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.

 

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!

img-20151122-wa0008img-20151122-wa0007img-20151122-wa0006img-20151122-wa0005img-20151122-wa0004img-20151122-wa0001img-20151122-wa0002img-20151122-wa0003img-20151122-wa0000

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.

 

An Open Letter to Minister of Health and Family Welfare, India.

Dear Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda,

I am writing as a responsible citizen of India, who cares about the health, well-being and safety of men, women and children.

As you may be aware, 19 November is International Men’s Day, and it is being celebrated in over 80 countries in the world this year with the theme “Make a difference for men and boys”.

On this occasion, I would like to specifically draw your attention towards the health and well-being of men and boys.

It is important to remember that everyday, men make many sacrifices to protect and provide for their families, and thereby make many positive contributions to the community, society, family, marriage, child care and the environment.

  • These men include sanitation workers, construction workers, chemical and gas factory workers, mechanics and miners who routinely suffer from chronic occupational health issues and often die before they reach the age of 60.
  • They include soldiers, firefighters, land mine removers, deep sea fishermen, electric linemen, house painters and glass cleaners who risk their lives everyday.
  • They include farmers, weavers, tea sellers, drivers, paperboys, mailmen and watchmen, who render their services, often without receiving a word of recognition or gratitude.
  • They include teachers, doctors, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and public servants, who help improve the quality of life for everyone in the society.
  • They include fathers, grandfathers, brothers, husbands, friends and colleagues who stand by us, inspire us, make us laugh and enrich our lives.
  • They include men in all walks of life who live honest, decent lives and help keep the wheels of progress and hope turning.

However, men’s health, both physical and emotional, is one of the areas which is seriously neglected in India. Even the most recent National Health and Family Survey of 2015, only addresses maternal health and child health, while examining the key indicators of health and family welfare. It refers to men only in the context of family planning and as to how they can contribute to the health and welfare of women and children.

In India, a lot of health problems in men remain poorly diagnosed or left undiagnosed. Male-specific health problems also tend to be more fatal. For example, as against 5.37 lakh women, only 4.77 lakh men were diagnosed with cancer in India in 2012.  In the same year, 3.26 lakh women and 3.56 lakh men, i.e. 30,000 more men compared to women, died of cancer (Ref 2).

A recent study (Ref 1) reports that the incidence of prostate cancer among Indian males is “constantly and rapidly increasing in all the most recent Population Based Cancer Registries (PBCRs)”, and “the cancer projection data shows that the number of cases will become doubled by 2020.” The study also states that “Given the current age-specific incidence, morbidity, and mortality rates of prostate cancer, this disease will become a far greater public health problem in the future”.

While the top five cancers that claim men’s lives in general are lip/oral cavity, lung, stomach, colorectum and the pharynx (Ref 2), this recent study (Ref 1) shows that prostate is “the second leading site of cancer among males in large Indian cities like Delhi, Kolkatta, Pune and Thiruvananthapuram, the third leading site of cancer in cities like Bangalore and Mumbai and it is among the top ten leading sites of cancers in the rest of the population based cancer registries (PBCRs) of India”.

Male-specific health issues are often blamed on negligence of men themselves. No effort is made by the Government on spreading awareness about or for preventing and controlling male-specific illnesses, diseases and disorders. As a citizen, a voter and a taxpayer of this country, I believe that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare must

  1. acknowledge the place and the value of men in the family.
  2. include men’s health in the National Health and Family Survey of India.
  3. spend time and resources to spread awareness about stress and depression, male specific cancers, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases which are responsible for reduced quality of life and premature mortality among men.
  4. allocate resources to support research on male-specific disorders, diseases and illnesses – both physical and psychological, and to help find affordable remedies and cures for the same.

On the occasion of International Men’s Day (19 November), I request you to focus your attention on the above issues , and help make a difference for men and boys.

Thank you,

Uma Challa
Author, Hyderabad

References:

  1. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214540014000486
  2. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/7-lakh-Indians-died-of-cancer-last-year-WHO/articleshow/27317742.cms

 

Time to Scrap Laws Which Turn Ordinary Men into Criminals!

Beginning Saturday, 4 October 2014, the death of Raghavendra Guruprasad and his two boys has been discussed in newspapers, on TV channels, and in the social media.

For those who have not heard about him, Guruprasad was an ordinary Indian male, with above average intelligence, who worked hard to get a good education, married for love ten years ago, had two boys with the woman he loved, and worked as an assistant professor at a University for a living. He was filled with thoughts of a long life of togetherness with his wife and children. Guruprasad wanted to ensure that his family, his most precious possession, remained intact, even if it meant that he had to face humiliation in private and public due to his wife, even if it meant he had to suffer physical abuse in the hands of his in-laws.

What Guruprasad was gifted in return was a package of lies, in the form of a divorce petition and a false criminal case under Section 498A of IPC. Despite being arrested, imprisoned and put through legal turmoil, and despite being physically separated from his wife and children, Guruprasad never gave up his efforts to reunite with them because he felt that his sons needed a father. He also desperately reached out to his wife only to be shunned and rejected over and over, which eventually led him to end his misery by taking his own life. Incidentally, Guruprasad had also written letters to various authorities that he could think of, pleading them to help him, before he gave up hope.

