Inclusion of women victims of domestic sexual abuse in the #MeToo campaign

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India has been talking more of inclusive movements over the last decade or so. Inclusive workplaces, inclusive education, inclusive social, cultural and economic platforms. In actuality and reality, how much of inclusion are we really practicing? The acceptance is yet to reach the real meaning and value of accepting and embracing.

While inclusion is being encouraged in different sectors, of late, to a certain extent in our country,  are we thinking of including women who are victims of domestic sexual violence in the latest uproar on the #MeToo campaign?

One of my ex-colleague from a leading publication house, shared that women who face domestic sexual abuse should have a #WeToo campaign. While women from various parts of the country, are bursting out, exposing abusers, and voicing out their experiences on sexual harassment at workplace - why not a petition, a campaign for women who face the same at home? They deserve to be included and heard too on similar grounds.

Over the last couple of weeks after the #MeToo campaign broke out like fire, women from various parts of India, whom I am connected to through various mediums, have asked me several questions on the abuse they have faced inside the closed doors of their home over times.

Seeking some answer, some hope, which till today I have not been able to give, apart from an ear to listen out to them.

“What about us?” “Why can we not have a common platform to voice our experiences against the sexual abuse we face at home and seek justice?” “Is it just because we are legally married?” “Is it just because we are financially unstable?” and more questions of the like. I am sorry! I did not have an answer that could give them some ray of hope in these trying times. 

While victims of sexual harassment at the workplace have risen, more than ever, shouting out loud, protesting against the abuse they face and are fighting for justice through #MeToo, the inclusion of women who face domestic sexual abuse in the campaign is still a debatable issue. Ironically, India is one of the 36 countries where marital rape looms large.

The #MeToo campaign, amidst multiple controversies, is just the start of a war. Or, I would rather say, just the tip of the iceberg.

We claim to belong to the modernized century of equal rights and freedom. However, in a country where poverty looms large, women, from cross sections of the society seldom have access to employment opportunities, education, or their rights due to various factors. Women have been sexually tortured, abused or raped, for years, in their homes for decades.

Not going into the exact statistics, I would just like to mention that only a minority of married women who are victims of sexual violence, report their abuse. Women face domestic abuse in rural areas, towns, cities and in metropolitans. Over the years, it has crossed all social classes, racial lines and age groups. Never to stop – nowhere?

Being a woman, I voice my views on female abuse through various platforms. However, till date, I have rarely been able to do much for those who suffer from the sexual abuse they face at home. Married women experience physical, sexual, or emotional violence by their spouses time and again.

Why married woman cannot / do not leave her abuser who is her husband?The stigma and taboo is way bigger than we can often imagine. The financial dependency, the children, the social stigma - just to name a few - are overwhelming, mostly.

Women who are sexually abused at home have the tendency to remain quiet, agonised and emotionally disturbed for years. She remains tormented and the fear of being ostracised is too much to handle in situations where she is either uneducated or financially unstable.

She often keeps quite because she feels that men outside the house are worse or the same. She fears of being forced into prostitution if she protests and decides to suffer in silence till her last breath. The psychological setbacks and trauma affects her productivity in all forms of life for years.

For women who decide to break the silence and seek for justice, the law systems have multiple loopholes. She indeed has a large price to pay for the freedom she wants from the abusive marriage. The financial expenses are mostly difficult for the woman to handle. The wait is too long mostly again. The trials are too many to face.

I stand up for those women who should be given the opportunity to unite under one roof, that of the #MeToo campaign, and be included in their fight against sexual harassment in their personal and professional life.

 I raise this inclusive campaign #WeToo where women from all sections of the society who are victims of domestic sexual abuse, should actively participate, encourage others with mutual understanding and stand up claiming for justice.

  • Sign my petition for inclusion in the #MeToo campaign. I urge women across the country to spread the word and join others who are fighting against sexual harassment at workplace and in their domestic life. I urge them to come ahead and unite to fight together for justice.