Recently posted in Phayul, The 7 Worst Excuses for Ignoring Women’s Rights, has received a certain amount of criticism, which was expected for an article intended to be provocative. The comments responding to the article are worth a look themselves, they are generally quite interesting for the light they shine on some of the critical attitudes toward gender equality that continue to persist in our community. Ironically, several of them underscore the extent of the problem. Although there are a number of separate arguments presented, and the presentation is confusing in places, I will attempt to respond here to a few of the issues the comments bring up:
It is not acceptable to criticise Tibetan society with not enough reasons about women’s human right. Comparing to all othern nations, regions and communties, Tibetan women enjoy the highest women’s rights. (Kalsang_Lama)
when people lived in West they tend to copycat Western sickness and this time another woman right or equality. Since sex sales in the west Kunsang talks about her sexual exploitation way back. She needs to describe in detail who knows it could be consensual sexual relation-no smoke without fire!!!! (dorjdrum59)
-I hope people understand that this is not only about my problem; this is a community problem that was true in my village and it is true in India. I know what happened in my own experiences and I know the experiences of other women. For example, when I was a child there was a woman our village my mother’s age who had an alcoholic and abusive husband. I remember how much this woman wanted to get away from him but had nowhere to go and no way to make him leave. All she could do was wish for him to die soon. Women like her have no recourse to law or anywhere to go for protection, a different woman from my village with an abusive husband died suddenly and mysteriously, yet the husband was never even questioned about her death. I have only been back in India a short time and I have already met a woman here who had to flee over the mountains to escape her husband, holding her six-year old daughter by the hand with a five-month old boy on her back. That was the only way she could get away. In my own experience, I was raped in Tibet then abused several times again when I got to India. In one incident, my ex-boyfriend raped me after I left him.
I understand that we have a lot going on from issues with China, but I am disappointed that we just try to hide this kind of problem. You cannot hide the truth forever, it’s better that we deal with issues now and move forward towards positive improvements.
rape is always prevented in Buddhist culture and I understand normally it is very rare. However, as per my experience in the community, mostly man insist woman for the sex and they offer willingly. It is women’s nature to pretend to hate having sex but they indicate willingness to whom they like. (Patuk)
-It’s very sad that anyone makes an excuse this way. A person who thinks like this needs to learn more about sex and relationships. The first rule is that when a woman says “no” she means it.
It is easy to accuse your own community with ghost views injected by a non-Tibetan husband (khampaknife)
This person has no idea who is the enemy of Tibetan culture and who is the friend. A friend of Tibetan culture is the person who is trying to improve the community. We shouldn’t be too proud to learn anything from another culture if it would benefit our community. If we fool ourselves into thinking we are better than other cultures in every way then we will only harm ourselves by preventing improvement.
These days it has become a fashion to raise gender-inequality issues irrespective whether there really does exists a situation worthy of attention. Both this piece and the earlier one( Reaching for the Sky ) suffer in trying to make a case by resorting to nitpicking. Nitpicking, I repeat. (Assanga)
-It’s hard to understand how sexual violence could be called nitpicking. Gender inequality and sexual violence damage not only individuals but the whole community, especially because the traumas of women affect their children. Unless we focus on bringing up Tibetan children in healthy environments we can’t expect to have a positive future. Gender issues affect real everyday life, if we Tibetans want to called gender issues “nitpicking” and ignore them, then who is going to solve our problems for us?
Now what’s really surprising to me is that despite all the progress made in the West in the past say 50 plus years –with women no longer just the family servant but partner as family bread winner you still see and hear of even more outrageous crimes. It was quite a reverse culture shock to hear and read about the unimaginable ‘incestuous’ acts against one’s own blood. It seemed all made up for the tabloid ratings but now sadly I have come to grips with the fact that such things seem to be the part of life in this modern progressive world. (Crux12)
-What was shocking about the recent incident in Mungod Settlement wasn’t only that two Tibetan men attempted to rape a five-year old girl, it was that community leaders were able to convince the father not to pursue charges. The community leaders were more worried about revealing an embarrassing truth than in justice or protecting other girls the two men might abuse in the future. As this incident proves, the reason we hear about terrible crimes occurring in the West and not in our own community isn’t because these types of crimes are unique to the West, it’s because we hide them.