Christina Dhanaraj Profile picture
Sep 30, 2018 14 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
#Dalitwomen are most often victims/survivors of sexual abuse, including of those that are not always legally identified as crimes. And the law has failed us. Progressive communities haven’t responded adequately either. It has been a lonely battle and will continue to be so.
Stories of sexual abuse, especially those that name Dalit men, are therefore uniquely triggering for us. We stand by the survivors, like we all need to, unequivocally, because we are victims ourselves.
We believe the victims, their EVERY WORD, because we’ve lived through the experience of being dismissed as liars so often, by friends and allies alike.
However there is also a painful conflict within. Not because we haven’t suffered abuse in the hands of #Dalit men, or that Dalit men are not capable of any wrongdoing; but because it feels like our ENTIRE community is being asked to make an explanation when none is needed.
It feels like we won’t ever have the opportunity to be individuals and still be #Dalit. Every time there is wrongdoing by one of us, it feels like it becomes an opportunity for savarnas to reinforce their vile biases against the entire community.
Frankly though, why should sexual harassers be identified by their oppressed caste identity (i.e. Dalits) which is inherently a powerless identity? Is it their caste that is the cause of their wrongdoing?
Or is it because you, the person who is doing the calling out, are a savarna? Is it because we, by virtue of being Dalit, are hypervisible in ways that Savarnas are not? Juxtaposing your oppressor identity with the abuser’s oppressed identity is indicative of just that.
Secondly, when seeking #community response as a path for justice, it is important to ask who constitutes this community. Who are the ones dragging the culprit to the box? Who are the ones casting the stones? Is it those who have the existing power to proclaim self righteousness?
Note that the history of community justice for #Dalits is that of brutality - khap panchayats have pronounced the naked parading of Dalit women, public flogging, community approved rape, and honour killings.
While community justice (even on social media) may appeal to savarnas as a tool for accountability, for Dalits, it inevitability reminds us of a system that is designed to instill fear in ALL of us.
Three, the Dalit response to one of their’s crimes is bound to be far more nuanced than any Savarna’s response. Not only are we heartbroken by the actions of one of ours, but also are forced to deal with the fear of our entire community being criminalised/publicly shamed.
For the Savarna, it might be a matter of unburdening oneself of an ugly truth, so that their progressive identity can function without blemish. And this probably makes it easier to ostraticise. But will they be reacting in exactly the same ways if the abuser was one of their own?
Savarnas can ostracise the crime + the individual and cause no reputational risk to their community in the course of it. Dalits might do the same (not only because woke Savarnas asked them to) but their caste will continue to remain in focus and the crime a context.
As a Dalit woman and a survivor of sexual abuse I believe victims MUST be heard and abusers be brought to justice, both Savarna and Dalit. Not as a response to Savarna guilt but as a continuation of our fight against caste AND patriarchy. #dalitwomenfight

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More from @caselchris1

Oct 8, 2018
As a Dalit woman, the last few days of India’s #MeToo have been both triggering and confusing. I’ve tried to follow it as much as I can and the more I do, I realise how important it is to have a conversation on value.
How are we (as women/non-men) valued in relationships, at work, inside our homes, and in our communities? And who are the ones determining this value? #MeToo
To me, that’s what #MeToo is all about - it ultimately boils down to whether women/non-men are treated as people who have feelings, a body, and a spirit. The fact that so many women, albeit from non-Dalit backgrounds, are outing men for their horrific behaviors +
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Sep 17, 2018
Who is paying the price for #intercaste marriages in India? And why is this being touted as an anti-caste strategy? Questions and Thoughts.
Disclaimer: Twitter is obviously not a great place for nuance, but I'm going to try.
Also note that I'm not against #intercaste marriages. Ideally, we should all get married to whomever we please as long as they are an adult and are consenting. If you conclude that I'm casteist or pro-endogamy from any of my tweets, it's on you.
Let's first understand that not all intercaste marriages are problematic to India's casteist society. Many #intercaste savarna couples lead happy lives while telling the world how progressive their families are. Their weddings are pretty fun too...
Read 16 tweets
Sep 1, 2018
"Yet, if the 'rewriting of Indian history' was lurching ahead on the Hindutva fringe of academia, mainstream science was steadily advancing in quite another direction."…
'cause some of you may not read this amazing story, I felt compelled to put this up. #Hindutva
must confess though; I do like the idea of the North Pole being in India.
Read 4 tweets

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