On “The Red Pill” and the feminist filmmaker who took it

On “The Red Pill” and the feminist filmmaker who took it

– Uma Challa

 

I had heard of “The Red Pill” even while it was being made, and have been aware of all the difficulties Cassie Jaye had to undergo to complete her project. I had been very curious about the film because the filmmaker was a feminist, and she was covering some of the veteran MRAs whom I consider my distant mentors.

 

On Sunday, I got an invite from a fellow MRA to watch “The Red Pill” at his place, and it was hard to resist because I had just published a piece on an Indian documentary, which some people have (wrongly) been calling the counterpart of “The Red Pill”.

 

I watched every frame and every shot, followed every word very carefully, sometimes asking for the film to be rewound a little, when I felt I had missed something. To me, if there was one thing that stood out in the film, it is the honesty of the endeavor, and just for that, I would say the film’s worth a watch.

 

Cassie Jaye traced her long and winding journey, or rather the journey of what MRAs call the red pill, through her system, and one would have to say that she successfully digested it and absorbed it, because at the end of the film, she says that she doesn’t call herself a feminist anymore.

 

While I have heard, read and watched MRAs like Paul Elam, Warren Farrel and Erin Pizzey for over a decade now, watching them speak in this film, and watching some of their memoirs brought back many of my own memories from my early MRA days. The circular arguments by many feminists provided an excellent contrast to the articulate presentation of facts by these veteran MRAs. In my opinion, “The Red Pill” should be on the essential “watching list” for every new MRA.

 

The range of men’s issues exposed in the film is impressive, and Cassie Jaye’s dedication to clearly understand every issue is commendable. Her in-depth research, her flowcharts, her video diaries, her candid questions and honest admissions are endearing to me as an MRA, and are bound to provoke thought among non-MRAs who watch the film.

 

I wish that Cassie Jaye’s film is watched by more and more people across the globe. It will not only be the appropriate reward for her work as a filmmaker, but also a great way to spread the information and messages that MRAs have been trying to communicate, to provoke thought and inspire action to end misandry around the world.

 

My congratulations to Cassie Jaye for a film so well-made!

The Red Pill poster

Breaking the silence against imposed “martyrdom”

During the last few months, there has been a wave of praise in the mainstream and social media for an Indian documentary film on IPC section 498A entitled “Martyrs of Marriage”. The filmmaker, Deepika Bhardwaj, has been extolled not only for technical excellence in filmmaking, but has also been elevated as the messiah for men. Recently, there has also been an expected, well-justified and visible pushback from the men’s movement in India, because the movie is anachronistic, it promotes a feminist lie, misrepresents men’s rights activists (MRAs) and undermines the men’s rights movement (MRM), which provided much support, information and content for the film.

 

The perspective of the men’s movement and the reasons for the pushback require a close look at the history, significance and purpose of the men’s movement, and the factual narrative that Indian MRAs have fought to establish over the last 10-13 years. It would involve learning, in depth, about why IPC 498A is a malicious law and not a law made to save lives as claimed by the film. People who are not interested in this academic exercise are bound to look to the documentary film as an authentic source of information, representative of MRAs and the entire length, breadth and depth of the MRM.

 

I would urge everyone to make the effort to know more about the MRM, MRAs and why they would vehemently oppose the only film which claims to give them a voice and show their side of the story; and why MRAs would oppose a filmmaker, who is sympathetic towards a men’s issue, becoming the face of the MRM and the “voice of men”.

 

To this end, I will direct the attention of the readers towards certain crucial but invisible aspects that do not require you to have any background in the MRM, but just require basic human intelligence to understand.

 

Every person who is arrested and imprisoned based on a false complaint goes through a phase where they are dying to scream out to the world that they are not criminals. They are stigmatized in the society, they are vilified by the media, and pushed into a corner so much so that the only thought that dominates the person’s existence is the need to NOT be identified as a criminal. There are many who experience the need to be identified as victims, and they want their personal narrative to be heard by someone, especially by those who hold the power to influence the social and political narrative, such as journalists, filmmakers, celebrities and politicians.

 

However, victimhood is an affliction suffered by but a fraction of individuals who are implicated in false cases. Unfortunately though, individuals and entities that control the narrative do not understand that a need to “not be identified as criminal” does not automatically translate into a “need to be identified as a victim”. As a result, even sympathetic journalists and filmmakers impose victimhood and martyrdom on everyone because victimhood sells, and is seen as the only way to bring attention to problems.  

 

This kind of victimhood is a state of mind, and it does not have anything to do with what life throws at us, false cases included. MRAs who have counseled hundreds of affected men observe that “men carrying victimhood for long periods of time works like an addiction which eventually destroys them. MRAs also feel that fostering or nurturing perpetual victimhood in victimized people is a feminist recipe and does not bode well for any society”. Over the last 10 years, MRAs have worked very hard to exctricate men from this sense of victimhood, to empower them to stand up for themselves, and to take responsibility for changing not just malevolent laws like 498a, but the overall social mindset which sees males as disposable.

legal terrorism

When a person does not wallow in victimhood, it is assumed that they are either culpable or that they do not experience any pain. It takes much time and struggle to gather the voice to deny criminality, to maintain the resolve, and fight to the finish to establish one’s innocence in the courts of law. Every person who has walked out of the court after hearing the words “acquitted” knows the feeling of taking a full breath of air, walking with their head held high, with the kind of satisfaction and joy that the heart does not seem enough to hold.

