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Bell Bajao Blog

VAW as a weapon of WAR

Human rights evolved from Cyrus the great who decided to free all his slaves making its way through different regimes and world wars. Finally in 1948 Eleanor Roosevelt signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration guarantees everyone 30 human rights to everyone. One of those rights is our right not be discriminated against – but people are discriminated against all the time on the basis of sex, caste and even color. One of the rights is not be tortured but civilians are tortured and even raped during wartime. One of th ...

No ‘happy’ birthday to you, girl!

By Roki Kumar Birth of a newborn is a very important and happy event in all communities. Every society celebrates the birth of a newborn baby in their own unique way. In Haryana, the birth of a newborn baby is celebrated with folk songs, folk dance and other customs.  It is a big celebration for every family irrespective of their caste and class. However there are many rituals the community does not celebrate if it’s a girl child.  This bias starts from the moment a couple of married with everyone wishing that they have a boy child.  The f ...

How can gender-biased sex selection be tackled?

Most conversations around gender-biased sex selection place the onus on the mothers, who rarely have a say in the matter. Since the entire community plays a coercive role in pressuring women to have sons, it is essential to target communications at the level of both the family and the community. Gender-biased sex selection is the social responsibility of the community, and not of any one individual. This practice is rooted in discrimination against women – the desire for a male heir to carry forward the family lineage, the burden of prote ...

What is gender-biased #sexselection?

What is Gender-Biased Sex Selection? Gender-biased sex selection (GBSS) is the misuse of medical technologies to determine the sex of a foetus in order to ensure a male child, a practice that is illegal in India according to PCPNDT Act. It includes practices such as selecting embryos after IVF and separating sperm to conceive a son or misusing ultrasounds to illegally determine the sex of a foetus and then abort it, if it is a female. GBSS is driven by a powerful cultural preference for sons and a devaluing of women and girls. Since prevalent n ...

Home is Where the Hurt is – Part 3

“Get the f*** out of this house”. And she prepares to do just that. Because, salvaging her pride means showing him (and herself) that it is not as if she has nowhere else to go, she is not a charity case, she is not dependent on him, etc, etc. Right? Isn’t that how most of us educated, ‘empowered’ women would react? Rather, the question is, isn’t that how we ‘should’ react? That is, preserve our dignity (whatever we have left) by showing him we need nothing of what is his? But, what exactly are we proving ...

[16 Days of Activism] The Horse Cart Driver – Part 2

In part one, Mahnaz, who was nine years old at the time, was riding in the front seat of a horse-cart—with her mother and sister seated in the back—when the driver grabbed her hand and would not let it go. —- The horse cart driver didn’t release my hand. I still wasn’t sure of his motives. He was an old man. Maybe he was trying to help me, I thought. But I was wrong. In a few seconds, he led my hand further up and said, “Put your hand here.” He put my hand on his penis. My intuition was right. He had a dirty intention. I felt ...

[16 Days of Activism] The Horse Cart Driver – Part 1

Before I learned from anyone, my intuition taught me to understand gender violence and react against it. I was nine years old when we were living in Herat province, in western Afghanistan. We lived away from the city center and my grandparents lived in the city. When we wanted to visit them, we took the bus to the city and then we would take a horse-cart to near my grandmother’s house. We did not have a car and a taxi was expensive, so the horse-cart was a better option for us. One sunny, beautiful day we decided to go to my grandparents’ h ...

[16 Days of Activism] Stop Violence Against Women

You enjoy your full rights… Now I want to enjoy mine I am a human You must help me. Stop violence against me. Do not tell me you are weak. You are strong enough to beat me, to blame me for being a woman You try to buy me with your money, Or exchange me as baad to solve an argument This is your job: allow me to go to school, Let me work for my community, Permit me to choose my life partner Stop violence against me. This is what you must do: When a woman reports sexual abuse to police, Do not call it adultery; protect her and arrest the crimina ...

Home is Where the Hurt is – Part 2

Stage 1: Dissonance. Denial. Disbelief. Stage 2: Distress. Desperation. Despair. Stage 3: Rinse. Repeat. It creeps in slowly. First, there are the ‘accidents’. His leg just happened to be in the way, so you tripped. The door just banged on your hand – he didn’t see it, honest. He really needed to get away from you and YOU were in the way. You fell. So what?? So #$*king what? Then one day, you cannot hide behind ‘accidents’ anymore. He actually hits you. Slaps, punches, kicks you. You reel around – in pain and in disbelief. Your he ...

[16 Days of Activism] Legitimizing Inequality

I write this poem for women who are victims of wrong cultural and religious beliefs. —Mahnaz We were cooked. They made us raw, burned us and buried us. Those men and women who carry the stick in their hands, gaze of blame in their eyes, sting of insult from their tongues, they set fire to our wisdom, then called us ignorant! Siasar ! Naqisul Aql ! They use our love for others as an excuse to tell us we are weak in faith, too emotional for a prophet, imam, judge, or leader. They betray us by twisting our nature to use against us, then call us ...
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