You Too

harvard

The fact that even someone like her needed to say this shows us how difficult it is for women to navigate and succeed in what is, essentially, even now, a man’s world.

All systems that matter—law, justice, executive, police, judiciary, medicine, economics, culture, religion —all have been created with the default being Male. (That too a Heterosexual Male, and on the world stage-  a White Heterosexual male)

All frameworks, rules and restrictions are mainly for ‘others’.

Even universal ones like ‘thou shalt not have sex before marriage, for example, is ‘enforceable’ only on women since men cannot, and do not ever need to prove virginity before marriage, whether it is by a humiliating finger test or an equally embarrassing stained sheet after the wedding night.

Men are never accused of infertility, they do not end up having to sneak into back-alleys to get unsafe abortions. When they get married no one asks them at every subsequent job interview how they will balance work and childrearing. No one expects them to put family first and jobs second. No one asks questions when they come home late at night.

Here are some fun statistics for India:

India sees over 30,000 rape cases, yet only 1 in 4 convicted.

And before you start saying women should not go out to work, go out to party, go out using public transport, etc etc, if they want to be safe, check this out:

Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi said 70 per cent of the perpetrators in rape cases belonged to the age group of 21-35 years. “Crime-mapping analysis of the city suggested that any woman in a locality is surrounded by between 250 and 400 men who would not think twice before assaulting a woman. Added Bassi. “… almost 39 per cent of the rapes were committed by friends and family members’ friends, something which cannot be prevented by the police.

If you have ever created an environment in which people find it acceptable to think that rape is the woman’s fault then #YouToo have contributed to that rape.

There’s more.

India has the highest number of child marriages in the world. Aka socially sanctioned child sexual abuse.

Child sexual abuse: 4 victims every hour. EVERY HOUR. 

Remember that crimes against women are reported EVERY TWO MINUTES in India!! And imagine the number that goes unreported.

And from our neighbouring country is a story of women routinely setting themselves on fire, yes you read that right, setting themselves on fire to escape the routine violence and violations of their daily life!

There are predators in every single field of work. Think about that.

No woman feels safe.

Ever.

No one is immune. We are told that educated women, ‘strong’ women, elite women are safe because of course, they hobnob with men who are educated, elite and whatnot. Well here is a story from young medical students from Mumbai.

Remember that misogyny and sexism are the starting point of this slippery slope.

If you think oh well that’s India. Still in the dark ages and all that. Well here is data from UK: Most women who are murdered are killed by their own former or current intimate partner. Yes. Intimate partner.


So if you have ever silenced a woman or girl directly or indirectly either by your own silence, disbelief, ignoring, laughing at or belittling, making a joke of it and sharing it with raucous laughter, if you have ever imagined that women and girls are not as human and full of incandescent potential the way every person is, then #YouToo have contributed to the entire nauseating and infuriating state of affairs that we have been facing for centuries.

If you have ever shrugged your shoulders and said–That is how things are. Accept it. Get on with it. Stop complaining. Everyone manages, why can’t you. What makes you think you are special? It is how it is. Can’t you take a joke? Don’t be so serious!

Well then #YouToo

Whether you are a boy, man, woman, anyone in power, anyone who really really should know better and if you have not yet, NOT ONCE raised your voice in support of this simply unbearable state of affairs, then when you look into the mirror next remember #YouToo

Because all it takes for evil to succeed is the silence of a few good men and women.

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About Suchitra Dalvie

Suchitra Dalvie is the Coordinator for the Asia Safe Abortion Partnership and a Steering Committee Member for CommonHealth. She is a strong believer in women's rights to safe abortion and has worked in promoting the cause for over 10 years. She is also a practicing Gynecologist.
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