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Consent is needed in all relationships - whether intimate, or for mutual respect and a healthy social fabric, and needs to be taught from childhood.
Consent, a fundamental aspect of human interaction and respect, is a concept that is gaining newfound prominence in India. In this article, we will explore the evolving landscape of consent in India, addressing the challenges and the urgent need for change. We will also discuss how instilling the values of consent begins at home, shaping the future of our society.
In India, traditional beliefs have often obscured the importance of consent. Many individuals still cling to the notion that consent is not required within familial or close-knit relationships. This misguided perception has manifested in distressing incidents such as marital rapes, date rapes, and assaults on sex workers. Recent Hindi cinema, exemplified by “Satyaprem Ki Katha,” has shed light on this pervasive issue, urging society to reflect on the need for consent beyond personal relationships.
Understanding consent goes beyond the confines of relationships; it is essential for fostering a healthy social fabric and setting personal boundaries. It impacts every facet of our lives, from interpersonal interactions to building a society founded on respect.
One of the primary reasons behind the prevailing lack of awareness about consent in India is the absence of formal education and open discussions about the topic within families. Parents often believe that, as caregivers, they do not need to seek consent from their children.
For instance, we rarely ask our children for permission before offering a hug or a kiss. Moreover, when our children decline to meet guests or greet them, we often disregard their feelings and pressurize them to conform to social norms, neglecting their emotions in the process.
To instill the concept of consent in our children, it is essential to lead by example. Children are more likely to emulate the behavior they observe at home rather than heed lengthy lectures. Begin by asking your child, “May I hug you?” or “Can I give you a kiss?” Teach them that everyone, including themselves, deserves respect and consent before physical contact. Encourage them to express their own desires by saying, “Can I hug you, Mom?” or “May I give you a kiss, Dad?”
This practice promotes a healthy understanding of consent, applicable to both girls and boys.
It is crucial to realize that consent is a fundamental right that transcends all types of relationships. Whether it is an intimate partnership, a casual encounter, or a familial bond, mutual respect and consent are paramount. Rather than merely preaching about consent, it is the act of practicing it that truly transforms our society.
The concept of consent in India is undergoing a transformation, breaking free from age-old misconceptions. It begins with fostering a culture of consent within our homes, where children learn through our actions. By nurturing this culture, we empower the future generation to understand the value of respect, boundaries, and the right to consent in all aspects of life. Consent is not just a matter of courtesy; it is the cornerstone of a more compassionate and inclusive society.
Image source: a still from the film Satyaprem ki Katha
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