Cruelty, thy name is sharia

 

A Sri Lankan woman is facing decapitation with a sword on a witchcraft charge in Saudi Arabia.  A Saudi man said that   his 13-year-old daughter  suddenly started acting strange after seeing a  Sri Lankan woman in a shopping mall.  The Sri Lankan woman was accused  of casting a spell on his daughter. Police  arrested the woman. The punishment for practicing  witchcraft  and sorcery  in Saudi Arabia is, beheading.  Two  persons were beheaded on witchcraft charges last year.  Sharia, or Islamic law, is the basis of the legal system in Saudi Arabia  The number of execution is increasing in the country. In  2010,  26 people were executed. In  2011, it was  76.’

Watch how people get  beheaded in  public places.  Eight Bangladeshi men were beheaded last year.   They say Allahu Akbar, Allah  is Great loudly while  beheading.   An Indonesian maid was beheaded not long ago. They enjoy beheading  people with a sharp  sword. Hateful, revengeful, venomous god-lovers are not prevented from continuing  their unethical and inhuman practices of Islam. We witness cruelty everyday but we shut our mouth  because  it is not politically correct to oppose  Islamic barbarism!

 

 

 

Religion is like a rapist’s penis. It attacks women.

 

Religion is like a penis. It’s fine to have one and it’s fine to be proud of it, but please don’t whip it out in public and start waving it around… and PLEASE don’t try to shove it down my child’s throat.”

 

Taliban poisons  drinking water. 150   schoolgirls were hospitalized in Afghanistan  yesterday. Girls education was banned under Taliban rule (1996-2001). After girls schools are  reopened, periodic attacks occur against girls, teachers and school buildings. It is not the first time Taliban poisoned girl’s school’s water, they did it before. In 2010, more than 100 schoolgirls and teachers were sickened in similar poisonings.

Taliban’s poison gas attack  is well known. In August 2010 it was revealed through blood tests that a mysterious series of cases of mass sickness at girls’ schools across the country were caused by a powerful poison gas.

Acid was thrown at the girls while they were  walking  to school. Taliban  have been blowing up girls school in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They  threaten to blow up girl’s schools if they refuse to close.   Taliban wages war against girls education.  They try everything to  destroy girls educationThey  burnt down  over 125 girls schools   calling women’s education un-Islamic.

“Female education is against Islamic teachings and spreads vulgarity in society,” Shah Dauran, Taliban leader said. Muslim Khan, Taliban spokesman said, “Female education is against Islam. They (women and girls) are required to sit at home and not venture out.”

The relationship between religion and patriarchy is deep-rooted. Patriarchy  wants   woman to  stay   at  home and  to  protect  her chastity.  A woman is nothing  but   her husband’s property.  It is  men’s   responsibility to provide food for his wives  and children and it is  women’s duty to obey her husband. It is only recently after decades of  feminist movement that women get the opportunity to go to school, to get  an education, to find   a job,  to make  money and to become economically independent.

 

Whenever Muslim fundamentalists flog women for wearing trousers or stone women to death for adultery,or punish girls for getting education, there are people who would  say, ‘it is not real Islam’. What is real Islam? Does real Islam believe in women’s equality?  Is real Islam pro-woman?   If real Islam is so pro-woman, it would not have said  woman was made from the rib of man  (Surah Nisa 4:1) or one of her bones was crooked. If real Islam is so pro-woman, it would not  ask  men to beat women.( Surah Nisa 4:34)  If real Islam is so pro-woman,  it would not say, a male shall inherit twice as much as a female ( Surah Nisa 4:11) , and the testimony of one man  would not be equal that of two women. If real Islam is so pro-woman,  women would get equal rights  in  marriage, divorce, and child custody, it would not permit  men to have  four  wives  (Surah Nisa 4:3)  and  it would not reward pious men  with 72 virgins in heaven and pious women  with nothing but the same old husband.

 

The life of Khadija, the first wife of Muhammad, tells us that  the   status of women was quite good  during  pre-Islamic period.  Khadija  was a rich businesswoman. Women could own and run a business. She was a widow.  She married Muhammad who was  15 years younger than her.  She had the right to hold and inherit property and was free to enter into a nuptial contract with the person she chose. Her polygamous  husband   could not marry any other women as long as she was alive.

It is true that Islam is not against women having ‘religious education’ but it definitely discourages women to leave home. It says, woman’s pray at home is better  than going to mosque. Woman should take the permission of her husband before going out. Evils are behind unnecessary socializing of unveiled women . Woman should not wear perfumes. Women  should wait behind men. Women should not walk in the middle of the road. Wives have great duty towards their husbands. Angels curses the disobedient wife. Woman should be grateful to her husband. Women should not imitate men in dress, movements, and way of speech. Women should cover her face in the presence of strangers and men who are not her close family members.

 

Despite all the  attacks of  the religionists, women in the Muslim societies are leaving home for schools or for  work, it happens not because  they embrace  Islamic rules, but   because  they disrespect  Islamic rules. Like all other religions, Islam is also anti-women. Today, Islam looks more intolerant and barbaric than  other religions.  It is because Islamists have been preventing  people  from being  evolved and enlightened. Time to change.

 

 

The guy’s guide to feminism

 

I finally found the book. A small green book. A guide. A to Z guide to all things feminist. It is called ”The Guy’s Guide to Feminism.”

I just love the book.

If you do not like to read books on feminism  by women, fine. Then read this one, written by two guys, Michael Kaufman and Michael  Kimmel. It’s funny. Remarkable. Straight to the point explanation how and why feminism improves men’s life.

 

There are fascinating  pieces —

”Do you believe that women should have the right to:

  • Vote?
  • Go to college?
  • Drive a car?
  • Open bank accounts in their own names?
  • Enjoy sex?
  • Work in whatever occupation they might choose, and get paid the same as men when they do the same work?

Did you answer yes?

Then you better lie down. . . . You’ve probably caught feminism.

The feminist contagion has spread far and wide.  It infects both women and men.  Most people in North America, Europe and many parts of the rest of the world have caught it. The terrible truth is that, nowadays, most of us support these rights and actually see them as basic rights of individuals in a democracy.”

 

”It’s true.  As that Harvard professor observed way back in 1873, when women get more education, they do have fewer babies.

It’s not because their wombs shrink.

It’s because their options grow.”

 

 

 

 

 

”Does  feminism Virus Target  men? The virus really has it in for men.  doesn’t believe that male biology causes men to rape or pillage or not listen or hog the channel changer.  It actually believes that men are basically good!!!!   It believes that men can (and should) be ethical, emotionally present, and accountable to our values in our interactions with women — as well as with other men.

Women who’ve caught feminism not only expect men to act in honorable ways, but have a deep belief in our ability to do so.

Beware, my friend.  This is very insidious stuff.”

 

 

”A minister, a rabbi, and an imam were having coffee.

