A different take on sexual harassement – Debating the sexual harassment bill

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A men’s movement in India that has come out in protest about a range of issues where they think that they are unfairly treated with women receiving preferential treatment, often blaming these issues on feminism.  Some of the comments on Men’s Rights Facebook pages promoting ‘anti-feminist’ sentiment can be pretty harsh with Wikipedia defining this men’s rights movement (MRM) as;

“a subset of the larger men’s movement, is focused on addressing discrimination against men in areas such as reproductive rights, divorce settlements, domestic violence laws, and sexual harassment laws.[1] It branched off from the men’s liberation movement in the early 1970’s, differing from that movement in its focus and rejection of pro-feminist principles.”

Whilst I don’t believe feminism advocates women’s rights at the expense of men’s rights, it is a little concerning.  However I think that the best way to address this is to engage thoughtfully as a Changing Women, without criticism, anger or judgement.

In some cases we still see the mistreatment of women through control and deprivation through laws and cultures that are grossly inhumane and without equality and it is this history that I think has been lost on this movement.  That is not to say that many of their issues are not warranted.  For example, men should have equal opportunities to be a sole care giver, they should not be physically or mentally abused by their partners and they should not suffer sexual harassment at the hands of either sex.  But it is not a simple issue.

Here is a post about the a new law that has been passed in New Delhi to protect women from sexual harassment.  The article is well written and reasonably balanced, but I think that the bigger issues that come from centuries of patriarchy have been overlooked.

Debating the sexual harassment bill – Posted by in Legal

“Men’s rights organisations have come out strongly against the decision of the Lok Sabha which cleared the Sexual harassment of women at workplace bill without any discussion.

Men’s Rights Association, a men’s rights organization, creating awareness about abuse of men by society registered a strong protest against the proposed anti-male legislation titled “Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment Bill”.

On the September 3, the Lok Sabha cleared this bill without any discussion. When over 35 countries have this law Gender neutral, why is it anti male only in India? Why is it being passed without any debate in Loksabha, they asked.”

READ THE REST OF VICKY NANJAPPA’S ARTICLE HERE

This is my response via a comment on his blog site;

“It is a shame that the law was not made gender neutral as you say as all people can be subject to sexual harassment. I guess that historically it has been worst for women since men have been the leaders in most organisations over many centuries, however for true equality the law must protect all. These laws were instigated in the west and many decades ago and took some time to take effect so sometimes the early days are difficult. Sexual harassment still happens regardless of the laws, but at least it is more understood. I wouldn’t say that feminism is the issue here as feminism doesn’t advocate equality for women over equality for men, it merely asks that women have equal choice and have equity in ownership, decisions over their body, to be able to choose a life path and to have self determination. These are things that everyone should have regardless of gender, race, status or age.

I certainly understand the issues that you have outlined, but many laws are still heavily weighted towards men and against women, so are many cultural practices such as dowries and forced marriages. This is a much broader issue and stems from the patriarchal system that has been created over many centuries, where men have been in control and have determined the life of women. You only need to look at the right for women to vote which did not come into force until the late 1800′s in the western world to know that many laws were made by men for men. Often these laws were extremely detrimental to women and some still are so this could be why you are seeing so much activism in your country at the moment around women’s rights. These may seem to be eroding those of men, but this is just a phase in the change and balance will return over time. Instead of blaming feminism, why not work with those groups more closely so that laws are crafted that benefit everyone?”

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15 responses »

  1. if feminism wasn’t a movement of spreading hatred towards men..it would have earned some respect. Victimhood has been their main forte..it helps them extract lot of benefits from men and society. Historically, women have enjoyed a highly protective life under patriarchy while the same patriarchy has disposed off men in protecting, providing for the women and society.

    While men have suffered in silence, still carrying out their duties, women have never shown gratitude towards the sacrifices men have made. I still wonder what are the laws that men made that was meant for themselves. On the contrary, in victorian times, it was the men/husbands who were punished for the crimes committed by their Men and Society have always been lenient towards women. Society has always judged and treated men harshly.