 

Everyday, the mainstream media keeps declaring innocent people as criminals without trial for the sake of political correctness and ratings. To those who have experienced it, acquittal means restoring one’s honor and dignity, even though one may have lost many years, dear ones, life’s savings and all the things one has given one’s life to. It is such a profoundly liberating experience, that the voice, which for many years, wanted to scream “I am not a criminal”, now wants to scream “I won” until the sound of vindication reverberates all over. MRAs have always fought, worked hard to empower and encourage others to fight, to demonstrate that we are real people and not mere numbers or data points in the National Crime Records Bureau. However, the voice of the acquitted is never heard because the mainstream media chooses to be deliberately silent about them.

acquitted cropped

As a fellow MRA rightly pointed out to me, given the status quo, “a journalist independently gaining the trust of people who have been victimized by 498A is difficult, and to make them to open up to any publicity via documentaries is even more difficult”. When a journalist comes along, claiming to want to make a film or write about us, members of the movement are always inclined to project individuals who have won their cases to narrate their stories. This is because a person who is still fighting a trial always fears a backlash from his opposition, the police or the court of law. He or she does not want to take the risk of being disbelieved or ridiculed by others because an individual’s story is not considered credible unless their cases have ended in acquittal.  

 

Therefore, when the documentary filmmaker in question approached the Indian MRM for interviews of affected individuals, she was also directed to meet individuals who had been acquitted some years ago. Revisiting profound personal tragedies, many years after the fact and years after acquittal is an ordeal in itself, and not something anybody would want to do. However, MRAs, who chose to take one for the team, reluctantly opened up to the filmmaker who promised to highlight these stories as those of hope and triumph to inspire others to fight. MRAs unravelled personal details to demonstrate that they are normal people, just as vulnerable as anyone else, and traced their own journey to victory, in parallel with their activism in the MRM to inspire everyone to be “that second mouse”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51lFmdChOA0

 

When these detailed accounts of gallant fight are edited, placed out of context and shown as stories of plight, and the filmmaker uses her film and her public image to promote victimhood, to become the face of MRM and the “voice of men” by lie of omission, one is bound to feel violated. The filmmaker silencing MRAs, by playing the victim card against them is an additional violation that needs to be overcome. Under such circumstances, it takes much time, effort and thought to gather the voice to say “I am not a victim”, and to initiate a meaningful conversation around the important issues concerning MRAs and the MRM. The struggle to deny this imposed martyrdom is just as emotionally excruciating as the one to deny imposed criminality.

 

It is important to recognize that there is little difference between journalists painting us as criminals for TRPs and filmmakers misrepresenting MRAs as victims just to make the cut in their career.

 

In this context, it is also important to look at how different individuals who approach the movement identify themselves in very different ways. Many individuals approach the movement for help, but always remain aloof as individuals, see themselves as unique in their hardships, feel entitled to support and help, look for a quick fix and an easy exit. They are the victims looking for a messiah, preferably in female form. In their myopic view, anybody, even a filmmaker, who can offer them a temporary vicarious experience and fleeting hope for change, is a savior. These victims would be willing to let a whole movement and the collective hard work of all the MRAs who dedicated their lives to it, be sacrificed on the altar of their personal desire for quick relief and freedom. Longtime MRAs are usually glad to take one for the team, but everyone must realize that exploitation of personal tragedies, for any reason, is an insult to the dear ones whose honor we fight and win for. It is an insult to the MRM, which gave us life and that we gave our lives to.  

 

While the film, which boasts of highlighting human struggle, ironically, undermines the same, there are some who have been foolish enough to believe and say that MRAs are jealous of a filmmaker’s success. MRAs have much to be proud of because they stand up and fight to restore their own honor and that of their families, and also empower others to fight. With no offense intended, it must be said that there is little to be “jealous” about a victim-turned-filmmaker, who has neither experienced nor understood what fighting means, and promotes victimhood among men.

 

Some MRAs have been demonized for saying that the filmmaker did not duly acknowledge the MRM and MRAs for their earnest contribution to the film, and for stating that the filmmaker is undermining the movement through calculated silence. While I leave it to experts to comment on the technical excellence of the film, I propose a thought experiment and ask the reader to imagine what the filmmaker’s reaction would have been, had someone taken all the credit for her hard work, through lies of omission. MRAs have been maintaining a dignified silence about this issue for several months, but when a filmmaker takes advantage of her popularity to undermine a long-standing movement, and becomes the “voice of men” by lies of omission, silence is no longer an option.

 

International Men’s Day – 2016

Captions: Uma Challa

Click HERE for more posters!

