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Asaram, the self-styled godman has finally been sentenced to life imprisonment till death. It's the survivor we need to thank for her courage.
Asaram, the self-styled godman and now convicted rapist, has finally been sentenced to life imprisonment till death. It’s the survivor we need to thank for her courage.
The self-styled ‘godman’ named Asaram raped a minor girl when she came to his ashram in 2013 to cure her from ‘evil spirits’. He is finally being punished for his crime. But it is important to remember that punishing the rapist is never enough because it’s never just one person even if only one person committed the ‘actual’ crime. We are a part of a culture that enables rape and is present everywhere.
I recently had a friend tell me that rapists should be punished but Nirbhaya shouldn’t have been out that late at night. Rape culture is something that is promoted by us and the people we are close to. That’s why it’s important to truly empathise with the person who was raped instead of just screaming for the death of the rapists. One of the things essential to end rape culture, is by getting rid of this emotional disconnect between rape victims and ourselves. We need to try to truly understand their perspective and support them instead of saying, “Rape is bad, but…”
The girl who was raped by Asaram was so affected by it – it was not just during the rape, but her entire life was impacted by it. She felt that had to withdraw from the outside world. In India, ‘godmen’ are worshiped, and Asaram abused this power of his to not just rape but also threaten the girl. Apart from threatening the victim, Asaram’s supporters also threatened her family. Many of the witnesses were attacked – one of them was shot just 7 km from the rape survivor’s home. After Asaram was arrested, she thought she was safe and she even started going for computer coaching classes. However, the threats started coming in and she had to drop out of school for a while. One year later, when she did go back to school, she chose to study ‘easier’ subjects like computers and home science. The reason for this was that she regularly had to attend hearings at Jodhpur.
All of these effects are just the very visible ones – one can only imagine the mental pain that she went through. It is terrifying to think about! Even now, when the rapist is going to be punished, her life hasn’t magically become perfect. Rape and sexual assault can leave lifelong scars.
The rape survivor showed a lot of courage in standing up to these criminals despite the very real risks involved. Asaram had and still has a lot of power in the form of his supporters and godlike status. Yet, she stood up to him even after seeing the violence that his supporters were capable of. Even after receiving threats to her life and her family’s lives. Even though she had to change everything in her life just to fight Asaram. Even though she had to face her rapist again – the man who had harmed her without a second thought. And all this while she was still really young.
When Malala was shot for fighting for education, the world came together to support her. Well, now we have another Malala, the least we can do is support her during these difficult times. In fact, there are many women and girls in the world who display extreme bravery with their daily acts of courage. And it’s our duty to help them by standing by them.
A very small thing like not doubting the victim can do wonders and enable more women to report rape and sexual harassment. Even if we can’t help every woman in the world, we can at least support the women in our lives because almost every woman faces some form of sexual harassment at some point in her life and that’s not how it should be.
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I huffed, puffed and panted up the hill, taking many rest breaks along the way. My calf muscles pained, my heart protested, and my breathing became heavy at one stage.
“Let’s turn back,” my husband remarked. We stood at the foot of Shravanbelagola – one of the most revered Jain pilgrimage centres. “We will not climb the hill,” he continued.
My husband and I were vacationing in Karnataka. It was the month of May, and even at the early hour of 8 am in the morning, the sun scorched our backs. After visiting Bangalore and Mysore, we had made a planned stop at this holy site in the Southern part of the state en route to Hosur. Even while planning our vacation, my husband was very excited at the prospect of visiting this place and the 18 m high statue of Lord Gometeshwara, considered one of the world’s tallest free-standing monolithic statues.
What we hadn’t bargained for was there would be 1001 granite steps that needed to be climbed to have a close-up view of this colossal magic three thousand feet above sea level on a hilltop. It would be an understatement to term it as an arduous climb.
Why is the Social Media trend of young mothers of boys captioning their parenting video “Dear future Daughter-in-Law, you are welcome” deeply problematic and disturbing to me as a young mother of a girl?
I have recently come across a trend on social media started by young mothers of boys who share videos where they teach their sons to be sensitive and understanding and also make them actively participate in household chores.
However, the problematic part of this trend is that such reels or videos are almost always captioned, “To my future daughter-in-law, you are welcome.” I know your intentions are positive, but I would like to point out how you are failing the very purpose you wanted to accomplish by captioning the videos like this.
I know you are hurt—perhaps by a domestic household that lacks empathy, by a partner who either is emotionally unavailable, is a man-child adding to your burden of parenting instead of sharing it, or who is simply backed by overprotective and abusive in-laws who do not understand the tiring journey of a working woman left without any rest as doing the household chores timely is her responsibility only.
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