Man Up India! Raising Men to End Violence Against Women

by Sharell शारेल on August 23, 2013

in Inspirational India

Post image for Man Up India! Raising Men to End Violence Against Women

In amongst the numerous current media reports of sexual harassment and rape in India (yes, unfortunately there’s been another gang rape, this time in Mumbai), I’m pleased to have stumbled upon an organisation that’s proactively doing something to address the problem of violence against women — at the root cause of the issue.

Called Man Up India!, it’s a campaign that was launched by the Equal Community Foundation (based in Pune, in Maharashtra) on International Women’s Day in March 2013. Unlike other initiatives, it doesn’t focus on empowering women. Its actions are based on the findings of a study titled What About the Boys?, conducted on the premise that violence against women is a product of the environment in which men are raised.

As is stated in the Foreword section of the report:

“Men and boys are not born violent but are made to be what they are – violent, intolerant and controlling as part of the entitlement and privilege indoctrination. Global evidence on attitudes toward gender equality show that in most cases men are perpetuating violent behaviors they learned as children, often by experiencing it themselves in families and schools and also by witnessing violence against their own mother”.

The CEO of the Equal Community Foundation, Will Muir, goes on to say:

“In this, our first piece of formal research, we seek to find solutions for India that will help tackle the root cause of violence common around the world: the attitudes and behaviours of men towards women. We ask the question, “How can we ensure every man in India has the opportunity to study and practice gender equitable behaviour?” The results will surprise you, in part because they are logical and simple. Also because, despite being so glaringly obvious, they are rarely aired in public, and even more rarely implemented.”

The Man Up India! website lists a number of ways in which citizens, parents, teachers, and the media can get involved.

What’s more, there’s also a section where people can submit their stories about what they’ve done to make a difference and read the stories of others.

Do take a look. I think it’s a heartening and commendable campaign worthy of support, and I’m so pleased that it exists.

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© Copyright 2013 Sharell शारेल, Diary of a White Indian Housewife 2008-2014. All Rights Reserved. Do not copy and reproduce text or images without permission.

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Rakesh August 23, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Hi Sharell,

Absolutely disheartened to hear about this tragedy. Mumbai was the city were I grew up and it really saddens me that the once “safe” tag accorded to it has begun to unravel. Hope the authorities act quickly to stop it into degenerating like another “rape metro” of India.

FYI, just wanted to let u know of another initiative launched by popular actor Farhan Akhtar called MARD (Men Against Rape and Discrimination, also the hindi word for “male”), to raise awareness amongst men for respecting women as equal human beings. The interesting fact about this is that its logo is your favourite Indian moustache :)

http://www.realmard.com/

Regards,
Rakesh.

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Padparadscha August 23, 2013 at 9:26 pm

I am very happy to hear that, thank you for sharing, Sharell.

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Eli August 23, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Thanks for sharing, Sharell:-) Just so horrible news! I like the focus they have in this campaign. Have a wonderful weekend – and thanks for your great blog:-)

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Cathy August 24, 2013 at 6:47 am

Thanks for sharing Sharell ! So happy to see steps are being taken to provide more education to help battle what seems to be a very serious problem and is blackening the eye of India to the world . Just watched our local evening news and am embarrassed to see the news out of India again today . It is really disheartening to see all the negativity towards the men of India when I think it involves a very small percentage of the population . Education begins at home and many maybe be getting the wrong message there .

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GOCAnandhan August 24, 2013 at 1:41 pm

@Cathy>>”Education begins at home and many maybe be getting the wrong message there.”
Yes. The message is that boys are better and even mothers follow this line of thinking, as nobody is interested in having or raising baby girls.
Women empowerment through education is the only way out.
The campaigns, though well-intentioned, may not have the desired impact unless it also reaches the grassroots; i.e. the non-English-speaking community.

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Prasad Np August 24, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Its so shameful to read about the Mumbai rape, it seems the last of the so called safe cities for women has fallen to the criminals.

