•April 7, 2012 • 5 Comments

What could a bunch of fastidious 20 something mostly urban youth volunteers bring to a rural community in Rajasthan? Development, as I had come to understand it, (post an incredibly stimulating orientation at the Barefoot College in Tilonia – http://www.barefootcollege.org) was the domain of the bespectacled, native language speaking veteran. Change could and did happen, but it was a dawdling process. It required an equanimity and resolve that only a rural upbringing could offer you. And it seemed to have very little to do with us educated, city bred exchange volunteers and our arresting, EPW-esque opinions.

In my mind I was near convinced that any community’s development would ultimately take its own natural course, and that I should have really just worked with company X and gone about my own life some months ago when the offer had sprung.  Except what unfolded in the weeks to come prolonged the mental narrative that I had attempted to bring a closure to. Development. Change. And whether my understanding of these conceptual academic discourses held any relevance in the lives of the people I was soon to live amongst.

For the first few days, four of my program team mates and I spent some time acclimatizing ourselves to the ways of the village.  Ours was a charming, 500 inhabitant strong hamlet called Kadampura. My living counterpart Emily and I would wake up each morning to a high pitched, cantankerous exchange between the various members of our bustling, good-natured host family. After a breakfast of sickly sweet tea, concrete chappatis and awkward small talk, we’d make our way to the field centre to begin a day’s work.

By the middle of week three, the Kadampura Killerz, as we had come to call ourselves, had gotten our acts together and had managed to produce a pretty sound action plan. After creating two versions of a survey, we’d decided to limit ourselves to recording a people’s perception index of the public services available at Kadampura, and making a numerical assessment of their awareness of 12 key government schemes. This was to be done through a door to door survey, with each of the 78 households being interviewed.

Kadampura is relatively isolated hamlet. Its Panchayat is located at a half hour’s distance in another significantly larger village, Dheenwada. A lot of the villagers told us that when meetings are held, or important decisions are being made, the particular interests of Kadampura are often neglected.

  Somewhere along the process of interviewing each household, we realized that as unremarkable as the nature of our questions were, these were perhaps not asked of the people for a long long time. It was wonderful to finally come in real life contact with the faces behind the elaborate numbers. Udhamji and Bimla, Surgyan and Hemraj, Sohini and Ramswarup, Bardiji and Chetan and Badam and Lali and everyone else.  Real people with yellowing eyes and squalid individual tragedies.  Over a hundred of cups of tea (and the occasional lumpy buffalo milk straight off the buffalo) we had managed to develop a strong bond with the people of the village, and in the process had begun to cause somewhat of a stir.

 Surely someone had to know why the NREGA only paid them a dismal 30 rupees each day (instead of the stipulated Rs 119). How much money was it that the government offered to pregnant mothers for babies to be delivered at hospital? Whose names were on the official list of beneficiaries, and were they actually receiving any money at all? A modest impetus was being created in the village, and we had to help harness it.

By week five, Kadampura was all abuzz with the activities of its five peculiar looking volunteers. We’d organized our village’s first public meeting in years, begun an informal night school for the youth and had successfully showcased a movie screening at the hathai. Alongside the surveys, we had also begun speaking with the local government officials. The Barefoot College had in the meanwhile given us a interesting assignment. We were asked to try and get hold of all official beneficiary lists for government schemes and conduct a social audit to verify their claims.  Getting hold of the lists, we presumed would be an onerous task. But our stupendous charisma (some of us were evidently English, all us spoke English, and we are all still subliminally plagued by a colonial hangover) worked. After a bit of badgering, we had all the documents that we needed. Now all we had to do was de-mystify them and validate each of their claims through a door to door verification.

Perhaps the most crucial of them, was the verifications we conducted for the Janani Suraksha Yojana – (an initiative run by the central government which seeks to decrease maternal and child mortality by monetarily incentivizing hospital births.) Of the 8 women in the village who, according to health records, had received money for hospital deliveries, 4 told us that they’d had their babies at home. They hadn’t the slightest idea about what money we were referring to.

 And as anticipated as it was, we were staggered. There it was staring us in the face, the names of the women we were directly speaking with, falsely included on a proper official list, with signatures and everything.  When we examined the NREGA muster rolls, we realized that entire project sites were handing out laborers a paltry sum of anything between Rs 15 to Rs 60 for a day’s work, much less than even the state governments famous Schedule of Rates, let alone the NREGA schedule. The blatancy with which fraud and injustice was being carried out was unbelievably arrogant. I will never really understand how many massive bastards it takes to create a system that pilfers money from people that live on so little.