His last phone conversation with his wife, which is available online, was his last cry for help. He hinted at ending his life, and when his wife asked him (very coldly) as to what use it would be, he said, “I am not sure of what use it would be, but I am unable to endure this…”. When his wife asked him why he called and disturbed her, he replied saying, “You say that my phone calls disturb you, but I have been disturbed every moment that I have had to spend away from you, my family.” His 7-page suicide note describes his attachment to his wife and children, and the pain he was going through because of being forced to be away from them, and because of the social pressure and rejection he faced as a result.

If this was all there was to it, the print and electronic media would not have paid much attention. We would have seen a passing reference to “a faculty member of a University ending his life over marital woes”. The feminists would not have jumped up and down in live news rooms bashing him up, and along with him, the entire male gender, and using it as one more opportunity to highlight victimhood of women.

Guruprasad had written one last letter to the Ministry of Home Affairs about the sufferings of Indian men due to the draconian law, IPC Section 498A, and begged that it be scrapped so that more men do not have to suffer like him. For TV channels that love airing high-pitched verbal battles between feminists and men’s rights activists, this was definitely a topic they could milk to increase their TRPs during primetime news.

However, the main reason Guruprasad’s story grabbed so much attention was because he allegedly killed his sons before ending his own life. The feminists, the self-professed psychologists and psychoanalysts, and certain sections of the media isolated this specific detail, and made it a topic of discussion, to label Guruprasad “a psycho”, “a maniac”, “an inhuman, barbaric creature”, “a disgrace to mankind”, and more. They asserted that the filing of criminal sections and the divorce case against Guruprasad were justified, because he eventually turned out to be a violent savage, a pervert, a deliberate criminal, and a cold-blooded murderer. While IPC Section 498A has been facing sharp criticism from various quarters in the recent past, the feminists, in a desperate bid to defend the poisonous fruit of their labor, spared no effort to malign Guruprasad’s character and life as a whole.

The fact that Guruprasad fought and won rights to visit his children for a few hours, two days in a month, speaks about his fatherly love. The fact that the children were always excited and happy to meet with their father says a lot about how much the children loved him. Guruprasad’s suicide note reveals how much he cared about his boys, and in one part of his note he even mentions his worry about the fact that his wife treated his sons badly. It is hard to imagine how badly Guruprasad’s heart and spirit were broken that he chose to take his boys along with him. It is not hard to imagine that he may have worried about the fate of his boys growing up and surviving in an increasingly anti-male society before taking the drastic step.

During a conversation about Guruprasad’s tragedy, a friend said, “You know, it’s not two murders and a suicide…it’s three murders…” I was speechless for a moment. “Indeed!”, I thought, “it’s three murders”. The anti-male society, the feminists, the police, the legal system and judiciary, had together mutilated Guruprasad’s spirit beyond recognition and killed him, and, are thereby guilty of killing his children too. The same feminists who are berating Guruprasad for “murdering children”, would show no mercy towards the boys once they grow up into adults, and end up being emotionally castrated and slowly killed because of social misandry and brutal anti-male laws.

It is quite easy to pass moral judgments against Guruprasad, but it would be good to resist that temptation and understand that it is extremely difficult for a common man to endure the trauma caused by false allegations, fabricated criminal cases (especially those filed by an intimate partner) and long drawn trials to prove his innocence. Thousands of ordinary men may have had the thought of committing murder or suicide, under similar circumstances, but a very small proportion of men actually act on it. Most men, who are otherwise bright, energetic, and capable of contributing their unique talents, knowledge and physical labor to the country, live miserable lives and die a little everyday, thanks to laws like IPC 498A.

I recall Prime Minister Sri. Narendra Modi’s Madison Square Speech in which he vowed to get rid of all the archaic, inane and useless laws, which make life difficult for the common citizen, and prevent him from functioning effectively in the society. He should have pinned socially dangerous laws like IPC 498A and the Domestic Violence Act and useless laws like the Dowry Prohibition Act to the top of the list.

The English rulers had gifted us with a self-serving legal system to destroy the social fabric of India and create a host of problems for the common man. During the next 66 years, the Congress Party and its Leftist allies enacted more and more laws only to create more and more problems, without ever resolving the existing ones. These past Governments, the law makers, the feminists, the police, and the judiciary are the actual reason why common law-abiding citizens like Guruprasad are driven to commit unimaginable crimes.

Guruprasad’s incident is not the first of its kind, but if we don’t want more such incidents to occur in the future, we need to say “NO” to State intervention in and criminalization of personal and family relationships. We don’t want a lawless society, but we will definitely benefit from becoming a society with less laws…and the first law that should be trashed is IPC Section 498A…YES…but that would require the present Government to exhibit the same courage and determination in tackling rabid feminism as they would to tackle terrorism.

True Equity Network – India (Being launched on 01.02.2010)

“To be a feminist is to acknowledge that one’s life has been regressed. The demand for granting preferential treatment to women is an admission on her part of her inferiority and there has been no need for such a thing in India as the women have always been by the side of men in Council and in the fields of battle…. We must have no mutual conflict in our homes or abroad. We must transcend differences. We must rise above nationalism, above religion, above sex.”