    Today, when the world is less risky, less demanding on physical side,..the opportunities for women are immense.

    “People/Women/Society still expect..one should respect women, just because she is a “woman”. Men never had this privilege.Feminism is for seeking privileged status for women and not equality, the only way they believe that can be done is by spreading hatred against men,

    “A Men’s Rights Activist”

    • Hi Mra, thank you for your comments, I do appreciate that you have taken the time to respond. In response, I will address one comment at a time. Firstly, to my knowledge, feminism is not a movement that is about spreading hatred towards men, it is about seeking equality for women so that they enjoy the same choices and freedoms as men have for centuries. Granted, some feminists can be very aggressive, but the actual philosophy of feminism is not about hatred towards men.

      I can’t agree that women have ‘never’ shown gratitude to men for the sacrifices that they have made. Many women are very thankful for the work that men do, the sacrifices that they have made in war and in peace time to provide for their country and their family. Women may not show gratitude for ‘being looked after’ or ‘being provided for’ if they don;t have a say in how they are looked after, what is provided for them or how they are asked to live. For example: you could give a woman all the money in the world, provide a huge house and shower her with gifts but if she does not have free choice then you have given her nothing, she is merely a prisoner of your choice. In such a case, she may not show you the gratitude that you think you deserve. However, love and care freely given and allowing someone else free choice is something that we all appreciate.

      When you say, “Historically, women have enjoyed a highly protective life under patriarchy “, I think you are getting to the point of your issue. Taking care of someone under someone else’s idea of what is good for them is not freedom, and women have not always been protected under patriarchy, you only need to look at history to see that as there are hundreds of examples where patriarchy has actually done damage to women by preventing them from seeking legal aid, or obtaining the right medical care of by simply being able to chose a career and path in life. Here is Wikipedia’s definition; “Patriarchy is a social system in which the male acts as the primary authority figure central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination. Many patriarchal societies are also patrilineal, meaning that property and title are inherited by the male lineage.” – this is hardly equality.

      Your comment “Today, when the world is less risky, less demanding on physical side,..the opportunities for women are immense.” This is true, but I am not sure that the world is less risky, and many women around the world still suffer terrible physical abuse at the hands of men, so the world is still far from safe.

      Feminism is not seeking privileged treatment for women over men, it just advocates that women have equal choices to men, and still in many cases they don’t. In some countries women have no rights at all and are considered the ‘property’ of their husbands – is this right? I don’t think so. Men and women are different and it is this difference that is so wonderful, if we can recognize, accept and honor these differences we would have a better world and I believe we are on our way there.

      Thank you again for your comments. Changing Women is about looking at positive ways to empower women by “changing the world one woman at a time” and we have an increasing number of men, like yourself who are also working to change the world, “one man at a time”.

  2. “I think that the bigger issues that come from centuries of patriarchy have been overlooked.” … Let me educate you in what has happened through the centuries . Patriarchy treated men as little more than cannon fodder . Millions of men were killed or maimed to protect their so called countries ( read society , women and children ). Anthropology research says that the current living population is the progeny of onl;y 40% of men who ever lived . The rest 60% never got to even reproduce as they were killed much before attaining puberty . Society has used me throughout history and it has enjoyed the death of men to such an extent that it has become an expectation. It has been successful by encouraging male to male violence and imbibing inherent misandry in the all players of the society.

    So this article is another example of the intellectual bankruptcy of feminists who when at a loss of arguments try to cite what happened centuries ago tojustify the anti-male biased laws in the 21st century …

    • Thank you Arnab for your comment.

      Here is Wikipedia’s definition; “Patriarchy is a social system in which the male acts as the primary authority figure central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination. Many patriarchal societies are also patrilineal, meaning that property and title are inherited by the male lineage.”.

