As Meg Rosoff puts it, “Your writing voice is the deepest possible reflection of who you are. The job of your voice is not to seduce or flatter or make well-shaped sentences. In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul.”
While these words may not hold true for every writer, there are many others whose writings portray their own feelings and experiences. For every person, writing holds a different meaning. While for some like E.B. White says, “Writing is an act of faith”, for some people as E.L. Doctorow says, “Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”
But some writings hold a mirror to the injustices and crimes going on in the society, such as, the thematic tales of Paras Tewari @avipicaso. He, along with a team of eight people, namely, Deepika Saini @deepika.saini38, Sumona Saha @thebonggirl_7, Misbah Zafar Khan @i_is_misbah, Ayushi Pragya @ayushi_pragya96, Rachda Fatima Jasmine @disizshiny, Jayant Joshi @jayantjoshi20, Himank Dixit @himank7825 and Hitesh Yadav @histeshyadav07, has given an insight of the ills prevailing in the society in the form of a photographic thematic description.
A student of Dental Sciences, Paras Tewari was like every other Biology student, who used to scroll through his Facebook feed during classes, until he came across the pages of Auditya Venkatesh (travel photographer) and Bhumika Bhatia (portrait photographer). He was fascinated and within a few days, he was gobbling up whatever article he could find on photography. He started clicking anything and everything he found interesting.
He is still developing as a conceptual photographer. His first conceptual shoot was a photo series on Rape Culture and Society’s involvement in it. He likes to experiment…like playing with light. He wants to do more conceptual shoots, create fine art photographs, shoot with new people and improve his communication skills with them. He also dreams of creating masterpieces in the genre of portrait photography and become someone who can inspire others.
To other aspiring photographers, Paras advices: “Never stop experimenting new things. Try different color schemes, different lights and weird poses. If you’re just getting started try to shoot people you know well because good portraits also depend on the comfort level of the subject.”
Regarding his theme, Paras says, “A friend of mine sent me a link. I opened it and it was about Asifa Rape case. I was shocked to read the facts. Next few days revealed more brutal facts and more rape cases in the country. It was a #trending topic. But what I thought was how long will they shout for justice? A week or a month, till this topic is still #trending. It’s been sometime now. Do you see any #justice tags now?
I decided to make a series to express. I asked my college friends to join in and they readily did. And the first thing we discussed was society. How society, who support the #justice campaign on #trending day, plays a part in encouraging these rape incidents in usual days.
We discussed all the ills and facts we can find and decided to portray them through pictures.”
#1 If You Speak…
A Voice…. A cry….A scream… Hushed
Sssshhh…. People are sleeping
In the society we live in… it is assumed that you have created your own reality….no matter how horrible the reality is.
A girl being teased stays quiet…
A woman raped….Her family chooses to be quiet…
After all it’s a matter of “Ijjat” (dignity) she carries…. Ijjat of her family… Ijjat in front of the Society….so just to prevent more humiliation…the only option left is to “Stay quiet”
Facts – More than half of the rapes go unreported in India.
Speaking up doesn’t mean exposing yourself to the judging eyes of the society, it means taking a stand for yourself, getting the monsters punished and saving other women from becoming a victim of such crimes.
#2 Unconscious isn’t consent…
But unfortunately that’s not how the world works here. Cases where the victim is extremely intoxicated at the time of sexual assault are incredibly common although the public doesn’t hear about them because they rarely make it to the court.
Often when drugs are involved the victim becomes totally unaware of the situation and because such rapes aren’t physically violent she tends to think she just put herself in a bad situation.
Moreover our society tends to adhere to a sexist double standard.
Someone who has been drinking and commits a sexual assault is less responsible.
While someone who has been drinking and experiences a sexual assault is held more responsible.
Facts – 43% of the sexual victimization incidents involve alcohol consumption by victims and 69% involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrators. 76% of women have never consumed a drink given to them by a stranger.
If a person is intoxicated, that’s their wish. That doesn’t give anyone else the right to touch them without their consent. And people who hold the victims responsible for getting trashed in the first place are as much to blame as the people assaulting them.
#3 ‘No’ wasn’t heard…
To say “yes” is to agree and to say “no” is to disagree…and all the little phrases like “all right” or “of course” or “I don’t want to” or “not right now” are very clear. But why is it hard to understand the meaning of “yes” and “no” when it comes to consent?