–       Sarojini Naidu

(at the Fourth session of All India Women’s Conference, Bombay, 1930)

  • Equal does not mean same; Men and women are different but are equally entitled to constitutional rights and human rights.
  • Equality of opportunity does not mean equality of outcome; Men and women must maintain their self-esteem and earn respect and reward by proving their true individual worth.
  • Equality under law is essential irrespective of gender; Men and women should be given equal protection from and equal punishment for any crime.
  • Equal rights beget equal responsibilities; Men and women must not only enjoy equal rights but they must also shoulder equal responsibilities.

The “TEN” Commandments:

  1. Doing injustice to men is not equal to Doing justice to women.
  2. Oppressing men is not equal to Uplifting women.
  3. Harming men is not equal to Protecting women.
  4. Disempowering men is not equal to Empowering women.
  5. Denying opportunities to men is not equal to Providing opportunities for women.
  6. Penalizing men is not equal to Rewarding women.
  7. Degrading men is not equal to Honouring women.
  8. Undermining men’s lives is not equal to Valuing women’s lives.
  9. Neglecting men’s welfare is not equal to Promoting women’s welfare.
  10. Violating men’s rights is not equal to Upholding women’s rights.

ON WOMEN’S DAY, 8 MARCH 2010

JOIN THE MOVEMENT FOR REAL EMPOWERMENT!

Join “TEN-India” if you believe in equity and justice irrespective of gender!

Join “TEN-India” to oppose gender war!

—————————————————————————————————————————–

TEN-India is the youth wing of All India Forgotten Women’s Association (AIFWA)

_______________________________________________________

Click on the image below for printable version:

Mid-day Reports On Women Against Male-bashing

http://mid-day.com/news/2009/dec/161209-shave-india-campaign-gillette-AIFWA-uma-challa.htm

‘Gillette is breaking families’

By: Anshuman G Dutta

A Hyderabad-based women’s NGO joins hands with its male counterparts against the Shave India Campaign

Bollywood hotties Mugdha Godse, Neha Dhupia and Minissha Lamba are urging women to encourage their men to get rid of facial hair. But, here’s good news for those men fed up with “derogatory” advertisements prodding them to shave. The fairer sex supports the stubble too.

After men-only NGOs raised their voice against the new campaign of Gillette, a multi-national brand of safety razors, which has launched a tirade against facial hair, a Hyderabad-based NGO, All India Forgotten Women’s Association (AIFWA), has also join hands with its male counterparts.

Gillette, a brand owned by Procter and Gamble (P&G), launched a Women Against Lazy Stubble (WALS) advertisement featuring Bollywood hotties urging women to encourage their men to get rid of facial hair. Men grow stubble just out of their laziness, the campaign said.

According to the NGO, the advertisement is derogatory and has the tendency to create  family disharmony.

“The Shave India Campaign is all about male bashing. Showing men in a poor light has become a corporate gimmick,” said Uma Challa, president, AIFWA.

The NGO has asked all memebers to shun Gillette products to mark its protest against the company. Besides, it has invited other like-minded people to join the cause and boycott the company till an apology is furnished.

“A man — be it husband, father, brother or son — play an important role in the family. And this is not because of their preference to shave or not to shave. Shaving has nothing to do with the relationship and being lazy,” she said.

Challa also informed that her husband Kiranam Chatti, who is a scientist, also did not shave on December 7 that was observed by India Men Welfare Association (AIMWA)  as National Stubble Day.

While AIFWA  insisted upon the vital role of men in a family environment, it is also planning to make it a nationwide campaign. Its website while severely criticising P&G for the advertisement called the idea vile, anti-male, loony stunt. “If P&G doesn’t hesitate to indulge in demeaning our men, they shouldn’t expect women to refrain from demeaning P&G either,” read the website.

“The advertisement says “Women on Warpath” against their lazy husband because they are not shaving everyday. It’s a ridiculous even to think,” said Uma.

This is not all. To protest the Gillette advertisement AIMWA has launched another campaign “Refund for Razors”, where all the members will send their used Gillette razors to the company. “We are boycotting all Proctor & Gamble (P&G) products and our members are enthusiastically following it,” said Virag Dhulia, founder member of AIMWA.

“With other social activists  joining our campaign we have proved that the advertisement is against our basic motto of promoting harmony in a family. No corporate body can promote Indian women to go on a “warpath” just because their husbands are not shaving every day. Moreover, no one has the right to call us lazy  over such thing,” said Swarup Sarkar, coordinator, Save Family Foundation (SFF), who is spearheading the movement against Gillette’s promotional feature.

Also read: SOS: Save our stubble


Uma Challa writes on her blog
I, as a human being, empathise with the plight of the modern day man, who is expected to be nothing less than perfect in order to be spared of ridicule or hatred in the society.

Present day women always have so many excuses for behaving the way they do, and are always talking about what they want. But now that male-bashing is promoted as a laudable pursuit by selfish companies like P&G and there is no price for being pig-headed and unfair, they really don’t see anything wrong in dictating terms to men. Yes, guys, this is what the flakes want. The verdict is finally out.