The imam said, “This sounds like the beginning of a bad joke.”

The minister said, “We’re all the children of Abraham.”

The rabbi said, “Yes, but which of his wives?”

The imam said, “Is that why feminists are so angry?”

The minister said, “What do you mean?”

The imam said, “They’re angry at us for several millennia of bad things that men have done.”

The minister said, “I like to tell my flock that women aren’t angry.  They’re just insistent.”

The rabbi said, “What’s so wrong about a little anger?  Imagine the world from their perspective.”

At that moment another friend, a Buddhist monk, arrived.  They told him what they were talking about.  The monk said, “See the world from women’s perspective?  Well, let me start:  How would you feel if every time you went out on a date, you worry you could join the one in four women who’d been sexually assaulted?”

The rabbi said, “Or what if there were people who wanted to make it illegal for you to have control over your own reproductive system?”

The imam said, “Or if you earned less for doing the same work as a man?”

The minister said, “If half the human race felt it was entitled to stare at your body or make comments about your breasts.

“And then, if you get angry, they accuse you of being a lesbian—”

“—as if that were a crime —”

“—or say how pretty you are when you’re angry.”

The four men thought about this for a moment.

“And it gets worse,” said the minister.  “Imagine that you start speaking out against these daily injustices and people start telling you to lighten up.  Stop taking things so seriously.  It’s only a joke.”

The rabbi said, “I wouldn’t just be angry.  I’d go ballistic.”

It was Friday, and the imam soon went off to Friday prayers.  “Anger,” he said to the worshippers, “is a rational response to injustice.  Anger can be a healthy emotion to feel, an expression that something is wrong.”

The next morning at Sabbath services, the rabbi said, “Anger can be a motivating force, an impulse to get up off your hiney and do something, to at least say this inequality is not okay.”

That afternoon, the monk said to those he had meditated with, “The problem isn’t anger, it’s finding appropriate ways to express it.  Perhaps only by expressing it, can we ever let it go.”

The next morning in his sermon, the minister told his congregants, “Anger can also be coupled with a desire to change things.  It can carry a belief that things can change for the better.  Resigned despair is what happens when you don’t think you can change things.  Anger can mean hope.”

On Monday, the four men got together again for coffee.  They were joined by another friend, a Hindu priest.

The priest said, “But you’re not saying that anger is the main thing that these feminists feel.”

Now, this coffee shop had a waiter who’d been serving perfect cups of coffee for years.  He’d heard the men talking the previous week and now heard this exchange.  He’d often had this very discussion about women’s anger with his girlfriend, so when the priest asked whether anger was the main thing feminists felt, he didn’t hesitate to jump in.

“Excuse me,” he said, “But when a woman feels angry, perhaps she is most angry that she has to feel anything but love and trust and how it feels to be an equal in the world.”

The minister, rabbi, imam, monk, and priest nodded sagely to each other.

And that is no joke.”

 

 

Cool.

By the way, not only I bought the book,  I bought a dozen of my male- friends the same T-shirts that says, “A Man of Quality Isn’t Threatened by Women’s Equality.”  They  love it.

 

 

Crimes against humanity

 

 

‘The right to life of women … is conditional on their obeying social norms and traditions.’ — Hina Jilani

 

‘It is a tragedy, a horror, a crime against humanity. The details of the murders – of the women beheaded, burned to death, stoned to death, stabbed, electrocuted, strangled and buried alive for the “honor” of their families – are as barbaric as they are shameful.’

 

 

 

‘An  honor killing is a murder, carried out by a family to punish a female family member who has supposedly brought dishonor upon the family. The acts which are the cause of dishonor can be

  • refusing to enter into an arranged marriage
  • being the victim of a sexual assault or rape
  • seeking a divorce, even from an abusive husband
  • committing adultery or fornication
  • pre-marital sex
  • falling in love with men outside her tribe
  • flirting /chatting with men  on facebook

The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that dishonors her family is enough  to trigger an attack on her life.’

 

‘Men often use honor killings to maintain their dominant patriarchal status.  Women in the family often support the practice in order to preserve the honor of male family members.  Patriarchy is a system in which both  men and women participate. It privileges the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women.’

 

‘Honor killing  most likely originates from the belief that a woman’s chastity is the property of her families, a patriarchal culture  that comes  from  ancient  Assyrian tribes of 1200 B.C. A woman, who was considered by the tribes to be a machine   for making men, was forced through  honor  killing  to obey the husband’s family   and not to reproduce outside of the tribe or the extended family.  In Babylonian societies, women accused of adultery were forced to throw themselves into a river to prove they were innocent. In ancient Egyptian culture, imprisonment, flogging, or mutilation were common punishments for women who had been convicted of adultery. In ancient Chinese culture   husbands cut off the hair of adulterous women and then lead them to their death by an elephant trained to kill. Some Native American tribes punished adulterous women by cutting off their limbs and mutilating their bodies. In Persia, adulterous women were pushed into a well and left to die. ‘

 More than 20,000 women are killed each year because of honor based violence.

10,000 women get killed  each year  in the name of honor in Pakistan. 

‘The practice  of honor killings goes across cultures and across religions. It had been practiced in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Turkey, Jordan, Yemen, Syria,  Morocco, Lebanon,Iraq, Brazil, Ecuador, Uganda etc.   In many countries, murdering  female family members in the name of honor is NOT considered a crime. In some countries honor killing is like a  crime of passion, a crime often  not punishable.  In Pakistan, the practice of honor killing is supposed to be prosecuted under ordinary killing, but in practice police and prosecutors often ignore it  and often a man  simply claim the killing was for his honor and he will go free.  In Syria, men can kill female relatives in a ‘crime of passion’ as long as it is not premeditated. It is legal for a husband to kill his wife in Jordan if he catches her committing adultery. Crime of passion can be a full or partial defense in countries like  Argentina, Iran, Guatemala, Egypt, Israel, Peru,  etc.’

Honor killings take place in Western countries (UK, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Canada, USA)  among immigrant communities. Rape, acid attack are part of honor crimes.

 

These are just some informations. Another important information is Honor killing incidents are increasing rapidly all over the world.

 

There is no honor in killing. But  women are still oppressed, tortured and  killed everyday in the name of religion, patriarchy, tradition, culture, custom, family  honor etc.etc. etc.

Men  must stop  exploiting, abusing and  killing women in the name of hundreds of thousands of bullshit.

 

They do not believe in freedom of expression

 

 

“It was a shocking thing to say and I knew it was a shocking thing to say. But no one has the right to live without being shocked. No one has the right to spend their life without being offended. Nobody has to read this book. Nobody has to pick it up. Nobody has to open it. And if you open it and read it, you don’t have to like it. And if you read it and you dislike it, you don’t have to remain silent about it. You can write to me, you can complain about it, you can write to the publisher, you can write to the papers, you can write your own book. You can do all those things, but there your rights stop. No one has the right to stop me writing this book. No one has the right to stop it being published, or bought, or sold or read. That’s all I have to say on that subject.” — Philip Pullman, the author of The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ.

