The events in the last couple of months have shown India how much its people need to introspect and spearhead change in society. Let us not spare ourselves this time and ask how we can improve the scenario. Youth Inc offers some solutions
Consider this revelation made by UNICEF last year: 57 per cent of Indian teen boys think it’s okay for the husband to beat his wife if the wife burns the food, argues with her husband, goes out without telling him, etc. More appallingly, 53 per cent of Indian adolescent girls say that this behaviour is justified. Like everything else, only the change that comes from within has the power to change things outside.
Don’t be a female enemy
Us women like to gossip about the new girl in the building, or so-and-so who has landed such-and-such job that requires her to work late. And we love jumping to conclusions. The girl who invites guy friends over is having multiple dalliances. The girl who wears short skirts is of ‘loose’ character. The conclusion for all is common: today’s woman is shameless and is asking for inappropriate advances from men. Before you point accusatory fingers at Asaram Bapu or the RSS Chief, makesure you are not contributing to the prejudice that exists against women with your views. No woman “asks for it”, not even the one who wears short skirts.
Don’t be in denial
That brings us to the next point – untoward incidents do not happen only to women who “ask for it”; they can happen to all women. Don’t brush away the seriousness of any crime against women by thinking, “It won’t happen to me.” It might. Prepare yourself. Take lessons in self-defence. Invest in a pepper spray. Prep your phone to act as an SOS device (flip to our Technology pages to see how).
Don’t spare the little things
It’s the little acts that snowball into a massive crisis. An eve-teaser on the street might make a lewd comment or touch you improperly, but don’t ignore him. Turn around, face him and give him a piece of your mind. If you let him go, you will only give him more confidence to continue eve-teasing and up his ‘game’.
Kill the shame
If you do become the victim of any kind of verbal, physical or emotional abuse, you must speak out. Hiding such incidents will only make you more of a victim and re-enforce the feeling of power in your violator. We women in this country collectively need to liberate ourselves from the shackles of shame and ‘dishonour’. It is true that society’s views will not change overnight, but we need to be able to point out the ever teasers, molesters or men who commit any sexual offence and say, “He’s the one”. Let the shame be his. Even as future parents, we need to make sure the next generation is given the confidence to speak up against wrong-doers without being judged.
How often have you noticed men, travelling in trains or buses, walking down the road, standing near junctions, or anywhere at all, notice a woman and stare? Chances are, if you are a guy, you have also noticed a girl and ‘checked her out’. And in our great nation, it goes a few steps further than this when it enters the territory we like to call eve teasing. The problem isn’t as small as leching because it is the attitude towards women and the manner in which they are treated in our country. This has to change or there will continue to be reports of terrible crimes against women.
The simple stare
Now guys, everyone knows you look. You might see a girl out of the corner of your eye and turn to get a second glance and think there is no big deal in that. But it gets disgusting when you keep staring and make the girl feel uncomfortable. Living under the rouse that you are ‘appreciating beauty’ may just be your justification for being a pervert.
Crude is not cool
You got drunk with your mates last night and had fun abusing a big busted teacher or boss who is giving you hard time? It is well known that guys use crude humour as a form of bonding. Good on you! But every time you make a sexist joke you are helping enforce the attitude that demeans women.
Not just your women
Just because you treat your sister, mother or friend well, doesn’t exempt you from treating other women poorly. It isn’t enough to respect the women in your life and look down on other women you don’t know. You should treat every woman well, whether acquaintance or not.
Not a trophy
Another important piece of information for guys to remember is that women are not a trophy. In fact, women should not be objectified in any way. Period. Eve teasing may be one of the extremes but a more common example that practically every guy will be able to relate to is chasing skirts and trying to go out with women as a way of achieving a trophy among their guy friends.
A couple of guys are at a party, or in a club, a girl walks by in a really short skirt and it seems to afflict every guy’s attention. What ensues after the staring is usually a discussion about how high her skirt rises and a few tags which may be too perverse to put in print. If a guy can put a tag on a girl without even knowing who she is, there is definitely something wrong with the way society treats women. This can also extend to name calling with girls who you know. We say it’s all fun and games till someone gets hurt, but why wait for that drastic moment to make the difference when you can start being civilised now.
Finally, if you see a women being treated badly or if you see or hear a guy refer to a woman in an impolite way, raise your voice. Don’t shrug your shoulder and move on with life because ignoring the little things makes us insensitive as much as the big ones.
Don’t be That Guy Campaign
An advertisement campaign run by NGOs, the Edmonton Police Service, and other groups and individuals, the Don’t Be That Guy campaign was created to stop sexual assault by targeting the people responsible – the perpetrators. Some of the taglines used in the campaign were:
Just because she isn’t saying no, doesn’t mean she’s saying yes.
Just because you help her home, doesn’t mean you get to help yourself.
Just because she’s drunk, doesn’t mean she wants to fu*k
Volume 2 Issue 8