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A woman, who is men's rights activist: An interview
There are individuals, groups, commissions who fight for women rights. Every time a woman is raped, molested or harassed, women rights activists become active with a loud voice. But is it that, only women are harassed in the society? No, it's not like that. There were cases where men are also harassed and abused at the hands of females.

But who will raise voice against men's harassment? Where the harassed men can go for the justice? There is neither National Commission for Men nor state men's commissions for them. There are also not exclusive men helplines, run by the government.

Seeing such situation some individuals came together and started men's rights movement to help out harassed men. Initially the founder members of the movement were generally those males who were harassed at the hands of their wives, in-laws, live-in partners etc. However, gradually others, who understood the need of men's rights in the society, too joined the movement.

Initially there were only males who were running the men's rights movement, but gradually some females too joined the movement. One such leading name is of Jyoti Tiwari, who heads the Delhi office of Confidare India Men's Rights Centre, an organisation that fights for men's rights.

In a free wheeling chat with us, Jyoti threw light on many interesting facts about men's rights movement. Here are excerpts from the interview.

Question (Q): In a society, where women think the society is more patriarchal then matriarchal one, you are taking stand for men's rights. How tough it is to support men's rights despite being a woman?

Jyoti TiwariJyoti Tiwari (JT): First of all, I do not think this society is patriarchal. It is actually matriarchal. And that is the reason, supporting men's rights is a very tough task for anyone, whether it is a man or a woman. Our society has a perception that men cannot be victimized and women cannot abuse. This is not true. If you ask me, being a woman, I have faced more problems from women and have been harassed to the core by women. No man ever harassed me.

Q: Despite being a women you have become 'men's rights activist'. Can you tell us in brief, what led you to join this fight for justice to men?

JT: I joined the men's rights movement so that more men do not meet the same fate as my late brother who lost his life while fighting false cases filed by his wife against him and us (family members).

Q: What is the opinion of your husband, in-laws, and parents about the job you have taken up? Are they supportive enough?

JT: My husband and in-laws are very supportive to me in my cause.

Q: When women normally come to know about the task you taken up, what use to be their first reaction?

JT: I have observed that the real obstacle to men's rights movement comes from men. Due to years of social mindset, men find it very difficult to believe that men can be victimized and thus resist the concept of men's rights. Women generally tend to understand the need for men's rights. Of course there are some very radical male haters who will not support me even if they understand, but I don't care about them. I know I am doing the right thing and I listen to my heart.

Q: Do you approach women to join the men's right's movement? How they react, when you ask them to join MRM?

JT: I do not approach anyone to join the men's rights movement. My job is to create an atmosphere where men are not victimized and I work in that area. Those who want to, join me and I welcome them.

Q: You often meet MPs/MLAs with your agenda of men's rights. What use to be their first reaction when they come to know about the cause you support?

JT: Most MPs/MLAs surprisingly support our cause and they themselves tell us of incidents where men have been victimized and have been subjected to injustice. However, they say that they are bound by party diktat and high command and hence they cannot take much stand. This is the biggest challenge in the movement that we are facing.

Q: In most of the cases, men are accused of assault, molestation or harassment of women. However, you claim to support those who are falsely implicated in the dowry, rapes, molestation cases. How tough it is to fetch justice to them, when in society the perception is against males?

JT: It's not only about false cases which men face. Men face victimization and exploitation at every stage and step in life. Society simply expects men to perform their duties and does not listen to their troubles and pain. In such an insensitive society, it's a mountain task to fight for men's rights. There is no justice available for men in this society. If we are able to reduce the stress of a man even by a slight amount, we feel we did something.

Q: Men's rights activists have rejected feminist principles and focused on areas in which they believe men are disadvantaged or oppressed. What if a person tries to misuse your efforts or the organization you represent for some vested interest. Is there any mechanism through which you verify his claims of being harassed (by a woman or her kins)?

