Women should be empowered to discover sexual intimacy; they should be fearless and crimes against them should be strictly punished.
These are some suggestions readers have sent in response to our series ‘Let’s Talk About Rape’, for which eight eminent Indians are writing open letters about sexual assault in India. Here are edited excerpts from the latest letters readers wrote to us.
Dr Geeta Sodhi calls for the sexual empowerment of women
I make a humble plea: Let us please permit our girls to say yes to sexual intimacy and also let us as parents acknowledge the sexuality of our girls.
Two decades ago, a young girl living in a slum in Delhi complained about being molested. Her complaint was part of data collected for a research study undertaken for designing a program on empowering adolescent girls. The incident was then put to discussion with young boys and girls from the same community. Interestingly and very revealingly, the boys in the group said the harassment was not molestation or sexual aggression while the girls were divided in their opinion. The young boys argued that the girl’s ‘No’ meant ‘Yes’.
The confusion emanates from the belief that women will express interest in, or consent for, sexual intimacy in a coy manner layered in denials and ‘No’. The perpetrators of sexual aggression are at best confused about the signals/responses or worse still twist and turn them to suit their own motives. Till such time that the girls learn to and have societal permission to say ‘Yes’ their ‘No’ will be left open to interpretation.
However, the ultimate empowerment and liberation of females will lie not only in their ability and sense of joy in saying yes for sexual intimacy but also in reaching out for it and pursuing it as something that is to be celebrated and not dreaded.
Looking forward to an honest society!
Mehak Gupta wants women to be fearless
India is a country where we are taught one lesson: Ignore. Brothers tell their sisters to ignore the men who harass you when you are walking down a street. But ignoring doesn’t help anyone but the devil.
Women, you need to act now. You need to put that man who harassed you behind bars. Parents, please tell your daughter that she has got the right to wear whatever she wants and say whatever she feels. She has the right not to be scared from the public. As the verses of Rabindranath Tagore from Gitanjali say:
Where the mind is without fear,
and head is held high.
Where knowledge is free.
Where the world is not broken up into fragments,
By narrow domestic walls.
Where words come out from the depth of truth,
Where tireless striving stretches it’s arm into perfection.
Where the clear stream of reasons had not lost its way,
Into the dreary desert same of dead habits.
Where the is lead forward by thee,
Into ever widening thought and action.
Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake.
C K Roy calls for tough laws to punish rape
Rape is a crime which shakes up our society. We must ask our lawmakers for these legal reforms:
A person accused of rape and murder must get the death sentence. The case should be closed within a year.
Private lawyers must be barred from taking up cases of rape-murder. The criminal will be represented through government lawyers.
Fast track courts must hear rape cases.
Join the conversation about rape, tweet to @httweets with #LetsTalkAboutRape
Want to have your voice featured in the Hindustan Times? Send us your entries at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will feature the best responses.