Monday 20 June 2016

Sexual Abuse On Men

By Swapnesh Vadhavkar

 I have always read poems and stories on women. As a matter of fact, every piece of art talks about the grace of the women, the pain of a girl and the sacrifice of a mother. I am waiting for the day someone will pen down the emotions, feelings, sacrifices and the hardships of a man. Yes, we men do care and we are sensitive. We feel every emotion just like a woman does. We do experience sadness and we are just as sensitive. It’s just that we are forced to learn how to hide our pain and fears. Some terms have become so stereotypical with woman that we cannot imagine the term being associated with man. One such term is rape. Whenever we hear the word rape, an image of a girl being harassed by a man pops in front of our eyes. The thought about a man being a victim rather than an assailant is totally inconceivable for us.
For the past 2 months, I have been reading stories of people around the internet who are survivors of sexual abuse. In the first week, I was shocked to see the amount of people who have been harassed sexually. But now it was just a regular thing for me. Just recently I made a friend here in Bombay who was sexually harassed. He told me his story which he wants to be shared with everyone for the very fact that people will come to know that something like this is happening in their own city.
“It’s been 5 five years since I have moved to Mumbai. I came here to work for a Magazine company. The first day was quite nice. Fully conditioned and well furnished office, amazing colleagues and most importantly, open-minded people. I made some new friends and was amazing at my work. Everything was fine until our office had a new editor. Let’s call him "Mr. Sharma". We both introduced each other at the party we threw for him welcoming him to the company. He smiled at me and we shook hands. He seemed like a good guy to me until he started feeling my hand. I withdrew it quickly and I reacted as if nothing happened, forgetting everything that has happened. Just a week later, Mr. Sharma called me to his cabin.

I went there and he looked at me like a cat looks at its prey. He started asking me personal questions. He asked me whether  I am seeing someone or not. I replied I am currently not. Then he asked me whats my plan for the evening. I told him that I don’t have any plan. Finally he assigned me some work that would ensure that I stay in office till the time everyone else leaves. I completed my work and saw that the whole office was empty. Only Mr. Sharma and the office boys were around. I went to his cabin to inform him I am done. He looked at me and smiled. He rang the bell and 2 office boys came running to his cabin. He stood up and looked me. I knew something was wrong here. Something terrible is going to happen. Was he about to insult me? Or bash me? Or fire me? Countless possibilities clicked in my mind within seconds. He opened his mouth, ‘Do you know that I am gonna give you a promotion? I have already spoken to the HR department about it.’ I was about to thank him but then he interrupted me. ‘ Now that I have helped you, its your turn to help me. And I am sure you will not say no, will you?’

Help ? What was he talking about? What kind of help?

‘There are two ways to do this. Either you give yourself willingly to me or we have to use a little of strength here.’ I looked at him and asked, ‘ what do you want?’ He smiled and said, ‘ I want all of you for the next 20 minutes to surrender to me. I always make it quick you know.’ I was shocked to hear this. Surrender? I had never imagined myself being in such kind of situation. What had I got myself into? I tried running from the cabin but the office boys caught me. I freed one of my hand and punched Mr.Sharma in his face. But the office boys overpowered me. Mr.Sharma looked at me and smiled yet again. He ordered the office boys to unzip my pants and gagged my mouth with my tie. They did exactly as he said. I was unable to speak and he used a cloth nearby to tie my hands. I laid on the floor completely naked, my hands tied and my mouth gagged. 

He then unzipped his own pants. I closed my eyes due to fear and the next 15 minutes, I had experienced pain of unimaginable magnitude. Then that devil came near me, and told me in my ear, ‘Tell this to anyone and see what happens. This pain was just because of my love for you. You won’t be able to bear the pain I will give you due to my hate.’ He went away. The office boys untied me and went home. I cried for the next 2 hours in the office thinking about the cruel act that had just happened on me. Then I wore my clothes, catched a cab to home and that was the last time I had seen Mr.Sharma, his cabin and that office. I left Mumbai within a week and swore to never come back. Obviously I was over that incident but it took me 3 years to do so. And now I think, there will be so many people just like me being harassed by so many Mr. Sharmas out there. I hope they read my story to know they are not alone and its time we men voice our opinions against Sexual Abuse as well."

Shocked? Aren’t you? Yes, men are raped as well! But we are not aware of the fact because fewer than 1 in 10 male-male rapes are reported. . As a group, male rape victims reported a lack of services and support, and legal systems are often ill-equipped to deal with this type of crime. This is not a stereotype and that’s the reason no one talks about it. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

(Source – Wikipedia)

By masculine gender socialization, it is thought that males, even the young, cannot be victims of rape, nor even that they are vulnerable. It is considered shameful and unmanly if a male child cries; he is seen to be strong and able to protect themselves. People sometimes forget that young boys may be weaker and vulnerable to perpetrators, who are usually stronger. The perpetrators can use whatever they have to abuse the child, including money or other bribes. An adult male may also be helpless to fight back, or fearful of doing so.

