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We tend to focus too much on telling our girls what not to do to be safe. Instead, we must focus on telling our boys what not to do. Much more effective in curbing the rising rape culture.
The CORE and the most inherent reason of the mistreatment of women in our country is that ‘Girls are not valued’. That’s the base, the underlying fact on which all of this functions. ‘Girls are just NOT valued.’ That’s it. That’s the truth.
So, ‘Save the Girls’, ‘Beti Bachao’ and all such slogans and campaigns are a sham. You don’t care enough to save them. Yes, you might want to save your reputation, your ‘honour’ and all those things that feed your ego. But girls? Beti and all? Naah! Not so much. I don’t think so. I don’t buy that.
It’s fine. At some point all of us girls learn this fact, and also then learn to live with it and make our way through. So, forget girls. Lets talk about boys.
They are important, right? Care enough to save them? I am sure everyone is. Then fucking pay attention to them. Your Boys Need Saving. More than anyone else.
10 year-old, 14-15 year-old children, who happen to be boys, are turning into criminals.
Your very own ‘Raja Betas’, who are so dear to you and who you think are going to someday make you proud, are mistreating girls’ bodies. They are raping them, stalking them, harassing them, and enjoying obscenity. You might not want to face it but you need to. Because it is happening. For the sake of your sons, please.
All this while, all your attention was on ‘Kahin ladki haath se naa nikal jaye’.(Hope the girl does not go out of control.) You never paid attention to the fact that ‘Actually Aapka ladka haath se nikal gaya hai’. (Actually your boy has gone out of control!)
All this while you were worried ‘Kahin humaari ladki ke saath kuch galat naa ho jaye’. (I hope nothing goes wrong with my daughter.) You never paid attention to ‘Kahin humaara ladka kuch galat naa kar de’. (I hope my son does not do anything wrong!)
Why are you not paying attention to your boys if you love them so much? Why are you not monitoring their actions, their company, their activities?
Do something other than criticizing this generation. Yes, this generation is a mess. But if you have so much problem with this generation, then don’t forget who raised this generation.
Just like we teach our children from the very beginning that ‘stealing is wrong, you have to ask before you take other people’s things, murder is a crime, police will put you in jail, you will be punished if you commit these crimes’; similarly we need to teach them about consent.
We need to tell them loudly and clearly that you have to ask before you touch someone’s body, you have to move away if they say no. Following people (girls) from school to their houses is not fun. It’s stalking. Its a crime. You will be arrested. It doesn’t matter if you ‘just liked the person’. Find a better and decent way to express your liking.
Say these things to your boys. Loud and clear. They will not know until we tell them.
If young boys, who should be filled with love and joy and playfulness and dreams, are turning into criminals, then it is our collective failure as parents, as teachers, and as a society. We are obviously doing something wrong. And we need to correct it before its too late.
Shift your focus from saving the girls to saving the boys.
If you are a man reading this post, take responsibility for the young kids in your household. You’re their role model. Your nephews, your cousin, your brother, your son… Hang out with them. Sit with them. Play with them. Have conversations with them. Share your childhood stories, your school stories with them. Tell them about the pranks you have played, the girls you have dated, the rejections you have faced, the mistakes you have made, the lessons you have learned in your life.
Make them more human. These young boys who indulge in harassing girls are not connected with their own humanity.
Be that cool bhaiyya, that cool chachu, that cool uncle, that cool dad he can talk to and ask questions to. Understand that he is anyway exposed to all kinds of information on the internet. So be specific. Don’t shy away from mentioning the words sex, rape, drugs, harassment, consent, depression. Don’t change the news channel when a rape story is being reported. Discuss it. Loud and clear.
Stop giving these topics the comfort of silence.
Teach them about CONSENT. About Healthy Boundaries. About the privilege they enjoy. About how they are NOT ENTITLED to everything they want.
Policing children is not going to work. Lecturing them is not going to work. Having open ended conversations with them is the only solution. Make them connect with their human-self.
Showing love to your 10 year old children by gifting them expensive phones and gadgets (that too without any monitoring) is not something they need. Gift them your time. Gift them your stories, your lessons.
We need to save our boys. The girls will automatically be saved. #SaveYourBoys
P.S.: And yes, I know #NotAllMen. I get it. We all get it. This article is for them only.
Image source: a still from the movie Dhadak
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