Men Are Human Too

Today, 10 December 2009, marks the conclusion of the “16 Days of Activism Against Global Feminist Terrorism” by All India Men’s Welfare Association (AIMWA) and All India Forgotten Women’s Association (AIFWA).

Today, UN and all countries around the world are also observing Human Rights Day, with “non-discrimination” as this year’s theme.

Commenting on this year’s theme Mr. Ban Ki-moon said, “Discrimination targets individuals and groups that are vulnerable to attack: the disabled, women and girls, the poor, migrants, minorities, and all those who are perceived as different.”

Most people will not miss seeing the word “men” in the list of “vulnerable groups” mentioned above. I am sure majority of men, including the UN Secretary General himself, do not know that they belong in the list.

This is not surprising, as Mr. Ban Ki-moon himself said, “It is often those who most need their human rights protected, who also need to be informed that the Declaration exists — and that it exists for them.”

During our 16 Days of Activism Against Global Feminist Terrorism, we highlighted the serious human rights abuses that men are subjected to in the name of women’s rights and the collateral damages suffered by women, children and families.

While the Universal Declaration of Human Rights claims to be “a reaffirmation of the faith of the peoples of the UN in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women”, it is amply clear that in most parts of the world, men are not treated with the dignity and respect that human beings deserve.

On the contrary, social and legal discrimination against men and violation of their human rights are now projected as praiseworthy goals for all present nations and future generations.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

  • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
  • No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
  • Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

In blatant violation of all the above rights, thousands of husbands and their families are arbitrarily arrested every year, without evidence or investigation, under IPC Sections 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act, and related laws which presume that the accused are “guilty until proved innocent”.

India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has noted the misuse of dowry laws, arrest of innocent individuals and the resultant overcrowding of prisons. NHRC has urged the judiciary and law enforcement agencies to take measures against these abuses.

Nevertheless, police routinely enter people’s homes at ungodly hours, take accused individuals into custody, and incarcerate them without bail for variable lengths of time, ranging from a couple of days to several months. Innocent citizens are illegally detained, humiliated, subjected to mental and physical torture, blackmail and extortion, driving many to commit suicide. The honor and reputation of these accused individuals is attacked through media trial and unrestrained slander by feminists every day.

The Universal Declaration of Human rights states:

  • Men and women are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
  • All are equal before the law, and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.

Family and marriage related laws in India exhibit nothing but discrimination against men and fathers. Men are blatantly denied social and legal protection from domestic abuse. Men suffering domestic abuse are compelled to endure several years of legal harassment and are often denied divorce citing “lack of strong grounds”.

Men also endure false allegations of abuse made by wives seeking divorce, and end up with a divorce they never wanted. Fathers are ruthlessly denied contact with their children, and forced to pay exorbitant sums of money as alimony and child support.

The Universal Declaration of Human rights states:

  • Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
  • No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

The Indian Domestic Violence Act empowers a wife to violate marital norms with impunity and claim residence and maintenance from the husband. Many men and their families are thrown out of or deprived freedom of movement in their own homes, upon baseless allegations of abuse made by unscrupulous wives.

Mr. Ban ki-moon asserts, “It is our duty to ensure that these (human) rights are a living reality — that they are known, understood and enjoyed by everyone, everywhere.”

It is ironical that the United Nations and its affiliate organizations sponsor these human rights violations and legal terrorism through feminist initiatives claiming to uplift and empower women.

On the occasion of Human Rights Day 2009, AIMWA and AIFWA urge you to raise your voice against global feminist terrorism, which is responsible for large scale human rights abuses against men and their kin.

We demand that the UN declares “Men are human too” as the theme for Human Rights Day 2010.


Other articles featured during the 16 Days of Activism:

Day 1: 16 Days of Activism Against Global Feminist Terrorism November 25 – December 10

http://aimwa.in/16-days-of-activism-against-global-feminist-terrorism-november-25-december-10

Day 2: Fact sheet on domestic violence against men in India

http://aimwa.in/fact-sheet-on-domestic-violence-against-men-in-india

Day 3: Beware boys! The female Taliban is coming for you!

http://aimwa.in/beware-boys-the-female-taliban-is-coming-for-you

Day 4: One in three victims of family violence is male

http://aimwa.in/one-in-three-victims-of-family-violence-is-male

Day 5: Rape Law: YES can mean NO

http://aimwa.in/rape-law-yes-can-mean-no

Day 6: Misuse of Sec. 498A of IPC and Dowry Prohibition Act

http://aimwa.in/misuse-of-sec-498a-of-ipc-and-dowry-prohibition-act

Day 7: Compromising National Security to Address Feminist Insecurity?

http://aimwa.in/compromising-national-security-to-address-feminist-insecurity

Day 8: The Myth of Women’s Oppression

http://aimwa.in/the-myth-of-women%e2%80%99s-oppression

Day 9: Domestic Violence – The Industry of Lies

http://aimwa.in/domestic-violence-%e2%80%93-the-industry-of-lies

Day 10: The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness

http://aimwa.in/the-paradox-of-declining-female-happiness

Day 11: Watch Out for Paternity Fraud!

