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

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

Across the board, among Muslims, Hindus, there's enormous fury at Delhi Police: Report

Counterview Desk
A quick report, prepared by Delhi's concerned citizens, "Let Us Heal Our Dilli", based on one-day visit (February 27) to several areas and mohallas of North East Delhi affected by the riots that gripped the country's capital -- Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh, Gokulpuri, Chaman Park, Shiv Vihar, Main Mustafabad (including Bhagirathi Vihar and Brijpuri) -- has said everywhere there is "zero trust" towards that the police.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Haridwar Swamis lead Khudai Khidmatgar peace march in Delhi 'riot affected' areas

By Our Representative
A Khudai Kidmatgar team, which visited the riot-affected regions along with Swami Shivanand Saraswati and Swami Punyanand, has insisted that India's true heritage is the lesson of ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam', and it is the responsibility of all to carry froward this legacy. Originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1930, also known as Frontier Gandhi, Khudai Khidmatgar is claimed to have been revived by young Gandhian activist Faisal Khan in 2011.