Raise Boys well

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 26 Apr 2018 11:32:25

Truer words were never spoken. Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi, in the wake of increasing rapes reported from all parts of the country, categorically called for a social movement against sexual crimes. He strongly feels that while building a social movement to safeguard the girl child and the women in the country should be prioritised, at the same time he stresses that the role of the family is also vital to spread awareness about respecting the daughters in the family. Since assuming office, PM Mr Modi has worked incessantly for upliftment of women and girl child and has floated innumerable schemes for their welfare. After the Nirbhaya gangrape case, the government did bring about changes in the legislation regarding sexual offences against women, and recently, in the backdrop of the national outrage against the rape and murder of a minor in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district and other similar incidents including a case in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, an ordinance has been passed stating that the perpetrators will not escape easily. The criminals will be dealt with severely and face gallows and death sentence. 

Even while the government does its best to act against the perpetrators who assault women - caste, creed, religion and age is no bar for them to commit the heinous crimes - the families will have to play a greater and pivotal role, feels the PM. It is not without reason that we say that charity begins at home. The PM is calling out to families and urging them to change their mindset. ‘Respect your daughters. Teach your sons to become responsible,’ Mr Modi’s fervent appeal calls for the families to take a stand. In effect, Mr Modi is echoing the sentiment that is all pervasive in the society that the psyche of the Indians as regards their sons needs a massive makeover. When parents teach their girls to be cautious, it is imperative that they, at the same time, teach their sons to show due consideration to women; it is time that the sons are taught about gender equality, and also taught that women are not mere commodities to be assaulted at their whim and fancy. Let us raise our boys well, Let us raise boys who do not rape or molest or tease the members of the opposite sex. Once this is taken care, half the battle against sexual assault will have been won.

This is not to say that the implementation of this will bring in instant miraculous changes. Changing the mindset of the Indian parents towards their male progeny will be a difficult task. Restricting boys who are used to unmitigated freedom is going to be tough. But if we are to protect our daughters, this needs to be done on a priority basis. The first step is always testing, but once the families realize that it is necessary to treat both girls and boys at par, a revolution in gender equality will be the outcome. Sexual violence gnaws at the fragile societal fabric and in the present scenario reining in of the boys and repeatedly drilling into them that they do not occupy a higher position on the pedestal than the opposite sex might just help bring down the crimes against women, and not just the sexual crimes but also crimes like domestic abuse. When one talks of changing the mindset, it encompasses a larger view than just teaching respect. The families also need to eliminate female foeticide that has given rise to a skewed sex ratio, which incidentally is touted as one of the reasons for the increase in sexual crimes. It’s a vicious circle, a circle that needs to be broken so that the society can thrive harmoniously. The rights and security of women are at stake. Let us join hands with the PM and, as a society, learn to unite and speak in one voice against the horror unleashed on women and take proactive steps in teaching sons about respect and responsibility.