Our stay at Kadampura was to culminate in a grand public hearing. A women’s group pre-meeting, a health camp that didn’t work out, Emily getting bitten by a mental dog, a consequent trip to Jaipur, two revisions to our schedule, an actual tent, a puppet show, official invites, posters, the works.

 Central to the meeting agenda was the disclosure of the findings the official lists verification had thrown up. It was all to be done in a “let us clarify this” non – accusatory fashion. Ramkaranji (veteran) from the Barefoot College had agreed to take it on from there.  For the sake of transparency and open dialogue, the concerned government officials were also called. While the auxiliary nurse went MIA the NREGA met, (person in charge of handing out labor payments) turned up understandably drunk. When asked pointed questions, he babbled comedic incoherencies. A heated squabble broke out as the five of us disappeared into the peripheries of the crowd. Of course we were delirious with excitement. This was essential turmoil.

 But the highlight of the meeting was when upon highlighting by the popular village headmaster, funds were spontaneously collected to cover up a hazardous open dry well which was located in the vicinity of the village school. Who’d have believed that these were the same folk who only a few hours ago required three rounds of elaborate, strategic persuasion to attend a meeting that discussed their own collective concerns? All the right questions were asked, a forward action plan was formulated, and people from within the community agreed to work with the Barefoot College to address issues.

And just like that, shortly after the meeting, we returned to our own lives. It’s been a little over two weeks since I left my home in Kadampura. The silence and relative comfort of the now is almost unpleasantly surreal. The last I heard Ramkaranji produced the muster rolls with the 30 rupee payments to the Chief Minister of the state, and some sort of high off rigmarole has begun. I can’t say I’m not pleased. Seven times a day on an average, my phone rings as “Kamala Mummyji”’s name flashes on the screen. I still only awkwardly stare at it, my stomach in knots, feeling unprepared to speak with her, as if she was some sort of unkind ex lover.

I’d say my biggest learning from the experience was questioning the idea of development in itself. Development’ isn’t merely a “world’s systems theory” or a profitable, alternative, career field. Clearly, we’re talking about life itself.  I suppose people everywhere – me as much as Bardi from the village, only change when we feel ready enough to rise from the everydayness of our existence. I can’t help feel quiet overwhelmed by the massive spiritual implication of that process, and I’m not sure twenty Global Xchange volunteers, several very rich NGOs or a government can in themselves, effect that sort of change.

What I’m Not Learning

•December 18, 2011 • 13 Comments

 The time has come when I have been asked to answer in writing that dreaded question. And as I attempt to type of all that out in this borrowed, unfamiliar laptop, I can almost literally see the questioning, curious, ‘Isecretlyhopeitsucked’ faces of all the judgemental people that I meet less than once a year – (elderly neighbours from several lifetimes, my parents’ friends of friends of friends and the various unavoidable second cousins. Seriously, these guys have wayy too much power over my life)

 “What are you doing in Manchester? What are you learning?”

 And while I’d usually try to attempt the type of astounding reply that would make them all want to be like me/make their daughters like me, I will attempt to not respond from that space this time.

 I’ve spent the last two months volunteering at the Manchester project of the Richmond Fellowship. They were first described to me as a ‘well reputed’ organisation that worked to provide supportive care to women with mental health illnesses.

 I can be a bit of a champion for the cause of women and everything(daddy issues plus pseudo-feminist influences in college) but I have to say that I was especially pleased to be associated with just about anything called Richmond. Its a rather posh sounding name I think. Richmond. tall, handsome, important looking Richmond, with his strong jaws and expensive, old fashioned coat, writing serious poetry.

 But work at the Richmond Fellowship had nothing to do with this intense, sexy character. It was simply another atypical Manchester red brick building that functioned as what is called a “supported accommodation”. Picture a semi swish Bangalore apartment complex(more R.T. Nagar than Lavelle Road), in which the women stay. Richmond Fellowship operates an office in the building premises, and provides services of various sorts(counselling, I need to check your fire blanket, etc.) to the 12 women that live there.