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Making divorce easy? Or barking up the wrong tree?

Making divorce easy? Or barking up the wrong tree?

– Uma Challa

Published by MyIndMakers 

“lEchiMchi, nidra lEchiMdi mahiLaa lOkaM, daddarilliMdi puruSha prapaMchaM…” https://youtu.be/MmVujeuCKmI (the women’s world has woken up from slumber, and the man’s world shook with panic) was a song I used to love as a child. As a fiery young woman, I frowned upon what I thought was “misogyny” on the part of one of the greatest Telugu lyricists ever. Now I admire the clarity of thought of Sri Pingali Nagendra Rao gaaru who penned the song way back in 1962, at a time when the country was still tolerant to truth.

 

To elaborate on Pingali gaaru’s poetic rendition of facts, the first Lok Sabha in India in 1951 had 22 women MPs. Soon after, in 1955, with the advent of the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) in 1955, Indian society was, for the first time, introduced to the concept of “divorce”. Contrary to its title, the HMA has nothing to do with marriage. It does not explain what marriage means nor does it enumerate the responsibilities of a wife and husband towards themselves, each other, their children, both sides of the family or the society. It enumerates circumstances in which a Hindu marriage can be legally broken. It was introduced to enable women who could not tolerate marriage to legally liberate themselves from wedlock, and to claim share in the marital property in the name of maintenance and alimony (HMA Section 24).

 

The most common grounds for divorce – cruelty, desertion, impotence, adultery etc. – are not only poorly defined, but are also difficult to prove. In addition, because litigation involves evidences and arguments from both parties, HMA did not prove as “empowering” to women as was envisioned by women’s rights activists (WRAs).

 

Enacting the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act of 1956, which entitles a woman to be maintained by her husband during her entire lifetime (Section 18), and CrPC of 1973, which extends maintenance to wives indefinitely even after divorce (Section 125), did not do the magic either, since they still involved time taking two-sided legal procedures.

 

In the year 1983, the Parliament passed a criminal law, Indian Penal Code 498A, which made “cruelty towards a married woman” a cognizable and non-bailable offence. Here, the word “cruelty” was left undefined and allowed to be a function of a woman’s perception and her lawyer’s imagination. Divorce and maintenance cases, combined with this draconian criminal section, which allows immediate arrest and incarceration of the husband and in-laws, proved to be fantastic tool of blackmail, vengeance and extortion in the hands of disgruntled wives for many years. It was accompanied by vigorous campaigns by WRAs to “sensitize” the police and the judiciary to be sympathetic towards women. Even such drastic measures did not prove to be “empowering enough” according to WRAs, because not all husbands succumbed.

 

The conviction rates under IPC 498A remained very low and the law only gained notoriety for its misuse. The hope that all husbands could be reined in and forced to pay a “monetary compensation/settlement” under the fear of arrest and criminal prosecution started waning.

 

In 2005, a new and elaborate civil law, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence (DV) Act was introduced. The act not only categorized every possible male action as an act of domestic violence, it also made provisions for a wife and a live-in partner to use DV accusations to claim monetary reliefs including maintenance (Section 20) and residence rights (Section 19) in the same property where the alleged violence had occurred.

 

Every year, several thousands of Indian women leverage the power sanctioned to them under these laws to terrorize husbands and to extract alimony and maintenance from them. Still, the utopia envisioned by the WRAs remained elusive since entangling a man in multiple litigations ensured neither speedy divorce nor quick extraction of maintenance and alimony.

 

In 2013, the Rajya Sabha approved the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill which, once again, claimed to make “divorce friendly for women” by providing for the wife, a share in the husband’s immovable property, after “irretrievable breakdown of marriage”. The Bill empowered the courts to decide the “compensation amount” from the husband’s inherited and inheritable property. Recognizing the “grave and far-reaching legal, social and economic implications of the proposed amendments” as pointed out by senior citizens groups and NGOs working for men, the NDA Government’s Law Ministry decided to put the Bill on hold.

 

According to news reports, there is now a fresh proposal “to explore the possibility of making it easier for women to walk out of a marriage”. This brand new endeavor, backed by the Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, proposes to give legal validity to prenuptial agreements.

 

The Economic Times (18 Sept 2015) quotes an official of the Ministry of WCD who stated that the introduction of prenuptial agreements will “save marriages” because, “once, the liabilities, assets and responsibilities are decided in advance, a husband will be more careful and cautious in seeking dissolution. He would have a clear idea of the amount of alimony he will have to pay to his wife”.

 

The article also quotes another senior official of the Ministry who supported prenuptial agreements as a way to counter the “judicial delays on account of backlog of cases”, and the “delaying tactics husbands resort to”.

 

It is noteworthy that for the last 60 years, champions of women’s empowerment have been preoccupied with women obtaining an easy divorce and collecting maintenance and alimony by hook or crook. Their proposal to legalize prenuptial agreements is neither novel in its approach nor noble in its goals.