    It is thought among the public that a male must be aroused if he gets an erection or has an orgasm, and so that means that they are willing and enjoying any sexual activity. An erection does not mean that the men consent to sex. Males can get erections even in traumatic or painful sexual situations,and this does not indicate consent.

      Much like female erectile response, male erectile response is involuntary meaning that a man need not be aroused for his penis to become erect; mechanical stimulation is all that is necessary. Arousal and stimulation are distinct things. Stimulation is a physical response to a stimulus. Men can be physically stimulated without feeling aroused and thus causing an erection. Men can be scared and intimidated into an erection, especially if the person is older or an authority.

It is sometimes argued that males are less traumatized by the abuse experience than females. Some advocates have claimed that males are less negatively affected. More studies show that the long-term effects are quite damaging for either sex and males may especially be more damaged by social stigma and disbelief of their victimization.


       Henry Leak, the chairman of the Survivors organization, noted that rape of males, as with females, has more to do with power than sexuality, and does not only happen inside the homosexual community. Sexual orientation is a complex issue, and the majority of male perpetrators who seek out boys are not homosexual.

       Male sexual assault victims often fear being seen as gay or weak, or believe that their assault may be due to their appearance being effeminate or homosexual so as to attract other males. Experts do not believe that premature sexual experiences play a significant role in later sexual orientation. Research by Jane Gilgun, Judith Becker and John Hunter states that while many perpetrators may have experienced sexual abuse of their own, most sexual assault victims will not go on to become adolescent perpetrators.

Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centers coordinator Nicole Pietsch stated that male victims face hurdles like the myth that sexual violence is something the male victim wants when the perpetrator is a female. In this case, the public may say that the victim is lucky, characterizing the experience as a positive thing when it was in fact not.


1.   Pressure to prove his manhood physically and sexually (becoming stronger and      engaging in dangerous or violent behavior; having multiple female sexual partners).
2.   Confusion over gender and sexual identity.
3.   Sense of being an inadequate man.
4.   Sense of lost power, control, and confidence to his manhood.
5.   Problems with closeness and intimacy.
6.   Sexual problems.
7.   Fear of becoming 'homosexual' or 'gay'.
8.   Homophobia

It’s time we break the silence as well as bust the myth regarding rape on men. Send your opinions to us at 

Visit our website to know more. 


By Swapnesh Vadhavkar

  “What is your problem? ’’ The counselor asked offering me a piece of chocolate. I could not help but notice the irony there. The chocolate that she gave me was the problem. My biggest enemy and the one thing that has been making me sad these days is nothing but food. But my equation with food was pretty different when I was a child.
 My father was a businessmen and I was the wealthiest among all of my friends. I had a thing for food right from my childhood. Food was my god and the one thing I desired the most whenever I felt like celebrating and also the one thing that helped me overcome my sadness by lifting up my mood. But then things started to change as I started gaining more pounds that I normally should have. I always wondered why are the wealthy people shown so fat in television programmes , movies or in any kind of art. A little research on the internet helped me understand that this ‘Rich People’s Disease’ is called Obesity and I am suffering from that disease. This made me worry so much that I completed 6 entire packets of chips in one go.

 At 13 years of age, my body weight was 85 kilograms. A wave of motivation flowed through my body to burn the fats through exercising and dieting. After trying swimming, cycling, jogging for 2 weeks, I finally concluded that the wave of motivation that I had was pretty short-lived.
 Years began to pass-by and with each journey of Sun around the Earth, my weight machine showed me numbers that made my jaw drop. At my 15th birthday, I weighted 127 kilograms. Friends used to laugh at me and slowly I started to become the butt of all jokes. These extra amounts of calories were a burden for me and every single attempt of mine to get rid of them failed miserably. I could not resist eating French fries or drinking coke. I felt like a chain smoker or a drunkard. Things had gone from bad to worse by the time I turned 19 as my 176 kilograms denied me social acceptance. But out of all this, there was an incident that changed my life. One day while eating a club sandwich at a snack joint on the street, I suddenly felt it difficult to breath. I dropped my sandwich and asked people around for help. I started coughing and my head started to become heavy. 

My vision started to blur and I dropped flat on the road. Some minutes later, I felt normal but that incident which lasted minutes gave me months’ worth of nightmares. Doctors told me that I had an asthma attack and the reason behind it was none other than my obesity. I did not sleep that whole night and decided that I cannot give in this easily, that life needs to change.


