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Jun 16, 2018 14 tweets 6 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Hi everyone! This is @sohni_c for @Smashboard_. One of the things I want to discuss today is how #sexualharassment and #sexualassault cases are reported in the media. The first issue is the tedious sensationalisation of these cases 1/n
Resulting in the focus remaining on the victim rather than the perpetrator. Hence, adding to stigma, shaming and victim-blaming of the women who face harassment and assault. Also, these attitudes result in reinforcing the #rapeculture where the victim is held at scrutiny. 2/n
Moreover, insensitive and sensational reportage serves to titillate and tease the erotic imagination of abuse, rape and violence. The focus shifts from the violation of the victim to the patriarchal fixation on women's bodies and their sexual freedom. 3/n
It also adds the lens of pity, through the narrative of the woman getting "used" or "made impure" through the act. The only way to generate interest in rape stories is to play into the imagination of what is considered perverted or disgusting to the patriarchal imagination. 4/n
Hence, #sexualassault stories that make headlines are not those that depict the dehumanisation but rather those that can be presented as "unnatural," "violent," "sadistic," "incestuous," or downright morally disgusting. 5/n
So #sexualassault and #sexualharassment cases remain a moral issue rather than a fundamental violation of women's rights. It plays right into our conscience of moral codes and social norms about women's bodies and their sexual desire and freedom. 6/n
#SexualViolence is not considered "wrong" because a woman's sexual autonomy was crushed but because in a good, civilised society, we follow acceptable, moral standards of sexuality and male entitlement of women's bodies. 7/n
The other question that is pertinent to media reportage of #sexualviolence cases is that which stories get reported and which stories are dismissed? Which perpetrators are held accountable and which ones get to walk free? 8/n…
Moreover, what is our social perception of #sexualviolence? Who do we easily relate to as victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape? Are Dalit women victims given the same coverage as uppercaste victims? 9/n…
Are stories of #sexualassault and #sexualviolence of women of colour, LGBTQ people, disabled women, refugees and immigrants adequately covered by the media? Is there equal space and equal access? And most importantly, is media reportage inclusive for all? 10/n
All of these questions I ask tie to a larger question of the female body. Bodies of marginalised, oppressed and minority women, LGBTQ bodies, as well as disabled bodies, are not perceived as bodies worthy enough to be preserved or protected by societies 11/n
Because these bodies are not viewed as bodies that are sexually desired; these are bodies that are at best disposable. Hence, the perception that men only rape for "sexual gratification" -- to satiate their desire for the attractive female body. 12/n
What must be reiterated at all times in media reportage (something we don't see enough of) is that #sexualviolence of any form is always a sociopolitical tool of oppression, domination and control. 13/n
It doesn't happen because of male need for "sexual gratification" or because the world is filled with virile and "horny" men who just want to jump at "attractive" women. But rather from the desire to exercise power, privilege and patriarchal control over female bodies. 14/n

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More from @genderlogindia

Sep 3, 2018
I am not going to kick-off or start-off or begin the topic of this week. :p I am going to dwell, rustle, ripple, dance, dive, feel, caress, breathe through it. Everyday moments as Feminist Spaces. 1/n
Many years back, I was living in the South Indian city of Coimbatore. I was teaching at a University there after returning from United States. I was a solo woman in her late-thirties, living alone. In the campus, I was the only such woman that I knew of. 2/n
I sensed the difference acutely. During weekends I would travel to the main city (I was living in the outskirts) to watch a movie and eat out. At the restaurants, I was often the only woman eating alone. 3/n
Read 25 tweets
Aug 13, 2018
I was especially conscious of using gender neutral language here because so often medical discourse completely invalidates people outside the allo cis hetero normative assumption. It has also lead to some alarming blind spots in research today.
The fact is that there are no queer people in medical research.
Sure, there’s tons of studies looking at depression and suicide rates in LGBTQ+ teenagers, HIV/AIDS prevalence in gay populations, gender confirmation surgery in trans people. But that's it.
These areas are definitely important but they all focus on *queerness*. Queer people are only interesting medically because they’re queer, it would seem.
Read 12 tweets
Aug 9, 2018
I wonder a lot about why people avoid going to the doctor (including doctors themselves) or ignore health problems for so long.
When you think you may be sick do you go to a doctor/hospital:
For people who answered the 3rd or 4th option, what's the biggest reason you put off seeing a doctor?

If you don't see a choice that fits you, comment with your reasons!
Read 12 tweets
Aug 8, 2018
Speaking of conditions that affect women disproportionately, most autoimmune diseases are very under diagnosed and under reported in India. AD is an umbrella term that includes many different diseases that can present with myriad symptoms.
Globally the incidence of autoimmune diseases is increasing steadily, for a variety of reasons. Some theories include significant changes in western dietary habits, environmental surroundings and pollution exposure, infectious habitat and stress load.
In India until recently, autoimmune diseases were thought of as a 'western problem' attributed to hereditary aspects and Vit D3 deficiency. Many ADs are idiopathic (i.e. unknown cause) but studies now point to a combination of genetic, environmental, and infectious factors.
Read 23 tweets
Aug 7, 2018
[TW] It would be impossible to talk of health disparities in India and not address mental health. India ranked 43rd in the world on rates of suicide (in descending order) in 2009.
It is hard to find reliable data on suicide, as it is punishable offense in India, leading to under reporting. Death by suicide is frequently reported as due to illness or accidents to avoid involving the police. Official figures underestimate the problem…
It also varies widely by state, region, gender, caste, socioeconomic background. Young adults(15-29) are the most vulnerable, having the highest rates of suicide, attempted suicide, and suicidal ideation and accounted for 34.5% of suicides in the country.
Read 28 tweets
Aug 6, 2018
I touched briefly on caste and healthcare earlier but the problem extends far beyond simply access to medical services.
Vani Kant Borooah used data from the national sample survey (NSS) to study 6 different groups - adivasis (56% Hindu and 33% Christian); Dalits (93% Hindu); non-Muslim OBC; Muslim OBC; Muslim upper caste; and non-Muslim upper classes,- and found disparities in life expectancy.
Upper caste non Muslims on average live up to 17 years longer than other groups (Chart 1). Even when adjusted for income and socioeconomic factors there is still a 10 year difference between upper and lower caste groups (Chart 3). ST have the lowest average age at death-43 years.
Read 15 tweets

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