Skip to main content

Sabarimala and #MeToo: Cases of sexual abuse of marginalised women remain largely "unaddressed"

By Sheshu Babu*
This is a rare phase in history where women are fearlessly voicing their rights despite the obstacles raised by male chauvinists. While many people are applauding the movements some are either deriding or expressing some apprehensions. The movements have not only brought out tales of exploitation of women but also exposed caste contradiction and communal discrimination to the fore.
As the movements progressed, fragmentation in society also became evident.
According to a report, a 42 year-old woman from Kollam district returned from the base camp without visiting the temple after the police said that it would be difficult to give escort due to inclement weather(?).
The woman, SP Manju, who was associated with the Kerala Dalit Maha Foundation, left Pamba but said that she has not abandoned her attempt to enter the temple as Supreme Court has given permission to enter the temple for women of all ages.
The reason cited by police may indicate bias and discrimination against Dalit women. Rain may be a genuine cause but if the authorities feel that they should sincerely try, rains may not pose much difficulty. State Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran stating that the government cannot provide protection to 'activists who come to prove their power in Sabarimala' , further strengthens the notion that Dalit women face discrimination even on the entry of the temple. It is regrettable that there has been very little condemnation of the matter by upper caste women. The Sabarimala movement may not have succeeded on the caste front. This needs to be addressed.
A 31 year old engineer from BSNL, Rehana Fatima who attempted to climb has been transferred from Cochin to Ravipuram. The company also started internal investigation. Though she claimed that it was a request transfer, some reports in media like the New Indian Express said it was a punitive measure. Her house has been reported to be broken. Police have registered a case on her social media posts citing them as ' communally divisive'.
Here too, there has been very little reaction from other women or feminist organizations or activists. The communal divide is palpably visible, unfortunately.

MeToo and elite

While many cases of sexual abuse have been courageously disclosed by women, the cases of scores of Adivasi women or marginalised women remain largely unaddressed. Political leaders, police or army personnel involved in rapes, molestation and atrocities are still getting away with impunity especially in states like Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand or Manipur. These poor women do not have accessibility to social media platforms like Facebook to air their sufferings. Their woes have not been taken up.
Both the movements have exposed many other contradictions that exist in society. The problem is deeper than just exploitation of women. A deeper malice prevails which must be taken into account. The present protests against male hegemony should also include annihilation of caste and religious and social discrimination among women. They should unite and make the movements successful in all respects. They should not allow divisive fundamentalist forces to weaken their unity and dissipate the power of activism built up so courageously against all odds.
Some undesirable forces are trying to wreck the movements from within by pitting women against women. Hence, all women should be alert to such malicious powers and thwart their taking control. As Frances Hargraves expressed  "...for many women, including those living in stigmatized Dalit ( untouchable) communities in postcolonial India, this sort of platform remains largely unavailable... Raising awareness of the historical context behind contemporary discrimination is vital. However, more needs to be done to make international women's movements and the contemporary human rights discourse inclusive for those facing violence and persecution under vastly different circumstances."
One hopes the movements address the social contradictions and achieve higher levels of women empowerment and work towards dismantling male hegemony and brutal exploitation as well as restrictions imposed in matters like entering temples or places of prayers for women irrespective of castes or religion.
---
*The writer from everywhere and anywhere supports equality for all

Comments

TRENDING

Nobel laureates join international figures, seek release of Bhima Koregaon accused activists

Nobel laureates Olga Tokarczuk,  Wole Soyinka Counterview Desk  As many as 57 top international personalities, including Nobel laureates, academics, human rights defenders, lawyers cultural personalities, and members of Parliament of European countries, have urged the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India to ensure immediate release of human rights defenders in India “into safe conditions”.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Russia, China to call the shots in Middle East, as Muslim nations turn into house of cards

By Haider Abbas* Only a naive would buy that the ‘situation of ceasefire’ between the State of Israel and Hamas would continue, as if the foiled attempt to demolish Al Aqsa this time, is not be repeated, if not in any near future then in sometime to come. Israel already has spurned the ‘ceasefire’ by storming Al Aqsa after the Friday prayers on May 21.

Hunger, lack of food security behind India's 'slip' in UN's sustainable development rank

By Dr Gian Singh*  According to a report released by the United Nations on June 6, 2021, India's ranking of achieving Sustainable Development based on the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs) set by the 193 countries in the 2003 agenda, which was 115th last year, has slipped to 117th position this year. India ranks not only the lowest among the BRICS countries -- Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa but also below the four South Asian countries -- Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Collapse of healthcare system? Why 90% of Covid patients treated at home survived

By Bobby Ramakant, Sandeep Pandey* Well known Hindustani classical singer Padma Vibhu shan Channulal Mishra, chosen as one of the proposers of Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha elections, lost his wife and elder daughter to Covid in private hospitals in Varanasi. Younger daughter has accused Medwin Hospital of charging Rs 1.5 lakh for treatement of her sister and not being able to explain the cause of death. Pandit Channulal Mishra has asked for a probe into his daughter’s death from the Chief Minister. The family has also asked for the CCTV footage of the ward where deceased daughter was admitted for a week.

Rooted in mistrust? Covid-19’s march into rural India is a very different ball game

By Sudhir Katiyar* As the Covid-19 virus penetrates rural India, the rural communities are responding very differently from their urban counterparts who rushed to the hospitals. The rural communities are avoiding the public health facilities and any mention of the disease. The note argues that this supposedly irrational response is based on a deep-seated mistrust of the state by the rural communities. It can not be resolved with routine Information, Education and Communication (IEC) measures suggested in the Government of India SOP for tackling Covid-19 in rural areas.

Courageous, in-depth attempt to confirm common spiritual values of Christ, Buddha

By RB Sreekumar, IPS*  All religions, both theistic and atheistic designed conceptual and practical architecture, for holistic and comprehensive elevation and enlightenment of humanity. PK Vijayan, in his novel “Nirvana of Jesus Christ” (Notion Press, 2020) through creative imagination portrayed personality evolution of the two progenitors of God-centric and sagaciously logical major religions – Jesus Christ of Christianity and Gautama Buddha of Buddhism.

Covid fear? Cremation rituals gone upside down, Dalits asked to do Brahminical rituals

By Abhay Jain, Sandeep Pandey*  As Covid consumes human life in a very conspicuous way we are confronted with additional problem of disposing of human corpses. Cremation grounds are lit with continuous pyres, graveyards are running out of land and now Ganga has become a mass grave potentially polluting its water.

Why hasn't Govt of India responded to US critique of freedom of religion under Modi?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* About two weeks ago, on May 12, 2021, the US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken released in Washington the ‘2020 International Religious Freedom Report.’ This official annual report of the US Government details the status of religious freedom in nearly 200 foreign countries and territories and describes US actions to support religious freedom worldwide. Mandated by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, this report highlights the fact that ‘religious freedom is both a core American value and a universal human right’.