Walking Out Of Our Comfort Zones To Discuss Male Responsibility In Contraception

Posted: December 28, 2015

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Why should contraception mostly be a woman’s responsibility? Maybe we all need to walk out of our comfort zones and discuss the importance of male responsibility in contraception.

Remember the Whisper ad in which Renuka Shahane coyly says that she wants to share some news and then goes ahead to  endorse the product? I have the same feeling now as I want to say something which has to be said. I am extending myself way out of my comfort zone to write this piece. But this has to be said if I want to make peace with  myself.

The trigger for this feeling was the recent media leak of the CBI charge sheet  of Jiah Khan murder case.

Who Jiah Khan, you ask?

Well I had the same question when she committed suicide  two years back. I want to be neutral as I comment on this issue, so I won’t go into whether or not the accused really did such a heinous act. I don’t want to be a judge. But the incident itself raises many questions which I want to address.

The foremost among which  is the basic struggle of setting priorities. Maybe everyone needs to put this on a plaque somewhere. The basic commandment of life-  “Thou shalt not be a hypocrite.”

It is simple, if you are drunk, don’t drive. If you cannot accept being in a relationship publicly, don’t be in one! And with this commandment is a message to every woman to stop being a doormat. A relationship is not the only thing that defines you and should not be the reason to take such a drastic step. If a successful, educated, famous girl allows someone to treat herself so badly, what chance does a simple rural Indian woman stand?

Another thing at the core of it is the issue of irresponsible sexual behavior. Every time an unmarried girl becomes pregnant, it is somehow only her fault. I fail to see how. The stigma attached to such an incident forces women to take drastic steps.

It would take ages for us Indians to be open to this idea but isn’t it better that a woman/ teenager explores her sexuality safely as against harming her body with morning after pills and abortions. Forget the health aspect, isn’t there a moral obligation here towards the next generation?

Hypothetically, (again trying to be neutral) a person had the heart to flush his unborn child down the toilet? For his highly unreliable career? Get your priorities right. What does this speak about our society?

I have heard cases of  married women torturing themselves with IUDs when their bodies reject it, to bleed for months and have painful periods, only so that they remain responsible for birth control. Isn’t it the responsibility of men too? Why isn’t a inexpensive piece of rubber a preferred source of protection? What about following the calendar?

It pains me to see women getting major surgeries ( yes, C-section is a major surgery!) followed by taking care of newborns and perhaps an elder child and yet have to take the responsibility of avoiding pregnancy. Some line should be drawn as to how far a woman should suffer. It is high time men woke up to this and share the responsibility. It is not just the woman’s  domain. (I would really appreciate it if a trained gynaecologist could write an article on options with pros/cons)

Fortunately, many modern Indian men are waking up to the idea of male vasectomy and male contraception. But then we have such incidents that brings the whole progress thing down. Agreed, it happened and keeping the moral issues aside, two people decided that now is not the right time. What should have followed is proper medical care and counseling irrespective of the marital status of the girl and the stigma attached.

This incident has deeply shaken me, and with every site picking up the story it keeps popping up. It makes me feel sick to the core. I am afraid to bring my daughter up in a world where such heinous acts are performed by people in the public eye. But this should also be the turning point where we realize what’s going wrong and start making amends.

The first step was me stepping out of my comfort zone to start discussing these issues. I hope many more follow suit.

Image source: contraception education by Shutterstock.

Author, Blogger, Mother, Daughter, Wife & Mechanical Engineer https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6696131.Dixy_Gandhi

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  1. It is a parent’s responsibility at the right time in their child’s life and definitely at the time of a child’s marriage to be frank and open about this issue. Since female contraception is far more tedious to execute and most often even risky to a woman’s health (thereby the health of her unborn offspring too) to use pills or various devices – it is a no brainer here for parents to advice their children at the right age about contraception and the advantages of male contraception in sexual relations. But our refusal or inhibitions as parents to start this conversation leads to unnecessary strife in the lives of our children and often permanent damage to their health and happiness. Family planning and the healthier option of male contraception must start with parents advising their sons and daughters BEFORE marriage or entering into a physical relationship. While parents talk to their kids about managing finances and careers etc it is even far more important that they DO NOT avoid this conversation at the right age. We cannot pretend that we do not recognise the negative outcomes from not having this conversation. Let us be mature and sensible about this and not pretentious about this. Let us make a commitment to ourselves and our children that this is not a matter to be trivialised or swept under the carpet. At least as educated women and mothers we can make a start ourselves and encourage other parents both fathers and mothers to step up to this responsibility and not neglect it by leaving this matter to the forces of nature or fate or even worse.

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