Five Ways To Compliment Your Woman


ForeverAwkward (And Maybe Learning)

Someone sent me an article
On Facebook once, and it was
One of those vapid listicles
That confuse me with their
Lack of journalistic integrity
But this one caught my eye
Because it was titled ‘Five Ways
To Compliment You Woman’
And the tagline said ‘Does your
Man say these to you everyday?’

Intrigued, I opened it, and read
Through the points, and each
Left me more indignant than
The first because really, if someone
Bothered saying those hollow
Words would annoy me, and
Would leave me doubting all that
I’ve created, and made of
Myself through years of creation
And destruction, and repair.

The first point read ‘Tell her that
Her lipstick looks good before
You kiss it off her.’ No, I’d rather
You tell me how the words my
Lips enunciate make you want to
Know more, and to hear more, and
That you’d not want to kiss…

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A Hijra in the family


leylashah2014

I was just another boy wanting to be a girl. Now, I’ll be just another boy. I have not complained, nor do I complain now. I only tell a tale, for that’s all I’ve got. A tale, some could relate to.

This is for everyone who sees the queer movement as a superficial rich kid’s tantrum. I hail from a deeply religious middle class family with strong roots in a place known for its gender based crimes.

One of these days if I stopped existing the world wouldn’t know but I don’t want to be just another lgbt person. I don’t want to be just another statistic, just another note. I want to see the light, I want to be able to  hope but I don’t know where to look for hope, where to find it.

There was someone who told me, that maybe I should get my career sorted…

View original post 1,271 more words

Debunking Rape Myths That Most Of Us Believe In (Part 1)


            I am turning back to delve further into the topic that was the subject of my first blog post. I found it obligatory to pen down some of the myths related to the heinous crime of rape (some of them are extremely surprising and disturbing) and I feel it is high time that some of these myths are debunked.

       While the majority of humans around the world, irrespective of their origins, nationality and worldly experience, maintain a consensus that non consensual sex is a crime and rapists are individuals who deserve to suffer( many of us do believe that rapists should be tortured to death to experience the pain they inflicted; preferably be castrated). Yet, The National College Women Sexual Victimization Study, surveyed around 4500 women who had been victims of sexual assault in college and reached the conclusion that 95% of the rapes on college campuses never get reported, one major reason being fear of being ostracized by their fellow students or acquaintances.

         The question that haunts me and probably many others like me is why do we sympathize with these victims and at the same time treat them differently? Yes, hypocrisy is a major factor at work but there are various other factors. These are some of the myths that most of us believe about sexual assault and the victims of sexual assault (and hence blame any behavioral changes on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

  1. Some women have rape fantasies and/or enjoy rough sex. Hence, it is possible he was giving her what she wants but she does not want to accept that she enjoyed it .

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Firstly, actual prevalence of rape fantasies of women is much higher than we could imagine.  A recent online poll revealed an astonishing and well, disturbing fact : rape is ranked third in the top ten sexual fantasies of women. Does that change the definition of rape and make it acceptable at some level? No. Actually, there is such a massive difference between fantasizing about rough sex and rape that it is necessary to distinguish the two so that a victim is not left feeling that “there must be something wrong with me” or they are “mentally ill” or “perverted”.

           Studies have shown that a great deal of our enjoyment of sex is not due to the physical dimension of the act, the rush of arousal could be felt by thinking that someone wants us so badly. Romance novels have been supposed to be “porn for women”; the astounding success of books like Fifty Shades has brought the revelation into limelight that a large number of women enjoy being submissive during sex. But the thing is when a woman fantasizes about rape, she is not really thinking along the lines of “Oh! I wish my boyfriend would hurt me violently and traumatize me and my happiness is destroyed” but more along the lines of “I wish my boyfriend would want me so passionately that he cannot stop himself from exploring me”.

