Firstly, my best wishes to Daaman Welfare Society on organizing the 10th National Summit on Men's Issues.
We, the Men’s Rights Activists of India, are fighting against the #GenderBiasedLaws, against #FakeCases, against #498A, and many other laws which are one-sided and are biased against men. Is our sole goal just to repeal these biased laws? We also ask for a Men’s Commission or a Men’s Ministry, is it our sole goal?
I will speak for myself here. For me, being a Men’s Rights Activist is not just raising my voice against the Gender Biased Laws and the women appeasement but also raising my voice when I see anything happening with the sole aim to appease women and/or to deprive men of basic rights. Misandry is so deep in our society that some people don’t even realize that they are full of misandry – for them it is a part of life.
Due to the deep misandry and Women Appeasement, the Indian Society is not just facing numerous issues like #FakeCases, #MenSuicides, #498AJailsInnocents etc. but many others. I am going to discuss about two such issues: Neglect of Elders Abuse and Neglect of Child Boys’ Issues. These issues are hugely rampant yet completely ignored.
ELDER ABUSE IN INDIA
We live in times where men & women both are working professionals with careers & ambitions of their own. Our culture has always been one which gives respect to elders & takes care of them during their hard times, especially in their old age years. Abuse or mistreatment of elders would have been a non-issue or a non-event a few decades back. But it is a stark reality of present times. Remember Baghban? Four sons do not take care of their ageing father & mother. Do you remember the role of daughter in laws in the movie? May be not. One of them cooks a story that the mother is an attention seeker & another one says that father is good for nothing.
Helpage India has a dedicated page for "Elder Abuse" where they list certain facts & figures for elder abuse in India. Below is what they write:
I repeat, "The daughter-in-law remains the primary abuser be it Youth Perception or Elder Reality."
Many of us are aware of this reality, but we choose to ignore it. May be because we like to blame the sons all the time or may be because we don't care till fire reaches our doorsteps.
Remember the viral video of daughter-in-law named Sangeeta Jain who is brutally thrashing her mother-in-law Rajrani Jain. All major news agencies covered this including NDTV, Indian Express & even Dailymail UK. The Sansani guy at ABP News called the episode "Torture" and he is absolutely right. The video would give chills to any sane person. A simple YouTube search will throw up many such videos.
A research paper called "Domestic Violence against Elderly People: A Case Study of India" by Punita Govil and Swati Gupta, Aligarh Muslim University (A.M.U.), Aligarh, India presents the below chart:
I came across a "Country Report for World Health Organization" prepared by Shubha Soneja & the report also bears Helpage India's name. I will present some excerpts from the report.
""Daughters-in-law" was the next "problem" in both the groups. While both the groups stressed on the lack of caring attitude by the daughters-in-law, women of the lower socio-economic class got very vocal about the fact the daughtersin-law were misusing the law, by reporting harassment by in-laws to the police, leading to maltreatment by the police to the in-laws. (Indian Penal Code sec. 498(a), is designed to tackle dowry deaths)"
"Verbal abuse seemed to exist however, the older people were not very vocal about it. There seemed to be some talk about "some daughters-in-law speaking very rudely" to their old in-laws. No major details were provided but a glaring fact was of a woman who talked about "someone she knew" who was constantly called a "bloody bitch" by her daughter-in-law, even while crossing her bed, or wherever the she used to be sitting. The narrator had tears in her eyes, and within a matter of few minutes after this was frankly crying."
"abuse however was not cited. Another glaring aspect seen in the study was use of crime as a weapon for elder abuse. There is a special cell for crime against women where cases of domestic violence and dowry deaths are handled on priority. These are now being grossly misused by the younger daughters-in-law against the parents-in-law."
I am not going to argue if daughter-in-laws & their involvement in elder abuse is a problem in India, because it is not an argument or a debate, it is a FACT.
If you think that the problem is not as big, check the report by "The World Health Organization (WHO), the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) and partners" where they conducted research across many countries of the world & this is what they stated about India.
CHILD BOYS’ ISSUES IN INDIA
Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao!, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojna, Balika Samriddhi Yojna, Mukhyamantri Rajshari Yojna, Mukhyamantri Kanya Suraksha Yojna, Mukhyamantri Laadli Yojna, Mazi Kanya Bhagyashree Scheme, Nanda Devi Kanya Yojna - I am sure you must have heard/read about some or all of the mentioned Government schemes/yojnas. There are many other similar schemes but let us take a pause for a moment. Now, take a minute & go through the list again and replace all the girl related words with their parallel boy related terms. Have you heard of any scheme called Beta Bachao, Beta Padhao! or maybe Baalak Samriddhi Yojna? No, you haven't. The reason is simple - no such schemes exist. So does this imply that as per the Government 'Betas' need no protection and 'Betas' don’t need any education?