Thanks for sharing the info about Man up India…checking it now…

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Sheetal August 24, 2013 at 4:33 pm

How long can we be expected to be given the allowance, of “we’re still working on it”….all I hear are a lot of words being thrown around….what’s really changed since last December?

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Penfold August 24, 2013 at 7:39 pm

The point is not about crime. It’s about culture. Thats the whole point of highlighting this issue in international media. Otherwise rape happens everywhere. I just hope you understand that. It’s how indian parents raise their children, suffocating their sexuality lo and behold you get a rapist 10 years later.

ITS CULTURE not the crime !

Thanks sharrell for showing a few that are trying to sort themselves out.

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Gary August 26, 2013 at 9:35 am

Penfold, this is not culture, this is lack of culture. The culture would lead them to worship goddesses and not touch a woman before marriage. Most Indian children are “sexually suffocated” as you put it, but they do not turn into rapists, because they are also taught what is right and wrong.

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Gary August 26, 2013 at 9:40 am

Sheetal, we have had one family rule the country for 60 years, and all they have done for 60 years is throw around words and platitudes and successfully retained power. I am not sure we can expect anything to change without the threat of life in prison or death. While the media has made rape a focus, this has distracted from that fact that life itself has no meaning in most of India. Most Indians have one meal a day, no water, no electricity, and to them life is just one big struggle. They think nothing of killing, throwing acid in someones face, burning someones house down etc. Rape is just another form of violence. Either the root of the problem has to be fixed ie. population control and education for all children, or we need a death penalty for gang rape which takes place within 3 months of the event.

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Sheetal August 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Sorry S, kudos to those that are working to change things though….didn’t mean to come across like a cold hearted ne’r do well.

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Jill August 24, 2013 at 8:06 pm

What a great find! I will definitely be checking it out. I’m hooked on watching all the panel discussions and debates on TV tonight sparked by this awful event. But I agree, too many people are saying “women need a voice, more power, etc”, yes, but the men need to be looked at too. However, I feel like India is such a huge place with such a vastly spread out and enormous population that it would be difficult to education everyone…thats a monumental task. And unfortunately, it seems people migrate from the smaller and distant locations to the bigger cities all the time, thus they would just be bringing any bad morals with them and potentially causing more occurrences like this one. Unfortunately I see it as a never ending cycle, but hopefully with a lot of support this Foundation can make good and solid steps forward.

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A.Madhavan August 24, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Hi Sharell,
What a wonderful and hopeful article.
I agree, I think the problem lies not in women, but actually the angry young men who have been raised to the point that they are so emotionally repressed that the only way they can express themselves is violence. It is these broken young men’s souls that society needs to fix…their masculinity cannot depend on overpowering a female into submission. I think this is a global problem with masculinity, but especially in India because I find there is not so much freedom of expression, freedom of love.

P.S. It’s so weird, why don’t these positive articles get 100+ comments?

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Marcy August 28, 2013 at 3:06 am

What you have said is so true. You do not get 100+ comments for such articles because everyone who comments on this article is pretty much in agreement since respect and equality for all human beings (in this case women) is the universal truth. I would take the lack of comments as a positive sign since that would indicate we are all on the same page.

Now we just have to make sure that we put what we preach in practice, in our daily lives starting first within our family, then maybe neighborhood, community, city, etc. It is just a small step forward but if everyone follows the basic tenants of humanity, respect and dignity, the world would be a much more better place.

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Wickerman August 25, 2013 at 9:52 am

Wont work. This initiative assumes certain things, and doesnt take into account the main reasons for the violence and the discrimination.

a) Sexual repression : This one needs cultural change. In a society where the average age is 26, where men and women do not have the freedom to express their sexuality freely, where sex is considered taboo, crimes because of sexual frustration is highly likely.

b) Women need to be educated so that they know they are victims when they are victims.

c) Women need to be educated so that they dont make their daughters victims – female infanticide (mainly female perpetrators), feeding daughers less than sons etc etc..,

If the above 3 points are tackled, men will automatically “fall in line” in most cases. Gender equitable behavior is not a man’s responsibility. Nor is it absolute. It will never be. Its the responsibility of women to demand what they think is right for them. Thats how it has always been. Including the west.