 On a typical day, Id stumble out of bed fifteen to twenty minutes post my intended wake up time and make my way to work in my awesome leather jacket, looking a bit dangerous. The first hour was a painful time in which my work counterpart Chelsie and I would struggle to look all busy. Often, Jane my solemn manager would walk in, just as I was saying inappropriate things to my charming, nerdy friend Pushparaj on Facebook. By mid morning we’d have had at-least two ‘brews’ (fashionable word for tea) and would have begun to start to think about whose lives we were going to change that afternoon. Or not.

  Each of  twelve women at RF had endured an incomprehensibly painful life. Nearly every single one had experienced prolonged sexual abuse as a child. Some had abhorrently abusive partners, others struggled with chronic addictions of every type, and most had spent a considerable part of their lives struggling to find stability.

 It was aphotic and unrelatable. Like the stories of the women in all the various horrendous Sidney Sheldons. Except life never turned around quite the same way for these women. And so I was eager to help, but was limited by own emotional ineptitude. I did not understand their world. Not nearly enough. Mine was a life of trivial concerns and mundane pursuits. I simply didnt get it.

 As volunteers, our role was to encourage the women to come out each afternoon and participate in the very exciting ‘activities’ that we had planned out for them. Arts and crafts one some days, relaxation and meditation on others, breakfast clubs and coffee afternoons and all the other stuff the cool kids never want to do.

 The activities, I have to say, were sometimes a bit of a fail..A Four people turn out was supposed to be an overwhelming display of enthusiasm by the ladies, the support workers would assure me. Often a relaxation class would turn into a Donna, Ann and Uthara drinking tea whilst watching Jeremy Kyle(who btw should totally date/casually hang out with Anu Malik) shout at people activity. But it was still all good. The joys of our job were in the little successes. It was when Maureen would laugh at Chelsie’s mentalman jokes, or when Ann would say that she enjoyed arts and crafts with a little more conviction, or when for just one split second during relaxation, Id see some of the women actually follow my voice to drop their shoulders, uncrinkle their foreheads and actually look quite still and at peace.

 The honest answers to the whole ‘what have you learnt’ is not particularly impressive sounding I suppose. All of our jobs were little tasks. The doing was the only end, and it wasn’t a perfomance.

 The joy I’d feel after particularly good days at work were of a distinctly different quality. It wasn’t pride and it wasn’t happiness.  I suppose it wasn’t really ‘joy’ either. It felt a bit like it was somehow only right for us to have been there, even if just for a while, doing what we could. It was alright to not  actually have a great big major learning. It was alright, for once, to not be so self important.

For the Love of Swaraj

•June 5, 2011 • 9 Comments

In the last year, a person of considerable peripheral significance in my life has been Mrs. Swaraj Sukhija. My landlady and all of 82, she is the coarse voiced, nitpicky, impatient old woman everyone always unsuccessfully avoids. I am the incumbent of the smaller of two bedrooms in her modest home at a relatively unflashy South Delhi neighborhood. It has been about ten months now. My friend Ananya is therefore right when she says that if I were a virile hundred year old man and Mrs. Sukhija a bit more adventurous, we could have maybe had a baby together.

 You would most likely be endeared by ‘aunty’ (she prefers that to dadi and I learnt that late) the first few times you met her. Old people, little children and dogs have that essential likeability about them – they can be vulnerable even when they use their most audacious tones. Besides, dadi makes a really great opening joke. When you tell her your name, she will tell you hers and add with a twinkle “Bhai mere liye to pura deshh lada tha”. And so you and everyone around (mostly me and Devi our simpleton Gorkha house help) will look at her warmly and gush.

 Given her non-convent educated, non-army background, Mrs Sukhija would I’d think  qualify as a reasonably forward thinking person. She only minorly winces at the sight of “one piece dresses” on Simran (her 18 year old granddaughter who occasionally visits) and if I’m in a kurta(soon after work, feel happy MOM), will look at me like I’m the bloody behenji and say “theek hai! aap bhi pehena karo

 She likes to keep abreast with the news, has a lot to say about corruption (Ramdev nerd) and even has her very own theory about SABSE ZYAAADA poverty in Tamil Nadu.( She lived there for 3 whole months sometime in the 60’s when her husband was training there. Incidentally, I’m Tamillian too) But that aside, Mrs Sukhija is really a very decent woman – she is often generous and loving, asks about my day a lot, and is most unlike the calculative, scheming gorgons most Delhi land ladies tend to be. So when I say now that I want to run-away and scream, it’s probably because I am being a stone hearted, vitriolic bitch.