When I write Betas, I cover the younger boy children, the boy children (12-13) and adolescents (15-18). The Government spends a lot on the welfare & empowerment of girl child. Somewhere in the midst of all the rhetoric & vote bank politics (more on this later), the Government has completely ignored the mere existence of a Boy Child in the society.
The recent ordinance (as I write this in May, 2018) that confirms for death penalty for child rapists only stands for rapists of girls. Infact, those guilty of raping boys below the age of 12 years old would not be subject to the death penalty provision, at least till now as the Government is still thinking & finalizing the proposal for boys. So, steps are taken at lightning speed for girls/women but when it comes to boys, let the matter be. It is shameful that the Government is indirectly differentiating rapes as Good rapes & Bad rapes.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development of GoI conducted a "Study on Child Abuse: India 2007" and this report stated "More than half of the victims are boys". To be precise: 53.22% children faced one or more forms of sexual abuse; among them, the number of boys abused was 52.94%. Read about it here.
The report also shows some eye opening facts:
Clearly, the boy child is a victim of PHYSICAL ABUSE, SEXUAL ABUSE, EMOTIONAL ABUSE & NEGLECT in our society.
A study conducted on "Silence of male child sexual abuse in India" concluded very importantly -
"To make this world safer for children, we need to protect our sons and daughters equally. Patriarchy is not protecting our boys more than our girls in childhood. The very low rates of reporting and help seeking among victims of sexually abused boys in India could be due to the hegemony of patriarchy. This social construct is usually being applied to understand the subordination of girls and women, the fact that it is oppressing all children who are perfect victims irrespective of their gender is being ignored in male children who are expected to be superior due to their biology and also because of this myth of superiority, there are unethical expectations for them to overcome the harmful effects of sexual abuse of childhood without treatment."
Coming to CHILD LABOR, UNICEF states:
ILO World Report on Child Labor 2015 states that more boys than girls (38.7 million vs. 8.8 million) are forced into doing hazardous work.
I am not reducing the children to statistics. I feel disgusted to mention this statistics & figures, but what can one do when nobody from the Government or authorities is even ready to listen to the facts? And the Facts say-
Boy Child are victims of abuse in India
Boy Child does not receive proper care or attention from the Government authorities.
The Ministry of Women & Child Development is either busy in making new laws for 'so-called' aggrieved wives or is busy in schemes for girl child. (It is a matter of a different post altogether as to what does the 'Women' & 'Child' stand for in the Ministry's name)
Why is the problem of Elder Abuse not getting addressed on larger platforms or by Government officials? Why is this injustice happening to child boys & what are the reasons behind this?
There are certain layers to this:
1.Vote Bank Politics combined with TRP Politics
Women Appeasement is the name of the game. While Congress was & is pro at this, BJP has gone one step ahead & further divided this into Muslim women appeasement. News about atrocities on women sells. Mere allegations made by women generate TRPs. Politicians are competing with each other to establish themselves as the messiah of women empowerment, even if it means supporting feminists who do not strive for equality but whose whole aim is male bashing. Sympathy towards Boy Child or men in general does not garner votes or TRP.
The Government of India has a Ministry called "Ministry of Women & Child Development" (The child part is a matter of an individual discussion altogether). When the Minister & Ministry get some time from calling men "haraamzaade ki tarah mote", they don't see any issues with the elder men/women and the abuse that they face. They are busy making more laws for married women rather than implementing the existing laws properly and rather than focusing on fixing the BIG loopholes in the existing set of #GenderBiasedLaws. A question to the Ministry: Are this elder women not part of your definition of women? When will you protect them?
2.Selective Outrage of Media, Politicians & people in general
One of the case studies mentions the victim’s (who is a 9-year-old male) father saying, “He is a boy; he neither lost a hymen nor will get pregnant. He should behave like a man, not a sissy”.
In another case study quoted here, the father of a 4-year-old victim of abuse in an educational institution says, “If he was a 4-year-old girl, raped by two older boys, school would be afraid of a scandal. Because he is a boy no one cares or accepts the crime”.
Till the time, we all do not treat the CRIME against Boys with the same anger & punishment as the CRIME against Girls; we are not going to see equality.
3.False Definition of Boyhood & Manhood
Mard Ban, Mard ko Dard nahi hota, Ladki ki tarah mat ro - these are some of the classic examples of machismo in our country. Men and boys are not supposed to cry. They are not allowed to feel vulnerable. They are not supposed to ask for help. If a boy cries, he is a loser. We all collectively have to change this mindset. A man can cry, a boy can feel vulnerable. Till the time we don't generate that empathy in our hearts, nothing will change.