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Vikas August 26, 2013 at 2:22 am

What do you mean by sexual repression ? One of the culprits in the rape case is a juvenile.Even in the case of the Delhi rape case ,one of them is a juvenile.Most of the accused in both the rape cases are below 26.They are the generation which is growing up in a stable diet of easy proliferation of porn in mobiles,casual sex etc.Iam sure the accused have all the vile habits and none of them are sexually repressed.Do you think a society such as South Africa suffers from sexual repression where rape percentage is the highest.In some religions the very religious of the followers practice sexual repression ,but they don’t go around raping.
The reason is not having respect for women ,not having sound deterrent system in place,not growing up in a good value system.

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Tamasha the Choto Rani August 28, 2013 at 1:37 am

“The reason is not having respect for women ,not having sound deterrent system in place,not growing up in a good value system.”

YAY!! VIKAS
ROCK ON!!!!!

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Padparadscha August 26, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Wickerman, I will serve you a typical feminist argument ; both men and women are socially constructed, therefore both men and women need to become aware of social and cultural prejudice :)

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Marcy August 28, 2013 at 2:58 am

By your comment one can infer that Indian women are not sexually repressed, if they were then we would have had many more sexual assaults on men.

Basically what Vikas said is correct, it is not about sexual repression. Rape and sexual assaults are crimes of power and therein lies the challenge for India to change its attitudes. It also doesn’t have to do with religion, caste, economic status, race or nationality.

To address a problem, we should attempt to solve via all approaches. One of them is to empower/ educate women, but the other is also to educate men about respect to the other half of the Indian population. I would personally be happy with something done on all fronts rather than doing nothing. If we can bring change even in one human being (be it man or woman), these initiatives have accomplished their intended mission.

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diamond September 4, 2013 at 9:38 am

Yes, Points- a), b), c),….and next point could be d)Education about the human sexual needs:The sexual need of a human being is natural, so there might be a natural and healthy way exist.But, I have not the answer right now.Thanks a lot Wickerman!

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RAMANDEEP August 27, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Hello. I have also written an article on women empowerment on my blog. So if you can give a back link to my article from your website. I will be hihly thankful to you. Here’s the link to the article.

http://rumbuddy.blogspot.in/2013/08/women-power-can-make-all-difference.html

Thanks a lot for greeting me.

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Narayanan August 28, 2013 at 9:56 pm

Good initiative. Men need to know that a woman should be respected irrespective of what she wears and where she is.

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SD August 31, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Nice to see, sadly it will not have any effect. Indian schools need to take up the initiative to educate the kids how to behave in public and society and respect one another. They also need to told that if they break the rules, they get expelled. While Indians are more than crazy, infatuated and obsessed with living in white countries, we never seem to learn anything how their society functions. When a rape takes place in western countries or any heinous crimes, the first thing the law enforcement digs up is the criminal’s family history, who he was, what kind of a family he was raised in, who were his friends, what his teachers think of him, what his girlfriend said about him, what music, what company he kept etc etc etc. This leads them to understand what ticked inside his head. In India, if we start learning about a person’s history, we will learn one thing – that respect is never taught anywhere. Parents don’t force it and teachers encourage students to compete for better grades with one another and most of the times the teachers themselves will mistreat and harass the student who is weak in studies and insult them. It happened to me. I failed French several times and I was degraded by the teacher and humiliated in front of all the students. It’s people like these teachers who can educate and be a good role model instead of showing their power and end up creating monsters who have no regard or respect for anyone. It’s more like revenge time for a lot of these people. I won’t lie, but if that French teacher who pinched my hand so hard that it bled ever comes face to face with me and takes any credit for my success in life, I would clearly tell her to f a donkey. Respect breeds respect and Indians should learn to be a good example and live by example. It’s only then that we will see any progress. I wish I had the time or resources to start something like this…hopefully soon enough :)

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Manny September 1, 2013 at 2:14 am

The 17 year old gets off almost free for Raping the physiotherapist in N,.Delhi. The secular liberal courts including the Supreme court seems fine with this

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/31/india-gang-rape-conviction_n_3848014.html

Shame!