 

American Historian Peter Heehs is facing expulsion from his home of 41 years.   He wrote a  book on Indian spiritual Guru  Sri Aurobindo.  The disciples of   Aurobindo claim that the  book is  blasphemous because Heehs wrote Aurobindo was schizophrenic and  had a romantic  relationship with  one of his disciples.

Aurobindo was  a  talented man, a  freedom fighter, philosopher,yogi, guru, and a poet. If he were alive today, he would probably  not have allowed his disciples to expel  Peter Heehs from his ashram.

We are now witnessing a gradual Islamization of  Hinduism.

 

The   disciples  or the believers or the worshipers  create  problems. They can’t stand the truth.

They could not stand  the truth Pakistani Dr. Sheikh Yunus  said. During his  lecture at a medical college, he said that  Muhammad did not become a Muslim  until the age of 40 when  he received his  first revelation  from God, and also that Muhammad’s parents were non-Muslims because they died before Islam was created, and  that Muhammad  married his first wife when he was 25, without an Islamic marriage contract, and that he  was not circumcised.

Sheikh Yunus  was sentenced to death by hanging.

 

We have been  paying  the price  for their  collective ignorance big time.

 

 

 

Homeless Everywhere

( Dwikhandito ( A life divided or Split in  Two), the 3rd part of my autobiography    caused a furore in [East Bengal (now Bangladesh) and West Bengal, India]. I was accused of having written  my sexual relationship outside of marriage. The book was later banned for hurting religious feelings of people in  India.  $4 million dollar  demanation lawsuits were  filed against me for writing  Dwikhandito by two male writers both in Bangladesh and  India . The Indian high court lifted the ban on my book.  But the book is still  banned in Bangladesh. I wrote this article when some media and male-writers were spreading hatred  against me in 2003. )

“Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently”.  — Rosa Luxemburg

 
When I look back, the years gone by appear dry, ashen. Suddenly, a half-forgotten  dream tears itself from that inert grey mass and stands before me, iridescent, obtrusive. Odd memories tiptoe into my solitary room. Confronting me, they make me tremble, they make me cry; they drag me back towards the days left behind. I cannot help but walk down the serpentine, shadowy alleys of my life, foraging for remembered fragments. To what use? The past is past, irrevocably so. The dreams that are long dead are unrecognizably dead. What good can it do to dust the cobwebs off them with tender fingers? What is gone just isn’t here anymore. I know, yet my life in exile makes me reach back into my past, again and again. I walk through the landscape of my memories like someone possessed. Each night brings  with it nightmares, its own thick blanket of melancholy. It is then that I start telling the story of that girl.

 

 

A shy, timid girl, who grew up in a strict family, uncomplaining, constantly humiliated; a girl encircled by boundaries, whose every desire, every whim was thrown away as garbage; whose small, frail body was prey to many dark, hairy hands. I have narrated the story of that girl. A girl with modest adolescent dreams, who fell in love and married in secret, hoping  to live the ordinary life of an ordinary woman. I have told her story. A woman betrayed by her dearly beloved husband, whose convictions came crashing down like a house of straw, a woman who knew sorrow, pain, mourning, and bereavement; a woman who was tempted to follow the terrible road to self-destruction. I have simply told her agonizing tale. A woman who then gathered up the broken pieces of her dreams and tried to live again, to make a little room of her own in the midst of a cruel, heartless society; who surrendered to a guardian called ‘man’ because society demanded it of her. But the hurt, the pain kept growing, the traumatic pain of losing an unborn child, wounds that left her bloodied and sore, onslaughts of malice, distrust and unbearable humiliation.

All that I have done is to tell the story of that trampled and bruised girl. That girl who, with whatever strength remained in her body and mind, stood up again, without anyone’s help, turned away from all shelter, trying to be her own self once more, her own refuge; a woman who refused to renounce and retreat from the world that had deceived and rejected her, a woman who refused to heed people’s taunts and sneers I have narrated the story of this girl, of this woman standing upright. A woman who  refused to obey society’s diktats, its rituals and traditions. A woman whose constant stumbling, falling, being thrown, taught her to stand straight. Whose stumbling steps taught her to walk, whose wanderings showed her the way. Slowly, gradually, she witnessed the  growth of a new consciousness within her, a simple thought took hold of her – “This life was her own and no one else’s. She was the one who could rule over it, no one else”. I have told the story of that girl, of the circumstances that shaped her. It is the story of a girl who came out of the furnace of patriarchy, not reduced to ashes, but as burnished steel. Have I done wrong? Even if I don’t think so, many people think today that it was wrong of me to tell this story. Today, I am standing in the prosecution box waiting for the verdict. It wouldn’t have been such a terrible crime if I had not disclosed the identity of that girl. The girl was I, Taslima.

 

Had I used my imagination, I could have done whatever I pleased – written page after page of fancy and all would have been forgiven. But it is forbidden to stake my claim in this real world to being a flesh and blood woman and announce audaciously – “I am that girl; after those turbulent years of sorrow I am standing up again; I have vowed to live my life as I see fit”. Why would the world accept this bold stance? No woman should have this kind of  courage. I am completely unfit for a patriarchal society. In my own country Bangladesh, in  my very own West Bengal, I am a forbidden name, an outlawed woman, a banned book. Nobody can utter my name, touch me, read me; if they do so their tongues will rot, their hands will become soiled, a deep disgust will overwhelm them. This is the way I am. This is  the way I have chosen to be. Yet even if the publication of Dwikhandito  shatters me into a thousand pieces, I will still not confess to any wrongdoing. Is it wrong to write the story of one’s life? Is it wrong to expose the deep, secret truths of life as you have lived it? The unwritten rule of every autobiography is – ‘Nothing will be hidden, everything shall be written about’. An  autobiography’s subject is the unknown, the secrets of a human life. I have simply tried to follow this rule honestly. The first two volumes of my life story, Amar Meyebela (My Girlhood)  and Utal Hawa (Strong Winds) have not raised the kind of controversy Dwikhandito has. In any case, I have not started the controversy, others have. Many have said that I have deliberately chosen sensational subject matter, incapable of generating anything but controversy.
This question should not be raised in the case of an autobiography. I have described the years of my childhood, my adolescence, my youth, living and growing through all kinds of experiences. I have spoken about my philosophy, my hopes and despairs, my beauty and my ugliness, my happiness and sorrow, my anger and tears, my own deviation from my ideals. I have not chosen a titillating or sensitive subject. I have simply chosen my own life to write about. If this life is a stimulating and exciting life, then how can I make it less so? I am told this volume has been written to raise a hue and cry. Does every conception have to have a petty motive? As if honesty, simplicity cannot be adequate reasons. As if courage, something that I am told I have in abundance, cannot be a good enough reason. Controversy about my writing is nothing new. I am familiar with it from the very time I was being published. Actually, isn’t the truth rather simple? Just this: if you don’t compromise with a patriarchal society, you will find yourself at the centre of a storm?  There are many different definitions of what makes an autobiography. Most of us easily accept those autobiographies that are idealistic and describe only good and happy events. Generally, great men write about their lives to inspire other lives, to reveal the truth and the path of righteousness. I am neither a sage, nor a great, erudite being, and I write not to show light to the blind. I am simply unmasking the wounds and blights of an ordinary human life.