http://aimwa.in/watch-out-for-paternity-fraud

Day 12: Feminists: So Say One, So Say Them All

http://aimwa.in/feminists-so-say-one-so-say-them-all

Day 13: Dowry death and bride burning: A look beyond the smoke screen

http://aimwa.in/dowry-death-and-bride-burning-a-look-beyond-the-smoke-screen

Day 14: “Committed to the cause of women” – The Trojan Horse of Indian Feminism

http://aimwa.in/committed-to-the-cause-of-women-the-trojan-horse-of-indian-feminism

Day 15: Fatherless Society – The Feminist Utopia

http://aimwa.in/fatherless-society-%e2%80%93-the-feminist-utopia

Dowry death and bride burning: A look beyond the smoke screen

The phrase “bride burning” conjures up images of a cruel husband and his family members dousing a young woman in kerosene, flinging a lighted matchstick on her and gloating as the hapless bride goes up in flames. The term “dowry death” also sparks off vivid imaginations of a woman being taunted and harassed for money and finally, hanged to death within the four walls of her house. We also have watched movies and TV serials where a malicious mother-in-law poisons the unsuspecting daughter-in-law’s meal or quietly causes a gas leak and locks the new bride in the kitchen right before she lights the stove to make tea for the family.

There must be many families who burn their brides for dowry as a routine practice otherwise, why would there be so many news reports about dowry deaths? As they say, there cannot be smoke without a fire. Right?

Feminists would have you believe that every unnatural or untimely death of a married Indian woman is dowry death. Not only that, the feminist hyperbole on “bride killing” and “dowry harassment” makes it look like Indian men have an uncanny propensity to commit violence on their wives for money, while men in other countries commit domestic violence for other reasons.

In reality, it is the number of registered suicides of married women which are passed off as statistics of dowry death, and even these numbers are almost always exaggerated. It has become a custom to claim that all the women have been “driven to suicide” due to dowry harassment.1-6 The husband and in-laws are immediately arrested under IPC Sections 304B and 498A and incarcerated for a couple of weeks to several months without bail. They are promptly subjected to media trial and labeled criminals even before investigation or trial can begin.

Even if all the noise about Indian brides being “driven to suicide” for dowry is indeed well-founded, one would expect that the number of suicides of married women would be significantly higher compared to that of unmarried women. However, the National Crime Records Bureau’s statistics show that there is no significant difference in the rates of suicide by married and unmarried women.

Justice Saldana’s remarks (in Crl.A. no. 589 of 2003) are testimony to how anti-dowry laws are being misused to the detriment of innocent citizens:

…we need to sound a note of caution that the police and investigating authorities should not improperly and technically jump to the conclusion that merely because death has occurred that ipso facto a criminal offense has been committed . In as many as 44% of these cases prosecution is thoroughly unjustified. Unless there is cogent and convincing evidence and unless there is material to sustain these charges, it would be totally impermissible and completely unjustified to embark upon legal action. The consequences of these charges are extremely grave because the accused husband and invariably family members are placed under arrest. There are serious social and economic repercussions.

The fact that we do come across considerable number of instances where prosecution was unjustified seems to indicate that in every case of death of young woman or recently married women that prosecution and filing of charge sheet has become automatic. There does not appear to be a proper application of mind at the stage of scrutiny and having regard to this position we direct the concerned authorities to ensure that requirements of the law are correctly and responsibly followed.

It is important to note that more than 56,000 married Indian men end their lives every year. According to statistics obtained from the National Crime Records Bureau, every year, twice as many married men, compared to women, commit suicides unable to withstand verbal, emotional, economic and physical abuse by their wives and in-laws. Deaths of these men make for the brief stories we often read in newspapers stating that a certain man “killed himself due to family issues or financial problems”. 7-12

Thanks to the concerted efforts of the feminists, thousands of men are also becoming victims of “legal terrorism” unleashed through laws like Sections 498A and 304B of the Indian Penal Code, Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act, adultery laws, laws against rape and sexual harassment, and even divorce, maintenance and child custody laws. Many men are ending their lives unable to endure the fear, humiliation and trauma caused by the legal harassment.13-18

While it is insisted that the death of every young married woman is a case of dowry death requiring immediate arrest of the husband and in-laws, accompanied by media-hype, male-bashing and breast-beating, driving thousands of men to commit suicide is considered social service in India.

Feminists have always wanted “dowry harassment” and “bride burning” to remain hot issues that fuel the Indian Domestic Violence Industry.

The feminist Taliban will surely burn in rage as we look beyond the smoke screen and call their bluff.

