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Many crimes are being committed against women by stalking men. Do most of them happen simply because men can’t take a no for an answer?
A tragic incident was in the news few days ago. A serving army officer was arrested as a prime accused in the gruesome murder of his colleague’s wife. Apparently he was furious after she refused to marry him. He slit her throat before pushing her out and running his car over her; killing her on the spot. He could not take a ‘no’ for an answer.
A pregnant woman was shot dead at a wedding function in Punjab, when she allegedly refused to dance with the groom’s friend. The accused could not fathom the insult of being rejected by a ‘mere orchestra girl’. He could not take ‘no’ for an answer. Police arrested the person who owned the gun and began looking for the actual perpetrator of the crime. The Haryana government sprung into action and banned the use of firearms in wedding ceremonies.
A few months before the above incident, a 34-year-old married woman was stabbed to death on the crowded first-floor corridor of MG Metro station in Gurgaon. The accused was an auto driver who had unsuccessfully tried to court her for several months. He could not take ‘no’ for an answer. Police arrested the accused and promised more security and CCTV cameras at metro stations.
Every year many women’s lives are spoiled when spurned lovers decide to throw acid on them with an intention to disfigure, maim, torture or even kill women who do not return their advances. They can’t take a ‘no’ for an answer. Governments promise to make strict laws and put restriction on acid sales. All the actions taken by the government, authorities are commendable but can we ignore the underlying cause for all such incidents? It’s all because men just can’t take ‘no’ for an answer.
Not all those who perpetrate such heinous crimes are sociopaths with criminal intents. They are ordinary people doing everyday jobs with normal families. But they do suffer from a deep seeded societal chauvinism with an inherent disregard for a woman’s opinion. Men especially from patriarchal societies grow up watching their submissive mothers serving all the other men in the family. Young girls who voice their opinions are considered to be spoiled and taught to be meek.
Hot food is always served first to the men while women folk eat afterwards. It is such little gestures which lodge a thought in their minds that they are somehow superior to the opposite gender and entitled to do whatever they desire with them. A woman does not deserve to have an opinion and should not have the audacity to say no.
This generation idolize Bollywood heroes who unabashedly sang “kab tak roothegi, cheekhegi, chillayegi; ek din haseena maan jayegi” (Crude translation – How long will a pretty girl scream, shout and be angry; one day she will agree)
A very welcoming respite was movie ‘Pink’ which highlighted the concept of consent. Things will surely improve when educated families give good ethos to both their boys and girls instilling mutual respect. It is also imperative to establish an atmosphere of equal respect for women and girls of the family and not giving in to every unnecessary whim and demand of children.
The act remains that the root cause for such incidents is not just the easy availability of weapons or acid but the cultural and social problems of our society. Having a son is an equal, if not greater, responsibility than having a daughter.
It is high time we teach our boys to take ‘no’ for an answer.
Published first here.
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Dentist, writer, corporate healthcare professional. In my earlier avatar, I taught budding dentists and published
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