 I’ve always been of the belief that all there is an underlying karmic purpose behind every relation we are ever caused to make in our lives. At a time like now then (little to do work-wise, going over dadi’s life stories much more, and reading a lot of Eckhart Tolle) I tend to think of why the Universe ever had us acquainted. What could possibly be the spiritual take back from hearing about the parathas at Moolthal(someplace near Karnal) EVERYDAY at breakfast (while we eat parathas) or her pet Pomeranian “Ginny” from a thousand years ago, each time the neighbor’s dog has a mad barking fit.

 Mrs Sukhija for all her humor and nicety seems to me like someone who has lost all fascination for life as it transpires in the now. The stories she tells me are the memorable bits of a larger chronicle that once was. As she moved through life as daughter, teacher, wife and mother she always had something to ‘do’ and ‘be’. But I suppose most 82 year olds lack the wherewithal to ‘do’ and ‘be’ very much. To her, her story ended 5 years ago, with the passing away of her husband – ever since, nothing has felt very relevant.

I suppose then, that we make the basic error in seeking our identities from the external circumstances of our lives, and the various roles we play. We therein disregard their inherent impermanence, and often find ourselves disillusioned if there is a crisis whilst we try to create yet another such ‘identity’.

In a book I read once it said “In the true order of things one does not do something in order to be happy, but one is happy and hence does something.” I wish I will still remember that when im 82.

On Losing a BlackBerry..

•March 13, 2011 • 10 Comments

Tragedy struck on Monday. I lost my purple BlackBerry. In school I was the kid with the illegal cell phone/no cell phone or the “dabba” cell phone. My purple BB was therefore very special – it had altered my self concept. At the end of all my emails it said “Sent from my BlackBerry on Vodafone” and somehow that made the fifteen year old in me feel all corporate and posh.

So when I lost it, for about four hours( in the city of 5 lakh homeless people) I managed to feel like the most powerless, unfortunate person there ever was. In my own head ran the most flagrant version of “Uthara goes through life”(it’s a self pity series with a very dramatic and melancholic background track. I do it maybe two times a year).  I wandered about Select City Walk feeling like one of those grey faced widowed characters English poets wrote about in the 1800’s – except I’m sure I looked like quite the buffoon south daali-ite – with four shopping bags in my hand and the expression of someone walking through a sea of dead bodies.

My job in the last ten months has had me engage with a plethora of what we call ‘social issues’. I’ve read extensively about malnutrition and under-nutrition, the plight of the naxal insurgents, (and those of the people they kidnap), the problems of the several million farmers, and the several million women in the country amongst so much else.

And as meaningful as all that sounds, I can’t help but admit that I am often dumbfounded by the level of disconnect I feel with all this “information” I’m pouring through. I cannot claim that I was all tense and stressing when the prices of onions or petrol rose(even while I understood its implications on “common man” at an intellectual level) and while I was shocked by the earthquake in Japan and earlier in New Zealand, I don’t think I slept less soundly. I know much about starvation and khaps and undertrial prisoners – and of course I think it’s all dreadful. But my concern seems so fleeting – it’s all over once I’m done working on my report or brief, when I close the pdf, or when someone calls.

This is not to say that all the news around me should have all of us crying and destroyed. But I think it is strange almost when the news of several hundreds dying, or people living in adverse circumstances in any part of the world is so often reduced to half intelligent sounding conversation in coffee shops and metros and university debates.  I am often told that there is little else one can do, but I wonder if we are more complacent than we are helpless.

It seems to me as if the average urban young Indian leads a largely fear-ridden, resume driven existence – our life choices must necessarily be very good CV bullet points, and networks and contacts are sustained with more alacrity than relationships. A good job is simply one that pays well, with very little being said about the joy of creation or passion or fulfillment – those are all for the lofty thinking, and slightly unintelligent self help book buyer. We’re a bunch of clinical, crisp talking (and slightly frustrated) professionals.

In school I always said that I want to be in an occupation that will help me ‘give back’ – (My ninth grade EVS teacher was really good) – and work title wise I suppose I am well on my way to doing exactly that. But even as I move through my career in the benign field of ‘policy and development” I can’t help but admit that I’ve been far too consumed emotionally and mentally by the details of my own existence, my own business and ‘goals’ than with “policy and development” issues. On any given day, I am thinking more about what I will do ‘next’/ where I will go out /replays of foolish conversations I’ve had/making strange jokes/beating myself down over poor behavior and other such profundities. And so my job is in many ways, just another ‘career’, the most exciting bits of which are the exotic travels I will undertake and the fancy people I meet, and how ‘cool’ and unusual my work profile sounds to other people.

