The unfortunate incident at the IT office in Pune on a Sunday throws up a pertinent question – How safe are Women in our society? Are we doing enough to make this planet a better place for them to live . love . laugh . It’s very easy to blame the organization and wash our hands off! Well that would be the Ostrich Approach. Find a scapegoat and Blame it on Rio! There are systemic fault lines that need addressing. In my last post, I mentioned that the other stakeholders in this conundrum, with whom the onus rests too! I’ll address each one of them.
Men. The question I keep posing to the YOUth invariably is: think 5/10 years down the line and imagine YOUr daughter walking down the street; do you think she’ll feel safe. If the answer is NO, then what are you doing about it? Each one of us are responsible. Remember, your silence is a form of consent and complicity. We need more men to have the Courage and Strength to stand up and be heard. YOUr voice counts. YOU make a difference.
Men have largely erased from much of the conversation that is centrally about men. The moment they hear, ‘Women’s Safety’, they take it as a ‘Women’s Issue’ and switch off from the conversation. If YOU think hard, YOU’ll realize that gender violence is largely about men perpetrating brutality on the fairer sex. And men conveniently have eased out of the situation. Buddy, remember, in each of such incidents, besides the perpetrator, present alongside the survivor was a man; be it the boyfriend, husband, brother. The men have let them down. They are the ones who couldn’t stand up to be counted.
And then there is this other issue. Dan Ariely, Prof of Psychology and Economics at MIT and George Loewenstein, Prof at Carnegie Mellon University came up with their findings. Their research examined the effect of sexual arousal, on judgments and decisions made by male college students. Students were asked to: (a) indicate how appealing they find a wide range of sexual stimuli and activities, (b) report their willingness to engage in morally questionable behavior in order to obtain sexual gratification, and (c) describe their willingness to engage in unsafe sex when sexually aroused. The results show that sexual arousal had a strong impact on all three areas of judgment and decision making, demonstrating the importance of situational forces on preferences, as well as subjects’ inability to predict these influences on their own behavior. Thus at the ‘heat of the moment’ the man is unpredictable; in fact so unpredictable, that even he has no idea what it can lead to and up to what extent he would compromise his principles/ scruples.(http://web.mit.edu/ariely/www/MIT/Papers/Heat_of_Moment.pdf).
A news channel had come out with a wonderful ad: Three goons board a bus and the eve teasers hand ‘accidently’ falls on the shoulders of a woman (Soha Ali) sitting in the bus. An old man hauls him up for his misdemeanour and the goon says, “it was only a hand, and it slipped. I say sorry”. And the old man quips, how come your hands don’t slip on your sister’s shoulders or a burning hot oven and ends it giving a slap on the face of the goon. And retorts, “Sorry, it was just my hand and it slipped”. We need to stand up for such eve teasers and raise our voices. Each drop counts. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kk6Bi23Q7-E)
There are certain DON’Ts that every man must understand. (a) Please don’t expect sex in return for buying gifts. (b) And don’t pressurize to have sex; don’t emotional blackmail either. (c) Have the courage to accept a ‘NO’. (d) It’s NOT OK to use force. Under no circumstance can you justify the use of force, EVER. (e) A peck/ kiss doesn’t mean that intercourse will follow. Please. Let HER have the choice. (f) And avoid excessive alcohol/ drugs. They impair your judgment. Besides they let you lose control and deviant behaviour is seen as normal.
Men need to change the macho image. Get used to the fact that women have broken the glass ceiling and they can assert their rights. In patriarchal society, expressing emotions is seen as unmanly. Sensitive males are gentle towards women. You’ll be in connect with your feminine side. Cut off the meek, lame excuses like she provoked it, or she asked for it, or even the ridiculous – I was drunk.
With the nuclear families replacing the joint family system, both the parents are working parents. The onus to teach the children fairly and squarely lies on him too. The foundation of the issues are sown in the family. When the children see their father respecting their mother, they learn respect. Nothing short would do. When they see their father talking/ consulting the mother, they learn to value the opinion of the other half. Inclusiveness. Equality and fairness. Just. When they see their father helping the mother in the household chores, they learn sharing and caring. Responsibility. Duty. Parents need to teach their children better. With such role models in their own homes, they grow up well nourished and with a positive image of the other gender.
Respect . Love . Sharing . Caring .
If the “boys” are delinquents, it’s our failure. We failed to teach them better. We need to think of the role models they see in the daily lives. The kind of movies that are churned out. The kind of lyrics and the kind of songs. Show me a society where the women are ill-treated/ not respected; and I’ll show you a society which is at the edge of the precipice.