Difference between Welcome Sex and Consensual Sex Explained-Ruchira Gupta
By Hemanth Reddy S 22/01/2016

 is was a different kind of a book launch. Payel and Rumki, who call themselves 'prostituted women from Sonagachhi' as opposed to sex workers, launched an anthology edited by Ruchira Gupta titled 'River of Flesh and Other Stories: The Prostituted Women in Indian fiction' at the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival, that was organised in association with The Times of India. Both the girls said that they hoped this book would help people understand the lived reality of prostituted women. At the launch, noted actor-director Aparna Sen read out a story titled 'The Last Customer' and an extract from another story penned by Nabyendu Ghosh. The second story (titled 'Market Price') was translated from Bengali to English by the author's daughter - Ratnottama Sengupta.

At the launch, Gupta said, "Prostitution is the not about choice. It is the absence of choice." Continuing from there, Sengupta referred to an experience in Berlin and the irony of legalising the profession of a sex worker. "I came across a story about a woman who had applied for a job. What she got was a job in a brothel. When she came back, she found that she was taken off the social security benefit because she had refused the job that she was given!" said Sengupta, who has also translated Subodh Ghosh's 'The Kept Woman'.

Modhurima Sinha, whose 'The Letters' is also a part of the anthology, said, "When women are used, no matter how well they are apparently treated, they either remain the other woman or there is a degree of emotional, if not a physical violence on them." On being asked about what's common between the situation of the women in brothels in the West and here, professor Nayanika Mookherjee said, "I wouldn't recognise the distinction of the freedom of the body in the West versus non-West exploitation of the body. There is as much of exploitation or freedom of the body on both sides in different ways." Excerpts from an interview with Gupta on her experiences of working with trafficked girls:

You have come up with this term 'welcome sex' instead of 'consensual sex'. How do you explain the distinction?

There is a difference between 'welcome sex' and 'consensual sex'. I used this term because consent can be obtained under many different circumstances, like marriage, employment and power relations. But in 'welcome sex', the woman wants the sex which then becomes all about participation and collaboration rather than domination. More importantly, it becomes about mutual pleasure rather than one person's pleasure.

Having worked extensively with sexually abused girls, what's your take on repeat offenders?

I find that most sexual exploitation begins at home. Girls and boys are told to keep quiet. Because of this, their fear is never dealt with and they live with shame, guilt and fear all their life while the perpetrator continues to abuse other boys and girls. Research has shown it is only a minority of people who like to sexually exploit women and girls and sometimes boys. But they are repeat offenders because they are sexual addicts seeking domination. Many of these men have talked about the fact that they get the pleasure from the shrinking and shivering of the victim's body. It gives them a sense of power. They like the momentary sense of power. It gives them a rush.

Your own sister was molested as a child. How difficult was it for her to speak out?
She was molested as child by a visiting relative. She somehow supressed the incident and her grades began to drop. She started putting on weight. We only found out what had happened to her 30 years later when watching a play '30 Days in September' triggered her childhood memories. At that point, we as a family confronted the perpetrator but he found support among a peer group of so-called empowered men. They asked what proof do you have that he was the one to have molested her? Fifteen years ago, when I spoke about this, people were aghast. Some said paedophilia is a Western concept. Others thought it is a property matter that should be kept inside the family rather than an attempt to stop the perpetrator from molesting other children by going public. Most women who speak up know that what has been done to them can't be undone. They do so to put the spotlight on these sex addicts so that they can't abuse other women and children.




Do think the scenario has changed for a women if she decides to speak out today?




I think there is definitely a lot more understanding and knowledge. There is more self-confidence among women to speak out. The reason I have brought out this book is to show how women's inequality plays out in different contexts. While in upper class families there is a silent abuse of children in and outside the home, in working class families it is sex trafficking and prostitution. This is one inequality which cuts through class and caste.




There is a debate over what is rape what with many believing that all sexual violations shouldn't be clubbed under it. What's your view?


Rape is body invasion either through the use of any part of the perpetrator's body or through objects. I use the word invasion to not just talk about lack of choice but to talk of lack of mutual pleasure. People have asked me can a prostitute be raped and I tell them prostitution is commercial rape because not even once does a woman get any enjoyment from the body invasion. But criminal liability changes depending on the context, nature and impact of the rape. For example, a marital rape is very hard for people to fathom because a woman is consenting to the sexual act. Nobody understands that she feels she has no other choice since it is her job and duty as a married woman to agree.


Bookmark and Share Share

No Comments. Leave Your Comment Which Will First

Leave A comment
Email Address:
Your Comment:
Hemlock Society Theatrical Theatrical Promo - Prem aamar Bengali Movie Dev and Srabanti from Dujone Shooting SheChiloBaraiAnmona RISK - Theatrical Trailor Sab Lal Pathar to Chuni Hote Pare Na Song of Bengali movie I Love You Kishor kumar PARBONA AMI CHARTEY TOKEY - Theatrical Trailer Songeete Aj Aamra Dujan Paglu2 Title Song (Bengali) (2012) Promo - Ei Prithibi Tomar Amar Promo Bengali Movie Mon Mane Na (2008) Title Song Dujone Title Song PAGLU thoda sa kar le romance Nirbaak Theatrical Traile bhelobasar tan(album) Bhojo Gourango song of superhit bengali flim Challenge(2009) Jackpot Bengali Promo Tumi Jemone Nupur Ho Tor Ek Kothaye | Besh Korechi Prem Korechi
Follow Us On

Copyright © 2020. All Right Reserved.
Website Designed & Developed By 101WebSiteDesign, inc.