 

Even though I am not a great litterateur, momentous things  have happened in my life. Certainly it is no ordinary life, when, because of my beliefs and ideals, thousands take to the streets asking for my death; or when my books are banned because they carry my opinions; or when the state snatches away the right to live in my  own land for speaking the truth!  When it is all right for others to constantly describe my life, and add color to their  portrayal, why shouldn’t it be all right for me to take the responsibility to describe it myself, fully, truthfully? Surely no one else can know my life the way I know it?  If I don’t reveal myself, if I don’t depict the whole of myself – especially those events  that have shaken me — if I don’t talk of all that is good and bad in me, of my weaknesses  and my strengths, my happiness and sorrow, my generosity and cruelty, then I don’t think I can stay true to the responsibility of writing an autobiography. For me, literature for literature’s  sake, or literary niceties for their own sake, cannot be the last word; I place a greater  value on honesty.
Whatever my life may be, however contemptible or despicable, I do not deceive myself  when I sit down to write about it. If the reader is disgusted or appalled by my tale, so be it.  At least I can be satisfied that I have not cheated my reader. I am not presenting a fictitious  narrative in the guise of an autobiography. I narrate the truths of my life, the ugly as  much as I do the beautiful, without hesitation. I can’t change my past. The ugliness and the  beauty must both be accepted; I won’t lie and say, “It didn’t happen”.  The sharp arrows of mockery come flying from every direction. The mud of slander  and humiliation is flung to soil me. There is only one reason for this assault. I have spoken  the truth. Not everyone can bear the truth. The truths of Amar Meyebela   and Utal Hawa   can  be borne; Dwikhandito’s is insupportable. In Amar Meyebela, when I described my ignoble  childhood, people said sympathetically, “How terrible!” In Utal Hawa, when I described being  cheated on by my husband, they expressed their sympathy. But in Dwikhandito, when I  spoke openly of my relationships with various men, they began to point fingers at me. We  can draw only one conclusion from this: As long as a woman is oppressed and defenseless,  people like her and sympathize with her. But when she refuses to remain exploited or  suppressed, when she stands up, when she straightens her spine, establishes her rights,  breaks the oppressive social systems that chain her so as to free her body and mind – she is no longer admirable. I knew this character of our society; even then I was not afraid to speak freely about myself.
One of the main reasons for the controversy regarding Dwikhandito is sexual freedom. Since most people are immersed neck-deep in the traditions of a patriarchal society, they  are irritated, angry and outraged at the open declaration of a woman’s sexual autonomy. This freedom is not something that I simply talk about; rather, I have established it  for myself, in and through my life. But this freedom is not license; men cannot touch me  whenever they please. I decide.  Our society is not yet ready for such freedom in a woman. It refuses to accept the fact  that a woman can sexually engage with and enjoy any man she desires, and yet rigorously  decide where to draw the line in any encounter. Our renowned, famous, well-heeled writers delight in slandering me by calling me a fallen woman, a whore. In doing this they only prove themselves to be the figureheads of  this disgusting, dirty patriarchal society! They first use ‘whore’ for their enjoyment and then deploy the words ‘whore’ as a term for abuse! There is really nothing novel  in the use of women as sexual slaves.  Although in this volume of my autobiography I have spoken about my personal struggle   against patriarchy, and religious fundamentalism, spoken about the torture meted out by society on women and religious  minorities, nobody talks of the fact that I have spoken of such things. They only notice my relationships  with men. They notice the audacity that I have in opening my mouth about the deep,  secret, ugly and repulsive subject of what happens to sexuality in a patriarchal society.

 

Whenever, in the history of the world, in times of darkness, a woman stands up against  patriarchy, speaks about emancipation, tries to break free from her chains, she gets called a  ‘whore’. Many years ago, in the preface to my book, A Fallen Woman’s Fallen Prose‚ I  wrote about how I delighted in calling myself a ‘fallen woman’. It was because I knew that whenever  a woman has protested against oppression by the state, by religion, or by society, whenever  she has become aware of all her rights, society has called her a whore. I believe that in  this world, for a woman to be pure, to be true to herself, she has to become a ‘fallen woman’.  Only when a woman is called a ‘whore’ can she know that she is free from the coils of society’s  diktats. The ‘fallen’ woman is really a pure and pristine human being. I truly believe that if a woman wants to earn her freedom, be a human, she has to earn this label. This title, coming from a fallen, degenerate society, should be seen as an honour by every woman. Till now, of all the prizes I have received, I consider this honour to be the greatest recognition of what  I have done with my life. I have earned it because I have given a mortal blow to the decaying,  rotten body of patriarchy. This is the true measure of the worth of my life as a writer, of my  life as a woman and the long years of my struggle to be the person I am.
A writer in Bangladesh has sued me for defamation after Dwikhandito came out.  Another in West Bengal has also followed suit. Dissatisfied with that, they have demanded  a ban on my book. I really cannot understand how a writer can demand this about another  writer’s work. How can they fight for freedom of speech and thought and then behave like  fundamentalists. I believe every word of what Evelyn Beatrice Hall said – “Je ne suis absolument pas  d’accord avec vos idées, mais je me battrais pour que vous puissiez les exprimer…” – (“I  do not agree with your ideas, but I will fight for your right to express them”.)  So many people have written about their lives. If it is a human life, it is full of errors, mistakes, black marks, and thorns, even when those in question are saints. St. Augustine   (335-430 AD) wrote about his life, talked openly about his undisciplined, immoral, reckless  youth in Algeria, his illegitimate son, his sexual exploits. Mahatma Gandhi spoken of how he  tested his celibacy by making women sleep in the same bed with him. Jean Jacques   Rousseau (1712-1774) in his Confessions narrates every incident of his life, without holding
back the ugly and the bad. Benjamin Franklin (1709-1790) confesses how he brought  up his illegitimate son, William. Bertrand Russell and Leo Tolstoy have been equally frank  about their lives. Why did these men talk about things they knew were unacceptable by  society? It is because they wanted to let their readers know their real selves, and because
they felt that these experiences were important in their lives. Does anyone call them names  because they have been indiscreet? Rather, these admirable men remain exactly in the  position of honor they have always occupied, and it is reinforced by their telling of the   truths of their lives. Catherine Millet’s La vie sexuelle de Catherine M (The sexual life of  Catherine M) describes the sexual freedom of the sixties, her life with many men, vivid  descriptions of sex. Hasn’t this book occupied a place among other literary works? Gabriel  Garcia Marquez in his Vivir Para Contarla talks of other women with whom he had relations.  Will someone run to court to ban Marquez’s book?

