The newspaper and internet have no dearth of news which shake me as a mother of a two-year-old girl. Today, there were two things which caught my attention and honestly, I feel disgusted. First, the news of a father of an 18-year-old, raping his daughter’s friend who came for a sleepover. I do not even want to comment any further on this. Secondly, a doctor posting on Facebook on how the family including the husband of the woman, left her and the baby alone as it was a girl the second time and the woman was guilty as well. Both these cases were reported in our millennium city, Gurgaon. This raised a question in my thinkaholic mind that, is our education really educating us?
In most of the forums and discussions the main problem of our country’s social issues is said to be the lack of education. If education was the solution, then these two well educated and well to do families would have not behaved the way they did.
The solution to the problems of rape, domestic violence, female foeticide and other social issues is a change in the mindset and this cannot happen overnight. We have to work on it at the root level. And here I am talking of a change in the thought process of men and women, both. Women who treat the men in their lives as God and men who treat the women as doormats.
Some time back there was a movement called #MeToo. I refused to be a part of it as I knew nothing will change. (Read the post, Why I Did Not Write #MeToo). Till the time the men and women in our country do not take things in our hand together to stop any violence against women, nothing can change. Men see women as objects and not human beings who have basic human rights as well. It is in our genes to treat men with more respect as compared to women. Even if the man is the breadwinner of the family, the woman is also doing her non-monetary work and together, they are raising a family. Both command equal respect and we need to learnt to give it.
Education is teaching us subjects which might help us get jobs and bring home huge pay checks but it is miserably failing at instilling values and respect for everyone around us. Parents are busy in their own lives and there is no one left to teach the child the difference between good and bad. Education should not be about degrees and certificates but about capability and being a good human being.
We belong to a nation where the people who have the power are not bothered about anything but fill their own pockets. Our politicians want votes for which if they need to blame men of one religion for raping a girl of another, they will do it without hesitation and not find where we are going wrong. Education has nothing to do with the promotions of bureaucrats and votes a politician gets. And these are the people who run the country. (Read the post, We Have Failed As a Nation)
The formative years of a child are crucial as this is where they learn superiority and inferiority in terms of gender, money and power. We have to work at this level if we want to bring about a change. The movie Secret Superstars showed a husband who would beat his wife black and blue and she was willing to live with it. Here the children understood the issue but in a normal household a young boy would learn this and think this is the way to treat your wife. There is a lot that has to be worked on in our lives to bring about a change. (Read the post, Why are the number of rapes increasing in our society)?
We need to teach our children that they are all equal. Boys need to be taught to respect girls. Girls do not need to change their clothes but boys need to stop noticing. The society has to work together to change the mindset of the people to respect women and children. Dignity and basic human rights are lost in our generation. We are teaching our girls to stand up for themselves but we also need to teach boys to stand up for these girls. Everything needs to be equal for both genders, be it liberalism, restrictions and norms. If a girl is molested, it is the boy’s fault and not hers.
As a mother, I am also scared if my daughter stays out late alone, but then we need to keep the boys home also. Our protective nature will make things difficult but it is needed, thus, let us not make different rules for boys and girls. People come up with logics like the attire of the girl, mobile phones, non-veg food, boys will be boys and victimise the victim. We need to stop this and just blame the culprit. The attitude of a man towards a woman at home, at work or on the streets speaks of his mindset and not his education. Most of the times the rapists feel proud of what they have done as they were teaching women a lesson. If a man conquers the body of a woman, he ensures she stays in her limits and he has achieved the superiority status. There is more to a woman than her body and men need to know this.
Disrespect for a woman by a man and a woman both are the causes of these problems. We need to teach our boys to respect women at an early age. Each household in our country will have instances of patriarchy and in our daily lives we will not even realise it. This needs to stop. Do not teach girls to be safe but teach boys to make the world safe for everyone, including themselves. ‘Educate’ your children and do not make them ‘literate’. Change your mindset and your children will learn the right things and there will be no need unlearn. We can change the lives for the next generation and we need to start today. Anustup Nayak wrote, “It is our children’s future, not our ancestor’s pride, that deserves our outrage first. Only then can we begin to unleash the potential of our 100 million young minds.”