      So really it is men that have “treated men as little more than cannon fodder”. In history there have been few women leaders who may have started a war (Margaret Thatcher with the Falklands is the only one I can think of), if you look back over history you will find that it has mostly been men who have started wars.

      What do you mean by;
      “So this article is another example of the intellectual bankruptcy of feminists who when at a loss of arguments try to cite what happened centuries ago to justify the anti-male biased laws in the 21st century” What happened centuries ago? Perhaps you should have a closer look at history as women (not feminists) are not at a loss of arguments you only need to go to the history books.

  3. Men did only one crime that they r born little physically strong. Thats the biggest crime. Also, we men are never united where as women are and somehow society has turned feminist and all the sacrifices by men for decades have all gone against us. They say women are raped but no one says so many men have given their lives for saving women from being raped.No one says men saved the country by laying their lives for the country where there were so many women. Men saved woman hood too but its all being overlooked just bcoz some news channel will air a woman being raped or some crime against women but that media never speak for men laying their lives for women…its tuff to defeat this thot. We men also want empowerment of women but time has changed even we got our rights and we also want equality so that men are abused by society by women centric laws meant to defame men. Just a request to the society do not overlook the sacrifices by men we deserve some place in the society too..Also, earnest request to NCW do not hate men be good and not men hater also change the minister Renuka Chaudhary she is not a good women of good character and she hates men so we cannot have a tiger policing sheeps(men).Also, congress must fall they are the real culprits as they want to change the society by waging wars in our families so that they can loot the nation in peace. People like Salman Khurseed and Renuka chaudhary must be removed Salman Khurseed with tacit help from Renuka is trying to break specially the Hindu families by amending laws which can be anti Hindu and Anti men.

    • Hi Amit, thank you for your comment. I don’t think it was a crime for men to be born physically strong, it is a wonderful thing and what most women appreciate and admire in men. The problem is when men use this physical strength as a controlling mechanism against each other, and women and against children. It is particularly bad when a man uses his physical strength against someone who is weaker and can not defend themselves using the same strength as with a man and a women. Studies have shown that a girl is stronger at 14 than a boy of the same age, but as both age the male will become far physically stronger. I don’t know about your country, but here in Australia we celebrate the sacrifices of men (and women) in wars every year when we have ANZAC day. I think you have grossly generalized when you say that men are overlooked for saving women. Your idea of ‘men laying down their lives for women’ is a little strange. You seem to be saying that all women need to be saved? From what? Themselves because they are women?

      I don’t know what the NCW but I know that the laws and policies need to be balanced to benefit both male and female gender. Why do you think that Renuka Chaudhary ‘hates men’? Is it because she disagrees with them?

      • Hi Susan,
        Thank you for replying. I agree with what you said. But, unfortunately, things are working in a wrong direction in India.NCW stands for National council for Women and Renuka Chaudhary is a woman welfare minister. It would be good if you read about her in the net you will get a fair idea about her identity and her political clout through which she passes various anti men laws. Just take the case of ‘IPC 498A’, which is a law meant to eradicate Dowry system which is still prevalent in some parts of India but this law has been so grossly abused against men and his family members that men fear getting into a marriage alliance.I would appreciate if you could read about this law and its side effects so that such biased laws are never implemented in Australia. Just type “IPC 498A” in google and you will get a fair ides about this law and various such laws which come along with this. India is a nation of corruption and Congress is the creator of such a society and Renuka is one of Congress minister.
        Anyways, my idea is for women in India if i am not wrong there are 20+ laws but for men there is no law and not even any gender neutral laws so we men are a regular victim of such laws. And modern era women extracts the loop holes in these laws even for petty things at home.Woman must be respected and cared for as I do for my mother and sisters but with power in the hands of woman they are misusing it so much that a section of men are getting abused day in and day out. Please read about laws in India so that you can help men from Australia who wish to get married in India from being trapped even the US,Canada and many other countries embassy issued warnings against such anti men laws.

