I have been through a roller-coaster of emotions and thoughts since the rape and molestation cases in India have been the buzz. I am not talking about any particular case, all rapes are wrong, there aren’t levels to it. All types of physical molestation are wrong, no matter which part of the body is involved.
I always try to look for solutions and ways of being pro-active. It is important to me that all female humans of India keep aside their aspirations, and desires and chose to be safe than sorry. Because in the end of the day, it we who are going to be exploited. Till a change comes in this country it’s all about being safe and not raising your voice for small skirts, late nights and drunken nightlife. We have to be educated and practical.
No one is guaranteeing a change right now, not even the women. But as mothers there are several things we can do.
1. Mentor your son– In India women are treated as a liability. This thought process is most commonly seen amongst women, women are the worst enemies of women here. When the women themselves are projecting themselves and their daughters and other women in general as inferior, or as a pain or liability, then the boys/men are sent the message of ‘ go ahead and dominate all you want’. Accept it, we are at fault here. As mothers it’s important to make sure that your sons especially, know that women are human beings just like them, they are important, they are equal, they have feelings and need to be treated with respect NO MATTER WHAT. The reason why men are able to grope, or rape, or tease or molest is because they have been taught from the very beginning that the woman is a slave for the world. And women enticing men on bilboards, and movies isn’t helping either. It sends the message that woman are willing to ‘bear all’ for money and to entertain the men, and let’s not be hypocritical here. Denial isn’t getting us out of rape nation. Raise boys to become men of honour, who can create a safe environment, who respect, value and protect women.
2. Communicate with your schools– Yes!, the school, get involved, ask your school if they’re having any program for students about ‘good touch/bad touch’. Are the boys and girls being educated about basic morals of physical conduct and boundaries. Compel them to conduct such workshops at-least once and year, and have class teachers remind students about these concepts in class regularly.
3. Educate yourself– There are workshops and seminars conducted for school faculties AND parents on this topic. Go with your husband, call your friend mommies, expose yourself to the psychology and thought process behind these happenings. Learn about the symptoms, signs, and experiences of the victims. Learn how to communicate with your children, figure out how you can discuss these issues openly in your circle of family and friends and come up with solutions. Don’t chose to be ignorant about it, don’t blame the victim and think you’re safe. Advice your childs school to actively participate in such workshops, or I would suggest change the school to one that cares about your child!
4. Communicate with your kids– Keep a healthy communication with your children girls AND boys. Make them comfortable enough to be able to tell you anything and everything. Make sure you teach them about physical boundaries, what is expected out of them in terms of conduct with the opposite gender, at school or otherwise. Build trust, tell them you won’t be judgmental, that you’ll always support them. Make sure you know who they hang out with, monitor their television, cell phone and internet usage. Remember that you’re the adult, and how positively you project adulthood will reflect in your childs enthusiasm in growing up and being one him/herself. Speak to them about good and bad touch, there are books available online to buy, visit a library, ask your school counselor to help you out. There are videos also on YouTube that can be a great aid to this communication. There’s no excuse, your resistance is going to turn into regret, if you don’t take responsibility as the adult.
5. Better safe than sorry– Make this your motto. There are many things in life we want to do, but we don’t because of a variety of reasons. The same goes with your wants to wear certain clothes, speak a certain way, live a certain lifestyle etc. just like the many things you compromise, compromise a little on this for YOUR OWN safety. Reality check: we’re not living in a perfect world. Maybe in the future there will be a time where women will feel safe wearing anything they fancy, doing anything they fancy, at any time of the day. Hopefully that day will come. But till then it’s better to be safe. Carry a can of pepper spray, it’s 100% legal, be ready to knock anyone out, you have all right to protect yourself. Mentally prepare yourself and your daughters to be safe, and this will automatically reduce the fear that we are carrying around on a regular basis. The fear is not only there because men with ugly souls are around us, the fear is also there because we know we aren’t prepared enough. The fear is there because somewhere our poor parenting is resulting in such men also.
Please be proactive, leave comments below, start a discussion, voice your opinions, share your thoughts and knowledge on such issues. Be an educated, proactive and safe mom.