1.    http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/kem-doctor-suicide-police-register-dowry-case-against-husband/407514/
2.    http://www.thehindu.com/2007/02/11/stories/2007021114290300.htm
3.    http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/fivemonth-pregnant-woman-commits-suicide-3-held-for-dowry-harassment/275318/’
4.    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/woman-commits-suicide-husband-held/494150/
5.    http://www.hindu.com/2007/03/28/stories/2007032823500500.htm
6.    http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_techie-held-for-suicide-of-wife_1252098
7.    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Husband-commits-suicide-after-wife-calls-him-ugly-impotent/articleshow/3781322.cms
8.    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Man-pining-for-separated-son-commits-suicide/articleshow/4382247.cms
9.    http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/kolkata/Man-commits-suicide-on-metro-tracks/Article1-475927.aspx
10.    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kanpur/Man-commits-suicide/articleshow/5276875.cms
11.    http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Man-commits-suicide-at-Delhi-metro-station/432125/
12.    http://www.kolkatamirror.com/index.aspx?page=article&sectid=13&contentid=2009111320091113132759296662d0415&sectxslt=
13.    http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/ministers-gunner-kills-self-fearing-dowry-charges-against-family/463274/
14.    http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/False-dowry-case-Man-kills-self/270124/
15.    http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=%E2%80%98Harassed%E2%80%99+husband+commits+suicide&artid=QlzZUAwpVaA=&SectionID=Qz/kHVp9tEs=&MainSectionID=wIcBMLGbUJI=&SectionName=UOaHCPTTmuP3XGzZRCAUTQ==&SEO=
16.    http://www.deccanherald.com/content/19204/treated-cruelly-wife-techie-ends.html
17.    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/PSI-shoots-himself-dead-with-service-revolver/articleshow/5249121.cms
18.    http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?section=subcontinent&xfile=data/subcontinent/2008/february/subcontinent_february242.xml

PRESS RELEASE – Women Against Male-bashing

***P&G recently issued a Press Release in the name of “Women Against Lazy Stubble” http://shaveindia.com/pressrelease.php. This is not the first time that a company has resorted to male-bashing to sell its products. This is our call to all companies to STOP THE WAR AGAINST MEN AND BOYS and to put an end to MALE-BASHING.***

PRESS RELEASE

Women Against Male-bashing: “No more Excuses for P&G to Carry on Hate Campaigns!”

Hyderabad, 6th December 2009: Launching the ‘Stop the War Against Men and Boys’ movement – Women Against Male-bashing (W.A.M), a group of young women looking to attract all like-minded women across India, who believe that it is about time P&G stopped its anti-male commercials, are happy to announce that scores of average Indian women have joined their league to show that they love the men in their lives for who they are and not because of how often or how well they shave.

To further supplement their plans to expand their movement in the country, All India Forgotten Women’s Association (AIFWA) has come onboard to support their campaign by boycotting all the women’s products manufactured by P&G, no matter how inexpensive they are and spread the message that women will no longer put up with the gender war stoked by P&G. The support from AIFWA will enable W.A.M to reach a much wider audience through its strong network. Now that P&G’s cheap sales tricks and loony marketing stunts stand exposed, P&G doesn’t have any excuse for not stopping its hate campaign.

The message that WAM intends to spread to everyone across the country is three fold:
1.    Till P&G doesn’t stop its vile, anti-male commercials, we will actively campaign against their products.
2.    Now that P&G’s cheap tricks and loony stunts stand exposed, P&G doesn’t have any excuse for not stopping its hate campaign.
3.    If P&G doesn’t hesitate to indulge in demeaning our men, they shouldn’t expect women to refrain from demeaning P&G either.

All balanced, intelligent, real women agree with the group’s sentiment emphasizing the importance of stopping the hate speech against men, “Yes! Grooming includes several things but the most important of them all, is CHOICE. When many men are comfortable with or choose to have facial hair, I really don’t see any reason why men should be compelled to shave. This is why I’ve decided to support the WAM movement. Because I genuinely believe that if men look good to themselves, we shouldn’t expect them to change for our sake”, said a young woman doing her Bachelors’ Degree.

Another young lady said, “Just because women spend hours in an effort to look good (regardless of the real outcome), does not mean men should sacrifice something they’d rather not, that is their time (even if it is only 5 minutes) or their stubble (no matter who likes or hates it)? Now that there is so much noise about CHOICE, what excuses are left for women? As WAM believes, I don’t think women are being forced to be with men with a stubble and it is rather sad that P&G does not care about how real women like to see their men, that is happy (shaven or unshaven).”

A member of AIFWA states, “The reason I decided to support the W.A.M movement is because, I, as a human being, empathize with the plight of the modern day man, who is expected to be nothing less than perfect in order to be spared of ridicule or hatred in the society. Present day women always have so many excuses for behaving the way they do, and are always talking about what they want. But now that male-bashing is promoted as a laudable pursuit by selfish companies like P&G and there is no price for being pig-headed and unfair, they really don’t see anything wrong in dictating terms to men. Yes, guys, this is what the flakes want. The verdict is finally out.”

Uma Challa, President of AIFWA commented on the organization’s support of the campaign, “When we conducted a survey of average Indian women, we found that over 90% of women prefer a reliable, decent, hardworking man (clean shaven, stubbly, or unshaven). W.A.M came about to let men know that real women love them for who they are and prefer that their men get the extra 5 minutes of sleep for all the hard work they do for the family and the society. We will do everything to support and scale it up to reach all like-minded women across the country. We have even introduced a new blog http://stubbleindia.wordpress.com/, in collaboration with All India Men’s Welfare Association, to remind men and boys that they don’t have to feel guilty if they don’t shave”

W.A.M envisions bringing together all women in India who detest P&G’s hate campaign against unshaven and bearded men. With the help of AIFWA and real women across the country, W.A.M will spread the core message of the movement – Stop the War Against Men and Boys!

