Happy International Woman’s Day!
On this International Women’s Day, I thought I should post this on this blog. I know, it might be cliche’d but very true that boys and girls should be brought up in the same way possible when they are kids. You should etch it deep into a little boy’s mind that his mother, his sister, his grandma or his little girlfriend, should all be treated with respect! If he doesn’t learn then,then he will never learn it! Be it India , USA or any other country, girls and women should always be treated right.
I remember, when I was living with my grandparents for a while, the maid servant used to live in the outhouse along with her husband and kids. The husband worked in a movie theatre and would come home late in the night totally drunk. And , in the morning, we used to see the maid with bruises on her hands and face, thanks to her drunken husband the night before. This went on for a little while until my grandfater who was a retired judge called the man and threatened him of handing him to the police. He didn’t call the police because the woman didn’t want her kids to see the father sent to jail. The threatens worked and that man became a sober person, and after that there were no such incidents.
When I was working in Pearson in Kent, WA, I used to take the train with a colleague regularly. We became friends and one day she shared her sad story. Her boyfriend abused her sexually every night. She said that her consent and interest were never taken into consideration, it was always his way! She still lived with him since she loved him so much and because he was a gem of a person when not in bed. He loved her, brought gifts for her, had a decent job, but had this impolite side to him too! Eventually, over a period of time, she threw him out of her life for good as she couldn’t take it anymore.
A lot of acid attacks in India and all over the world are gender biased and hence the victims are usually found to be female. I know of a café run by 5 women, ’Acid survivors’ as they call themselves in Agra, India. “She wore provoking clothes but didn’t agree to my sexual advances”. The cheek of any boy or man to say that!!The attacker uses acid to retaliate against the girl’s refusal of sexual advances. How desperate can a man get?
And then, the very problem of molestation and rape of women from generations till date , on the streets, in the neighborhood, in the family, amongst friends, has been increasing all over the world. Girls feel unsafe to go out all alone in the dark. Girls feel unsafe to stay in friends and relatives’ house for long. When we went for the first time to the University before joining my daughter for her undergrad, the professor addresiing the parents talked about these things prevailing on some University campuses. It scared us, shocked us, and made us hesitate for a while to take a decision of putting her in a dorm. Of course, there are exceptions to all Universities and of course, there are precautions taken by the campus authorities to keep the students safe.
So,in today’s world, it is not the girls who need to be taught how to live life, it is the boys who need to be taught how to live life along with girls.
From ages the society has been teaching girls how to live life. Do this, do that, do this this way, do that that way, and we hear these things a lot of times.
‘Don’t walk alone in the night.’
‘Don’t go all alone; take your little brother with you’.
‘Be careful when you go there, there are a lot of boys in that area’.
I’m sure, every girl must have heard these words from their parents some time or the other. I know how frustrating it is when we hear the same things again and again through generations.
And now, since girls have been hearing these things from generations, we know the rules and don’t need to be told any more. But, it is the turn of the boys to learn some rules and for the parents of boys to set some rules:
- If you have a son, tell him to respect woman, no matter who they are and where they come from. As boys’ brain develops later than girls, it is important that you teach him all this very early in life
- Tell your son to not tease girls or call them names. One of the girls could be his sister or girlfriend
- Be it a girl from the village, or a girl from an affluent family, a girl is a girl, teach him to give her respect
- Instill in him to help a girl in need without expecting anything in return. Being human has to be learnt at home
- Make sure he understands that a girl is not his property to be used. Give the respect due to her. His mom is a woman too
- Tell him that a girl is just like him, educated and knowledgeable. Treat her as equal
- Every girl stepping out of the house for a job is not ‘available’, make sure your son understands that
- A girl going to a bar or coming back home late in the night, doesn’t get your son the license to misbehave with her
- There is no boy job and girl job, encourage him to understand this and work as a team in life
- Explain it to him that hitting a girl or physically abusing her is a crime; don’t rear a criminal at home
- When he gets married, ask him to treat her as a human being and not force himself onto her
- When he befriends a girl, tell him to be a good friend only, not expect any sexual favors from her. His sisters and cousins could have boys as friends too
- Let him not boss over his sister or control her life just because she is a girl, she should have a life too
- Educate him about how girls are physically different, show him videos if need be. Let not curiosity make him want to see a girl’s body
- Supervise your son, his friends and their activities too. ‘Porn’ and ‘Drugs’ both are equally dangerous
- Just because she is a girl, he doesn’t have a right to ogle at her. His sisters and cousins have similar bodies, and his friends could ogle at them too
- A girl is not a toy to be touched, just because he likes her; consent is very important, tell him that
- Dress is a matter of choice; tell him that every girl, including his sister and mother, has the right to wear what she wants. Short dresses or long necklines don’t mean that the girls are easily available
- At any point of time, forcing himself onto a girl, known or unknown is always called ‘Rape’. Don’t encourage rapists, even if they are your sons!
Bring up a good human being, teach him to respect women and not misbehave with them ever. It is the need of the day to teach our sons to grow up to be the best- best friend, best son, best brother and a best husband! And for that, every parent need to teach them from a very young age the importance of ‘how to treat girls in life’.
Happy Women’s day!