strong, arrogant and little oppressive too.
It is found in a study that depressed men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. One of the underlying reasons for this is that men never completely express their thoughts and feelings. The society does not let a man express himself. He is expected to keep his emotions to himself. He isn’t supposed to cry because he’s a MAN and according to people men don’t cry. Crying is not deemed to be his trait as crying is a symbol of weakness and men shouldn’t be weak. This stereotype makes it difficult for men to express their feelings. They are mocked and made fun of when they cry. They are told to stop crying, puck up and be a man.
People expect a man to get settled and get married before the age of 30. I don’t think there’s an age limit to decide anything. Everything happens at the right time. Getting settled at the age of 35 is okay and finding love at the age of 40 is also okay. If a guy wants to get married at the age of 25, that’s okay too.
To every man out there- it’s completely okay to cry and express yourself, don’t make yourself suffer in silence to please the people of this society. Don’t be harsh on yourself. It’s okay to feel hurt and cry your heart out. You’re not always supposed to be strong and arrogant. Nothing is as important as your feelings. It’s okay to be sensitive, wear pink, cry, follow your passion and be yourself. No one can decide how you feel and express your feelings. You deserve to let out your emotions and you deserve self-love.
I was a happy-go-lucky girl before you showed up in my life. I used to be carefree, happy and enjoyed every moment of my life. I look back now and think that I was so much different a year ago when you were not a part of me. Everything was beautiful back then when you did not walk everywhere along with me. But now you’re a burden on my shoulder I’m trying to get rid of.
You along with your friend depression did not only make me mentally weak but physically too. You make my heart feel heavy even at the tiniest of inconvenience. Every little thing makes me worry and overthink because of you. You are like an uninvited guest not ready to leave.
You make my heart race at times when I wake up in the morning and it does not get back to normal until I take a shower. You make my body heat and burn as if I’m high on fever. Every little problem becomes so big due to overthinking because of you. I now worry about things that don’t even exist in the present. I worry about things that I never even used to think about before you walked into my life.
I overthink about my future and ruin my present too. You make me feel worthless. I doubt myself now. I doubt my worth, capabilities, interests and whatnot. You turned me to a quiet person from someone who would not shut her mouth up, dance around in the room singing and always smiling. You turned me from the most sorted and determined girl to the most complicated and difficult to handle girl.
How do you manage to destroy all the happy moments I want to be a part of? There are so many moments I could’ve enjoyed but I couldn’t because of you. I cut myself off from people and keep my feelings to myself thinking that no one would understand. You make me sulk in a corner and cry for hours. There’s no definite time when you hit me. You come at night or in the middle of the day, you come when I’m alone or when I’m in a room full of people. You make me shiver due to nervousness when something I don’t want to happen, happens. You make me gasp for breath when I climb stairs or run. I always feel guilty for no definite reason because of you. You are to be blamed for the way I behave now. I miss the old me.
You make me think about the memories I haven’t thought about in years. You make me go back down the memory lane from years ago and make me realize all my faults. You hit on my insecurities and make me anxious about them. I feel caged in my own thoughts and couldn’t find an escape.
Dear Anxiety, I’m tired of you now. It feels like I’m a part of you instead of you being a part of me. I don’t want you to tear me apart anymore. I’m done with you now and I will never stop trying to get rid of you.
Periods are a significant part of a woman’s life so it’s really important to know and talk about it. In a developing country like India, talking about periods is yet not normalised. Around 71% of girls remain unaware of menstruation until they experience their first-period cycle. Many adolescent girls still struggle to understand what is happening with them when they experience their first periods. I too have faced this situation as no one told me about periods before I had them.
At the age of 12, I had my first periods. I was shocked and scared seeing so much blood. I didn’t tell anyone about it because I was afraid and had no idea what was happening to my body so I used some cloth. I was not able to sleep at night due to pain and heavy flow. Due to the discomfort and cramps, I even cried. But the next day my mother came to know about it so she gave me a sanitary napkin, explained to me how to use it and all she told me about periods was that it happens with every woman so there’s nothing to worry about. There are many more girls out there, who aren’t aware of periods. Their parents don’t tell them about it as they still don’t feel comfortable to talk about it openly.
In many parts of India, menstruation is still considered to be impure. Even in some cultures, especially in Hinduism, there are a lot of restrictions for menstruating women which make no sense. Menstruating women are prohibited to enter the kitchen, touch other people, touch prepared food and eat a certain food item like pickles or curd. They are even told to sleep in a separate bed and wash their own utensils. In some cases, a woman is not allowed to wash her hair for the first two days of her periods. A girl or woman on periods is prohibited to enter the temple, offer prayers or even touch a holy book as she is considered to be impure. It’s a natural phenomenon and it shouldn’t be regarded as impure. There are many more countries which have their own menstruation-related customs and beliefs such as some countries in Africa and Indonesia etc. All such myths and taboos affect the mental state, emotional condition and lifestyle of women so it’s really important to bust them. Both men and women need to understand that it is a natural biological process and not some kind of impurity or a disease. Menstruation education is really important to impart knowledge about periods and make people aware that it is natural and normal so that they can forego all the myths.
Lack of menstrual products.
In India, many girls miss their school due to the lack of menstrual health products such as sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups etc. Most girls don’t even have access to menstruation supplies and use rags, cloth, sand, ash and hay as an alternative. These alternatives are neither comfortable nor safe as they could affect health and cause severe infections. According to the National Family Health Survey, 2015-2016 approx 36% of women in India use sanitary napkins during their periods and the rest have no access to them. The country is under lockdown due to COVID-19. According to a survey conducted in April, 84% of women were restricted access to menstrual products during the lockdown due to lack of production and distribution, especially in the rural areas. Availability of menstrual products and proper disposal of them is very important to maintain menstrual hygiene. In view of spreading awareness about menstrual hygiene, 28th May is celebrated as Menstrual Hygiene Day.
Government, as well as various NGOs, are taking the initiative to spread awareness about menstrual health and providing access to menstrual health products to women. We are moving forward and things are changing but still, there’s a long way to go.
There are certain days when I reminisce about our special memories, the burden of which my heart carries. I think of them quite occasionally But today I feel them more fiercely.
Today is the day I felt your love for the first time, And suddenly everything started feeling fine. I remember how our eyes met and said all the unsaid things, how the taste of your love made me forget all my sins, and it seemed as if we were attached with some invisible strings.
But I’m only left with the remembrance of it now as everything changed and I don’t even know how. With time we broke all our vows. I wish I could feel your love all over again somehow.