      • Hi Amit, yes I will have a look at those articles which you suggest, I am interested to see how the laws to eradicate the Dowry system will badly effect men! My understanding is that currently baby girls are still being killed at birth in India because parents fear they will have to pay out too much in dowry costs when the baby becomes a woman of marriageable age. This is surely discriminating against women and girls rather than men? In fact, under the dowry system women are seen as chattels and objects rather than people with free choice who can enter into an equal marriage or partnership. I certainly understand the history of way dowrys were needed in the first place and it was because women were prevented from owning their own property, prevented from education and the ability to earn a living themselves and the dowry was meant to help provide a better life for that woman when she married. Unfortunately, very often this dowry system was abused (in western countries as well), where the man had full control over the money and the women’s well being. No of this is a result of feminism it is a result of patriarchy.

        I wonder why you think men from Australia or the US etc could be trapped by your laws? If they are marriaging a women on equal terms then there should not be any problem, however if they are going to India to ‘obtain’ a subservient wife, then they should have problems.

        Why are women misusing their power and how is this different to the centuries of misuse of power by men?

      • Ammazza che lavorone si è sciroppato il tipo. Per carità, tutto &q;tougrasso" che cola :D, ma sempre un lavorone.Sarebbe interessante un lavoro del genere anche tenendo come modello una delle donnine in latex di Masamune Shirow,

  4. “Thank you again for your comments. Changing Women is about looking at positive ways to empower women by “changing the world one woman at a time” and we have an increasing number of men, like yourself who are also working to change the world, “one man at a time”.”

    Men have made the biggest mistake by participating in the women’s empowerment and emancipation. They have been terribly backstabbed. They are falsely accused in rape allegations, they are falsely arrested in domestic disputes. They are simply held responsible for all the wrongs of the world. They are simply the punching bags…blame men for everything. We are striving for 0 crime against women, even if crime against men are increasing manifolds. Iti s not surprising that double the men commit suicides (in India..in western countries the ratio is even higher).

    I am still wondering what are the responsibilities of women in this world, where is the feminist literature on it ??

    • Mra, what has happened to you to make you feel this way? Do you mean that you would prefer that women were not emancipated and they remained subservient and dependent on men? In many countries currently women have no rights and still there are wars with men being killed and laws being made that don’t serve everyone so this can hardly be blamed on women.

      False allegations of all sorts of crimes happen – it can happen by one man to another it is also not just women that can do this to men. The statistics of domestic violence for example do show that it is mostly the women who is being beaten by the man, although there are some cases where it is the woman beating the man. The issues are complex in domestic violence and are often compounded by the fact that many women are the primary carer for children, they often have access to the family income denied to them by their husbands and very often have no place to go to seek refuge. In the case of rape, statistics show that one women (or child) is being raped somewhere in the world every minute of every day. However the incidence of a women raping a man is very rare, although that is not to say that it doesn’t happen. The false allegations are more a consequence of the legal system and society in general than women.

      Why do you think that crime against men is increasing and who are the perpetrators? Are you saying that more women are taking up arms against men? Mra if you don’t know what the responsibilities of women in the world are by now then you need to take a look around you. Being a women has nothing to do with being a feminist – not all women are feminists, we are just people – some good and some not so good. What are your specific issues?

      • “Responsibilities of a woman”

        Tell me a law where it is codified. Responsibilities of men are codified everywhere. What are the responsibilities that need to be codified…please tell me… i have no idea !!! (for a working women as well as housewife) ”

        “What are my specific issues”

        I find it quite disturbing when datas and statistics are thrown without understanding it. Just because a crime against woman is reported doesn’t mean the crime has happened. 9 out 10 reports of domestic violence by woman is false 8 out of 10 reports of rape by women are false (A man falsely accused of rape is the man raped, the pain he goes through is no less traumatic than the woman who is raped). Data and statistics are just the matrix, the truth is totally different from it. Equal no. of men are victims of domestic violence, if not more. But the society recognizes dv against women. just because women get more hurt in the physical fight doesn’t mean that they are bigger victims. Women are known to be bigger perpetrators of domestic violence.