Something about the way we grow up programmes our internal dialogue to constantly ask “whats in it for me”. And life, as a result starts to look like one giant cost benefit analysis exercise. While we’re at it, we lose perspective. Perhaps we give the transient inconsequential details(such as the loss of PURPLE phones) far more importance than they deserve, and perhaps we no longer know how to spot the transient details from the potentially life altering ones.

 And as pansyninthgrader as I sound, I often wish that more of us had enough courage to not be bogged down by uncertainty, and take a few more risks. I wish that enough of us had the internal fortitude to  dedicate our ‘careers’ to really, truly want to work to make things better – with that being an end in itself. I don’t know what it will take to truly get to that place.

Not Ugly

•January 31, 2011 • 1 Comment

About me: “Not ugly”

My nine year old nephew has this up on his Facebook page as his ‘About Me’. My fear is that this perfectly funny fellow will one day grow up to be The Everyday Guy.

The Everyday Guy is reasonable for the most part, often sincere and frequently funny. He may or may not like dogs but is conversational. He is also very very everyday looking, but will ever so often unabashedly make atrocious remarks (although only in ‘safe’ company) about the physical appearance of the other ordinary, everyday people around him. Especially the women.

The Rajus and Ravis and Rahuls of our time are bestowed with a keen eye – in seconds they register even the most diminutive details of a woman’s attributes – hips, lips, hair, skin, voice, laugh, height. Men of exceptionally high standards, they only ‘do’ what they call “actress pretty”. (An adage I came across earlier this week. A very highly gentleman I am fortunate to be acquainted with tells me that Monica Dogra is not actress pretty.) Their confidence is undoubtedly admirable.

Some years ago, as part of a project I was doing, I went back to my school in Bangalore and spoke with the 8th grader girls there to get a sense of the typical 14 year old urban girl’s conception of ‘pretty’. Who they described to me was the type of figure my deeply spiritual guy friends would right out ‘do’ (great word). She was olive skinned and glowy, her features were doll like, her hair fine AND she had that banging bod. And who’s to say they were wrong. I agreed (still agree) with them myself.

I’d like to believe that it’s only natural that we all think this way, but my second guess is that we have naturalized it. Women are too early, taught to derive much too significant a part of their sense of selves from their physical appearance. It does not help then, that there has come to be exactly one kind of beautiful. It is expensive, stylized and exclusive. It requires a certain refinement and a certain flair. It requires very many such ‘certains’. And it is far more required of women than of men. Our concept of beauty has created a society where it is hard for women to be completely self assured and unselfconscious. Where un-groomed is ugly and beautiful trumps everything else.

My angst against the lot of men (besides being a hormone thing :s) also comes from the fact that they so unwittingly reinforce these horribly self defeating concepts with their automated mental rating system. Of course I wish that women just didn’t care about what they thought. But until we all get there, it sure would be nice for the men to give a little more thought to the extent to which these ideas negatively impinge upon a woman’s psyche. And not just the women they’re hitting on.

Of the forty odd girls I spoke with that day at school, I remember about two or three uncomfortably half raising their hands when I asked how many of them considered themselves to be attractive. I don’t believe any of them were ugly, but I suppose they felt like that because we have made beautiful difficult to be.

Who is God?

•December 11, 2010 • 2 Comments

My good atheist friend Aakif sent me a three word text this evening – “Who is God”.  While in its context it was only a humorous retort,I don’t think he realized the extent to which the question struck me.

I have always considered myself as a believer. When people ask, I say in my best stoic voice that I believe in God.

I feel like God as ‘He’ is talked about in common parlance is a closed concept. We have already, largely made up our minds about “Him” (and the fact that “He” is a “Him” – bearded, slow speech and a very very deep voice.) Its naïve almost, we don’t fully understand who or what it is that we so fervidly glorify and deny.

Belief in God, has, in my opinion, very little to do with really understanding him or her or it?) as a phenomenon.  To believe has come to be somewhat of a moral position people have guilelessly imbibed. We don’t know who God is. We only know that our families have always “believed” in him. Like Socialism, that Higher Power concept has somewhat of an emotional appeal. And so it is that persons such as me go around pushing the Pro God agenda. Marketing it ardently, speaking with such authority, as if we know EXACTLY what it is we are talking about.

