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After the Bengaluru mass molestation incidents, it’s time to be the change we all want to see. The change we seek has to start at the individual level.
It’s been twelve days into the new year and of the various things that we are trying to come to terms with, one happens to be the darkest phase of the celebrations at Bengaluru. There is strong condemnation at mass level and we have also launched the attack through social media platforms.
This is also not the very first time that something of the sort has taken place and as I read more on the subject I only hear reverberations of thoughts. Clear enough we have mulled over the subject, expressed our angst, undergone excruciating pain, preached, shared and shouted over rooftops. But our men just don’t seem to be getting it.
A friend once pointed out that there is enough chivalry around and it is unfair to point fingers at the entire community of men. I’m yet to see those ‘chivalrous’ men! All I can see are people who turn blind and deaf and dumb when they see women being treated inappropriately.
In this I include lyricists who don’t think twice before penning lewd songs, singers who lend their voice to such derogatory numbers and those who choose to play and replay those songs at discos and then in their minds. I also include those who refuse to stand up against a friend who finds passing easy remarks on women, behind their back, an insignia of his machismo.
I include those who cannot see a woman colleague have an edge over them professionally or otherwise. I also choose to point fingers at men behind wheels who jibe at every woman driver on the road.
And wait! There are women on my list too. A mother who defends her abusive son against his wife, another who covers up for her young boy with the cliché, “Boys will be boys!”, a neighbourhood aunty who has gossip stories about the young girls in her locality and doesn’t think twice before judging them.
Yes, I include all these people and many many more of their creed in my list. For me, they are nothing less than perpetrators of molestation of women. Molestation that is beyond groping. Day in and day out if we feed ourselves on regressive ways that have been there since ages, we are never going to find a way out of “Bengaluru’s”.
To bring about a change, they say, you have to be the change yourself. I know for one that I’m not going to allow archaic ideas to prevail. I refuse to pass them on to my children. I refuse to be judgemental of girls for any reason, from clothes to the way they drive. I refuse to discuss figures back home with my children and I refuse to play numbers that objectify women.
I refuse to tell my son that he will naturally become the sole head of the family. I refuse to defend him on all grounds always. Likewise I refuse to teach my daughter to accept everything naturally. I refuse to teach her lessons of adjustment.
I refuse, I refuse, I refuse….
The list is long. It is almost endless if I look at the ancient patriarchal structure that I must take on. But I do know that until we all make our personal lists in this case, the change will be a far fetched reality.
As women, there is only one thing I repeatedly ask of all of us. Let us learn to stand up for each other and never against each other. As mothers, sisters, wives, mothers-in-law, friends…let us be together. That’s the only way we can fight back.
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Top image via Unsplash