Tuesday, August 13, 2013

MUST WATCH: India, A dangerous place to be a woman (BBC documentary)

I recently watched the fantastic documentary by BBC called, "India: A dangerous place to be a woman". I really wanted to see this, as it was recommended by my blogger sister Ophelia of Loving an Indian.
After Jyothi's rape/death last year, India has gotten worldwide media attention due to the fact that it has hugely escalated into an unsafe place for women. After the rape crisis(es), India was rated as the most dangerous place for a woman - worse than Somalia and Afghanistan. It is difficult for every woman, especially foreign women, which I have written about before.

Many Westerners argue that "India is a rape culture" which I do not necessarily think is true. I would argue that India has a (predominantly) patriarchal culture, and that rape is just a byproduct of this.
Listen, there are eve-teasing and cat-calls everywhere. It has happened to me both in the West and in India. This is because in the worldwide media, women are seen as dolls that are supposed to have no voice. 

BUT...in India it is a different story. The difference that I've pinpointed is that in India, many men feel like they have the God-given RIGHT to touch you, or be inappropriate with you. I think this is due to the lethal combination of: patriarchal culture / victim blaming / boys are better than girls / sons are favored / no sex education / repressed attitudes of expressing sexuality / devaluing women from birth / boys raised with "little emperor" syndrome / limited resources for the aftermath of rape or domestic violence / public attitudes that a girl is shamed to express her sexuality. That is the difference. That is why, in India, eve-teasing is not exactly harmless because it can quickly escalate...in a matter of seconds.


--------

This is the full video on Youtube (50 minutes long). IT IS A MUST-WATCH, especially for anyone who is raising Indian or half-Indian children. I would recommend that every Indian man needs to watch this too:



In the documentary, the narrator went to interview one of the lawyers who had defended the (disgusting) men who raped/murdered Jyothi. The lawyer said that "rape will never happen to a respectable woman". And then the narrator asks him to define what is a respectable woman. And he basically said that it is a woman who does not go out with men other than her husband, etc. but even he had a difficult time explaining it...did he even know? The narrator was absolutely shocked that he implied that it was the victim's fault for getting raped/murdered, that poor Jyothi was actually "responsible" for her attack according to him. Then the narrator said, "I didn't realize how different life is here - how much society's different, culture's different, we're conditioned differently. All the things I take for granted in India is completely different...the question of respect, how a girl dresses, how you're judged, how you're PERCEIVED ..these are things that I don't give a thought about back home (in U.K.) but here, you do have to think about it"

The narrator wants to find out the reason why such things are happening to women in India, so she visits U.N. Women researcher of sexual violence. The researcher said, "Men want to be in control; they want to be in power. In families, when boys grow up into men, they see how the mothers/sisters are treated...what value is put on their education, on their mobility...and then they go ahead and do exactly that with their wives or their daughters. And then through [the girl's] life cycle, they're being discriminated against at every stage. Until these mindsets change, rapes/molestation/harassment will continue to happen. What's really clear and urgent is that WE NEED TO VALUE WOMEN in this country".

The most shocking part to me was when the narrator visited a successful doctor, who had been assaulted/starved/imprisoned by her inlaws and doctor husband when they found out that she was having twin girls. Even the most educated and most fortunate of society are devaluing women. The doctor said that the more educated are even worse than the illiterate. That was extremely shocking to me.

The documentary was really excellent and it covered a wide range of topics: acid attacks, eve-teasing, going to the movie theatre where Jyothi was kidnapped, interviewing the defense lawyer of the rapists, interviewing sexual assault victims, looking into sexual assault public resources, differences when a boy or girl is born, the duties of a wife, dowry, visiting a predominantly girl's orphanage, and confronting her molesters and filing a police report and going to court.

--------

It really is a shame...to me, WOMEN REPRESENT LIFE. Every society on Earth benefits greatly when women are given opportunities to follow their dreams - whether it is as ambitious to be President, or as humble as just being a mother. To give women safety and unlimited freedoms makes for a happy society. To repress and devalue women creates an unhappy and corrupted society. Women - we are life...we birth generations, we raise them, we nurture them...we are responsible for making the world go 'round. And when that stops...when you disrespect and murder the soul of a woman, any woman - you spoil the life of the next generation.

And India, well...it is on the brink of change. All of our friends are modern Indians from traditional Indian families. I'd say most of them would be thrilled to have a girl child. But to hear, on this documentary, that there are actual people alive - educated members of an urban society - that think "women are equally as responsible for a rape", "daughters are a burden"...is shocking, especially in these modern times. Cultural traditions are still deeply rooted...it may be on the brink of change, but many still hold these attitudes. Within our own traditional Indian family I have noticed the same...and nobody changes because they are being controlled by the elders. It is difficult for me to watch - as a girl who was raised in the West to believe I can do anything and be anything - to see my Indian sisters in our family/friends being treated as a burden, not given the education they crave, and not allowed to have opportunities that their hearts' desire. A mere few have broken away from these attitudes, and got scholarships, determined to reach beyond what they're told they're allowed to do...but they are few and far between. Many just succumb to the pressure, and give in to the attitudes of being and feeling "less" or "inferior" just because they were born the "wrong" gender.

I'm hoping that we can start by raising a strong woman (Maya) to even out these inequalities, within the family, and within society as well...and hopefully more will follow...I hope Maya can look back at this documentary, as a grown woman and say "Thank God it's not like that anymore, I couldn't even imagine..." I can only hope...


SHARE:

12 comments

  1. Yes, you are right. India is of course a dangerous place these days. But, whom to blame? We are responsible for all these mess. Every single Indian is responsible, men and women too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree...I am scared for my daughter, and my Indian sisters...I pray everyday that this will all end and get better soon. People are talking about it openly now, so awareness is the first step.

      Delete
  2. Couldn't watch the video.
    The message displayed says:
    "The Youtube account associated with this video has been terminated due to multiple third party notifications of copyright infringement"

    I am located in California presently.
    May be this is a local problem.
    Let me try to view this at IHM's blog from where I came over to your blog.

    Best wishes from a new reader.
    GV

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for letting me know - I have updated the video!

      Delete
  3. I was able to view the video at IHM's blog site.
    Left me depressed and deeply disturbed.
    Don't know what to say.
    Regards
    GV

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too :(
      I was also very disturbed. It was very thought-provoking.

      Delete
  4. This movie has just been shown on Australian TV. I was shocked, but not surprised. Nothing will change in India until the women as a whole, realise how powerful they actually are and remind men and boys that if it weren't for them, there would be NO MEN OR BOYS IN INDIA AT ALL. Maybe all married women should cross their legs for a months to remind them of this fact! Unfortunately women get brainwashed into believing they are second-rate citizens in patriarchal societies. It's time to get back to worshipping women for having the womb that only they can provide for ensuring the next generation. Women unite!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 100% agree....it has to start from women themselves, they have to believe in their worth and teach men, and they will follow. Women shape generations...

      Delete
    2. Super comment!

      Delete
  5. Just now I came to know about the documentary.. I don't find any online links..
    Can u post the link??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://tune.pk/video/115105/india-a-dangerous-place-to-be-a-woman-bbc-documentary-2013

      Delete
  6. Indian people have no respect for women.They treated their women like slaves.

    ReplyDelete

Respectful comments only, please! (That means you, anonymous.)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
© Madh Mama. All rights reserved.
BLOGGER TEMPLATE DESIGNED BY pipdig