Thursday, 17 November 2016

Why Sonam and all other women are depicted as unfaithful

Meme directly translated to "I think this girl is only Sonam (Indian female name) is unfaithful".

A few years back, a disgruntled lover in India wrote the words "Sonam Gupta is unfaithful" on a tattered note of money and posted it on the internet, resulting in all Sonam Guptas becoming infamous overnight. The memes and jokes cracked about Sonam being unfaithful have not stopped circulating the internet since (see featured meme above).

In this image, a guy is sitting close to one woman whilst behind her he is holding hands with another woman. Below it says, “I think this girl is only Sonam (Indian female name) is unfaithful”. 

The troubling thing in this image is that the guy here seems to be the one who is unfaithful and not the highlighted woman, because he is the one who appears to already have a partner and is going literally behind her back to have a physical connection with someone else. 

Sadly, as it is always shown, the female is the evil one, and she is the one who is depicted as unfaithful. It is very disturbing, the kind of subliminal messages it sends to the millions who see such images constantly on their screen and it keeps feeding the idea that women are the cause of a relationship breakdown. 

Author Bio: 
Zahabiya Aejaz is a Mumbai born & raised Feminist on a mission to change the way we view women.
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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

My Story

The following story has been shared to us by a survivor of domestic violence.

It started with names. 

"You're scum. Your family is scum." 
"You're ugly... do you know that? I hope you know that. You actually make me sick looking at you."

He'd come home drunk, after he'd told me I was a psycho for not wanting him to get drunk. He'd wake me up and sit on the end of my bed and tell me...

"You're disgusting, you're ugly. Remember that."

I would try to turn over and ignore him, I would try to will the morning here sooner. He wouldn't let me... if he saw my eyes closing he'd move closer, he'd talk louder. He'd get closer and closer and he'd whisper in my ear

"You're disgusting, you're fat and you're ugly. You're lucky to have me. It's your fault we don't have sex... you're too ugly."

I would get up to go into another room, I just wanted to sleep so bad, I just wanted to pretend this wasn't me in this nightmare. He'd get up and hold the door shut. He'd make me listen. 
He wouldn't stop until I cried myself to sleep. In the morning he'd tell me:

"You're mental. You're overreacting. Grow up."

He would do it again the next weekend, this time we were at a party together. I was talking to a gay guy, we were laughing, he touched my shoulder. He saw him touch my shoulder. I could see his eyes change. I could see them go dark, so I excused myself. I had to go home. I had to diffuse it. He followed me out, he stopped me in the driveway. He slapped me across the cheek. Someone saw him, he saw them see him. He ran. 
I got in a taxi and I went home to bed and I called my mum and cried, I didn't tell her why - I just said I had a shitty night. He came home at 3am, his eyes were dark - I knew tonight was different. He walked up to me and he pulled me out of bed, I pushed him off. He slapped me... he told me..

"You're a slut. You're a dirty slut that's all you are. I told everyone at the party that you were at a gangbang and they believed me. I'm going to tell your family that too."

 He slapped me again. I yelled, he punched. I cried, and I fought and he fought. Then I couldn't fight, so I just laid there and tried to work out how to get out. My stomach hurt, my cheek stung, I was so mentally drained. Who was I to think I deserved better? 
I'm mental. I'm overreacting. I need to grow up. maybe he's not that bad, maybe this is just life? 
We were alone. No money, in another country. I had a dog.
I was the golden child. I was the one that was meant to succeed, be independent. He used to fly me all over the world to see him, he bought me tickets he opera. He told me I was beautiful. How did I end up here? 

I used to love myself.

His visa didn't get approved. He had to go home. Freedom. Why was I sad? I shouldn't be sad I should be happy. What if I never find someone else? I'm fat and ugly I'll never find someone else, I love him.

We're in separate countries, we're still trying to make it work. I start hanging out with my friends again, I'm starting to relax. When I wake up to texts detailing all the ways I'm an ugly hoar, that I'm fat and worthless and that I'm stupid... I don't cry. 

I go out with my friends one night, we take a group photo. My hand rests on my male friends leg while we all lean in... he sees the photo. He explodes

He emails my family, he contacts my friends ... he let's them know I'm into 'gangbanging'. 

They love me, they're concerned - they laugh it off. I laugh it off. They're confused. He's crossed a line though... he came good on a threat. It scares me. 