The Government is going dead silent on these burning issues. Why, why, why? No working is being done to change the mind-set/to educate/to create awareness with regards to this taboo subject. While talking about betis, about menstruation, bleeding, sanitary pads, about sex is all encouraged, then why such important topics are being pushed below the carpet as if nothing exists. Such a blind eye. WHY?
4.The inherent Misandry in our society
The statements brings out the great thinking that all these women hold, the strong negative bias against all boys/men. I wonder what the root cause of such misandry is. Are all men brought up the same way - to be women haters? Men are not criminals, it is the person who is, not the gender. The jails of India and world are testimony that even women are behind bars for the heinous of crimes, they why make the scapegoat for all wrong acts alone?
5.False narrative that "Boys cannot get raped"
As Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code stands, rape is something that only a man can do to a woman. There is no room for adult male victims, much less female perpetrators. Although child survivors of both sexes are covered by the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012, current rape laws leave out a large swathe of male victims, who cannot come forward for fear of stigma and a lack of legal recourse. Reuters writes "In India, Boy Victims of Sexual Assault Await Attention".
6.False narrative that "Women can never abuse or offend", "Girls always speak Truth"
A simple search on Twitter with the hashtag #CrimeByWomen will be good enough to make people realize the magnitude & extent of crimes that are committed by women.
7.Misuse of laws and filing of #FakeCases
There are laws made by the Government which are 'supposedly' made for protection of women but this laws are grossly misused by wives to harass & torture husband, his parents & his relatives. False cases of domestic violence, dowry, abuse etc. are now a regular thing in courts & courts have gone to the extent of stating that "Misuse of dowry provisions is legal terrorism". But there is no concrete punishment for such women who file false & fake cases. Barring a few instances, most of them are let to go free. Some of them want money, gold & property, some want dominance, some just want to harass. Till the time there is a fear of law & strict punishment among the serial abusers, this will not stop. Women in India cannot be charged with sexual harassment, rape, adultery, stalking even though there have been hundreds of reports of it happening.
8.Most Important Point - #PAISA
IT IS ALL ABOUT MONEY. The Central Government's WCD Ministry is allocated more than Rs. 18,000 Crore per year & it is increasing every year. Also, every state has a WCD Ministry & they have their own budget. Add to this, the women NGOs working relentlessly to get funds in the name of Women Empowerment, while sitting in their AC cabins & sipping hot coffees. All in all - we may be looking at an industry at the tune of around Rs. 1 Lakh Crores. If audits are conducted for these women NGOs, most of them would be caught red handed with misuse of funds and neck deep in corruption. What do they do to get away from this - propose a new law or a new commission & thus, the audit is complete, yearly target is achieved. Media stays happy, Banks stay happy, Rhetoric stays happy, Fake Women Empowerment stays happy.
What are we doing against elder abuse? What do we do when we see a video of abusive daughter in law or read such a report? Probably nothing. So, this means we are part of the problem. Speak up, share, name & shame them. Most of the elder men & women do not share the abuse by daughter-in-laws with the fear of shame in society or fear of being laughed at. This elder men & women need our support. If we don't support them, who will? The abusers have to be punished.
Who holds the key to the problem of child boys’ issues? We, the People. We have to make others aware about this issue and talk more about it openly. There should be no differentiation between our actions and/or reactions towards a girl child and a boy child.
Getting involved in the fight against sexual abuse is the only way to prevent it, especially boy child sexual abuse. We should raise awareness of the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse by educating adults about preventive steps, recognize and react responsibly to the reality of child sexual abuse. We need to teach children, both boys and girls about empathy, respect, compassion and consent. We have to nurture kids with unbiased thinking.
We have to get rid of Gender Biased Laws & bring in Gender Neutral Laws against all crimes.
Seeking stronger and stringent punishment to all those who file false cases, and put burden on our Judicial system, ruin innocent lives of others beyond repair to settle personal scores, using laws as weapons
Elect representatives, from municipal elections to Parliament elections, who strive to work for #MensRights, #BoysRights & #FathersRights. The representation of #MensRights advocates in Indian Legislature is as good as zero right now.
Highlight the shortcomings and biasedness of Media, Political parties and people along with naming & shaming of liars, hypocrites
Work towards eradicating Misandry from our society
Speak clearly and loudly - #CrimeKnowsNoGender
I am an eternal optimist & believer that things will change & situation will improve. Till then, support each other & support the needy.
I wait to hear your feedback on firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author:
Pankaj Gupta is a member of Vaastav Foundation, Mumbai. He is an IT Project Manager by profession & is fighting a DV case against him & his family. His Twitter handle is @pankajcgupta.