While initially starting up, W.A.M is urging men and women from across the country to BOYCOTT all P&G products and protest against their anti-male ad campaigns.

C’MON PEOPLE!! Act now and let P&G know how you really feel…

About W.A.M.


Women Against Male-bashing (W.A.M.) is a movement that brings together all like-minded women who believe that the time has come for them to take a stand against anti-male speech and anti-male commercials. The founders of this movement are a group of young women who believe that EQUALITY should exist in all walks of life – especially CHOICE. The philosophy is straightforward – Men are human too. NO MORE EXCUSES FOR MALE-BASHING in the name of women’s empowerment!

PRESS RELEASE

Women Against Male-bashing: “No more Excuses for P&G to Carry on Hate Campaigns!”

Hyderabad, 6th December 2009: Launching the ‘Stop the War Against Men and Boys’ movement – Women Against Male-bashing (W.A.M), a group of young women looking to attract all like-minded women across India, who believe that it is about time P&G stopped its anti-male commercials, are happy to announce that scores of average Indian women have joined their league to show that they love the men in their lives for who they are and not because of how often or how well they shave.

To further supplement their plans to expand their movement in the country, All India Forgotten Women’s Association (AIFWA) has come onboard to support their campaign by boycotting all the women’s products manufactured by P&G, no matter how inexpensive they are and spread the message that women will no longer put up with the gender war stoked by P&G. The support from AIFWA will enable W.A.M to reach a much wider audience through its strong network. Now that P&G’s cheap sales tricks and loony marketing stunts stand exposed, P&G doesn’t have any excuse for not stopping its hate campaign.

The message that WAM intends to spread to everyone across the country is three fold:
1.    Till P&G doesn’t stop its vile, anti-male commercials, we will actively campaign against their products.
2.    Now that P&G’s cheap tricks and loony stunts stand exposed, P&G doesn’t have any excuse for not stopping its hate campaign.
3.    If P&G doesn’t hesitate to indulge in demeaning our men, they shouldn’t expect women to refrain from demeaning P&G either.
All balanced, intelligent, real women agree with the group’s sentiment emphasizing the importance of stopping the hate speech against men, “Yes! Grooming includes several things but the most important of them all, is CHOICE. When many men are comfortable with or choose to have facial hair, I really don’t see any reason why men should be compelled to shave. This is why I’ve decided to support the WAM movement. Because I genuinely believe that if men look good to themselves, we shouldn’t expect them to change for our sake”, said a young woman doing her Bachelors’ Degree.

Another young lady said, “Just because women spend hours in an effort to look good (regardless of the real outcome), does not mean men should sacrifice something they’d rather not, that is their time (even if it is only 5 minutes) or their stubble (no matter who likes or hates it)? Now that there is so much noise about CHOICE, what excuses are left for women? As WAM believes, I don’t think women are being forced to be with men with a stubble and it is rather sad that P&G does not care about how real women like to see their men, that is happy (shaven or unshaven).”

A member of AIFWA states, “The reason I decided to support the W.A.M movement is because, I, as a human being, empathize with the plight of the modern day man, who is expected to be nothing less than perfect in order to be spared of ridicule or hatred in the society. Present day women always have so many excuses for behaving the way they do, and are always talking about what they want. But now that male-bashing is promoted as a laudable pursuit by selfish companies like P&G and there is no price for being pig-headed and unfair, they really don’t see anything wrong in dictating terms to men. Yes, guys, this is what the flakes want. The verdict is finally out.”

Uma Challa, President of AIFWA commented on the organization’s support of the campaign, “When we conducted a survey of average Indian women, we found that over 90% of women prefer a reliable, decent, hardworking man (clean shaven, stubbly, or unshaven). W.A.M came about to let men know that real women love them for who they are and prefer that their men get the extra 5 minutes of sleep for all the hard work they do for the family and the society. We will do everything to support and scale it up to reach all like-minded women across the country. We have even introduced a new blog http://stubbleindia.wordpress.com/, in collaboration with All India Men’s Welfare Association, to remind men and boys that they don’t have to feel guilty if they don’t shave”

W.A.M envisions bringing together all women in India who detest P&G’s hate campaign against unshaven and bearded men. With the help of AIFWA and real women across the country, W.A.M will spread the core message of the movement – Stop the War Against Men and Boys!

While initially starting up, W.A.M is urging men and women from across the country to BOYCOTT all P&G products and protest against their anti-male ad campaigns.

C’MON PEOPLE!! Act now and let your P&G how you really feel…

About W.A.M.
Women Against Male-bashing (W.A.M.) is a movement that brings together all like-minded women who believe that the time has come for them to take a stand against anti-male speech and anti-male commercials. The founders of this movement are a group of young women who believe that EQUALITY should exist in all walks of life – especially CHOICE. The philosophy is straightforward – Men are human too. NO MORE EXCUSES FOR MALE-BASHING in the name of women’s empowerment!

