Respect Begins At Home

Posted: January 14, 2014

New Year 2014 began for me with a news item in many newspapers saying that a 16-year-old girl, who was gang raped twice in a day around two months ago at Madhyamgram in West Bengal and had attempted suicide by setting herself on fire on December 23, succumbed to her injuries at a hospital here on 31st December 2013.

A gang of men had raped the girl on October 25 near her house. Later, the same day, when she was returning home along with her father and mother after lodging a complaint with the local police station, she was again abducted by the same gang and raped.

The chilling memories of the Nirbhaya rape in Delhi came back to mind, along with the memories of tall promises by the government, and of the Rs. 1000 crore Nirbhaya Fund set up by the Government of India.

respect for womenThe Fund, sadly, remains unutilized to this day, so much so that the Delhi High Court, while hearing a PIL on the issue asked the Government how the victim compensation component of Rs. 15 crore of this Fund was being utilized, if at all. To add to the sorry state of affairs, the Union Home Minister said on December 16, 2013 (the anniversary of the December 16, 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape) that the Fund will be utilized “soon”.

I am only illustrating the callous attitude that we as a nation have towards the safety of women, notwithstanding the amendments to the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, candle-light vigils, setting up of funds, special courts and what have you. We are not ashamed when an international survey by the Thomson-Reuters Foundation calls us the fourth most dangerous country for women after Afghanistan, Congo and Pakistan. Notice here that even countries with fundamentalist regimes and stone-age attitudes are safer for women than India.

We are also not ashamed when the Business Insider website rounds up 8 countries where women should be extra cautious and names India as number 1 on the list, followed by Brazil, Turkey, Egypt, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Kenya. If women tourists are safer in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other such countries than they are in India, it says a lot about our attitudes, legal system, governance and sensitivity.

Plenty of statistics also point towards India being horrifyingly unsafe for women, but who needs statistics? From leering and groping to molestation, rape, trafficking, acid attacks, child marriages and other such insidious acts, we as a country stand out from the rest of the world. This does not take into account what many women go through in their own households- from the dowry related taunts to beatings which almost always go unreported.

Let respect for women begin at home. Let us treat our wives and daughters with the respect they deserve, only then will we look at women outside our four walls with different eyes.

“Humankind is made up of two sexes, women and men. Is it possible for humankind to grow by the improvement of only one part while the other part is ignored? Is it possible that if half of a mass is tied to earth with chains that the other half can soar into skies?” ― Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

“Of all the evils for which man has made himself responsible, none is so degrading, so shocking or so brutal as his abuse of the better half of humanity; the female sex.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Pic credit: UN Women Asia Pacific (Used under a Creative commons license)

I am a former bureaucrat, and have worked a lot on gender issues, disaster management

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  1. We have seen in many houses, parents remain away from their daughters, their sisters and their cousin sisters and are not exchanging much communication with female gender of the family with result they remain ignorant with the feelings and desires of this neglected gender. Such people are really not having respect for this gender but think that the female gender is only used to produce children and that is why think to disrespect them. The author of the article has rightly said that ” Respect for female gender must be started at home only “

  2. It is true ,its not only that when a women is only disrespected when she is raped, she is the most ignorant person at home,as she is a housewife she is only supposed to do the work for which she is not paid nor admired.

    • true many women are innocent…husband thailand gayr hain durian fruit lene while he must fulfiling all his dreams there. And when v get STD or HIV poor thing will think its the syringe

  3. Well written sir! I agree that respect should be taught at home. I have a son and a daughter…. I promised myself that I would teach them respect manners and courage ….. After listening to stories daily where from a child to a grandma some one or the other face horror… It has made me even more stubborn to teach them …….

  4. The worst part is the victim was made to feel as if getting assaulted twice was her own fault. Moreover, one of her tormentors was a female neighbor from her erstwhile locality!!!

    The way things are moving in India, we might as well start honouring these criminals/rapists in public functions!!!

    That’s why I derive a devilish satisfaction year after year when I see Durga Puja being spoiled owing to heavy rain or other natural disasters. It seems a sort of vindication and message from Mother Goddess where she is no longer able to tolerate the double standards shown by this society.

  5. Well written Sir, This thought process is required very much. But alas it is a thought process only in some middle class good families. A Woman is only an object of use – wether be it a natural satisfaction or child bearing or household chores or earning money in mordern world of today.

    This will change only by change of thought process with which a woman is looked at. Alas Modernization has allevated woman more as an object of desire and use than as an equal is human species thru its cunsumption education. Where education itself is in a sorry state and we need to really think on What Exactly should we teach the new generations.

    As every education and charity begins at home. This education should begin at home by seniors of the society – Both Men & Women. Men should teach the respect of a woman to younger generations and Women should stand up for themselves and the younger generations and teach the your generations how respect and get respect to mantain the harmony at home, work & world.

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