Do-it-first in your friends circle: Treating females with respect

26 Feb

Disclaimer: I am in no way intending that ALL men are like what I have mentioned below, or that all men behave like animals when in groups.

There has been a much needed hue and cry about women’s safety in India. It’s starting to die down as the news channels find newer stories to cover and obsess about.  The Government has also promised some changes, like  fast track courts, better governance, implementing stricter laws for offenders etc. Also much have been written , in some very impressive op-ed articles about what we as common citizens of India should do, to make India and the world at large a safer place for women.

However, I do need to say, TWO very important factors, which maybe dismissed as trivial, but which I believe is in most cases, the root cause of  assault and harassment of women, and how men and boys could stop it in their own circle of friends.

The mob mentality:

Men when they are in groups, even the most educated ones, speak about women as a commodity. That seem to be their favorite time pass, along with video games, and playing ball. Some men stop  at this level, but a good number of others, take it to the next. They whistle at, or pass a lewd comment, at every single female who pass by them. The gang of men/boys they hang out with, usually encourage this. Eve teasing and groping is a fun task, which only the “brave” among them can do.  A boy/man who has the guts to touch a girl (against her wishes obviously)   is the “REAL” man . They dare each other to do something harassing to an innocent woman, which personally they might consider just a normal every day fun activity. These very men might be harmless and even nice when they aren’t with the above said group.

Like one of my friends told me when in groups men’s morality drops down to the one with the lowest morals.  

I was shocked, recently to hear about an acquaintance, who is educated and now happily married with a baby, who used to be an “expert” in groping girls in his younger years, and he wasn’t the slightest bit embarrassed or guilty about it.  I was enraged to put it mildly, how could he? He seemed a decent normal man to me. What made him do that?

  1. He thought it would do no harm. And it was just for “fun”. He had  no idea (like most abusers), the kind of psychological damage and general fear a woman can be filled with , if subjected to such a treatment even if it’s just once.
  2. “Some” girls enjoy it, after all she dresses up to attract men.
  3. His friends thought it was fun and encouraged him. I do not know how to put it across to all the men and the boys who think its “fun” and that harassing someone makes them manly. It is not fun, (wait till you get into prison and is subjected to the same treatment by your fellow mates.)
  4. There are no strict laws which discourage this kind of behavior.

I am astonished most times, when I hear what men talk among themselves. And maybe a little talk can do no harm. However this is my sincere request to all men, or boys who in groups behave abnormally. Who sometimes do horrible things just to feel included in a group.

Stand your ground.

If your friend boasts about how he misbehaved with a girl, or how he pursued a girl while she was returning from college/school, discourage it. Tell him, there’s nothing manly about harassment. Tell him, (even if that means, being subjected to ridicule,) that it just makes him seem desperate and not manly.

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The mob mentality and treating women/girls like commodity is also closely linked with having no personal relationships with girls/women. The only females most of these men interact with are family, which brings us to the second topic.

II) The lack of Co-Education

By segregating girls and boys in their growing years, the whole stigma around the female, is only developed many times more. I have no idea, why people just love to send their kids to girls-only and boys-only schools. Parents believe that doing so, means the girls and boys will have no chance to have a “relationship” and that is best for them. However, the opposite is what happens. Boys who grow up in boys-only schools may not have a relationship with a girl, but that means, they are also completely de-sensitized to girls, and girls are just a bunch of stories, they make up among each other. Their idea of girls and woman are built on never existing stereotypes, that if they do not grope or harass woman, they end up oppressing and harassing the women they meet in their adult lives, who they want to fit into the “good” girl stereotype, which believe me no normal woman/girl can ever fit into.

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Usually girls in girls-only schools have ZERO clue about boys and men, and due to their complete lack of exposure,  they are easy prey to the only men they do meet. That could be a  bus conductor, auto driver, or someone with a fake facebook id .

The men who say that women in their family shouldn’t  carry a cell phone, or that she should wear her dupatta in this particular way are all just an extension of the children who grew up hearing too many stereotypical stories about “good” and “bad” women. Having  a complete lack of exposure to the opposite gender while growing up, doesnt make boys good or worthy. It just makes them have no idea of what a real woman is.  It is important to have healthy friendships with the opposite gender, do science projects with them, study, play, fight, with them as children, and know  women/girls closely, for men to understand that women are complex beings.

Not commodities and most importantly not someone who takes being assaulted or whistled at or groped lightly.

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One Response to “Do-it-first in your friends circle: Treating females with respect”

  1. Anonymous February 27, 2013 at 7:10 am #

    Good writing..good to see your disclaimer..the picture is apt for the content

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