       So does this mean a no is a precursor that she really wants it? Actually the actions taking place in a woman’s mind, when she has inherent rape fantasies, is equivalent to the motions of rape; but the actual psychology behind it is absurdly different. The human sympathetic nervous system becomes active when a human is under stress or danger, and the “fight-or-flight-mode” is galvanized in him/her which results in increased heart rate, respiration and genital arousal. Fear and excitement have many a times been a parallel occurrence; hence scientifically justifying why rape fantasies ranging from light to perverse can arouse a woman and NOT be a signal that she wants to be raped.

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         Women who are masochistic by nature enjoy rough sex. Some women just want to entertain a unrestricted and speculative behaviour towards sex. But all of them are aroused by the pleasure that they imagine themselves receiving in their fantasy but real rape is followed by trauma, loss of self-esteem, social exclusion, etcetera which is not desirable to any woman. It is important for women to communicate this to their partners that rape fantasies contain three key elements: force, sex, and non-consent( from the viewpoint of the fantasizer, an implicit consent has been given) and it is important for all of us to get a deeper understanding of the human psyche to realize that everything in life does not ensue in shades of black and white; there are shades of grey too.

  1. It is not possible for a woman/man to experience single or multiple orgasms while being raped. It is a highly uncommon phenomenon and it might mean that somewhere deep down, on a subconscious level, he/she enjoyed it.

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One of the biggest, disconcerting and unfortunately common fabrications of the truth that a high number of people believe in is this. In the middle of an act that is normally sadistic and atrocious, how can a survivor experience intense physical pleasure that leads to an orgasm? Research shows that of the rape cases that are reported, survivors who have experienced orgasm(s) fall in the range of 10% to 50%; though most of them are unwilling to accept it to escape condemnatory comments from the society. And hence it is not uncommon after all. And these are just the reported cases.

        I would encourage readers to visit the following site to know and retrospect into the mind of a rape victim who had orgasms during the incident and it left her thinking that she is distorted and mentally ill. It is heart-rending to think that unawareness can actually terminate the stability and happiness in a victim’s life and well, ignorance is not always bliss:

http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Had-Multiple-Orgasms-While-Being-Raped/3741366

     The days are gone when people believed that rape cannot lead to pregnancy; but we still need to explore the multi-faceted nature of human psychology. It is possible to experience arousal due to genital manifestations but not feel mentally aroused (as said earlier, the physical and mental dimensions of sexual arousal are not always parallel). It is possible to feel disgusted at the arousal being experienced if the person experiencing it thinks it to be an incongruous response to the sexual stimuli being received. Therapists commonly use the example of being ticked; in plain words, we have all had experiences where we were tickled and most of us burst into bouts of laughter depending on our sensitivity. But that laughter does not indicate that we enjoyed being tickled; in fact it is irksome and laughter is our body’s response to the tickling although our mind tells us we are not enjoying it.

                Referring again to the sympathetic nervous system, as I stated in my earlier point, the activation of the fight-or-flight mode results in genital arousal and hence women can get aroused without their knowledge. An article by Psychology Today stated that “ By measuring changes in blood flow to female genitals, several studies have found that subliminal images, images of copulation in other species, and those that women report as disgusting, boring, or not arousing can cause physical arousal.” Hence, it is quite likely that the body of a victim produces lubrication to protect the genitalia from getting damaged and not due to sexual arousal.

            The most abhorrent part of this that there are experienced assaulters out there who have learnt the science behind arousal; they know that mixing fear and anxiety in the right manner could enforce arousal leading to climax in a victim, that would leave the victim confused and traumatized thinking that he/she was depraved enough to climax during rape.

                Many survivors hence feel ashamed to accept this. Another worry that presses upon them is that police and courtrooms could misconstrue their orgasm as evidence that the survivor was not raped after all. And this brings me to my next point.

 

  1. Physical evidence never lies or misleads. Hence, if physical evidence does not establish the authenticity of the victim, it is a case of false allegation and accusation of being raped.