 

Aside from the fact that this initiative too has nothing to do with really empowering women, here are just a few problems with prenuptial agreements:

 

  1. Hindu marriages are religious unions and not legal contracts, even when they are registered and legally recognized. A prenuptial agreement is a contract, with the terms and conditions of separation spelled out. It cannot be applied to Hindu marriages without stripping them of their religious sanctity and the underlying philosophy of the union of two souls.
  2. While prenuptial contracts do lay down the terms and conditions of separation, the contracts are not binding nor strictly enforceable, and there are no provisions anywhere in the world to penalize a partner who does not comply with the terms of separation. However, the proposal to include punishments for “offending” spouses in Indian prenuptial agreements is nothing but another attempt to criminalize the marital relationship, pamper women and penalize men.
  3. In spite of having a prenuptial agreement, a woman will still be able to claim that she signed the prenuptial agreement under duress. She will still be able to file complaints under IPC Section 498A, the DV Act and other related civil and criminal provisions.
  4. Rich men will use prenuptial agreements to get rid of women by paying money, and unscrupulous women will use prenuptial agreements as a way to make quick money. We, as a nation and a culture, might do better by just legalising prostitution rather than prostitutionalizing the Hindu marriage in the name of empowering women through delusional and deceitful means.

 

It is about time the Ministry of WCD stops barking up the wrong tree and looks into positive ways of empowering women by helping, stimulating, supporting and encouraging them to achieve true economic independence. It is time we realize that unless women learn to want economic independence and unless they work hard to achieve it, without depending on maintenance and alimony, all the talk about empowerment and equality is meaningless.

 

It is time the “women’s world” awakens to this reality and embraces ways that are uplifting to themselves and the entire society, rather than those that shake men with fear and shatter their lives.

 

Alimony.9

 

 

Feminists bully, India Times succumbs!

India Times ran an informative poster campaign about men’s issues on International Men’s Day, 19th November, 2015.

Feminists have exposed their intolerance for any discussion about men’s issues and the celebration of International Men’s Day. They bullied India Times into retracting the article from their website and forced them to issue an apology. Here’s the apology note by India Times:

India Times apology

Ironically, India Times only recently updated its cover photo to one which says, “Not afraid”.

Not afraid

Of course you are, India Times! You are just plain afraid!

Thanks to the internet and social media though…Truth can be deleted from a website, but cannot be completely erased!

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Thanks to https://legalfighter.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/indiatimes-bows-down-before-feminists/#comment-3258 for saving, reproducing the posters and making them available for download.

 

Modesty of Man

“Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both”, reads Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code.

Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code prescribes a maximum sentence of two years in prison to a person convicted for outraging the modesty of a woman.

The Supreme Court of India has, on various occasions, elaborated on what modesty of a woman means. According to the apex court,

  • Modesty is a virtue which is inherent to a female owing to her sex;
  • Modesty is an attribute associated with female human beings as a class;
  • A woman, young or old, intelligent or imbecile, awake or sleeping, possesses modesty, which is capable of being outraged;
  • Modesty of a woman is outraged when the act of the offender is such that it is shocking and can be perceived as an affront to feminine decency and dignity. Example: slapping a woman on her butt, disrobing her, asking her for sexual favour etc.;
  • Mere knowledge that the modesty of a woman is likely to be outraged is sufficient to constitute the offence without any deliberate intention of outraging her modesty.
  • Section 354 will apply to all sexual acts committed or intended against a woman that stop short of penetration. (Note: The latest Criminal Laws Amendment Bill 2010 proposes to include ALL sexual acts as rape);
  • Lack of protest by a woman cannot be an alibi for the “offender” who has “outraged her modesty”.

Women’s organizations are also constantly up in arms about beauty pageants, movies and commercials indulging in “objectification” and “commodification” of women and outraging the modesty of women as a class. These gender zealots are of the firm conviction that female models and actresses are rather forced to trade their bodies and prance around half-naked purely to satisfy the perverse desires of men.

I will reserve my comments on how much I agree or disagree with the above laws or views on the modesty of a woman for a later time.

What I wish to point out here is the popular, egregious notion that men have no modesty to outrage, and the reinforcement of this view by our legislature, executive and the judiciary.

A more recent, very alarming trend spreading in India is the full blown attack on maleness and male sexuality in the print and electronic media, a phenomenon I found quite common in the United States.

Today, men and boys are routinely portrayed as idiotic, pathetic, uncouth and inferior creatures who are constantly in need of rescue by their “superior” wives, girlfriends or female relatives who are all set to overhaul them.

The society considers kicking, punching and slapping men as acceptable and even laudable behaviour on the part of women and girls.

Ridiculing male sexuality is considered harmless entertainment, and the few men and boys who protest are considered peevish and lacking in humour.

There are scores of men who, upon their modesty being outraged, resort to self-destructive behaviours such as giving in to substance abuse, depression and suicidal urges. One such “humourless” young man, incapable of handling “innocuous” attacks on his dignity and modesty, recently ended his life.

