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Haryana IAS Officer Resignation Reveals How Our Houses Are Still Burning Under Patriarchy

Posted: May 12, 2020

The resignation of IAS Office Rani Nagar due to workplace harassment is another reason we need to act on the fire of patriarchy burning in our houses.

It is disturbing to hear that a 2014 batch IAS officer resigned from the service citing “personal safety on government duty.” And it is just as frustrating to see that, no matter how successful you are, you still be subject to violence and harassment. All this, simply because you belong to the ‘second sex.’

I understand it must have taken lot of courage to resign from such a position. It is like death of all the aspirations and ambitions she once had. She studied for a safe future. Unfortunately, it was too much to ask from this biased unfair world.

Quitting doesn’t always mean you were weak

Her journey suddenly became so painful that quitting felt like the most appropriate option. What’s worse is that her resignation was not because she was afraid or frustrated. It because life is much beyond these endless, meaningless court fights.

In my opinion, quitting is not always a bad thing. We must quit wrong things to become successful at right things. It isn’t always about winning or losing. Sometimes, it is about taking a moment to decide whether this battle is worth fighting. After all, a job cannot be the end of the world.

It becomes more painful when people correlate this resignation with lack of willpower. Many would suggest that she should have fought for what she believed in. Well, the question is for how long?

Violence against women is deeply instilled in us

As a woman, I can feel how difficult it must be for a fighter like her to surrender before the system and society. The message is crystal clear. Violence against women is a deep rooted social problem.

No matter how hard we try to get rid of it, the stereotype of ‘a weak and inferior woman’ will remain embedded in people’s mind. This patriarchal system has continued since the time of Rig Veda. Customs and values were made by men to favour men. Women suffer this discrimination in silence.

This is the same country where a High Court judge believes that man, alone, cannot rape a woman in good health. How can one alone change the mindset of a judiciary when the courts are deeply embedded with patriarchal notions? Expectations of fair investigation and justice become a mere daydream in the land of an insensitive, corrupt and unaccountable law enforcement machinery.

The resignation very much reflects the helplessness of a crippled system. She cannot change everyone’s mindset, so why bother? It is wise to change the course and give life a fresh start!

How long will you fight a losing battle?

Nirbhaya’s mother fought for seven long years to get convicts punished. Her patience is commendable. However when you are young and have spirit to work, create, explore and innovate getting trapped in these endless fights is nothing but absolute foolishness.

Any act of sexual harassment confirms that all measures to prevent violence have failed. Reaction against this unfair incident is largely an expression of helplessness. Survivors of serious sexual assault suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of their experiences.

According to a recent report, the severity of the condition raised after their cases investigated by authorities, resulted in acquittal of convicts. Assault on women is the last stage. She suffers from a multitude of stresses afterwards. And she will always be judged. The society will always point finger towards her rather than changing the patriarchal mindset.

Our houses are on fire right now

This reminds me the lines of the climate activist Greta Thunberg where she says, “I don’t want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic. And I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. I want you to act like your house is on fire because it really is.”

They say unity is strength. It is no longer a one on one fight. And it just cannot be handled that way. Women need to step forward.

We cannot always beg before the world for justice. What we need to do is show that we are united and persuade the courts that this system has got to change.

If we really want a safe and healthy world for our younger generations we must act and act now.

Picture credits: Facebook

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