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Anand September 1, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Horrible ! And they have given this verdict right after the mumbai rape. 3 years will be breeze and out in no time.

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Sharell शारेल September 1, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Apparently, three years is the maximum sentence allowed under the law because the guy is a minor. And it’s being reduced by the time he’s already been in custody. :-( Commit an adult crime like that and he should be trialed as an adult.

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Anand September 1, 2013 at 6:49 pm

And I dont think he is a son of a politician or so yet he is got away with just 3 years being juvenile, this shows the poor judiciary system of india. lawyers can easily destroy justice in this country…And he being the most violent among the 5.

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umots December 3, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Actually, the court and the lawyers in this case upheld the Rule of Law. For one, one of the principles of criminal justice is that a criminal law has no retrospective effect – one should be held liable ONLY for the offence that the law declares an offence at the time of committing that offence. When the juvenile in this case committed the crime, the law in force was that a juvenile is liable only under the Juvenile Justice Act.
 
Also, there are sound legal and psychological principles on why minors shouldn’t be held liable to the same standard as adults, which shouldn’t be trod upon just to satisfy loud public sentiments of vengeance. I applaud the trial judge in this case for not succumbing to the political and public pressure, if I were a lawyer, I’d have done the same.

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melbourne desi September 6, 2013 at 7:17 am

I agree but even in Oz if you are not an adult you dont get tried like an adult. The USA is probably one place where the time fits the crime – age be damned

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Sharell शारेल September 1, 2013 at 3:24 pm

India needs more assertive women like this one: http://mediumboss.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/have-a-good-time-in-india-sister/

“As I looked at his face, his eyes frightened like a trapped rat, I knew this was the moment I had waited for all my life. I slapped him across his face. Not just for this one incident but for all the times in my life when I’ve been groped, hit, pinched, ogled, and flashed. All those moments when I wished I had reacted but had been silenced and shamed. But not today. I told the guy to think about the slap every time he felt like molesting any other woman.”

The worst things are that the guy was so shocked that he was confronted, and many Indian women saying they wouldn’t have the courage to react in such a manner and confront a guy like that. The comments from Indian women are illuminating.

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vikas September 1, 2013 at 7:45 pm

While confronting the molester reciprocally in such situations,the woman has to inform immediately afterwards her near and dear ones about what happened and taking note of the molester’s identity. This is for her safe concern and safety. Some anti social men take their humiliation into further vengeance in the future putting the woman’s life at risk.

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Indianguy September 7, 2013 at 2:12 am

Dear Sharell,
It has always been there in India and there is no sudden “crisis”.The difference is that the media has given courage to the victims to come forward and the social stigma associated with rapes is eradicating.It sucks to read the newspapers with all those rape articles but this change is going to be rough but I am very optimist that it will end up favorably.

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Manny September 7, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Abused Goddesses

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/06/abused-goddesses-campaign-domestic-violence-india_n_3880515.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

At first, this looks like a good idea..but I am not sure if this would appeal to the majority in Indian. Since the Majority are anti Hindu sick-ularists anyway.

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Manny September 8, 2013 at 8:59 am

That campaign is not going to make any difference to the south Indian Dravidians who are the fans of EVR. In fact beating up Goddess Lakshmi and Saraswathi is something the average Dravidian EVR fans would relish… so this is only going to encourage them to beat up women.

Same goes the Bengali and Malayali anti Hindus..why would such a thing appeal to them?