When I was growing up, I noticed that every time a woman or girl suffered injustice, insult or attack (real or perceived), in the hands of a male, someone would promptly ask the offender, “Don’t you have a mother or sister?” Men and boys in India are constantly reminded of their mother, sister and daughter no matter what another woman is pained about.

I eagerly wait for the day when women will be reminded of their fathers, brothers, sons, partners, male colleagues and friends every time they cause, commit or witness injustice, insult or injury against a man. I look forward to the day when men will shed their silence, stand up and thwart the slightest attack on the sexuality, dignity and modesty of men.

Housewives, prostitutes and beggars

I recently participated in a TV discussion on why prostitution is on the rise in the country. I shared the panel with a closet feminist and a radical feminist, both of whom were of the opinion that prostitution was better than marriage since the house is unsafe for a woman, and she would at least get paid for her services if she were a prostitute.

I returned home thinking about their wise utterances and went to bed discussing the same with my husband.

I said, “For decades, feminists have claimed that one out of three women is unsafe in her own house. They have told us horrendous tales about how it was daily grind for men in the country to abuse, assault, set afire and murder their wives. They lobbied for laws which would facilitate a woman breaking her shackles and barging out of the “tyrannical household” or throwing her alleged oppressors out, whichever is convenient. They ensured that every woman who had a problem “clearly understood” that all her problems were because of men, marriage and the household.”

“By the same token,” I continued, “feminists have also been shouting off of rooftops that streets are terribly unsafe for women. They claim that everyday nine out of ten women are subject to manhandling, rape, sexual assault, acid attacks and what not. While they believe that, ideally, a woman should able to walk safely on the street at midnight, they are constantly scaring themselves and the rest of us in the society about how women are unsafe on the street even during the day.”

“What then, is the solution for women? Where do they go? What can they do?” I wondered loudly.

All of a sudden my husband had an epiphany and said, “A WHOREHOUSE!”

“YES,” I agreed, “This is brilliant! It is neither the house nor the street. It is something in between – the utopia that my feminist friends on TV spoke so highly of. They have to be right. That’s where they think our women would be safest, well paid and properly fed, and that’s why prostitution, with the more fashionable label of ‘commercial sex’, is on the rise.”

I then thought of how far we have come thanks to the feminist movement from pre-independence days.

We had a time when prostitution was a recognized profession and we had the Devadasi system. The system was severely condemned by communists as the handmaid of patriarchy. Their unrelenting crusade against the oldest profession resulted in a legislation for the “prevention of immoral trafficking” in 1956.

While this “prohibitive” legislation decriminalized prostitution, a few decades later, the Government went a step ahead and tacitly legalized commercial sex and sex tourism, recognizing how it can financially empower women and thereby boost the economy.

Today, we are at a point where we are talking about prostitute rights. While we have women’s rights champions like Brinda Karat who proclaim that “Society should have no right to control what women wear or do”, we have others who say, “If you respect a woman’s right to say “no” to sex, you should also respect her right to say “yes” to sex.”

Simultaneously, all heterosexual relationships have been prostitutionalized so that a woman can claim compensation for all sexual or non-sexual, real or imaginary interactions at any time during or after the relationship.

A woman who chooses her hearth and home is not left behind either. She is tagged with the honorary title of “prostitute” as feminists believe that she is unaware that she is only trading sex for social and financial security, and they will not take “no” for an answer.

We surely have come a long way, baby!

While I was still marvelling at this astounding progress, I saw a news item which said that the recent Government Census clubbed housewives, prostitutes and beggars into a group. What a timely gesture by the Government!

While housewives have already been clubbed with prostitutes, would it not be unfair to ignore the scores of women who have taken to a glorified form of begging by standing before the Courts of Law for maintenance and alimony from their estranged husbands?

Feminists have not only taught women to shun all the age-old encumbrances imposed by marriage and family but also to shed all inhibitions associated with parasitic living. Accordingly, there is no trace of shame in these modern liberated women, but it is with a sense of pride and entitlement that they artfully exact money, thus claiming their rightful inclusion by the Government in the club.

The feminists have reduced housewives into prostitutes and beggars long ago. The Government has just made it official by grouping them in the Census.

Why, then, is the Supreme Court cross about it? Beats me!

Copyright ©Uma Challa, 2010

The Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill – 2010

The Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill 2010 focuses on women’s right to protection against sexual harassment at the workplace. The Bill cites their right to equality, right to life and right to live in dignity enshrined in the Indian Constitution.

The Bill and its architects patently undermine the basic truth that sexual harassment is neither about sex nor gender, that it is about power, and that a woman in power can be every bit as abusive as a man.

Most importantly, the Bill undermines the Indian Constitution and its provisions which state that men and women have the same right to equality, the same right to life and the same right to live in dignity.

The Bill implies that it is alright for men to be subjected to sexual harassment including unwelcome sexually determined behaviour, physical contact, advances, sexually coloured remarks, showing pornography, sexual demand, request for sexual favours or any other unwelcome conduct of sexual nature whether verbal, textual, physical, graphic or electronic or by any other means.