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 I will not for once deny that physical evidence is a crucial corroboration and there have been cases where the victim has falsely accused an innocent of rape and the innocent has been saved due to lack of physical evidence or proof that evidence has been tampered with. One such unfortunate case was where a Billings woman was charged with producing false evidence to report that her innocent ex-boyfriend had sexually assaulted her on the night of her prom.

http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/court-says-tampering-charge-dismissed-by-baugh-can-be-reinstated/article_a460d02c-ac48-5c34-a4a6-ff3707a2c42f.html

                 

While such cases are repugnant and sad, but it is not always true that physical evidence is the ultimate substantiation of the truth. Physical evidence such as fingerprints and bruises and injuries can be easily covered; in fact in situations where the perpetrator drugs his victim or uses other forms of substance abuse to render him/her completely helpless and vulnerable (date rape), the victim cannot discern what is happening to him/her and hence does not fight back. This means that in cases where the victim is drugged before being raped, there is less likelihood of injuries and bruises. This debunks another myth that if a victim was compliant and did not try to hinder the perpetrator, it was probably consensual.

           Leave out physical evidence. Scientists and researchers believe that something as accurate as DNA evidence can also be tampered with. Many sexual assault cases lack physical evidence and hence DNA extracted from trace evidence like semen, hair and blood become extremely significant. Although DNA evidence is the invaluable form of evidence that could be a boon to the victim, there have been times when DNA evidence has been contaminated which lead to misleading evidence, confusion, questioning the authenticity of the victim’s testimonial and contamination can impair DNA to such a point that prosecution or exculpation of a particular suspect is no longer possible. The relevance and acceptability of DNA evidence depends on testing, utilization, collection and requires utmost care, technique and funding.

        Evidence tampering can be harmful because in many cases, innocents are prosecuted for a crime they did not commit, for example, in the following case:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dna-testing-foolproof/

And many a times, such tampering may result in exoneration of the actual perpetrator, as is seen in this case:

http://www.wkrn.com/story/23159064/vanderbilt-rape-case-indictments

 

 An article by http://www.laws.com sheds light on the different ways that a rape kit (sexual assault evidence collection kit) could be tampered with and hence be seen as unacceptable at court. “There are many ways that a rape kit could be tampered with. For example, the chain of custody of that evidence may not be known. If for example, the individual that collected the evidence did not immediately bring it the lab, the whereabouts of that kit may be unknown for some time. In addition, a rape kit may have had evidence removed from the kit, including DNA or other material. When any evidence is removed, it is likely that the entire kit would be inadmissible in court. In order for evidence to be admissible in court, it must have a valid chain of custody and it must not have been tampered with in any way.

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 These are some myths which many of us inherently believe. I think rape victims and people associated with them should research on the various dogmas related to this crime in an articulate fashion, and not just believe what their society and sometimes even their minds try to thrust upon them. Healing is a long and difficult process; acknowledging that there is nothing wrong with a rape victim and it is entirely the fault of the perpetrator is the first step towards it. Stay updated for my next follow-up in which I would discuss and debunk some more myths that have remained as a haunting spectre in our society for too long.

     What suggestions do you have for the victims out there who have to deal with the consequences of society believing such myths? How do you think societal thinking can be changed and what other myths do you know that need to be debunked? Please let me know your suggestions.

 

The Less Fortunate


          He used to see the rich and well dressed boys, clad in soft, ironed school uniforms, which would be embellished with raw mud by the end of the day. His eyes glinted just like their branded, sparkling shoes, when he saw their mothers shove down boxes of delicious lunch in their branded bags. He would feel the desperate need to protest when the pampered brats would try to squirm away from the arms of their darling mothers, just to avoid being wrapped up in an emotional scene. So stupid all of them, he thought. His heart would heave when they left a teary-eyed woman behind as the school bus zoomed off, a woman who would anticipate their return the whole day. Then, with an inexplicable sigh, he would turn around and merge himself in the lot of the less fortunate, laundering the busy streets.

