HT Correspondent: A corporate leader writes rapes happen because men can’t bear accepting women’s empowerment…
HT Correspondent, New Delhi: Women should be empowered to discover sexual intimacy; they should be
fearless and crimes against them should be strictly punished.
These are some suggestions readers have sent in response to our series ‘Let’s Talk About Rape’, for which eight eminent Indians are writing open letters about sexual assault in India. Here are edited excerpts from the latest letters readers wrote to us.
Dr Geeta Sodhi calls for the sexual empowerment of women
I make a humble plea: Let us please permit our girls to say yes to sexual intimacy and also let us as parents acknowledge the sexuality of our girls.
Two decades ago, a young girl living in a slum in Delhi complained about being molested. Her complaint was part of data collected for a research study undertaken for designing a program on empowering adolescent girls. The incident was then put to discussion with young boys and girls from the same community. Interestingly and very revealingly, the boys in the group said the harassment was not molestation or sexual aggression while the girls were divided in their opinion. The young boys argued that the girl’s ‘No’ meant ‘Yes’.
The confusion emanates from the belief that women will express interest in, or consent for, sexual intimacy in a coy manner layered in denials and ‘No’. The perpetrators of sexual aggression are at best confused about the signals/responses or worse still twist and turn them to suit their own motives. Till such time that the girls learn to and have societal permission to say ‘Yes’ their ‘No’ will be left open to interpretation.
However, the ultimate empowerment and liberation of females will lie not only in their ability and sense of joy in saying yes for sexual intimacy but also in reaching out for it and pursuing it as something that is to be celebrated and not dreaded.
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