The Bill requires that Committees for redressing grievances be comprised of persons “committed to the cause of women”, thus, betraying NCW’s never-ending urge to pamper the female AT ANY COST, even if it means innocent men are penalized, the law and justice dispensation system are taken for a ride, and public resources and time are squandered to satisfy the whim of a dishonest, criminal minded, depraved woman. With Committees filled with individuals “committed to the cause of women” and not to the cause of truth, law and justice, is it hard to foretell the fate of males in an institution or the society as a whole?

The Bill contains provisions for “conciliation” and “settlement” between the “aggrieved” woman and the respondent. If “conciliation” happens and “settlement” is arrived at, no further inquiry will be conducted but if “conciliation” fails and “settlement” is not arrived at, then an enquiry will be conducted.  Similarly, if the terms and conditions of “conciliation” and “settlement” are not met by the accused man, an enquiry will be conducted.

When sexual harassment at workplace is hyped as a grievous crime which warrants a special stringent law, what is the purpose of the “conciliation” and “settlement” plan? Is it not simply a new means to blackmail a man to heed to the terms and conditions of the so-called “aggrieved” woman?  In what way is this law different from dowry and rape laws, which are used as weapons of legal terrorism and extortion?

The provision for monetary compensation to the “aggrieved woman” is quite an incentive to convert harmless non-sexual interactions and consensual sexual interactions into sexual harassment as per the complainant’s convenience or whim and opens up a novel and lucrative money earning mechanism.

The Bill requires that up to one fourth of an employee’s salary, or proceeds from sale of his goods or property should be paid as compensation to the “aggrieved” woman. The liability to pay monetary compensation will be treated like arrears of land revenue, and the accused will be forced to cough up money under the threat of imprisonment and fine. In other words, the punishment for not paying compensation is bigger than the penalty for the alleged offence of sexual harassment (i.e. apology, suspension, termination of job etc.).

The NCW has outdone itself once again by inventing a new concept of “punishment”, and concomitantly, a new business model, with least regard to addressing the offence of sexual harassment or the social need to provide a secure working environment for men and women.

With such egregious provisions, will not the Bill tempt women to make false allegations of harassment to claim monetary compensation or force settlements? Will it not encourage persons to sexually harass someone and pay up to be let off the hook  – in essence, the richer the person, the more their unsaid “post-paid harassing privileges” and the easier their escape from punishment?

The Bill goes a step further to encourage women to misuse the provision as it leaves it to the discretion of the concerned organization to take action when a woman files a false complaint or furnishes false evidence.

In addition, the Bill grants immunity to misusers of the provisions by precluding all information including identities of the parties, information related to “conciliation” and “settlement”, enquiry proceedings, findings and decisions or actions from the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The Bill defeats the main purpose of the RTI Act which is to maintain transparency and accountability in the system and disempowers the persons involved by violating their right to know details pertaining to their own case.

While any fair minded person would frown upon the Bill for the reasons stated above, one cannot help being appalled at the audacity and impudence exhibited by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) in making the most sexist and discriminatory remarks as a defence for not making the Bill gender neutral.  The Ministry stated –

“The overwhelming nature of sexual harassment is sexual harassment of women on account of their female sex. Harassment of men cannot be put on the same footing character wise or incidence wise. Protection of men is also not the mandate of Ministry of WCD”.

Countries around the world including the US, UK, and all member countries of the European Union have gender neutral sexual harassment prevention laws. Even Pakistan, which passed a similar Bill in January 2010, embraced the principle of gender neutrality. However, the Indian Ministry of WCD is deliberately ignoring the nature and gravity of sexual harassment, espousing the most regressive approach, and revealing its brazenly anti-male and anti-social agenda.

It is also worth perusing the track record of NCW in cases of sexual harassment against women. For instance, 3 years ago, Mrs. Archana Pandey, a middle aged Indian woman, filed a complaint of sexual harassment and attempt to rape on the UNICEF India Chief, Cecilio Adorna, and subsequently approached the NCW for assistance. The seriousness of the allegations notwithstanding, NCW adopted an apathetic and nonchalant approach leaving Mrs. Pandey to her own devices in her fight against a huge International organization. This is just one instance which exemplifies the double standards and moral bankruptcy of the principal architect of the Bill.

It should be noted that through this Bill, which smacks of desperation to pamper unscrupulous women, the NCW and WCD are taking yet another step towards disempowering women. The Bill is not only insulting to self-respecting, honest and hardworking women but it can also discourage employers from employing competent and reasonably qualified women for the fear of this proverbial “Sword of Damocles” hanging over their heads.

Thousands of concerned citizens and several organizations have sent representations requesting the Ministry of WCD to make the Bill gender neutral and to include a strict provision to address misuse. The Union Law Ministry strongly favoured the incorporation of a misuse clause to avoid situations similar to those being faced in domestic violence and dowry harassment cases.