Same with the JNU and Delhi Univ Misogynists

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currybadger September 13, 2013 at 10:08 pm

I found Mumbai about as safe as I could imagine, it’s too bad it’s not the same way for women. Good to see the issue start to be discussed publicly.

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splooge January 18, 2014 at 8:27 am

I actually looked up the rape statistics across the globe after that horrible incident in India. This is the first time Ive been hearing rape and crime was bad in india. Ive met people that visited there and its not that bad just really poor(latin america is dangerous as hell).
Well I wikid the results and in terms of raw numbers India comes in 3rd behind south africa(3x more then india) and USA(4x more than india). Dunno why congo isnt there since eastern parts report 30% of women and 22% of men have been raped.
In terms of per capital India is inbetween Canada and Greece(which were quite low). If India is having an epidemic(which would be since its always had low crime rate) most of the world would be apocalyptic in comparison. Australia belive it or not is higher than india in per captia terms.
you can wiki it if you dont belive me.
Seems like feelings is trumping facts and this sense of fear is used by feminists to get laws changed to better their lives then the poor. I visited the site its pretty lame. Its just things to make first world girls to feel good about themselves like no yelling or no rap songs, treat me like a princess its your sons duty. Then say more efficient law enforcement(which will come as the country gets rich eventually), teaching self defense or being street smart. World will always be a dangerous place. we may hate those terrible things in the wolrd but it just makes the good things in life so much sweeter(pleasure only feels good cuz weve experianced pain)
The ones that visit that site are guys that treat women good to begin with are in that community already. But the guys that just dont care wont be there. No activism will change that. But I dont like it since it just seems to put women on a pedestal, I should treat my fellow man like the woman equally.

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Shemeerkhan April 30, 2014 at 1:49 pm

I also have met with a nady austrologer in kerala who was from Thanjavoor Tamilnadu.I have wondered at first time Iheard about my full life from some ancient ‘thaliolas’.But after 15 years later I can say that all the happenings of my life were as per it,except in the case of my children.’Nady’ told that I will have 2 children,a boy and a girl but, actually I have 2 girl children.But every other steps in my and the life of my family were as same as ‘Nady’.After all in my opinion it’s a miracle.

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Curious Blue June 22, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Nadi told you that you’ll have a boy and a girl because Nadis are people who earn with whatever they can to please their customers. So even if they’ll try saying only the positive predictions and brush the negative ones under the carpet. Indians being Indians will want to have at least one son as sons are seen as caretakers of parents in their old age. Nadi-man knows this and hence to make you feel good, said so.

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Curious Blue June 22, 2014 at 7:40 pm

I agree with the post. The way men behave that way towards women is because they’re taught its okay for men to do so. Recently a male friend of mine who seems to have troubles getting laid in Pune was chatting with me FB and joked me telling that I lost my virginity as an answer to a funny one-liner of mine. I asked him if he finally lost his cherry. He said that guys don’t ever lose their virginity. Like its a girl thing.

I told him that we live in 2014 where gender equality is not just supposed to be accepted, but is also supposed to be the law of the land. That shut him up and we got back to usual chatting.

I realised an important fact that Indian guys aren’t rapists as women, feminists and some low self esteemed Indian guy would say. At least not the vast majority of the educated, city-dwelling guys. The problem is MYSOGONY.

The gender segregated society: This system is seen one which could prevent unrelated girls and boys from interacting and thus avoiding future potential elopements, bringing shame to status-crazy families and premarital sex. But by doing so they’re inciting a curiosity in the boys’ mind which could make seem like forbidden fruits. Same goes for the girls.

The premarital-sex-is-bad society: This also incites curiosity in teen years i.e. their experimental years and later. Some might have tanks full of curiosity all locked up with no path to let it flow.

The boys-only group: This is common even in big cities like Mumbai and its mostly due to the char-log-kya-sochenge attitude so deeply ingrained in the male and female population of India.

The girls face similar problems when it comes to interaction with guys. So, what I’m saying is that violence against women is due to the vast differences created by the society and its perceived notion of proper interaction.

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