On 22 November, Bangladeshi journalist Rajib Sen of Mohona TV was wounded when unidentified people fired shots at the TV channel’s van, in Chittagong district. They were attacked on their way back from covering the funeral of two opposition leaders who were hanged for war crimes committed during the 1971 Liberation War. In Bangladesh this year, four secular bloggers and a publisher have been murdered by religious extremists.
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Thank you Nosheen Ali for your tribute to sister Sabeen Mahmud. She remains a bright light to those of us the world over who are inspired by her cour...
Thank you Nosheen Ali for your tribute to sister Sabeen Mahmud. She remains a bright light to those of us the world over who are inspired by her courage in the face of ignorance, repression and deathly violence. We will continue to look to her example as we, from various places and walks of life, continue to work in the ongoing and universal struggle for economic justice, equality and human rights.
I think a lot of sexual violence is triggered when men raised in conservative, patriarchal households, encounter women who do not fit into conventiona...
I think a lot of sexual violence is triggered when men raised in conservative, patriarchal households, encounter women who do not fit into conventional norms of womanhood. In India, a woman doesn't have to do much to be labelled "loose" and therefore, "rape-worthy". The list of "provocations", rapists put forward is ever increasing.
Nirbhaya's rapists saw her alone, "late", (9.30 pm), with a male companion, and decided that she was "rape-worthy". If she could be out with one man, she'd be open to sex with a few more.
In the case of the student from EFLU, her drinking convinced her rapists that she was rape-worthy. After all, a woman drinking is basically signalling her availability, her "loose character". Every Indian knows what "loose women" look like and how they behave.
University campuses are also teeming with sexual frustration. Young men from traditional families suddenly encounter young women of a kind they have never seen before. These are the assertive, confident, "free" women who dress as they please, are uninhibited and comfortable around men, and make no attempt to be discrete about their romantic relationships.
To a certain kind of man raised in a conservative, repressed and patriarchal family, a woman who's in a pre-marital romantic relationship, or one who drinks, is basically a "loose woman"; everyone knows how much loose women like "it", with any man. If so, why not them?
I don't know where the answer lies. India is a country where women are increasingly chasing freedom and autonomy, while their male counterparts are still stuck in a time warp, gazing in consternation at women who make no pretence of being "docile", or "shy". Much of this confidence and lack of inhibition is interpreted as an invitation for sex, to the detriment of both genders.
Given the general sense of insecurity, given the endemic nature of sexual violence, women become more wary, and more careful. They begin to treat every man as a potential rapist. Their parents enforce strictly and tighted "rules". Ordinary men feel unjus victimised, ordinary women feel perennially unsafe; all because a few men saw their "chance" and seized it.