Nevertheless, this Monsoon Session will witness the tabling of another Bill which tramples upon men and demeans women, a Bill which neither cares about preventing sexual harassment nor about providing security at the workplace, a Bill which is yet another weapon of blackmail and extortion, a Bill which promotes gender war.

If the esteemed members of the Parliament throw all caution to the wind and let this Bill pass, the country would have no choice but to brace itself and be ready to face a social Tsunami.


 

[Enter Post Title Here]

The Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill – 2010
 
The Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill (SHWB) 2010 focuses on women’s right to protection against sexual harassment at the workplace. The bill cites their right to equality, right to life and right to live in dignity enshrined in the Indian Constitution. 
 
The Bill and its architects patently undermine the basic truth that sexual harassment is neither about sex nor gender, that it is about power, and that a woman in power can be every bit as abusive as a man.
 
Most importantly, the Bill undermines the Indian Constitution and its provisions which state that men and women have the same right to equality, the same right to life and the same right to live in dignity.
 

The Bill implies that it is alright for men to be subjected to sexual harassment including unwelcome sexually determined behaviour, physical contact, advances, sexually coloured remarks, showing pornography, sexual demand, request for sexual favours or any other unwelcome conduct of sexual nature whether verbal, textual, physical, graphic or electronic or by any other means.

The Bill requires that Committees for redressing grievances be comprised of persons “committed to the cause of women”, thus, betraying NCW’s never-ending urge to pamper the female AT ANY COST, even if it means innocent men are penalized, the law and justice dispensation system are taken for a ride, and public resources and time are squandered to satisfy the whim of a dishonest, criminal minded, depraved woman. With Committees filled with individuals committed to the “cause of women” and not to the cause of truth, law and justice, is it hard to foretell the fate of males in an institution or the society as a whole?

The Bill contains provisions for “conciliation” and “settlement” between the “aggrieved” woman and the respondent. If “conciliation” happens and “settlement” is arrived at, no further inquiry will be conducted but if “conciliation” fails and “settlement” is not arrived at, then an enquiry will be conducted.  Similarly, if the terms and conditions of “conciliation” and “settlement” are not met by the accused man, an enquiry will be conducted.

When sexual harassment at workplace is hyped as a grievous crime which warrants a special stringent law, what is the purpose of the “conciliation” and “settlement” plan? Is it not simply a new means to blackmail a man to heed to the terms and conditions of the so-called “aggrieved” woman?  In what way is this law different from dowry and rape laws, which are used as weapons of legal terrorism and extortion?

The provision for monetary compensation to the “aggrieved woman” is quite an incentive to convert harmless non-sexual interactions and consensual sexual interactions into sexual harassment as per the complainant’s convenience or whim and opens up a novel and lucrative money earning mechanism.

The Bill requires that up to one fourth of an employee’s salary, or proceeds from sale of his goods or property should be paid as compensation to the “aggrieved” woman. The liability to pay monetary compensation will be treated like arrears of land revenue, and the accused will be forced to cough up money under the threat of imprisonment and fine. In other words, the punishment for not paying compensation is bigger than the penalty for the alleged offence of sexual harassment (i.e. apology, suspension, termination of job etc.).

The NCW has outdone itself once again by inventing a new concept of “punishment”, and concomitantly, a new business model, with least regard to addressing the offence of sexual harassment or the social need to provide a secure working environment for men and women.

With such egregious provisions, will not the Bill tempt women to make false allegations of harassment to claim monetary compensation or force settlements? Will it not encourage persons to sexually harass someone and pay up to be let off the hook  – in essence, the richer the person, the more their unsaid “post-paid harassing privileges” and the easier their escape from punishment?

The Bill goes a step further to encourage women to misuse the provision as it leaves it to the discretion of the Organization to take action when a woman files a false complaint or furnishes false evidence.

In addition, the Bill grants immunity to misusers of the provisions by precluding all information including identities of the parties, information related to “conciliation” and “settlement”, enquiry proceedings, findings and decisions or actions from the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The Bill defeats the main purpose of the RTI Act which is to maintain transparency and accountability in the system and disempowers the persons involved by violating their right to know details pertaining to their own case.

While any fair minded person would frown upon the Bill for the reasons stated above, one cannot help being appalled at the audacity and impudence exhibited by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) in making the most sexist and discriminatory remarks as a defence for not making the Bill gender neutral.  The Ministry stated –

“The overwhelming nature of sexual harassment is sexual harassment of women on account of their female sex. Harassment of men cannot be put on the same footing character wise or incidence wise. Protection of men is also not the mandate of Ministry of WCD”.

Countries around the world including the US, UK, and all member countries of the European Union have gender neutral sexual harassment prevention laws. Even Pakistan, which passed a similar Bill in January 2010, embraced the principle of gender neutrality. However, the Indian Ministry of WCD is deliberately ignoring the nature and gravity of sexual harassment, espousing the most regressive approach, and revealing its brazenly anti-male and anti-social agenda.

