Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
It's not only girls who get abused and harassed all the time, it happens to boys too. Just to bring this to everyone's notice please read through--
While we teach our daughters all the time about how to protect themselves, we forget to teach the same to our sons. While we live in this society talking about equality all the time, I myself am a feminist and am very protective towards any female members in the family or among friends. Having two sons, I never realized how important it is to teach them also to protect themselves in society where every girl or woman is talking about their rights. Instead, I always made sure that they learn to respect everyone be it a male or a female. While I was trying to raise genuine gentlemen, little did I realize how scary it can get for them in a situation where they are innocent but don't know how to protect themselves, just because they are males.
It made me think only last night when my teenage son shared an incident with me. Two days ago, he was sitting with his female friend in school, when suddenly he noticed blood stains all around her and nervously asked her about it. She hesitantly told him that it was a period stain, and that he shouldn't bother, and she went off. Soon after, that they were sitting in the dining hall, where my son casually said that he's feeling sick. When the same girl asked him why, he said that it was due to the sight of the blood. The girl started shouting at him, and told him how dare he make her feel embarrassed, it's a natural process, how he is in the 11th grade, has lived in the US and is still showing such ignorance. My son repeatedly said that he was sorry, that he didn't mean to hurt her, but the sight of blood made him feel sick (we all know that feeling nervous or dizzy at the sight of the blood is not uncommon; I too have this tendency of fainting when I see blood, even a small bit, everyone known to me knows this and they always tell me not to see even a small cut. I've had a number of ambulance rides just because of this). The next morning, when my son was walking in the corridor going from one class to another, the same girl came to him with two of her friends and started shouting at him, and one girl slapped him too. He returned home very disturbed and told me the whole thing, and asked me what his mistake was; he said he felt helpless and scared. He said that this was sexism where girls are branding boys for no reason and treating them unfairly since they know boys can't even raise their voice because no one will listen to them.
First time I thought yes, how unfair this is. Why does my son have to feel disgusted, helpless and scared just because he is a male? What is the point of teaching him to respect women, when he is not respected by them? He could have also slapped her back, which he didn't do. He could have also yelled at them, which he didn't do. Because his morals didn't allow him to do so. Did he really deserve that slap?
As a mother, I advised him to stay calm, say sorry and sort it out in order to calm down the situation. But I'm upset and hurt, it has given me something to ponder on. Are our boys safe? Are we teaching them to stand for themselves and protect themselves? If girls want boys to know their natural functions and be cool about it, they shouldn't forget boys' natural functions also then, and be cool about that.
Gender equality will come only when both genders respect each other, understand each other. We can not only teach girls how to protect themselves and know their rights, but we need to teach them to respect everyone equally. My intention is not to hurt anyone but to bring the right balance in society.