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Even fame cannot protect a woman

Yes, even being famous cannot protect woman from being humiliated and scarred. I’m writing about an established actress in the Malayalam film industry. Incidentally, there is news that there is a gang of such men who have been sexually abusing famous women. They film them in duress while being sexually exploited and then they threaten them and extort money.The actress in news, was the only one who bravely exposed them since she didn’t want to encourage them any further after what they did to her. There have been others who have been manipulated by these people in the past.

Funnily the news channels- print and broadcast have gone berserk over the news of the famous South Indian Actress being abducted and sexually assaulted in broad daylight. Sadly the actress, her picture and all that happened to her is all out in the newspaper. And I don’t think that this will help her or her family find any solace.

It is this disturbing news that brings me to think about the perpetrators, five of them identified. She knew them, since one of them was her driver. Scary isn’t it. Now we cant even trust the drivers, chauffeurs, top servants, delivery boys and I don’t know who else. I wonder, if this incident will also be examined and debated by people in the media like the Nirbhaya tragedy.

Here is a woman who is happy, positive, assertive and successful and this is something some people simply cannot handle. And in this case, they felt that by abusing her and recording it and threatening her with exposing the film would pressurise her to release money so that she wouldn’t want to be publicly shamed.

Even today perpetrators think that women are deterred by fear of law, fear of shaming themselves and their families. But I appreciate the courage of this lady to come out and shaming these criminals instead of falling in the trappings of fear and ostracisation from the society.




Following the Nirbhaya tragedy… Do you feel safe?

By Celin Thomas

Do events like rape, molestation shock your conscience? Are your scared to venture out in the dark or even in the day time? Well then you are not alone to feel this way. Statistics show, sexual violence is essentially committed by those whom the victim/survivor may have already known. Does this statistics bother you? Can you trust your male friend, male colleague, brother, cousin or even your father?

Where to begin and how to end this write up wasn’t really the issue, the point I really wish to make requires whole lot of clarity in terms of cultural and societal values which we need to assess and re-assess keeping in perspective our existing ethics & morale. After the 16th December 2012 tragedy in our national capital that brought the youth of several cities on streets across India and globally condemning the ghastly act. I felt terrified and felt that I should talk about this, get myself heard to at least my friends and know what they think and how they feel.

I had a fruitful discussion with my fellow academic friends…

And they were of an opinion which made a lot of sense. The world is changing and perhaps a little too fast for patriarchal minds & they’re venting their frustrations through chauvinism and masochistic means. They’re certainly not on the lookout for pleasure, as sexual pleasure is mutually enjoyed but rape is against ones’ will. Believe it or not it is a crime against every order in the world as it is a forced act of violence that breaches the very fabric that brings life into this planet.

If the violators think they’re making a point, then they’re far too short sighted. Life cannot proliferate amidst violence; only death and sadness surrounds it and breeds only negativity and more evil. Remember like begets like. This is a statement that I studied being a student of natural sciences and evolution. It doesn’t surprise me that there is so much violence in this world, and you know why? Because it is anger & envy that is breeding violence into the next generation also.

So violence is breeding more violence?

To explain the rise in reports of violence against women off lately, will need one to understand evolution of humans as animals and thence into social beings living in communities called society. So the answer to this kind of targeted gender based violence lies in understanding evolution, genetics, sociology, psychology and anthropology.

These crimes have raised many questions, one which I’m asking too, have we evolved as a society? A woman in a certain century who was smarter than her male contemporary and questioned the very ethos of the community was hunted down as a witch; today the same woman is raped. The type of crime is perhaps changing but the root problem is the same; a section of society comprising of males and females who simply cannot accept change.

And what is the change we are talking about here?

Change is when a woman gets educated, change is when a woman wants a career, change is when a woman has ambition, change when a woman says NO to a man when she turns down a proposal (marriage, love or even sexual advances).

Darwin once said it is not the strongest or the smartest that have chance to survive but the ones with the ability to adapt. I think as society is ever evolving and progressing, every person who claims to be part of the society or benefits from society needs to change and adapt as per the circumstances also.

So the women have evolved from their traditional homebody roles to championing sports, entertainment, literature and even the corporate world; but there are many roadblocks and hassles for them to become what they would dream to be or aspire to become. Heinous crimes like rape, murder, acid attacks, and molestation- tend to be few of those roadblocks. After years of efforts and lobbying when some parents have become liberal enough to let their daughters go to school and even graduate will now think twice before even sending them out of home to bring groceries let alone leaving them to pursue their ambitions and goals.

The world is generally intolerant of a progressive woman….

And why do I make such a Profound Statement. Well over the years women around the globe have been objectified and are still being considered objects of pleasure and gratification. If she gets educated and starts earning, she will shy away from regular responsibilities of a homemaker, wife, not have kids and pursue goals and add to the existing competition to men in the workforce. An educated woman would demand for an evolved, liberal man as a life partner and let’s face it people, how many men are liberal, secure, educated and evolved?

The men who violate women come with a typical mindset like, women are weak physically, she will not complain to anyone as she will be ashamed, her parents will not accept her back, society will not accept a raped woman, she won’t get another man, etc. most of it displays a sadistic, masochistic mentality that emerges essentially in a male who has been raised in a family that has patriarchal values, where women have been suppressed, violated and treated badly. So that is the learning to he takes with him all through his life. Some of these men end up in jail and most of them end up torturing women who enter their lives as wives and daughters.

Surviving a sexual crime is just one battle of survival that a woman has to face; her battle continues throughout her life when she has to face an intolerant society, insensitive family & friends and a hopeless justice system.

Defining our approach

Policy level changes along with legal amendments are must but they are just the beginning; the real change is required in the mindset of people. Lets not propagate negativity or such thinking amongst people that they would want to hurt or damage someone completely. It is imperative that our society accepts the role and contribution of women and strive hard to give them dignity, equal status and honour.

It is easier to put restrictions on women like don’t go late in the night, don’t take up night shift jobs, don’t study in a different city, etc. but how will this help and in which way? The real problem is not in the woman who may become a victim, the real problem is elsewhere and the diagnosis and treatment is being administered on someone else. How will such an approach really change thinking and reduce crime rates.

Women contribute to the national economy, they are the caretakers, they bind a family together, women teach you to love and be sensitive which true qualities of a leader as well. And if she asks for a safer road, transport, workplace and school to be with her family and to prosper in life- is that really too much that she is asking for? I still do not have enough solutions to the persisting problems of violence against women. But atleast I don’t wish to be amongst those who give a cold shoulder to such events or simply turn a blind eye. What you wish to do with the understanding you develop after reading all of this is also important? I hope even if you don’t have solutions you may at least have some questions and would start thinking in what way these tragic events affect you.

Will now hop into a bus? Will you take an auto in a lonely street? Will you walk down a road after seven if it doesn’t have street lights on?