 I started gyming, doing yoga, swimming, jogging and refused to eat any kind of junk food. Well balanced and nutrients rich food became a priority for me. Whenever I felt like quitting, the nightmares of that asthma attack kept my motivation alive. Within the next 3 years,    I lost 121 kilograms and came down to 87 kilograms. I had achieved my goal. But then I thought, why stop here? I decided to carry the flag for a cause to help people get rid of an adjective they were always qualified with, the adjective called ‘Fat’. I finally believe that miracles do happen and I am a living example. 

So when are you going to believe it? Do you know that it is your brain who tells you that you should eat and not your stomach? And all this can start at a very young age, even before you reach primary school. When are you going to make people stop using the adjective for you? Don’t neglect your health! I refused to live with the extra fats, when will you?

  •       Almost 3 out of 4 Indians are overweight.
  •       Diabetes leads to High blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Infertility, Erectile Dysfunction, Risk of cancer and High Cholesterol.
  •       40.8 % of people in India are obese which 30.9 % are Men and 50 % are Women.
  •       3.8 % of the overweight people around the world are Indians.
  •       India is the 3rd highest country in the world suffering from obesity. The first two are USA and China.

Obesity around the World

Do you know anyone around you who is overweight? How do you motivate them to lose weight?  Do you want to lose weight but don’t know where to start?

Write us your queries, suggestions and opinions at

Sunday 5 June 2016

Depression And It's Coping Methods

Depression is on the rise in India and those working in the fast paced corporate sector are susceptible to its depredations. Last year, the apex trade association Assocham India reported that 42.5% of employees in the private sector are afflicted with depression or general anxiety orders. The study cited increasingly demanding schedules and high stress levels as the underlying cause behind these figures. Delhi was cited as having the highest number of depressed and stressed employees.

There is a fair chance that someone at your workplace suffers from depression (it could even be you). However, being vigilant also means being able to identify and pinpoint the difference between a low or stressful phase and clinical depression.

Listing some of the symptoms of clinical depression at workplace, Dr Samir Parikh, Director, Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Fortis Healthcare said, “If any of these behavioural changes are observed taking place for well over a fortnight, your colleague (or you) might benefit from a mental health check-up or some counselling.”
The symptoms mentioned by Dr Parikh included:
- Loss of focus over an extended period of time
- A huge change in appetite, such as a steep decline or binge-eating
- A dip in energy levels, drive and motivation
- Extreme sensitivity to criticism, while becoming overtly critical of others
- Snappiness and irritability
- Lack of socialising and mingling: no coffee or tea breaks with other employees or friends, and
forced or insincere smiles
- Inability to take decisions
- Complaints about physical exhaustion and body pain

According to Dr Prakriti Poddar of Mumbai-based Poddar Foundation, which specialises in mental health care, often well-meaning friends and family feel that their support and communication will be enough to guide a depressed person out of his or her condition. “They are not trained to assist the depressant back to strength. You can encourage them to seek help, to stick with the prescribed therapy, and allow them to feel your faith in them in their ability to heal,” she says. “This is invaluable and more than enough.”

Mental experts have suggested a few things you can do to help a colleague (or yourself):

1. Be calm: “It is important for you to not get anxious or stressed,” says Dr Parikh. “If you get worked up, you’re not in any position to help a colleague who is in distress.”

2. Share a story: “You may not have too many stressful stories of your own to share. But sharing any experience can pave the way to a conversation, which helps,” advises Dr Era Dutta, consultant psychiatrist, SL Raheja Fortis Hospital, Mahim, Mumbai.

3. Stay alert. Be on the alert for signs of any suicidal tendencies. “All dangerous items that are potentially harmful including sharp objects, pills and poisonous substances need to be removed,” says Dr Parikh.

4. Never say: “Get on with it. This is life!” “This could send them spiralling further,” says Dr Poddar, likening this approach to rubbing salt on the wound. Be supportive instead of confusing them further about their vulnerable state – depression is not something they can help.

5. Respect their wishes: Space is important. “Your colleague may need a time-out every now and then, so don’t be over intrusive,” says Dr Dutta. “Sometimes one can find solace in being alone.”

6. Be around. If your colleague lives alone, try to ensure someone is around after work hours. “Being alone often spurs the condition,” says Dr Poddar.

7. Don’t get hurt or affronted easily. Always remember that you are helping out, so if the depressed individual lashes out at you, don’t take it personally, or list it as unprofessional behaviour. “It’s the depression talking, not your colleague, so don’t give up on them,” says Dr Dutta.

8. Take them to see an expert. If you can eventually cajole them into seeing an expert, do so. Especially if you observe them doing things such as harming themselves, drinking excessively or not taking regular medication, says Dr Poddar.

9. Motivation works. Encourage them (gently) to take up activities that they enjoyed doing in the past, says Dr Dutta. Also alert your employer, but in a careful manner so that your colleague doesn’t feel threatened.