      It has been a while since I have posted. Because I needed some time to formulate my thoughts on this particular subject. As it is probably evident from my first post and through my Bio, I am a relentlessly imaginative teenager. This piece was written by me on a lazy Sunday morning, when a particularly common sight seemed to have a poignant effect on me. Let us call the boy mentioned above Ram. Ram, the son of a cobbler and a maid, had dreams. Dreams that were mocked and ridiculed by his parents, but nevertheless, he dreamed. He did not know that 70% percent of the population of India was below the average poverty line and most of them remained illiterate their whole lives. And thus, he dreamed.

           Ram stands in his dirty, torn rags beside his father every day. His father polishes the shoes of some bourgeois gentleman in front of him with adroit. Ram watches the affluent kids of the neighborhood run about in their branded attires, expensive shoes and accessories. Ram watches them ride their new-fangled bikes down the road longingly. Then his father scolds him under his breath and warns him to pay attention. Every Sunday, Ram appears in my neighborhood- woe and dejection etched on his face. Every Sunday, he walks amongst us unnoticed and inapt.

           Last month, I came across a website that listed various organizations that try to ameliorate the condition of all the Rams around us. It is a shame that most of us are so accustomed to such spectacles that we do not ponder over this issue. The issue of how to help children like Ram and let them know that their dreams are not “ridiculous” or “preposterous”. The Economic Times states that India’s per capita income is estimated to have gone up to Rs.5729 per month in the year 2012-13. According to Forbes, India is now the home to 57 billionaires (a statistic which left me astounded). And the 2011 India Philanthropy report found that the booming with prosperity Indians are giving away only 1.5% to 2% of their yearly income to charitable institutions.

                There are around 80 organizations in India that aim at providing relief to children like Ram and his contemporaries. Through this blog, I aim to create awareness about issues that have remained inconsequential for way too long. Thus, I ask you to take a look at the organizations listed in the following record:

http://www.giveindia.org/donationsearch.aspx?flag=1&txtMinBudget=250&txtMaxBudget=25000&ddlCause=51&ddlState=0&ddlOrganisation=&ddlTexBenefit=&x=51&y=7

        I do not want to use ornamental words or appeal to your emotional or philosophical side, to enforce what I have been trying to convey. I just think it is very important for a human being to not forget his roots. I am open to any debate or suggestions from the readers, but I maintain my stand that our roots go back to teach us to be compassionate, altruistic and magnanimous human beings. After all, there was a time in India when Brahmins survived solely on the basis of charity. And hence I believe it is not too late to bring back goodwill into our society along with a booming economy. And even if it is, better late than never.

Trip Down Memory Lane


Today, as I sat racking my brain to cogitate up a subject to write upon, my mind wandered back to yesterday. Yesterday, as I sat in class, surrounded by my friends and their chatter, I tried to kill my boredom. I fiddled with my friend’s laptop and cursed the school authorities for not allowing public wifi in school. And then my eyes fell upon the puny icon of Microsoft Word and I started away at what I do best.

                Halfway through writing my “magnum opus”, I heard somebody’s voice pipe up behind me,” Use a pen and paper, can’t you? Why are you using up the charge of his laptop?” At that point of time, I had paid no heed to the off-hand remark of my classmate but today as I sat disappointed because my laptop was low on battery, I reflected. The epiphany came as a blow to me. I sat in a house filled with stacks of books reveling in layers of dust and yet I would wait an hour for my laptop to be back on track to use Word.

                 It is just so ironical that it has become quintessential for all of us to rely so much on technology. Mind you, I am not orthodox- I am just as zealous about gadgets as the next teenager. But it saddens me to think I have changed so much that I read my favorite books on Amazon but do not stop to explore the bookstore near my house.

                 You have devices to transform everything- transform our ordinary, everyday lives to luxurious, dazzling lives abundant with I Phones and IPods and Tablets. Of course, I want them too. And I will have my father give them to me for sure. But what I have learnt from my recent introspection that the work of Nature is something that we have not yet fully understood. We have left it unexplored, and ventured ahead to explore technology.