My atheist friends are by no means notable exceptions. (Not Aakif of course, he is a Maharaja) Their non belief seems to me like a mulish, unrelenting ideological stance – one that premises itself on a very flawed understanding of God, mostly derived from inauthentic interpretations of religious texts. I am greatly amused when all over the internet and everywhere else people so vehemently deny an existence that can only really be discovered if one chooses to be open to its possibility.(I believe some high off chap called Friedrich Nietzsche even said “God is dead”)

I personally conceive of God as an all extending consciousness. I’ve sometimes in meditation experienced it as energy. When I say this out loud in company, I am often at the receiving end of a dozen pair of rolling eyes, or “That would be more convincing if you hadn’t smoothened out your hair” looks. Except that truly IS how I feel. I don’t know fully who or what God is and I don’t think it is possible for me to comprehend in its entirety a phenomenon so vast (perhaps the vastest there is) from a purely scientific standpoint.

I chose to believe, because my God concept offers me with possibility, hope and faith (among other warm sounding words). When I look back on some of my experiences, I feel like it has truly served me. That I have had an ongoing romance with the idea of divine “signs” and signals and angels has only fortified my pro God thought system.  My many good friends have probably wanted to murder me every time I pointed out to a “sign”.( Kim even had a rule about “not referring to the Universe”   with me at some point. )

I currently feel about God like I did two years ago about Marx. While I don’t know if this will ever go a severe alteration,  I can as I write this, recount several serendipitous coincidences (which other people could dismiss as mere fancies) I have experienced, and they still leave me marveled.  Feeling marveled feels fantastic. And so I will let it be this way.

Sex and Mental Kids and Society.

•September 23, 2010 • 2 Comments

About two weeks ago I happened to chat with an old old friend from school. Rashmi Kannur – the very first of the many ‘first bestest friends’ I had had right through Junior School. It took me back to what I was like as a child.

I was the type of the seven year old my twenty one year old self would take an instant dislike towards. I was overgrown (taller than the tallest boy in the batch for a long long time), made too many facial expressions and used too many big words. I spoke loudly and clearly, knew all the  bad words a lot sooner than everyone else and walked around the corridors in school with six or seven girls flagging me on either side.

Back then I was sure that they were  all as enamored by me as I was by myself, but looking at it in retrospect I feel like they( among the quitest, most impressionable people in the whole class) were really too afraid to not be friends with me.

Rashmi and I talked about the time when we were in the second grade as we were chatting (yes, on bloody facebook). I was of course, the leader of the gang. (a bit like Top Cat id like to think) And at some point I had taken the initiative to formalize our organization. Uthara Ganesh was President, Harleen Singh and Rashmi Kannur were Vice Presidents and five others were clerks or cheerer-ons or some such insignificant thing. These rather majestic looking gold buttons I had taken off a not entirely old blazer in the house were our ‘badges’. I had also drawn up an elaborate agenda with rules – many of which involved not having any sort of contact(even at the level of thought) with ‘males that were not related to us by blood’. Rashmi asked me once if it was okay for her to watch a Tv show (was it Tu Tu – Mai Mai?) that featured a few men in it. After a lot of high level analysis I had said ‘No’.

But I didn’t start off writing this entry to ascertain to everyone that I was in fact a MENTAL kid. It was really, to point out, that very very young, even the most rebellious, individualistic children somehow internalize an extremely awkward idea of how to interact with “males(members of the opposite sex?) that are not related to us by blood”. Of course it wears off as we grow older and all of that (sooner for me than anyone else perhaps), but there is  a certain unease and anxiety that is retained. I would think this is truer for women, especially in a society where your sexual behavior is equated with such things as your “moral caliber” and “family background”.  How respected a woman is, has much to do with how ‘good’ she is. And goodness has more to do with how much ‘unpermitted’ sexual contact she is having than anything else.

And it is institutionalized too, in so many ways. We have a school of ‘feminists’ going all agog about taking action against Rape (that odious, monstrous crime that the law equates with the cut-you-into-pieces type murder). The trauma associated with rape has so much more to do with the victims’ (and societies’) concept of sex and respect and ohiamdoneforness, than the actual impact of the physical act.

I feel like if people didn’t think all of these complex things about sex and women and respect, there’d be fewer rapes(because then it wouldn’t be such a ‘tool’ to ‘attack’ a woman) and that womenkind in general would have fewer “daddy issues”.