 

In every country, biographies are written about famous men and women. Biographers  conduct research for years to unearth some hidden aspects of the life under examination.  Even innermost secrets no longer remain so, and we have seen this even in the case of  Rabindranath Tagore’s life. In spite of being a passionate spokesman against child marriage,  why did he allow his daughter to marry so young? We now know the reason. But the  question remains: Why does a reader need to know all this? Why do researchers spend  years finding out the most intimate details of a person’s life? It is because in the light of  these hidden facts we can analyze and understand the writer and his work in a new way.  Many Bengali writers love playing games with women, and even if they hesitate to mention  these escapades in their autobiographies, the characters they create boldly commit  such acts. Nobody has ever questioned them, but if a woman talks of sexuality, in a fictional  work or in her autobiography, eyebrows are raised. Sexuality is a man’s prerogative, his  ancestral’ patrilineal property. I can’t possibly write like men. I must write more discreetly. I am a woman after all. Only a man possesses the right to discuss a woman’s body, her  thighs, her breasts, her waist and her vagina. Why should a woman do it? This patriarchal  society has not given me that right, but since I have thumbed my nose at this rule and have  written about it, however sad or poignant my tale may be, I have crossed the limits.

 

 

For a man, a playboy image is something to be proud of.  When a woman writes about  her love and sexuality with honesty, she becomes a suspect, a ‘characterless’ woman. I  have talked of certain things in my autobiography that I should not have. I have muckraked;  I have crossed the limit allowed to me.  One should not discuss what happens inside the bedroom or between two individuals  because such events are unimportant. But I consider them important because all those  incidents have shaped the Taslima that I am today – this woman with her beliefs and  disbeliefs, mores and thoughts, and her own sense of her self. The world around her has  created her brick by brick, not as a chaste domesticated angel, but as an ardent, renegade,  disobedient brat.  Then they say: I can destroy my own reputation, but why do I have to destroy the reputation  of others? This question has come up, although I am writing about what is after all my  own life. I fail to understand why those who are so self-consciously respectable do things that  they consider contemptible? They say that I have broken their trust. But I never promised anyone  my silence. People tell me there is an unwritten rule, but only those afraid my revelations  will destroy their saintly images uphold this code of discretion. And then they try to intimidate  me with their furious wrinkled brows! But what if I want to reveal whatever I consider important?  What if I decide that what I am talking about is not obscene, at least to me?  Who creates these definitions of obscenity and sets out the limits? I decide what I  should write in my autobiography, how much to reveal, how much to conceal. Or should I  not? Should I wait for instructions from X, Y, and Z, from some Maqsud Ali, some Keramat  Mian, or from some Paritosh or Haridas Pal? Should I wait on them to tell me what to write,  how much to write?
Critics want to characterize my freedom as self-indulgent license. This is because our  likes and dislikes, our sense of right and wrong, sin and virtue, beauty and ugliness are  moulded by thousands of years of patriarchy. So, patriarchy has taught us that the true  characteristics of a woman are her diffidence, her timidity, her chastity, her lowered head,  and her patience. Therefore, the critic’s habituated, controlled perceptions are afraid to face  harsh truths, and quickly shut their ears in disgust. “Is she a real writer? Does she have the  right to an autobiography?”, they ask in anger.  I think that everyone has a right to talk about their lives, even the pompous critic who  regards a pen in my hands as an outrage! I have been called irresponsible. I may be irresponsible, I may be irrational, but I refuse to give up the right to be so. George Bernard  Shaw once said, “A reasonable man adapts himself to the world. An unreasonable man  persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends upon the  unreasonable man”.  Taslima Nasreen is one of those unreasonable human beings. I do not claim that  progress depends upon me; I am simply an insignificant writer. In the eyes of wise men, I  am happy to be labelled an unreasonable or imprudent person. It is because I am foolish  that I have not kept my mouth shut, I have stood my ground even as an entire society has  spat upon me. I have remained firm when patriarchy’s ardent supporters have come to trample me. My naïveté, my unreasonableness, my irrationality are my greatest assets.
The question of religion has also come up. Those who know me also know that I  always speak up against religious conventions. Religion is thoroughly patriarchal. If I insult  religion or religious texts, why should men tolerate it, especially when these same men use  religion and religious texts to suppress others? It is these pious gentlemen who have forced  me to leave my country. I have paid the price for truth with my own life. How much more should I pay?  Just like in West Bengal today, my books have been banned earlier in Bangladesh on the excuse that they may incite riots. The communal tension raging through South Asia is  not caused by my books but by other reasons. The torture of Bangladesh’s minorities, the  killing of Muslims in Gujarat, the oppression of Biharis in Assam, the attacks against  Christians, the  conflicts between shitte and Sunni in Pakistan have all occurred without any contribution  from me. Even if I am an insignificant writer, I write for humanity, I write with all my heart that every human being is equal, and there must be no discrimination on the basis of  gender, color, or religion. Everyone has the right to live. Riots don’t break out because of what I write. But I am the one who is punished for what I write. Fires rage in my home. I am  the one who has to suffer exile. I am the one who is homeless everywhere.

 

Mother’s Story

 

1

My mother’s eyes became yellowish, egg-yoke like.
Her belly swelled out rapidly like an overly full water tank
ready to burst at any moment.

No longer able to stand up, or sit down, or even move her fingers, she just lay there.
At the end of her days, she did not look like Mother any more.
Relatives appeared each morning, every evening,
telling Mother to be prepared,
telling her to be ready to die on the holy day, Friday,
uttering la ilaha illallah, Allah Is One!

 

They warned her not to disappoint the two angels—

Munkar and Nakir.

 

The relatives wanted to make certain that the room

and yard would be clean
that the perfume atar  and the blue eye shadow surma

would be present when Death would finally arrive.

 

The disease had nearly devoured her entire body;
it had stolen her last remaining strength;
it had made her eyes bulge from their sockets,
it had dried her tongue,
it had sucked the air from her lungs.

 

As she struggled to breathe,
her forehead and eyebrows wretched with pain.

The whole house demanded— shouting—
that she should send her greatest respects and reverence

to the Prophet.
Not one doubted that she would go to Jannatul Ferdous,

the highest level of heaven.
Not one doubted that she would soon walk hand-in-hand

with Muhammed, on a lovely afternoon,

in the Garden of  Paradise..