Compromising National Security to Address Feminist Insecurity?

When I was a little girl, I used to witness my brothers playing cricket with the other boys in the neighborhood. They seemed to have such a good time, bowling, batting, fielding, catching, screaming, falling over and rolling in the dirt. I insisted on playing with them even though they warned me that it would hurt.

They were gracious enough to allow me to play one day in order not to break my heart, but they couldn’t avert physical hurt. It was a hard cork ball for heaven’s sake and I, not too alert.

I sobbed until they felt sorry and bought a rubber ball for me, and allowed me to play “baby overs”, which meant I got three balls to bat on every turn.

I quickly understood that I wasn’t enjoying the game the same way as the boys could. I was not capable of playing by the standard rules of the game. I was not happy about concessions they made for me all the same.

I realized that if I really wanted to play, I had to assume all the risks that came my way.

This personal anecdote comes to mind whenever I hear feminists disparage many demanding and high risk careers as “male-dominated”, and seek concessions for the “weaker sex”.

In recent years, Senior Officers in the armed forces have been criticized by feminists for making “discriminatory” remarks and for not being able to accommodate women into all ranks, in all regiments and divisions of the three forces.

Politicians promptly take the bait and make tall promises in an urge to pacify their perceived “female vote bank”.

Union Defence Minister Mr. A.K Anthony, who had initially cited “operational reasons to rule out inducting women as combatants into the armed forces”, changed his mind two days later, on the occasion of Women’s Day 2008, and declared, “I’m sure that at some point of time it will happen.”

Former Defence Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee once went to the extent of saying, “We are encouraging more and more women to participate in the armed forces…They should be encouraged not only to equal pay, equal allowances and other opportunities, but we should create an atmosphere where they feel comfortable.” Mr. Mukherjee also envisioned “setting up of institutional arrangements for enhancing their (women’s) level of comfort”.

That is indeed very “gender-sensitive” of Mr. Mukherjee, but I wonder how such politicians propose to fulfill their promises, at what cost and at whose expense!

In a game of “galli cricket”, it is easy to replace a cork ball with a rubber ball and introduce “baby overs”. But what about a career in the armed forces especially involving combat duties? Can we provide “pansy training” and expect “rubber bullets” in the battlefield? Are we going to go as far as compromising National Security for pampering women, and call it women’s empowerment?

In a recent article (link shown below), Seema Goswani provides a candid and incisive commentary on the issue of recruiting women as fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force.  I hope the politically correct Government authorities, politicians and citizens are listening.

http://epaper.hindustantimes.com/ArticleImage.aspx?article=29_11_2009_338_002&kword=&mode=1

 

When I was a little girl, I used to witness my brothers playing cricket with the other boys in the neighborhood. They seemed to have such a good time, bowling, batting, fielding, catching, screaming, falling over and rolling in the dirt. I insisted on playing with them even though they warned me that it would hurt.

They were gracious enough to allow me to play one day in order not to break my heart, but they couldn’t avert physical hurt. It was a hard cork ball for heaven’s sake and I, not too alert.

I sobbed until they felt sorry and bought a rubber ball for me, and allowed me to play “baby overs”, which meant I got three balls to bat on every turn.

I quickly understood that I wasn’t enjoying the game the same way as the boys could. I was not capable of playing by the standard rules of the game. I was not happy about concessions they made for me all the same.

I realized that if I really wanted to play, I had to assume all the risks that came my way.

This personal anecdote comes to mind whenever I hear feminists disparage many demanding and high risk careers as “male-dominated”, and seek concessions for the “weaker sex”.

In recent years, Senior Officers in the armed forces have been criticized by feminists for making “discriminatory” remarks and for not being able to accommodate women into all ranks, in all regiments and divisions of the three forces.

Politicians promptly take the bait and make tall promises in an urge to pacify their perceived “female vote bank”.

Union Defence Minister Mr. A.K Anthony, who had initially cited “operational reasons to rule out inducting women as combatants into the armed forces”, changed his mind two days later, on the occasion of Women’s Day 2008, and declared, “I’m sure that at some point of time it will happen.”

Former Defence Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee once went to the extent of saying, “We are encouraging more and more women to participate in the armed forces…They should be encouraged not only to equal pay, equal allowances and other opportunities, but we should create an atmosphere where they feel comfortable.” Mr. Mukherjee also envisioned “setting up of institutional arrangements for enhancing their (women’s) level of comfort”.

That is indeed very “gender-sensitive” of Mr. Mukherjee, but I wonder how such politicians propose to fulfill their promises, at what cost and at whose expense!

In a game of “galli cricket”, it is easy to replace a cork ball with a rubber ball and introduce “baby overs”. But what about a career in the armed forces especially involving combat duties? Can we provide “pansy training” and expect “rubber bullets” in the battlefield? Are we going to go as far as compromising National Security for pampering women, and call it women’s empowerment?

In a recent article (reproduced below), Seema Goswani provides a candid and incisive commentary on the issue of recruiting women as fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force.  I hope the politically correct Government authorities, politicians and citizens are listening.