Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
Okay, thats it. Enough is enough. Didn't we learn anything from the Nirbhaya incident? Dont we hear about how little, innocent girls are being molested every day? Every year, every month, every minute and every second a woman is being raped. Why? And why are these men getting away with it? The only answer to this question is that they know they can!!
As a teenage girl, i remember my mother used to ask my elder brother to chaperone me everywhere i went. My brother always complained and i disliked it as well. I wanted to be independent and didnt need to be chaperoned wherever i went. But slowly, i understood why. Those leering eyes of men on the streets, lewd remarks passed by them or even groping and touching at every chance they got was her biggest fear. And became mine too.
From being a teenager to now, nothing has changed. I have two small daughters now and my fear is reflecting towards them. I dont take a chance of ever leaving them alone. My eyes are constantly on them for their safety. I want them to be independent but at the back of my mind i think what if...?
I want my daughters to have the choice to wear what they please without anyone making judgements on their character. Wearing a short skirt or a deep neck blouse does not define the character of a woman the same way a man choosing to be shirtless on a street does not define the character of a man.
But after the Benguluru mass molestation incident i am apalled that even men of big status and positions believe that women are 'responsible' for what happened to them. For the clothes they wear and for them choosing to go for a party till wee hours. There is no rule book that defines freedom to have fun and to do as they please is only subjected to Men? So why these double standards?
I dont want to be a paranoid mom. I want my daughters to chase their dreams. I want them to be fiercly independent and face whatever situations come their way. But the only way i can do that is to set them free. Can i dare to do that with so many incidents reported everyday? Can i dare to dream for them?
In light of all these events, my fear is only getting prominent. And i will go to any extent for the safety and protection of my daughters and not only mine but for every girl/woman in this country.
I want the government to educate these men. I want them to introduce a subject called 'Respect For Women' in the school curriculam and make it mandatory stating guidlines of respect and safety for women and women rights. To state the mental, emotional and physical trauma that women go through when such crimes are committed. Also, stating the harsh punishments imposed for offence done towards them and to strictly execute them.
And mostly and most importantly i want the parents of boys to inculcate basic ettiquettes towards women. The importance of respecting their sisters, cousins, friends and classmates should be explained. I want the parents to make their boys aware that they are not in anyway the superior sex (which still exists prominently in many parts of India for the love of a boy child). That both are equals in every possible way.
Lastly, as parents of a girl child, i urge all mothers to make our daughters self reliant and self resilient. To never ever teach our girls that they are any lesser to the opposite sex. To give them wings to fly and to not limit them to domestication. To not tie them to marriage (without their will) and succumb to dowry and other orthodox customs that seriously need to be abolished. To educate them as much as you can because only then will they be aware of their rights and fight for them.
If our foundation is strong, and if the fear of hurting a woman is induced in a man, not immediately but surely there will be a change. A safer society, a safer place and a safer country to live in for our woman will not be a distant dream. I am being idealist i know. But i have a hope and i have a dream for my daughters, do you?