No one doubted that the two would lunch together

on pheasant  and wine.
Mother thus dreamed her lifelong dream:
She would walk with Muhammed

in the Garden of Paradise.


But now, at the very time that she was about to depart from this earth, what a surprise

She hesitated.

Instead of stepping outside, and entering that Garden,
she wished to stay and boil Birui rice for me.
She wished to cook fish curry and to fry a whole hilsa.
She wished to make me a spicy sauce with red potatoes.
She wished to pick a young coconut for me
from the south corner of her garden.
She wished to fan me with a silken hand-fan,
and to remove a few straggly hairs from my forehead.
She wished to put a new bed sheet upon my bed,
and to sew a frock with colorful embroidery—

just for me.
Yes, she wished to walk barefoot in the courtyard,
and to prop up a young guava plant with a bamboo stick.
She wished to sing sitting in the garden of hasnuhena,


“Never before, had such a bright moon shone down,
never before, was night so beautiful.. .” 

 

My mother wanted so desperately to live.

 

 

 

 

2

There is, I know, no reincarnation,
no last judgment day:
Heaven, pheasant, wine, pink virgins —
these are nothing but traps

set by true believers.

 

There is no heaven for mother to go.
She will not walk in any garden with anybody whatsoever.
Cunning foxes will instead enter her grave;

they will eat her flesh;
her white bones will be spread by the winds…

 

Nevertheless, I do want to believe in Heaven
over the seventh sky, or somewhere—
a fabulous, magnificent heaven—
somewhere where my mother would reach

after crossing the bridge,

the Pulsirat— which seems so impossible to cross.
And there, once she has passed that bridge

with the greatest ease,

a very handsome man, the Prophet Muhammed,
will welcome her, embrace her.

He will feel her melt upon his broad chest.
She will wish to take a shower in the fountain;
she will wish to dance, to jump with joy;
she will be able to do all the things

that she has never done before.
A pheasant will arrive on a golden tray.
My mother will eat to her heart’s content.
Allah Himself will come by foot into the garden to meet her;
he will put a red flower into her hair,

kiss her passionately.

 

She will sleep on a soft feather bed;
she will be fanned by seven hundred Hur, the virgins
and be served cool water in silver pitcher

by beautiful gelban, the young angels.
She will laugh,

her whole body will stir with enormous happiness.

She will forget her miserable life on Earth…

 

An atheist,

How good I feel
just to imagine
somewhere there is a heaven!

 

(The original poem was written  in Bengali.  It  was published in  Bengali literary  weekly magazine ‘Desh’. Bangladesh government  banned the magazine on April 4,1999, and seized all copies from the news stands. I was accused of personifying  God.)

 

 

The House of Termites

…………..Ma had a wooden cupboard. One shelf was packed with books, the other shelves were crammed with clothes, tossed in any old how, not a single one neatly folded. Among the books were some called  Maksudul Momenin, Neamul Quran, a book of poems by Amirullah, Tajkeratul Awlia, and even a book called Who Am I? So Amirullah knew English, too! Ma had often enough said to me, “Huzur is most knowledgeable. He speaks fluent English!” When she uttered these words, her eyes would light up. Why did he  study the worldly things, the question came to my lips, but I swallowed it whole before it could slip out. Ma would no doubt have found it impertinent. The truth was that in the matter of Allah and the Prophet, logic and reason had no meaning whatsoever for Ma. The same applied to Amirullah. If I simply went along with whatever she said, making appropriate noises, she was happy.

 

Since I was her child, it was my duty to make her happy or, at least, that was what I had been brought up to believe. Besides, if I could make her happy, it saved me from her slaps and punches. In fact, when I sat down to eat, she herself served me pieces of meat. To gain her affection I kept my lips together, sealed with invisible glue.Those who did not follow the Quran and the Hadith were not Muslims, Ma was very clear about that.  Those   would burn in hell.  No one would be spared.  It was as simple as that.  The basic rules were all very simple.  The fire in hell would roast you alive if you did not pray, or fast during Ramadan.  Or if you went out without draping a burka, and talked to a men, who was not your relative.   If you laughed too loudly, that fire in hell would get you.  Or, indeed, if you cried noisily.  No matter what you did, there could be no escape from that fire. Fire, fire and fire.

 

I wanted to ask Ma why everyone was so scared of fire, especially in this day and age.  Why, in cold countries, people lit fires in all their rooms!  And what about the circus?  So many of their exciting shows involved playing with fire.  Minor burns were easily treatable nowadays.  Then why did Allah have to terrorize everyone with the threat of fire?  There were so many other ways of hurting people.  Surprisingly, Allah did not seem interested in any of them. Wicked people like causing physical pain. However, those with real cunning  enjoy causing mental anguish.  A battered mind is so much harder to bear than a battered body.  But Allah, it seemed to me, was more wicked than cunning.  No different from Getu’s father.  Or, at times, very much like Baba, who did not hesitate to thrash me black and blue if I did not obey his every command.  The difference between him and Allah was simply that he wanted to give me an education in this mundane world, so that I could be successful in life, and Allah wanted me to study the Quran and Hadith.

 

To me, Baba was as distant as Allah.  I felt a lot happier when he was not around.  Any mention of Allah — formless and shapeless as He was, poor thing — also caused me much discomfort.  The truth was that I wanted both to stay away from me, their absence was far preferable.  They pushed me in two different directions, so much so that I ceased to have an existence of my own.  All that remained was a corpse lying in a morgue, divided in two. If Baba was pleased with me he brought me large boxes of sweets, telling me to help myself to the best pieces of fish at dinner. Allah, I heard, behaved in a similar fashion. If He was pleased with anyone, the best food was provided in abundance—the flesh of exotic birds, grapes, wine, and many other things. Beautiful pink  women, their skin glowing, poured wine into men’s glasses.

 

 

Grandpa, having returned from Haj, was convinced that he would go straight to Heaven. And there, after a good heavenly meal, when he belched, he would emit a wonderful smell. I couldn’t stand anyone belching, wonderful smell or not. What would happen to less fortunate people, I wondered, who might be denied such a meal? Would they simply stand around to smell someone else’s belching? In my mind, I cast Getu’s father in the role of the unlucky man, Grandpa the fortunate one. I took the book of Hadith on my right,   and put the two men on my left. One continued to belch, the other continued to smell. I felt  part of the scene, too; at the same time, however, I was not. I was in the letters, in the belching, in the smelling,   but I was not anywhere. There was no belching and smelling, but they were. The termites and the words were with me,   with the belching too. I did not wish to vanish any of them, even in my imagination.  There was a house of termites in the book of Hadith. Our house was damp. Termites often attacked books if they were not regularly aired and their pages. Seeing big fat termites I felt uneasy. As I was sitting on the floor, got a black shoe near my reach, Baba’s black torn shoe, no use anymore, pressed the shoe on the book of the Hadith and smash some termites. One of my eyes remained fixed on the dead termites, the other read the half eaten words of the holy book.

