If one had to go with the flow then why did one learn to ask questions? Why were people asked to hold very crucial people accountable? Why were communities taught the skills of asking critical questions? People are not fools to believe in everything that is fed to them through diverse paid sources. If we pay through our hard earned pockets then we cannot ask any questions. If we side with the norms of any structure then we cannot ask any questions. If we earn a living from a sponsored programme then we cannot ask questions. If we are bound by social contracts then we cannot ask questions. If we are taking orders from any source then again we can’t ask questions. If we are indebted to EMI installments then we can’t ask questions. If our families are dependents and suffers from any ailment or disability then we can’t ask questions.
We are simply asked to go with the flow. We need to adjust to our surroundings. We compromise and live with myths of hope and humour to run away from the realities of misery and mayhem. Just recently, we could not reach out to someone in need. Our own pockets are empty. We do not have a penny to spare as our dependents are rising or our own age specific needs are growing. Somebody with disability need a helping hand to pay their rent. How can we reach out to such people when our own resources are disabled? We remain mute spectators in the striking ironies of life. The person seeking support is struggling to gather strength and respite from her plight. She is imposed with poverty for asking the right questions. She intends to find social justice for the muted and mutilated. Unfortunately, she is not getting any support. Many social activists are finding it difficult to engage with issues of significance when the time is not conducive for any intervention. People get detained in false charges or they are under severe surveillance which breaks them up. Every self and society conscious person is always targeted for asking for accountability. Society upholds and transforms situations for dynamic shifts in every sector. But when disruptions of discourse happens then we do not have any way out. Deviance is assigned to every dissenter whose legitimate queries can put all categories under severe threat.
Violence is a very critical term which gets interpreted in physical, social, economic, cultural and political terms. Violence against women in particular has been systemic, structured and most commonly systematic with the growing complexities of socio-cultural structures. Public sphere shuns a woman with dissenting queries by assassinating her character and private sphere limits her scope of operation by binding her bare necessities. With these practices in place women’s position remains trapped within a glass ceiling of marginal boundaries. These boundaries are so stifling that there are no ways of getting past the consequences. This International Day ending violence against women on November 25 needs to be understood in these contexts.
Structural violence against women have superficially protected, projected or promoted her but it has to break the glass ceilings and reposition her in the realm of dynamic transformations. These transformations will then eliminate violence, stigma and discrimination against women in diverse ways. Going with the flow of reality seems to be the need of the hour while individuals and institutions are trying to ‘Orange the World’ during this international fortnight marking the end of violence against women and girls across the world.
Dr Samhita Barooah teaches social work at Tezpur University.