Every day I read in the newspapers about rape and outrage. Sometimes I just say ‘Oh No!! Not another one’, at other times I say a little prayer for the survivor. Most of the time at the back of my mind I feel, ‘Well’ as long as it doesn’t affect me directly, I the Indian male doesn’t really care. But I’m wrong.
Recently, sitting in the comfort of an armchair, I was suddenly hit by the horror of the thought that I too am the father of a girl child (a teenage daughter), who will have to experience this her whole life. Worrying about being raped if she walks alone, down a deserted street, or fighting off unwanted sexual advances. Or even made to feel embarrassed because of her choice of attire.
Especially those of boys, for they too may be part of this crime. The boys will either participate in the crime or be a mute witness.
Have all of you fathers talked to your sons like we constantly talk to our girl child (daughters)? Please talk to them, friends. Teach them to respect women, for it begins and ends at home. If you bring up your boys with the belief that they are superior to women, they will always feel that way. Therefore, they will grow up to believe that women are objects and meat to be devoured.
Help them see the point of view of women who have been abused or raped. A girl child who feels degraded or unsafe. Women who are treated as objects, with no alternative but to give sex to the physically powerful and mighty. Let them hear and see the fear in a survivor’s eyes. Teach them at all times to protect the ‘girl child’ and her rights.
Talk to them about the images they see around them where girl child and women are shown as objects of lust. Let’s teach them to handle the urge in them. Because we live in a world of swirling images where the young may not be able to handle their sexuality unless they are taught to. Or else, as is the norm in India, we will end up brushing another uncomfortable topic under the carpet.
Let’s help them open their minds to appreciate the girl child and women for who they are. Make sure to not blame her for how she dresses just because the boys can’t handle it. And above all, as society changes and fast let us teach them that as they feel pleasure in their sexual ‘being’ so do women. Moreover, a girl child and women are not to be looked down upon, for making that choice.
Fathers talk to your boys about the fairer sex (girl child). Teach them restraint and respect for women because it is only fair that the girl child and women feel protected and safe in our country.