Group Wants Parties to Take a Stand on Key Men’s Issues
Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF), an NGO working for men’s rights, has come out with a charter of demands for political parties contesting the Lok Sabha elections.
“There are welfare societies for women, children, even forests and animals. But what about men? There is no ministry that takes care of men’s rights. We are not protected under the law and most laws are biased against us,” Rajesh Vakharia, president, Central India, SIFF, told City Express.
Politicians need to understand that discriminating against men for women’s votes can prove costly, as many men who face discrimination are neither poor nor powerless, says a post on the SIFF website.
The charter spans four main issues: prevention of domestic violence and sexual harassment at work, reframing child custody laws, decriminalising consensual sex, and introduction of male studies courses in colleges.
“We feel that the judiciary and the government have become very narrow-minded when it comes to the rape law. It is absurd and ridiculous that a man can be arrested for having consensual sex with a woman and not marrying her. This is clearly a violation of human rights,” says Anil Kumar, founder president, SIFF, who works from its Bangalore office.
“Our demands are very simple. As citizens, like every one else, we have genuine concerns and want them addressed. And these are not new demands either. We have aired these views over and again for many years now and now we want answers,” says Anil Kumar.
While he agrees that crimes against women are on the rise, he says it is imperative that men be studied from a sociological perspective. “If men are the problem, we should study them. Fund these courses, just like you fund feminist studies and gender studies courses. Let’s study men without judgment,” he implores.
The group has conducted an internal survey and come to the conclusion that its members will vote for the UPA government because of its ‘regressive outlook’ towards men’s rights. “They have done nothing to address our issues. In the north, there’s a slight leaning towards the Samajwadi Party, as they have promised to stop the misuse of laws. Here, in the south, we have not yet arrived at a decision, but if any party comes forward and answers our questions in the affirmative, we will give them our vote,” says Anil Kumar.
SIFF helpline: 098909 74788 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SIFF is presenting this set of questions to political parties:
Will you introduce a bill to protect men from domestic violence? Or do you think domestic violence against men is hilarious?
Should biological fathers be given partial custody when they are separated or divorced from their wives? Today, most separated or divorced men do not get to see their children for months and years.
Do you think consensual sex with a woman with a promise of marriage is rape? Should a man be termed a rapist for refusing to marry his girlfriend or breaking up with her?
Will you work towards funding male studies courses?