JT: We do not judge men. It's for the courts to judge and punish the guilty whether it is a man or a woman. We only provide support system to victimized men.

Q: Not only women but men also face sexual harassment either by strangers or kins, including females. Has any such case come before you ever? How you dealt with it?

JT: Yes, we have dealt with many such cases. We provide emotional support to such men and listen to their problems. We inspire them to speak up and fight for their rights even if the fight is difficult. We empower them to stand up for themselves.

Q: It has been also noticed that males do not report the incidents of sexual harassment they suffer. What will be your suggestion to males? What sort of help you can provide?

JT: My only suggestion to men will be – "Speak Up". We provide emotional support to men and help them heal from the psychological abuse. Additionally, we also help them file complaints for the abuse they face and how to follow up on the complaints.

Q: You are associated with Confidare India Men's Rights Centre? Tell us something about this organisation?

JT: Confidare India Men's Rights Centre is a very unique and new concept started by 4 most prominent men's rights activists who also happen to be the founders of the men's rights movement in India. I joined Confidare last year and I head their Delhi office which started operating April this year. We provide a community center to men wherein they can sit and discuss their issues and get coached by experts in dealing with abusive situations in life. Confidare has a membership based model. Men can become members of Confidare and get trained by us.

Q: Men's rights activists are fighting to bring some significant changes in 498(a) and rape laws. What are those major modification you want?

JT: We want all laws to be gender neutral. We want misuse of Section 498A and rape laws to stop immediately. We also want section 498A to be made bailable and non-cognizable.

Q: What is your take on Gujarat's Chief Minister Anandiben Patel's remark that 'Boy's are rejected maal' ?

JT: It's a sexist statement made by a chief minister and is condemned to the core. She should apologize and take her words back.

Q: Finally, anything else that you want us to know about the men's rights movement, which we have forgotten to ask you?

JT: The primary goal of the Men's Rights movement is to free men from the role of protector and provider, so that men can lead a free life, a life of their own choice.

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POINTS TO PONDER If a student of LLB makes a mistake in an exam, he is failed. But if a practicing Judge/lawyer makes a mistake no action is taken against him. There is no law to punish him!!! Modi ji and his ministers will be asked to resign if they do not deliver on their promises, but if judiciary does not deliver on their guarantee to deliver justice in a fair manner and Judges are found to make blatant errors in rendering justice , no one raises his finger . This elite class is above all laws !! A common man cannot claim ignorance of law , but yet thousands of Judges are giving wrong judgments (out of ignorance of laws or otherwise ) which are overturned by higher Courts . Yet no one punishes the errant Judges!! The whole system is set up to provide employment to lawyers while thousands of lives are being destroyed . The Judges themselves claim that certain laws are written “clumsily” and yet no one takes steps to write them in a professionally correct manner? In a certain case , even a lower Court has given a verdict in defiance of Supreme Court judgment and yet no one takes any action. The above issue is one of the major root causes of legal problems faced by billion Indian people. Errant judges must be made to refund their salaries and lawyers must be made to return their fees, if a judgment is over ruled by a higher court. Laws must be re-written in a manner so that lawyers themselves understand them clearly. Gender biased laws must be withdrawn and written with preservation of family system in mind. If equality and fairness are indeed guaranteed by the Constitution and judiciary, women must also be given same treatment as men. A guilty man or woman must be punished/arrested/jailed only after a fair trial . No mercy to anyone . Fair justice for all. If I am deemed to be wrong , please do not hang me , stone me to death. Crucify me rather than torture and destroy my life softly by jailing me by using grossly unjust and unfair non-bailable 498a law etc. etc.. No such laws exist anywhere in the world. Indian husbands are not committing suicide for no reason. They are simply fed up. I am prepared to sacrifice my life for the above cause. And I am being sincere and honest. Mahatma Gandhi ji said “ “An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so” . Sec125/498a/DV laws are all unjust and unfair. Nakkarkhae me tooti ki awaj kya koyi sunega??
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