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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. (SAAM). Let's look at what we all can do to prevent sexual assault as well as create an awareness of the problem.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. (SAAM). Let’s look at what we all can do to prevent sexual assault as well as create an awareness of the problem.
Trigger Alert: This post has descriptions of violence against women, specifically sexual assault, and may be triggering for survivors.
Sexual assault is a bigger pandemic than COVID, and is a symptom of the rape culture a ‘traditional’, patriarchal society perpetuates directly through abusive behaviour – either through action or speech; and indirectly through things like controlling choices / voices/ sexuality/ bodies of women, and conditioning everyone to think this is normal.
Here are some critical points everyone must be vigilant about to create a safer society for everyone.
Take action before sexual assault happens. Act against stalkers and eve teasers. They aren’t romantic. Don’t believe the popular entertainment that disguises invasion of privacy, harassment and domination as love. Sexual assault should be nipped in the bud.
Talk to teenagers of all genders. Tell them that no matter how desperate they become, they can’t control someone else’s body, whoever that someone is.
Sexual assault is equally wrong when your best friend/gang member/bff/bro/sis/bae (or any cool term) does it. It doesn’t matter who they are to you or how decent you think they are.
Don’t become a part of the problem by cooperating with them and justifying them.
No means no. If they aren’t in a position to say anything freely, it is a no. Consent isn’t for you to understand or assume. It is for them to give. Read that again.
Sexual assault isn’t rape alone. It is unwanted sexual contact. Sometimes, what we brush up saying it is common or normal (casual) could be sexual assault.
Nothing can justify or be an excuse for sexual assault. It was, it is, always avoidable. Onus is on the assaulters to NOT assault. We can’t push the blame on victims or survivors for letting it happen or for not fighting back.
No form of sexual assault is trivial or forgivable. So if you have ever assaulted someone sexually and the world has forgiven you, you are still a criminal.
Survivors don’t owe anyone anything. Their life is still theirs and will remain. Those who’ve been watching everything from a comfortable place can keep their opinions to rest.
You need not wait for a particular month to become aware and spread awareness about sexual assault. It is a bare minimum expectation from a human being.
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Mostly Normal is a book of innocence, longing, filial love, angst and acceptance, encapsulating a gamut of human emotions within its lightweight edifice. The book touches the human heart and will stay with you.
Some books enthral you till the last page, and then there are those that you stop reading after turning a few pages. Some books are a one-time read, while you carry some books with you long after you have read them. Then, once in a while, a book hits you so close to home that you find it difficult to slot into any category.
I will put Priyadeep Kaur’s Mostly Normal (BookSoul Reads, 2022) in this last bracket.
At a little less than hundred pages, Mostly Normal is a testimony of the power of words to inspire, irrespective of their length.
Most women do not get to live their lives the way they want, on their own terms. So why should they be tied down in their old age?
Every morning, while dropping the kids at the bus stop, I find a grandfather waiting with his granddaughter. I see him again when I fetch the kids. This has been the pattern for the last few years.
He is seen actively participating in his granddaughter’s activities, from morning and evening walks to attending her parent-teachers meeting, sending her for extracurricular activities to even planning her birthday party. He is admired by all. He is appreciated for making himself useful in his old age. People rave that the doting grandfather is doing his duty towards his children and grandchildren. The much-admired grandfather is also a widower, having lost his wife years ago to chronic disease. It’s also to be noted that both his son and daughter-in-law are working parents.
Every day, the onlookers appreciate his sense of duty and dedication. They say that this is how the elderly should keep themselves occupied. They should bring up their grandchildren while their children go off to work.
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