Changing the Tide

The number and nature of rape cases being reported on a daily basis has now moved way past disturbing. The current case making headlines is the brutal torture and abuse of a five-year old girl is enough to make any parent long to flee India just to protect their own children from being violated by predators in human guise. Even calling such people animals seem like an insult to the animal kingdom. Given the age of the victim and the circumstances, the police and Government are unable to fall back on their favourite ploy of shifting some blame on the victim. After all, one can hardly accuse a five-year old of wearing skimpy clothes or being out late at night. Not that it stopped anyone from displaying their lack of sensitivity though, given that the Delhi Police initially tried to hush up the case.

In another incident a teenage girl was murdered in broad daylight by a jilted paramour. It seems men in our country can’t stomach woman telling them ‘No’. Who teaches men that they are God’s gift to women? Who imparts to them the self belief that thy are too great and important to be be refused in any way? Strict governance and harsh punishments are no doubt the need of the hour to deter such criminal and violent tendencies. But hand in hand with that, isn’t there a need to overhaul the thinking process of the average Indian family?

Every man has been born of a woman. Most of these perpetrators have grown up surrounded by female relatives – their mother, sisters, aunts and cousins. Many of them have married and have a wife. What does this say about their mental upbringing when they choose to disrespect and abuse innocent women? Humans learn by example – they learn from what they see. If they disrespect women it only means that is what they have seen their own lives. And the biggest enemy of women is probably women themselves. When a mother makes her daughter work in the house while her son sits about twiddling his thumbs just on account of having a penis, she tells him that women are inferior to men and deserve no more than the role of a menial. When a sister’s studies are stopped but the brother’s studies are allowed to continue it sends a message that women can be sidelined in favour of men at any time. Female fetuses are murdered in the womb, baby girls are killed, so much so that in many places bachelors are unable to get married due to lack of women and have to ‘import’ women from other states. Why this apathy to the very gender who are the ones to bear life? Giving life to a new being is nothing short of a miracle and that is not possible without a woman to nurture that new life in her womb for nine months. Nobody can help emancipate women; they need to help themselves.

This battle is no less than the struggle for freedom which our countrymen had once participated in whole heartedly. Change cannot come overnight but that should not dissuade us from taking the first steps. Let us take a stand and speak out against people who don’t give due importance to women – no matter if these people are your own parents, in-laws, relatives or friends. Women need to respect themselves first and stop trying to be martyrs. Every woman has the right to live her life on her own terms and that does not have to come at the cost of family. Men need to encourage the women in their lives – their mother, sisters, wife, daughters – to spread their wings and find their rightful place in this society. Do remember that if women cannot do some things that men can, then similarly men also cannot do some things that only a woman can. Apart from that, we were all born in the same way and we will all die one day, irrespective of our gender. Then how can we say that men and women are not equal?


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