It is also worth perusing the track record of NCW in cases of sexual harassment against women. For instance, 3 years ago, Mrs. Archana Pandey, a middle aged Indian woman, filed a complaint of sexual harassment and attempt to rape on the UNICEF India Chief Cecilio Adorna, and subsequently approached the NCW for assistance. The seriousness of the allegations notwithstanding, NCW adopted an apathetic and nonchalant approach leaving Mrs. Pandey to her own devices in her fight against a huge International organization. This is just one instance which exemplifies the double standards and moral bankruptcy of the principal architect of the Bill.

It should be noted that through this Bill, which smacks of desperation to pamper unscrupulous women, the NCW and WCD are taking yet another step towards disempowering women. The Bill is not only insulting to self-respecting, honest and hardworking women but it can actually discourage employers from employing competent and reasonably qualified women for the fear of this proverbial “Sword of Damocles” hanging over their heads.

Thousands of concerned citizens and several organizations have sent representations requesting the Ministry of WCD to make the Bill gender neutral and to include a strict provision to address misuse. The Union Law Ministry strongly favoured the incorporation of a misuse clause to avoid situations similar to those being faced in domestic violence and dowry harassment cases.

Nevertheless, this Monsoon Session will witness the tabling of another Bill which tramples upon men and demeans women, a Bill which neither cares about preventing sexual harassment nor about providing security at the workplace, a Bill which is yet another weapon of blackmail and extortion, a Bill which promotes gender war.

If the esteemed members of the Parliament throw all caution to the wind and let this Bill pass, the country would have no choice but to brace itself and be ready to face a social Tsunami.

Jail Bharo Photos

Please find photos of Jail Bharo Andolan in Hyderabad at the following link:

http://picasaweb.google.com/trpartha/6JulProtest?authkey=Gv1sRgCNWB_5To_IjZIg&feat=content_notification#

PRESS RELEASE – 6 JULY 2010 – JAIL BHARO!

Today, All India Forgotten Women’s Association and All India Men’s Welfare Association are staging a peaceful demonstration near the Women Police Station, CCS, Hyderabad, between 10:00-11:00 a.m. as a sign of protest against arbitrary arrests of ordinary law-abiding citizens under IPC Sections 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act and related laws. This demonstration is in support of Mr. Ravindra Gangurde’s call for a nationwide “Jail Bharo Andolan”.

It is a well-known fact that today, a husband and his kin can be arrested upon mere allegations of a wife, without any evidence or investigation under IPC Sections 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act, and related wife-centric laws which presume that the accused are “guilty until proven innocent”.

The real motive behind these arrests is to terrorize ordinary law-abiding citizens and to extort money from them under the threat of imprisonment and long-drawn legal battles.

It has to be noted that complaints on celebrities and influential persons are treated with utmost care, investigation to ascertain facts is given great importance, and in almost all cases arrest is avoided, whereas, ordinary law-abiding citizens are abused, threatened, blackmailed and arrested in gross violation of our Constitutional and Human Rights.

Several authorities have observed that anti-dowry laws are among the most abused laws in India:

  • The President of India, High Courts of various States, the Supreme Court of India and the World Health Organization have noted the misuse of dowry laws.
  • The National Human Rights Commission has issued guidelines to stop unnecessary arrests.
  • The Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad, issued standing instructions through a memo vide No.L&O/M6/1315/2002 to check arbitrary arrests.
  • The AP Police Dept. has a web page entitled “Abuse of 498A” on their Department website.
  • The Union Ministry of Home Affairs issued an advisory to all the State Governments and Union Territories on checking the misuse of Section 498A.

Our numerous pleas to the Government of India to stop arbitrary arrests of citizens under IPC Section 498A have fallen on deaf ears. On the other hand, new laws are always on the anvil (sexual assault, work place harassment, acid attacks etc.) which stress on immediate arrest of men upon mere accusations made by women.

Under the present circumstances, it is imperative that our fathers, brothers and sons are prepared to go to jail along with us even if they committed no crime.

“Jail Bharo” campaign is aimed at freeing ordinary law-abiding male citizens and their kin from the fear of jail and the concomitant feelings of humiliation and suffering so that they do not drive themselves into depression, ruin their health or end their own lives.

We are submitting a memorandum to the Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad, today, to convey our intent to encourage people to fill up prisons and not apply for bail, unless strict measures are taken to prevent lower cadre police officials from abusing their powers in the name of “protecting women from cruelty and harassment”.

We demand a complete ban on Police involvement in marital counseling as marriage is a civil matter, and since Police intervention in everyday marital issues and allowing them to indiscriminately file criminal cases on the accused husband and in-laws is resulting in destruction of families and ruining the lives of scores of individuals.

We also demand that no arrests of any of the accused (man, woman or child) are made without proper investigation and written approval of police officials of the rank of DCP or above. The family members alleging “dowry torture” or “dowry killing” of their daughter should be promptly prosecuted if they allege or are found to have given dowry because according to Dowry Prohibition Act, giving dowry is also a crime.

NOTE: Aryan Vaid, former Mr. India and the first Indian to win Mr. International title endorses our “Jail Bharo” campaign.