Priyanka Karki: #tnmsaysno to violence and abuse against women
It all boils down to the perception of women in our society. If the nation and we as individuals valued women, looked at women as individuals of substance, if we respected them then I assume the rules and regulations would have automatically been stronger. Right now, the punishment for rape is 7-10 years in jail, that’s it! So if a man brutally rapes a women against her will, he goes to jail for let’s say 10 years maximum. If he lives up to 100 years he has enough time to rape at least 7 to 8 times and by the time he dies he would be in peace in the arms of his friends and family. Now tell me how is that fair? So many times violence starts at home, so many go unreported since families think it will bring shame to the family. So many blame the women, “maybe you did something to provoke him”, “your skirt is too short”, “and why were you out that late at night?” The way the society thinks needs to change.
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Patriarchy has been the way of because of the deep rooted beliefs in our society”. There is no explanation as to the masses for years and we have subconscious. We have seen our elders how these minds process. Whatever the accepted it in the same way we treat women in a certain way which we justification might be, the same may also accept the religion we follow: brimming have learnt isn’t right. But it has led us explain why there are so many cases of with criticism and skepticism. Yet we have been accustomed to abiding to the norms set by them. It governs our day to day lives and we conform to it, complaining a lot, but not resisting as much.
Mothers still slave over the kitchen while the men go to work, wives still refrain from talking back to their husbands, and sons go out to party while daughters stay home and help. Then, the very same women don’t enter the kitchen or puja kotha when they are on their periods. It’s all a huge confusion but we have all learned to live with it.
What really grinds my gears are the crass atrocities men inflict on women on a daily basis throughout the world. Gut wrenching news that have surfaced in recent times just go to show how low mankind can go. Infuriatingly misogynistic defense lawyers, ruthless pedophiles, acid armed cowards, rapists, and other dastardly scoundrels have brought a bad name to men all over the world. However, putting all the men in the same basket isn’t going to get anyone anywhere. And apart from a few ignorant radical feminists going around badmouthing anyone with testicles (page xxx), this really isn’t something worth complaining about.
However, the inherent flaw lies within the entire concept we have of women and their place in society. In our male dominated society, women have always been of the weaker sex. Men have always taken control and as is always the case, men have trouble relinquishing the said power. But that is changing. As I see it, we are smack dab in the eye of this storm of change and most people are having trouble adjusting.
And it isn’t because everyone is stubbornly against the change, but more to mimic that to some extent. It may not be immediately apparent, but everyone has the unconscious urge to revert to the patriarchal ways that we so consciously avoid. That’s why the idea of male nurses is so alien to us, secretaries have to be female and we’re not entirely confident around female drivers.
This is mostly to blame for why we think men are the stronger sex. From this stems your impulse to assert control over the women in your family, the inability to lose an argument with your girlfriend and the necessity to act the alpha male in front of female company. Once again, this may not imply to everyone.
Now take it up a notch. Most of us are well educated and aware of the proper code of conduct. The concept of gender equality is well understood and we strive everyday to get there. But there are people in this world who do not have an inkling of this notion. As appalling as it was to hear the rapist’s comments about how he wasn’t at fault (from BBC’s Documentary: India’s Daughters), you can clearly see
that he firmly believes in what he said. He believes that it was the girl’s fault to have been there at that time of the night (9:00 pm) and to have tried to fight the rapists off. The upbringing he had, living in the slum-like communities of India, shaped this thought trend. In third world countries that community makes up a very large proportion. Putting two and two together, we can assume that a majority of those people have a similar, though not as extreme, belief. This is why spreading awareness and educating people becomes that much more important.
Of course, this is all lost in some people. Case in point: the defense lawyers in the same documentary who honestly believe women and girls “do not have a place in abuse against women in more developed nations in the West. Somehow, most of these instances are swept under the rug and media light is directed towards cases that happen in less developed nations. Arguments concerning media propaganda though, can be left for another time.
Getting back to the point; the complexities of male superiority are what cause some (if not all) of the abuse towards women. This is why many take eve teasing as a fun fad amongst guys instead of the classless act it is. This is what makes some men think that it is okay to hit women and even take it to greater extremities than that. Also, there are men who are completely out of their rockers (who I think are exceptions). It is astounding how societal perceptions can culminate to more acute consequences.
Contradictory to all that I have said, I do feel good about how things are shaping up. People are changing and we might just dare to hope for a more developed newer generation. Voices are being raised and these voices are being listened to. People are standing up for what is right. It is a slow process, but you cannot expect any different when it comes to eradicating beliefs that are so deeply embedded into our society and minds.
Nevertheless, the criticisms and skepticisms are culminating into change. Maybe mothers will someday return from work at the office and the rest of the family will help out for dinner. Maybe men will stop treating women as inferior beings. And maybe, just maybe, menstruating women do not have to think of themselves as impure beings and can go into any room they please. Dare we dream?