‘Everything in the world is for  enjoyment. The best thing to enjoy is the virtuous wife.’

 

‘Whatever you see in this world is for consumption by pleasure-seekers. The

most precious thing in the world is a virtuous woman.’

 

I was half-reclining on the floor, one hand under my chin, the other clutching the book.

 

‘If I were to order anyone to bow, I would certainly order all women to do so for their husbands.’

‘If a wife ever tells her husband that she is dissatisfied with whatever he does,

she will lose all the virtue she may have gained over a period of time, even as

long as seventy years. She may have her fast  during the day, and done her

pray at night, but every virtue earned thereby will be lost.’

 

‘A husband has the right to beat his wife in four different cases, if (a) he tells her

to dress well and come to him, and she disobeys his command; (b) she rejects

his invitation to have sexual intercourse; (c) she ignores her duties,

and fails to perform her pray; and (d) she visits someone’s house without

her husband’s permission.’

 

‘Women who do not get jealous when their husbands take a second wife, but

accept it with patience and fortitude, are treated as martyrs by Allah and granted

the same honor.’

 

‘If pus and blood are  oozing from a mans body and his wife licks all that ,

still it is not enough to to pay him back what he deserves.’

 

‘The man who would get the  lowest rank in the heaven, even he would

have eighty thousands servants and seventy two wives.’

 

‘If a husband orders her wife to do something, and even though she is

running from one mountain to another, she is bound to follow the order of her husband’.

 

Some  insects left the book and began crawling toward me. Were they going to eat me as well? This house was being taken over by termites and woodworm. At night, the woodworm ate through all the woodwork, making clicking noises. The termites devoured all our books in absolute silence. They even ate the words of the great Prophet Muhammad. Were these termites Muslims? No, they couldn’t possibly have a specified religion. They seemed to enjoy the complete works of Saradindu Bandopadhyay, a Hindu writer, as much as the holy Quran.

 

After Dilruba’s departure, books became my only companions. I had finished most of what our school library had to offer—books by Bankimchandra, Saratchandra, Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay, Rabindranath Tagore. Whatever I could lay my hands on. I took to the roof or sat on the stairs, or read at my desk and   at times even in bed. When Baba came home, I hid these “unsuitable” books behind my school books, holding the latter in front of me without reading a word. When everyone went to sleep at night, I lit a lamp under my mosquito net and read every word of the “unsuitable” ones. Yasmin lay next to me, fast asleep.

Ma sometimes said to me, “What rubbish do you read all the time? Mubashwera died. You saw that, so you should think of Allah now. We have all got to die, haven’t we?”

I made no reply. Ma’s commands and instructions hung over my head like the sun in June—waiting, as if to burn me to a cinder.

 

 

Many times I was warned that if I did not follow the precepts laid down in the Quran and the Hadith, there would be Hell to pay on the Day of Judgment. However, until now, I had no idea what “Hadith” meant. Now that I knew, I did not wish to delve any deeper. I knew shit remains in the pot of shit, there was no use to search for pearls or diamond in   that pot.   I closed the termite-ridden book. It seemed to move under my hands, as if it was belching; as if it, too, had eaten some food served in the heaven. The sound of Ma’s footsteps made me spring back and quickly replace the book on her shelf. She had no idea that termites were silently eating away her book of the Hadith. She was busy preaching to  uncle Aman. Every night, I could hear whispers from her room, also suppressed laughter. I said nothing to her about the termites. If they were hungry, let them eat what they could. Why should I try to have them killed?

 

 

What I couldn’t understand was why I was supposed to turn to Allah because Mubashwera was dead. I had no wish to think of Allah. All that business about Allah  was just made up, I was   sure. I was   sure that the Quran was written by a   greedy, selfish and sex obsessed man. If the Hadith was the words of Prophet Muhammad, then he was definitely like Getus father, nasty, cruel, abuser, insane. I could not find any difference between Allah and Muhammad and Getus father.

Even after I had put the book back, millions of termites remained deep inside me, silently eating away all the letters and words in my head, and who knows what else…………………..

 

( From ”My Girlhood” by Taslima Nasreen. The book has  been  banned  in  Bangladesh  since 1999 )

Let’s Eroticize Equality

 

“Pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice.”  — Robin Morgan

 

I am against  pornography because it  has  many  harmful effects:   encouragement of  sex trafficking, desensitization, pedophilia, dehumanization, sexual exploitation, sexual dysfunction,  inability to maintain healthy sexual relationships. Pornography is exclusively for men’s pleasure. Women  are used as sex objects. I know some women will   say, ‘we love to be sex objects’. Millions of misogynists are out there to  support the idea of the objectification of women.  I do not have to support this.

 

I am against pornography, because I am against abuse or degradation. But I am not against erotica. The definitions of pornography and erotica come from Diana Russell.

Pornography: Material that combines sex and/or the exposure of genitals with abuse or degradation in a manner that appears to endorse, condone, or encourage such behavior.

Erotica: Sexually suggestive or arousing material that is free of sexism, racism, and homophobia, and respectful of all human beings and animals portrayed.

 

 

I like what  Gloria Steinem says, “Pornography is directly linked to sex trafficking. It normalizes degradation and violence as acceptable and even inevitable parts of sex, and it uses the bodies of real women and children as its raw material. The difference between pornography and erotica is clear in the words themselves — porne means female slaves, eros means love — and we can see that pornography, like rape, is about violence and domination, not sex. Millions of lives depend on our ability to untangle pornography from erotica, violence from sexuality.”

 

Researchers say,   “Most female performers are coerced into pornography, either by somebody else, or by an unfortunate set of circumstances.  Pornography leads to an increase in sexual violence against women through fostering  rape myths. Such rape myths include the belief that women really want to be raped and that they mean yes when they say no. Pornography desensitizes viewers to violence against women, and this leads to a progressive need to see more violence in order to become sexually aroused.”

 

“The pornography industry is a lot bigger, more powerful, more legitimate, more in everyone’s face today than it was a quarter of a century ago. To the degree that it cannot exist without doing real damage, it could still be stopped in its tracks anywhere by this  law. Sexual objectification and violation does not happen all by itself. Real social institutions drive it.”

 

“Pornography, an industry of woman-hating dehumanization,  is implicated in violence against women, both in its production  through the abuse of the women used to star in it , and in the social consequences of its consumption by encouraging men to eroticize the domination, humiliation, coercion and abuse of women.”

We should rather  Eroticize  Equality!

 

Survey says, “porn does not stimulate men’s appetites–it turns them off the real thing.  ‘Not tonight, honey, I am logging on’. Internet porn is everywhere, even ‘nice’ guys are hooked.”

A psychotherapist told us about  Myth and facts about pornography.   I find it quite interesting. Porn is fake, girls are real.

