Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Stop Violence Against Women - My Take

Domestic Violence is no joke, neither is rape. Its on the rise, and its unacceptable. No, I don't need to shout this out aloud, I don't need to tell this to anyone I think. But I am wrong, because if everyone knew and felt this way, such crimes would never occur. I want that to change, I want everyone to understand and realise that its not just wrong, its simply unacceptable. But how? Do I donate money, do I write, do I paint posters and hold them, or stand nude on the streets with a banner saying,'Still can't Rape Me'? I see many, much more moved and motivated about this cause than me, but has it made any change? How often would a a man who hits his partner, stop, because he saw a sign, or read an article. The chances are slim I feel.

First off, let me say this in loud and clear VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IS WRONG, IN ANY FORM, SEXUAL OR OTHERWISE.

A top down approach to solving any problem hardly ever works, I think. We need to work bottom up, understand the causes, and try to prevent it, or rather in cases like this, reverse situations, and thinking. A man who hits or rapes a woman, is just showing power, because he can. It may seem like venting his anger, or satisfying his lust, but the fact remains, its a simple show of power. 'I am stronger than you, I will abuse you.' Its as simple as that. But then we all do feel angry, frustrated, upset from time to time, and I am sure we can all find beings weaker than us, to vent it out on, but we don't. We manage our emotions differently from these men. The key I think lies in understanding how that is.

A few years ago, I had an amazingly enriching, and eye opening opportunity to volunteer at WIRE. I underwent a training, to inform and sensitise me to the various issues faced by women. The statistics of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault were shocking. It was scary to put that information into my existing view of the society we live in. To realise that every third woman I saw, was a possible victim at one time or another in her life. I had to change the stereotype I had in my head of what kind of men do such things. WIRE training was also where I was reconnected to the real issues Feminists are fighting for. (Back story to this, which is an existing pet peeve of mine, are the pseudo feminists. I hate those designer wear donning, french manicured hands waving out and talking about feminism, while they brag about not knowing how to cook to save their lives. Talking loud about feminism, with expensive drinks in hand, partying in posh locales, with nannies and cooks and chauffeurs in tow all the time.) Equality, a feminist truly seeks, I think, is equal respect as another person, a fellow human being. Its not about sharing home chores, or equal pay for equal work, or not being violent, but simply respecting the female as you would any other person, the rest will automatically follow. And do we think respect can be brought in with a top down approach?

In India, the society is divided into many bits, and a top down approach is the last thing that will work in bringing about a change in this regard. Though not impossible, it is difficult to change a grown man, the change needs to occur from how they grow up, what they see, what they learn and most importantly, how they learn to think. And I think that holds true for anyone, anywhere. Seeing the widespread existence of  these issues, we have to realise, that locking up a few people somewhere,or punishing them will be of absolutely no use. Its suppressing the symptoms of the disease, and letting the virus thrive within. And that will just allow the virus to find other ways of attacking, and it will only get worse.

The question is, how do boys grow up, so highly desensitised to women, how do they lose the love and respect that every fellow human being deserves from us, how do their hands not stop and tremble before it lands a hard blow on the body of another human being, man or woman irrespective, unless it to defend themselves, or someone they love? We need to think hard about that. Its easy to pass the buck, saying oh well, I am not like that, my kids wold never be like that, but the fact remains that each and everyone of us are a part of this very society. If we want anything to change, it has to begin with us. Every good move, will inspire another. We need to respect other people, not just because we need to maintain a facade in society, but because we have the right values, and do the right thing. We are way past the stage, where we can let it go. We need to make a change, a true change now.

I see kids being physically aggressive, and parents watching it happen. You need to stop it then and there. No, this is not a parenting lesson, but a hope of changing our world for the better, one step at a time. Teach your child to respect people, sensitise them to the fact, that the pain they feel, is felt by others as well, what hurts them, hurts others as well. Create empathy, empathy that is so strong, that they will pass it on to everyone they come across in their lives. Parents, schools, teachers, they shape the world. We need our boys to grow up with respect for women and men, and our girls to grow up with strength and confidence, to know they have the right to be treated with respect and dignity at all times.There will always be a few odd ones. The girls who will think equality means, being free to drink till they are wasted and act crazy, or boys who will argue, equality means the women should be topless, if men are, but, then what is life without a few nuts sprinkled here and there?

But the important thing is we bring up mankind, humanity to be a respectful, empathic lot that we are meant to be. Teach our boys to be chivalrous and kind, teach them, that girls are to be loved and respected, they are different, but in no way any less than them. It is time we took up the cudgels to rear our boys right, to bring about a world, where there exists love and empathy, not fear and mistrust.  Here is to a change we all want, and let us begin with ourselves. Let us actually do what we can to bring about a change, instead of waiting for everyone else to do it. 'The government should pass stricter laws, the law enforcement agencies should be better', so on and so forth, are things said by the armchair activist. How about becoming a real activist, being the change you want to see? Each time you teach your child to be sensitive and respectful, remember you are creating a better world for all of mankind, especially the womankind.

Let me add,  everything good in life is a gift of God, and if we have faith, and seek His guidance, there is not one step we would take, where He would not guide us, protect us and bless us.The more we lose touch with God, the more evil creeps in, in and around us. I hope He blesses all of mankind with more love and respect for each other. I pray that we all learn to love, and stop the hate.

2 comments:

Jagankunti said...

Well said, Srijanee.. true to the t.. What is this WIRE? Any organisation creating awareness in women?

Srijanee DMello said...

Jagan, WIRE is a support organisation for women in Melbourne. It provides them with free counseling on the phone, helps them find resources they require, conducts many workshops to help in their empowerment and enlightenment.