               A walk in the park can rejuvenate you more than the reality show you watch religiously. Interacting with human friends is so much more satisfying than buzzing them on Whatsapp. Exploring the world around you by foot teaches you much more than you can learn by exploring places using Facebook. There is no doubt as to how imperative it is to stay connected through social networking sites and I would be lying if I denied that I check my Facebook account at least thrice a day. But I think it is also imperative to know that the man who greeted you at the market yesterday has been living in your neighborhood for the past eight months. Or that you can actually go out and give away pennies to beggars instead of liking and sharing “HELP HIM/HER” posts on various sites.

          Unplug yourself once in a while. Introspect and reflect. Spend some time with yourself. Connect with your inner desires and spend time engaging in non-virtual activities. It feels good, trust me. Maybe just start by taking a trip to that local park you used to visit when you were younger and were sans phones and laptops. Take a trip down memory lane.

Please feel free to comment. How do you think a person can relive the days when technology did not rule our lives?

Heal The Scars


It is my first attempt at writing a blog. It has always intrigued me- the art of writing is such. I would be grateful to receive your comments regarding my work. I do not want to initiate by touching upon a topic that is, in many ways, controversial and can even prove to be a lacklustre subject for many. Yet I have never been one to confirm to rules and well, I am proud of being an iconoclast.

         I come from the land called India. Seventeen years of my life has been spent being a regular yet anomalous teenager. Next year, I leave my home town to experience college (hopefully, unless, god forbid I flunk in my board examinations!). Probably a metro or probably one of those trivial yet significant towns which leaped to fame through Chetan Bhagat books. I would be lying if I said I do not want it to be a big city. Spending all my teenage years in a small town, the grass obviously looks greener on the other side for me.

            Two years back, it was Delhi. The capital of India. Where I could explore the best of India. I actually had no idea about the city and how it was. But I imagined it would be an experience worth having. Till the papers flooded with the macabre rape stories, the hideous crimes profuse in every street of the city, the images as proofs of the crimes and finally the Nirbhaya case that broke open the gates of anger floods all over the country.

         I changed my mind. Delhi is not the place for a teenage girl to study or live in. You see I was enraged too, not that I did anything. Not that anybody did anything. Well, at least not something beneficial. I could not comprehend how changing Facebook profile pictures or organizing sudden candle marches could change anything. Nobody did anything to heal their scars- the scars of the victims, of their families, of their friends, of people who loved them.

         Now let me take you back to what happened last week. It was a humid Saturday evening- a tuition day. I was busy liking my best friend’s status on Facebook when I heard loud giggles and laughter. I caught a glimpse of a pretty girl in a T-shirt and shorts walking away from a crowd of despicable lowlifes who invited her with wolf whistles and crude comments. Not an abnormal sight nowadays. But a sight that does not fail to tug at the strings of my heart every time I think about it.

          I live in a society infested with hypocrites. Hypocrites who say harassers should be castrated and yet fail to gain enough courage to raise their voice when it happens right in front of their eyes. Yes, avert your eyes and pretend you were not looking when the auto driver was ogling at the girl’s chest. Pretend you did not hear when they call out to you in a not-so-polite manner. Hush your daughter if she tries to retaliate. “Scene mat create karo( Do not create a scene)”, you say. What choice will you have if the harasser gets encouraged by your silence and crosses the line amidst a crowd of strangers in the street? Scold your daughter for wearing a “dress like that”?

           I would myself be supporting hypocrisy if I say that I haven’t obliged in the aforementioned acts. There are many a time that I have ignored such “trivial” matters. But I think it is time for me to change. For us to change. Hell, this has become such a common slogan that many of us lay deaf ears upon this monotone. For those of you out there who do not care, thank you for making us realize how alone we actually are in this world full of charlatans. If my message is not yet clear to you, please watch the trailer of the upcoming movie “Kill The Rapist?”  :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M28z7JefCA

       Take some time to visit the above link. A conclusion is not required here; I have learnt that actions do speak louder than words. It is hard for me as a frequent writer to accept that but unfortunately, that is how life works.

       Have the recent news affected you? How could we contribute as an individual to erase this malpractice from our society? Readers, I would love to know your views.