I believe Pornography and prostitution are not necessary evils, they are unnecessary crimes.

 

Look what you watch.  Porn1, Porn2, Porn3  ….. Do you want to watch more? Leave it. Let’s listen to  a song . Let’s change the world

 

 

Do women really ‘choose’ to be prostitutes

 

‘We say that slavery has vanished from European civilization, but this is not true. Slavery still exists, but now it applies only to women and its name is prostitution.’—VICTOR HUGO, Les Misérables

 

I hope we all Free-thought bloggers believe in freedom of expression. My opinion on prostitution  is nothing new. Most feminists believe prostitution or sexual slavery  must end. I do not want to be misunderstood. But  it looks like a war started against me on  FTB because I said something politically incorrect.  I feel suffocated because I am opposed by a group I proudly belong to, a group of atheists, secularists, humanists, rationalists.

 

I was wondering how many people who claim that women choose to be prostitutes encourage their beloved daughters to be prostitutes. Even prostitutes do not want their daughters become prostitutes. They are desperate to send their daughters to schools, so that daughters can get an education and a decent job.

 

I just want to know whether women and girls would choose this ‘’job’’.   Please read the ad.

 

What is prostitution? Andrea Dworkin was a prostitute. She knows what prostitution is. ‘Prostitution in and of itself is an abuse of a woman’s body.’ Please read  ”Prostitution: what is it? It is the use of a woman’s body for sex by a man, he pays money, he does what he wants. The minute you move away from what it really is, you move away from prostitution into the world of ideas. You will feel better; you will have a better time; it is more fun; there is plenty to discuss, but you will be discussing ideas, not prostitution. Prostitution is not an idea. It is the mouth, the vagina, the rectum, penetrated usually by a penis, sometimes hands, sometimes objects, by one man and then another and then another and then another and then another. That’s what it is.”

”I ask you to think about your own bodies–if you can do so outside the world that the pornographers have created in your minds, the flat, dead, floating mouths and vaginas and anuses of women. I ask you to think concretely about your own bodies used that way. How sexy is it? Is it fun? The people who defend prostitution and pornography want you to feel a kinky little thrill every time you think of something being stuck in a woman. I want you to feel the delicate tissues in her body that are being misused. I want you to feel what it feels like when it happens over and over and over and over and over and over and over again: because that is what prostitution is.”

 

 

 

Somaly  Mam was a prostitute in Cambodia. She is now Human Rights  activist. She is saving children from prostitution.

 

Please read   Nicholas  Kristof ‘s story about saving  5-year-old girls from brothel.

 

Prostitution is an actively unlike any other ‘work’. Gloria Steinem said, ‘While all other occupations have physical, mental and sexual hazards and risks, prostitution is one such vocation that has an inherent risk towards violence against women as it involves penetration, which is an invasion of the human body, unlike in any other vocation. Prostitution cannot be legislated since the dignity of the body is constantly negotiated”

 

Prostitution researchers’   say,  ‘women are in   legal prostitution for the same reason they are in illegal prostitution, a lack of alternative survival options. Most women in prostitution did not make a choice to enter prostitution from among a range of other options. They did not decide they want to be prostitutes instead of doctors, engineers, lawyers, pilots. Instead their ‘options’ were more in the realm of how to get enough money to feed themselves and their children. If prostitution were really a choice it would not be those people with the fewest choices available to them who are disproportionately in prostitution. Such choices are better termed survival strategies. Prostitution is about not having a range of educational and job options to choose from. Most women in prostitution end up there only because other options are not available.’’

 

 

Researchers say, ‘Prostitution is not labor, it is paid sexual exploitation. It is often paid rape. It is intrinsically harmful and traumatic. As a society, we do not allow the sale and purchase of body parts, such as kidneys. This is because we know that it would be the poor and disadvantaged who would exercise their ‘choice’ to sell body parts for cash. Others would be likely to ‘choose’ to live a healthier and longer life.’

 

 

Researchers say, ‘When prostituted women are asked, consistently around 90% say they want out of  prostitution immediately, but the decision is out of their hands and in the hands of their pimps, their husbands, their landlords, their addictions, their children’s bellies. A study of women in street prostitution in Toronto found that about 90% wanted to escape but could not and a 5-country study found that 92% of women, men and transgendered people in prostitution wanted immediate help to escape prostitution. If they are there because they cannot leave, then prostitution is not a freely made choice.’’

 

 

Researchers say, ‘There are a few women who apparently earn large amounts of money in Prostitution, these women are in an extreme minority. Prostitution is a route into poverty for most women. Even women in legal brothels report having to pay extortionate sums for rent and food. They also pay pimps inside and outside the brothels. They are not free to come and go as they wish. Women in prostitution must continually lie about their lives, their bodies, and their sexual responses. Lying is part of the job definition when the customer asks, “did you enjoy it?” The very edifice of prostitution is built on the lie that “women like it.” Some prostitution survivors have stated that it took them years after leaving prostitution to  acknowledge that prostitution wasn’t a free choice because they had to lie to themselves in order to survive.’

 

 

Many women who wear burqa say, they choose to wear burqa. ‘When a woman remains in an abusive relationship with a partner who batters her, or even when she defends his actions, most people now understand that she is not there  voluntarily. They recognize the conditions under which she acquiesced. Like battered women, women in prostitution may deny their abuse if they are not provided with safety or  meaningful alternatives.’

 

 

A small number of women say they choose to be in prostitution, especially in public contexts orchestrated by the sex industry. I am very curious to learn why  they  like to be raped  everyday. Kate Millett, the author of ‘Sexual Politics’  said, ‘Prostitution, when unmotivated by economic need, might well be defined as a species of psychological addiction, built on self-hatred through repetitions of the act of sale by which a whore is defined.

 

Everyday  female children are sold to brothels by their father. Everyday   young women  are sold to brothels   by   their boyfriend, husband, neighbor, acquaintance. Everyday poor  girls and women become victims of sex traffickers. I visited brothels. I saw their terrible lives. Many organizations donate money to make prostituted women  free from diseases. ‘Health examinations for women but not for men make no sense from a public health perspective. Women are not protected from HIV contracted from clients. Clients prefer sex without  condoms. HIV test for women is  to make sure they are ‘clean meat’ for clients.’

 

‘Women in prostitution should not be punished for their own exploitation. The seller of sex should be decriminalized. But governments should not decriminalize pimps, buyers, procurers, brothels or other sex businesses.’ Swedish Law on Prostitution

 

There are hundreds  of  non-faith-based anti-prostitution organizations all over the world trying to save women and children. A very few links are here : Say NO to prostitutionCaptive daughters,   Arguments against prostitution , Coalition against trafficking in Women, Trafficking, prostitution and inequality , Protection project  Selling of innocents, End demandDEMAND documentary