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Molesters and rapists are not just born. They are grown of the apathy society has towards the emotional needs of men, that expects men to be strong and silent at all times.
These days whenever I catch a man staring at me, I look back, smile and say hello. If he does not respond with a hello, he turns purple with shame – one of the two! I have come a long way.
I remember, when I was hardly fourteen. I was just ten paces away from the gate of my house. Two boys in their teens, on an unwieldy bicycle came too close for my comfort. One of them brushed his hand on my cheek, gave a mirthful laugh and went on! I was a little shaken. I was later made to feel very bad about the incident, but at that moment, it did not record in my mind at all.
And just about three years ago, I was in this crowded hospital where men and women made circuitous queues, in a stuffy waiting room. As I crossed past a queue to get more information, one man touched me inappropriately. I did not think before grabbing his hand, I held it up like they do in the boxing competition, to announce the winner.
“What are you doing?” I asked menacingly, as all eyes turned towards us, and retaining the grip still strong and firm, I said, “Do not do it again.” The fifty or so people in that room were shocked and speechless. I left him there pale and purple, his poor wife embarrassed on his behalf too. I can assure you, none of those men in that room will ever take that liberty again! Not if some girl is going to make an ugly show of them.
So is it easy to be a man? It is really difficult actually. Man is supposed to be the pillar of support to all and sundry, the breadwinner of the family, the silent sentry in thick and thin, the infallible back bone of every home. There is a whole section of society, in all walks of life, where no one really bothers if men also have some unattended emotional need! A fear, a pain, a hurt, an inhibition, a weakness, a need for help, advice or support. Their emotions have been suppressed to the extent that, they just don’t know how to express it anymore.
In fact it is quite common to see men closing up in their own space or getting really aggressive, one of the two, when they face a difficult situation. In similar circumstances women would likely choose to talk it out. It is a vacuum which our male centric society creates for its favoured gender!
When a gruesome incident like that of Nirbhaya occurs, the whole society asks, don’t these men have mothers and sisters? Actually they don’t, not in the truest sense. Nor do they have any brother or father or a kin on whose shoulders they can cry.
Oh no, don’t mistake this statement as my pity towards them. These guys went too far for return, or redemption. But eve teasers are at every corner of the planet. They keep away from harm, but cause enough damage.
Most of these men have their support system in shambles, their mothers, sisters, and wives. These women in their homes share emotional support only among themselves. Men folk are to be held with high regard and respect only, not to be pitied and cared for and supported and advised. High and dry! Their Fathers and Brothers of course are incapable of offering any such help. Sometimes these men fill no purpose for anyone, not even for themselves. Where else are the eve teasers being manufactured? At the backyards of these homes where they find no succour, no support.
It is considered macho to get drunk in the moments of weakness, or to have an insatiable desire for sex. These men are basically hapless and homeless, even though they have a roof over their heads. Some of them, and a lot of them in the financially weaker sections, even fail to provide for their families, because they do not really consider their homes theirs. And we thought only women are suppressed – yes, as a result, they eventually are!
What must a man do when he feels like breaking down? There are brave men of the world, who break down into tears before their mothers, their sisters and their wives, even fathers and brothers, even daughters and sons. These are homes with gender equity. And then there are those who break a girl’s dignity, in an effort to hide their own weakness. Some do it as a vocation, day after day.
Faced with this quandary, what if our society redefined shame? A woman attacked by such a victim, yes these eve teasers (molesters) are the real victims, should shame such a man into realising how weak he is. The entire society should shame the family which produces such an insecure man. Couldn’t the family show more empathy towards their boys? On the other hand a woman who braves such sociopaths, should be given awards of honour. How do we bring this change? That is for each of us to figure!
This wedge from my memory comes to mind. After my dad passed away, we were three women left in our house, my mother, my sister and myself. We obviously managed our home by ourselves. One day I visited a friend who lived nearby. She had two quite short and much younger brothers, they seemed to need a lot of protecting at this phase of their lives. My friend, a school hockey player was now studying in a reputed college far from home, managing life on her own. She was past her teens, and so was I – we had gone to school together.
I mentioned during my visit that, I was on my way to buy vegetables. This little boy, one of the brothers, of about twelve, to my utter amazement said, “Isn’t there a man in your house to do all this stuff?”
When little boys are serving roles of sentinel to their highly emancipated sister, where is the chance for them to grow up hoping for emotional and physical protection for themselves? We create brats and we condemn them and then we get offended by them. Who is at fault?
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Published here earlier.
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I am a Chartered Accountant and a Mother of a 7 year old. Writing is
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