You’ll be surprised how many times rapists have argued that “they were unsure” as to what the victim meant when she said “not right now” or “I don’t want to”. There’s no way those phrases can be translated to a “yes”.
Consent has always meant and will always mean the same thing…. Permission, approval, agreement.
A ‘No’ means no. It has no other meaning. When will people understand this?
#4 Her skin was Distracting…
Myth: Victims provoke sexual assaults when they dress provocatively.
It’s a common argument that boils down to the same nonsense – if the victims weren’t wearing revealing clothes…They wouldn’t have been victimized.
This is a comforting myth produced by the society which makes it easy to pretend that sexual assault only happens to people who make bad choices….
Stop thinking in terms of “respectable” women and those who are “asking for it” from their way of dressing.
Facts – Studies have found that victims of sexual harassment vary in physical appearance, type of dresses, age and behavior. The only thing they have in common is that 99% of them are female.
Rape victims are still being interrogated about what they were wearing at the time of assault.
People who judge others on the basis of what they wear reveal the material they themselves are made of. Rapists are rapists, they do not concern themselves with what the woman is wearing; their topmost priority is satisfying their own needs or their thirst for power. So stop blaming the women. They are not the culprits here.
#5 An Urge to Dominate…
Rape is considered a crime of lust… but it is also a greed for power… an urge to dominate and brutalize women.
Fact – Surveys show that vast majority of rapes are planned. This goes to disprove the theory that the rapist is usually provoked by the flimsy clothing worn by the victim and is overcome by an overpowering physical urge. In fact, the rapist is asserting his power and the urge to dominate.
Male aggression towards women is deeply rooted in our society. In the social framework…women are considered property of men.
The form of physical violence most commonly reported by women was that their husbands used physical force to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to.
Data on marital rapes in India exists…but marital rape as a crime “does not exist”.
Understanding the psychology behind these crimes is important to exterminate them…
Why do some men take part in such cheap antics to show their dominance? Why not accept that women are their equals?
This has been summed up through a poem written by Rohit Pandey.
After meandering down the beautiful winding roads,
I walked through the gully’s of the city of unknown
Narrow walls around me, and dead bodies in hoards
I had walked these roads blindly, now I’ve grown
I start walking and see blood that had been shed,
And I ask myself is this what I didn’t see?
Flesh and ghore on which the wild beasts fed
I asked again what is this place? As they fed on innocent blood like bree
Suddenly a woman appeared from the corner
I could see it in her eyes, it was the fear of death
She was chased from the open road I entered from with trickling sweat and heavy breath
She screamed and right across she made a dash
And I figured it was impossible for her to escape now
It took her only a few seconds, until she turned into Ash
The walls are made of dust, now I know how
This time a little girl appeared
But she didn’t laugh, nor did she run
She cried and walked and sat in the nook,
Till a man appeared with a gun
I ran towards him
He shot her and faded away
She was motionless in the corner
The skies were now grey
The soul exits above, as the heavens bells ring
This place is like hell, and so to God I pray
He sends down a holy being
She’s a daughter, she’s a mother, she’s a woman, and she wants to say
I am human,
I deserve respect,
I gave you birth
I am not a different sect
I am one of you,
Accept me please,
You use me for pleasure,
Till my hands and bones freeze
But for some reason
These thoughts she didn’t share
While society let her cry silently
Learn to respect her as a woman, show her that she can be safe. The one who made you is the one you destroy. No, you aren’t humans, you aren’t even men. You are monsters, when will there be an end?
In today’s world, no matter which newspaper we read, it always contains some sort of report on domestic violence or rape or other similar crimes against women. When will this end? So many articles, so many laws, campaigns and still these things go on. Have people become too fearless? Do they think they are beyond the jurisdiction of the country or do they think they won’t face punishment in God’s court? Or have they become so inhumane that they don’t hear the heart wrenching cries of their victims? How long will this go on? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
Through these articles, the team of TheUncommonBox seeks to awaken people, to bring to their notice that staying quiet in the name of dignity or keeping the women indoors is not the solution. The fault lies not with the women or their dresses; it lies in the leering gazes of the men. So, speak up; take a stand for yourselves and revolt.
If you have any photo stories to share, mail them at [email protected]
Content Writing by Ravneet Kaur
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