I'm at a coffee shop with my dog. I look daggy, I feel worse. There's a boy there and he's just kinda sitting, he looks like a surfy 17 year old boy... I smile at him. I have this sudden urge to flirt. He smiles at me. He comes over... we talk. He's certainly not 17. I tell him I want to learn how to play golf. He has clubs in his car. 

He tries to teach me, he makes me feel like I'm not horrible at it. We drink beer. I feel good. We keep hanging out for weeks, we go for walks. Then one night he kisses me, I act surprised but really I wanted it to happen. We continue seeing each other, just as friends. 

I start to feel good again. Everyday I feel better. My phone is no longer a big black weight slowly making my sink to the bottom of the ocean. The rope tying me down is slowly fraying. 

I break up with him. He cries. And cries and cries. Then he yells, he screams. He emails my family, my boss. He tells them disgusting things. 

I'm untouchable though, I've stopped giving a fuck. 

I'm starting to see myself properly in the mirror again. I'm starting to smile again. I'm starting to look properly at this person who saved me... just by listening, and being gentle and talking to me. Just by smiling at my while I tried to concentrate on doing some work. Just by being genuinely horrified at anyone ever calling me anything but beautiful. Just by sitting on the back of his truck with me and laughing. Just by taking my to the beach at midnight, and letting my cook dumplings in his apartment in my undies. Just by making me realise that life is actually really fucking great and that I deserve the world. 

A few months later we stopped seeing each other, it was slow and natural. Organic, even. Maybe he still wanted to be with me, I don't know. But he was never the one for me. 

A while later I bumped into a man that I had been in love with since I was 14, he was the same as he'd always been - Proud, modest, funny, smart and protective... except now he was going bald. He told me he'd never stopped loving me, I told him the same. I'd  always said "I wish I'd met you when I was 25 not 14" and he we were at 25. 

He's the best person I know. 

I'm happy now. Beyond happy actually - I'm almost glad to have gone through it all because it got me here. We're moving in together next year. 

The other boy though - he'll never understand what he did for me. Maybe he realises, maybe he doesn't. Either way, I feel like god sent me an angel (and I don't even even believe in god)

My Story is Not Over Yet (Poem by Devon Leahy)

The following poem has been shared to us by a survivor of intimate partner violence.

It's in my head but not in my words,
It reaches my mouth but his words overpower mine
He says relationships are about giving and taking
You have to compromise.
So I do what it takes to make him happy,
Inside and outside the bedroom.
When I want to cry 'stop!',
I remember that I am compromising,
That I am making him happy.
That's what relationships are.
Giving and taking,
So I give him what he needs me to.
And take the time to push the memories
Into the back of my mind.

But I would not compromise
When my Mom got involved.
If he wanted me to feel pain, that's fine,
But when I knew my Mom would be in pain
Combing the streets for me,
I drew the line.
I did not stop compromising for me,
I did it so my Mom did not have to feel pain.
So I gave my Mom what she wanted,
A breakup.
And took the time to push the memories
Into the back of my mind.

But this time they did not stay there,
Lectures and presentations of the definition
Of compromise and consent poked and prodded
What I so neatly stored
In the corners of my brain,
I realised what had happened
And what was done to me.
I tried to spit the disgusting feelings into a bottle
But realised drowning them was easier,

The cycle is repeating
His actions are intimate
But his words are not.
I clearly write the storyline on my wrist
But he ignores it,
Takes what he needs,
And disappears.
I continue the storyline
But only for myself.

How did I end up
Drunk and in a bedroom with a guy alone?
I want to open my mouth,
But it is still sewn shut
From the past.
I cry and cuddle with another guy,
But all it does is make me vulnerable,

Why am I letting myself fall for another?
I know I will get hurt
But my heart feels safe with him.
I feel no need to compromise
And he does not ask me to.
I let him see the real me,
He only unpeels the first layer
And he leaves.

Touch the bottle.
I write  my story in a place
Only I can see,
Give a hint of it in a post
That noone I know will ever understand.
I let my pain and grief help others.

Don't stop.
Keep helping others.
I forget my pain,
Focus on theirs.
I may not be able to help myself
My pain will take time to resolve,
I cannot give myself any relief,
But I can help the,.
Give my little bits of wisdom
And hope it helps ore than
I can help myself.

Don't stop.
Help others.
My story will not  live on my body,
It  will live in the memories
Of those I have helped.
My story is not over yet.
Your story is not over yet.

If you would like to share a poem or story as part of your healing from abuse, please contact us.

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