        My specific issue is…we are here only to value the life of women. It has become a zero sum game, for every gain for a woman, a man has to go through a pain. Be it maintenance, alimony, child support.

        “The false allegations are more a consequence of the legal system and society in general than women.”

        This is the specific issue, it is so lightly taken and the pain of men are so generalised, by putting the blame away from women. Legal System is just the tool, those misusing the tool are the real fault.

        The faults of women are meant to be ignored and men are supposed to be crucified even if they are not at fault.

      • Mra, I wonder where you are getting your information. Have you been directly effected by a false allegation and is that why you are so angry and feeling so much passion about this issue?

        Your statement, ‘Women are known to be bigger perpetrators of domestic violence”, is interesting. Where are you getting this information? Perhaps you mean that women are the perpetrators when they argue or don’t agree with a man’s point of view? Women do scream, certainly, but they generally don’t forcibly detain men, they generally don’t physically harm them on a regular basis so that the man is not able to leave the home.

        Maintenance, alimony and child support are not women’s issues. Children have two parents so child care and child maintenance is a community issue – the issue of BOTH parents. Maintenance and alimony exist because of centuries of inequality where women have not been able to provide for themselves for many reasons. Laws, poverty, lack of education, violence or because they are a primary care giver. If two people enter into a marriage and the woman stays in the home and looks after children and helps to support her husband is she less entitled to be provided for if the marriage ends? This happened to my own mother, who was a home maker for her marriage to my father. He was a professional and earned very good income so we lived very well. After 18 years of marriage he left to be with another woman. My mother was left with two young children and had never worked in her life. He on the other hand continued on with his well paying job and started a new family. We have adjusted laws here in Australia to help this situation and have child maintenance for the care of the children, but we do not have alimony. Instead these women often live in poverty or close to it. Some are able to be helped by community groups to educate themselves and retrain for a job, but most times these women and their children suffer a significant reduction in living standards.

        There is a lot of information on this and too much for me to go into here, but I would suggest that you do a little more research first and then re look at your laws. Perhaps it will take a little time to get a balance, but can I suggest that you take one issue at a time? Research it well and come up with new positive recommendations to put to your government instead of complaining about generalisims.

  5. Assuming everything that you “BELIEVE” as correct, can you please help me have 1 SIMPLE REASON on why Laws in India (including the Sexual harassment Law) CAN NOT be Gender Neutral in the way they are formed?

    If what you “BELIEVE” is correct, I am sure, you will not have even a single case filed by men. RIGHT?

    Not even making the law gender neutral is not understandable by my small brain 😦

    But for all your records, why dont you check NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau)? You will see the REAL numbers.

    But I guess, the cloud of Feminism in our eyes dont let us see the truth at all. Because all of us, ALWAYS assume that women are being beaten (with probably little or NONE personal experiences), just that we BELIEVE it.

    • Thank you for your comment Jhakasbachha. I am not sure what you are saying? I am not saying that there are not cases where men have been victims of domestic violence or sexual harassment, with a women as the perpetrator of the violence or harassment. In fact, in my own experience as a manager I have had to counsel men who have felt uncomfortable with the advances or aggressive behaviours of a woman and have had to speak to the female involved. What I am saying is a fact, that the world over women ARE the greatest victims of sexual abuse (rape), domestic violence and sexual harassment. I don’t believe this to be true – it IS true. Perhaps you could do some further study? It would be great if you could provide the transcripts or factual detail of the NCRB that demonstrates that more men are subjected to violence at the hands of a female than a female is subjected to violence at the hands of a man. If this is the case, then yes the laws should be gender neutral so that it does not discriminate against a male or a female.

      I don’t have the ‘cloud of feminism” in my eyes – I am not a feminist, but I do believe that there should be equality for both males and females and currently, in many circumstances this is not the case.

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