Sexuality is being used to shame and silence women: Activist Kavita Krishnan
Activist Kavita Krishnan, Secretary of the AIPWA (All India Progressive Women’s Association) and her mother, Lakshmi Krishnan’s posts went viral this weekend, in what is perhaps the most apt response to a troll, since … forever! Now that’s how you shut down hateful comments. Take a look.
This Facebook Post shared by The Spoilt Modern Indian Woman hits out at JNU teachers who have supposedly compiled “a “dossier” in 2015 detailing the lives of the sex-and-alcohol filled seditious anti-national students.”
It includes a photo and quote of activist Kavita Krishnan saying that one can only pity the teachers and legislators who fear “free sex”, adding:
“Unfree sex is, after all, nothing but rape”
So far, this might sound like your usual left-wing academics and activists versus the right-wing, with the JNU chapter the last spark in the clash.
But then… came this comment from one GM Das:
“Ask your mother/ daughter if she had free sex”
Which got five ‘likes’, incidentally.
First of all, long, slow claps for this gentleman. His thought process was his own, but we are sure that the response that he received from the powerhouse activist would allow him to open up his mind to the woman’s perspective.
In a normal scheme of things either that comment would have been deleted or the person being commented upon would have withdrawn. But things took a different course here. Not only did Kavita response to this comment shoot down, hatred, intimidation, ignorance all at once; her mom’s participation in the response drill lay a strong foundation of a cohesive sisterhood against cyber sexism, which was much needed.
Kavita Krishnan: Er, yes, my mother did. Hopefully so did yours. Because if the woman is not free, it is not sex but rape. Get it.
Lakshmi Krishnan: Hi GM Das! I am Kavita’s mother. Of course I had free sex. I should jolly well hope so! As and when I wanted, with the person I wanted. And I fight for every woman and man to have sex according to their consent. Never unfree, never forced.
That’s how you shut down a sexist troll. Take a bow, mother-daughter duo!
(And for the record some 86 thousand people are now talking about this on FB, at last count!)
In a conversation with ShethePeopleTV, Kavita Krishnan, Secretary of the AIPWA (All India Progressive Women’s Association) said :
I meant that sexuality is being used as a way to shame and silence women. You start calling them sluts, or you say that they have ‘free-sex’. You are trying to shame them into silence, instead of directly engaging with their opinion. Be it Jadavpur, JNU, be it with any women activists and leaders, across the political diaspora, you see that this is done
If Rohit Vemula said he was reduced to his identity, women are reduced to their sexuality. Then they throw it at you. I think the rejoinder to that which my mother gave was basically to say ‘Why the hell should we be ashamed about it. It’s nothing to be ashamed about. We refuse to allow you to keep shaming us in this manner, using this weapon. We will take this weapon away completely.
And how should women respond to such acts of online intimidation?
I don’t say should to any woman, because I think every woman has to decide for herself how she chooses to cope with it. Some women do it by ignoring it, which also I respect. Some women cope by engaging with it, responding to it and calling it out (as I and my mother did). The point is that men should stop using these weapons to troll women with. They should start engaging with women’s opinions rather than trying to shame them for their sexuality
Picture Credit: Udayavani dot com