Monday, 29 October 2012

Violence against Women

I am sure the saner elements of the society would be distraught with the increased violence against women in the last couple of years.  There were acid attacks, gang rapes, murders by jilted lovers, abduction and what not.  I would say that this continuous exposure to these incidents, where the heinousness of the crime had only increased with time had actually numbed our senses to even react.  And the impunity with which the perpetrators of these crimes get away, assisted by their clever lawyers, is equally heart wrenching.

(No photographs of any victim are shown deliberately to guard their privacy and dignity)
But, is the society to blame for such a situation?  I would say partly 'yes' because our boys grow up in an environment such as this:-

1. The mother prefers him to her daughters and gives him the best food (there may be many exceptions of course).
2.  He gets preferential treatment at home over his sisters.
3. In the movies that he watches, the hero and his gang of friends eve tease, trouble and bad mouth the heroine but she still falls in love with that hero only.
4.  Similarly, it is shown in many movies that the heroine is at first a stylish and head strong girl whom the hero subdues by winning some competition against her or actually slapping her face (yes you read right SLAPPING her).  The heroine the dumbo she is, falls in love with this guy for slapping her.  I am sure many of you have seen this in movies.  So, effectively the viewer gets the message that - 'if the girl is stylish or headstrong give her a tight slap and she will fall in line" And believe me, these are main stream movies with top heroes/heroines and not "b" grade flicks.
5.  Movies where the heroine is reduced to a sex object in skimpy clothes having sex on screen or doing item songs
6.  Reports in the society of panchayats giving a verdict for the rapist to marry the  victim as a delivery of justice.  Whether the girl herself would like to marry the rapist or how long would the rapist abide by the marriage are non existent questions in present times.

It can be reasonably said that the mind of a baby is pure and clean. The kind of thoughts and ideas that we put into it would be the guiding principles for all the decisions taken by that baby.  So our baby boys are fed on a steady diet of discrimination against women, domestic and sexual violence through a steady exposure of the same through conditions at home, films, TV and at work/college.  This naturally skews their perception of women and every action they take is a reflection of those thoughts that have been implanted in their young minds.

It can also be reasonably stated that most of the guys where there is max violence are actually sex starved, firstly, because there is a shortage of women and secondly because they find skimpily clad women both in films and on TV.  Imagine this situation - A bunch of young guys drinking for a couple of hours in a pub watching skimpily clad heroines on TV (and a few of them on the dance floor) would quite obviously be in an aroused state and all that they need is actually an outlet at that time.  At this time, I recollect what one Police Commissioner of Mumbai said a few years back - When he was asked to ensure that there are no call girls in Mumbai, he responded by saying that they are the ones who keep the city safe for women in Mumbai (considering the large amount migrant population including workers).  So all that these young guys need is a release and they are taking it out on whoever they find on the streets by abduction & gang rapes.  It may be simplistic to say but letting releases (read call girls) be available i.e without police trouble may be one effective way of getting rid of these monsters on the roads!!

The other issue is of acid attacks and murder attempts/murders by jilted lovers.  I think, we as a society are not addressing this issue seriously enough.  Only one incident of timely action comes to my mind - there was a girl in a southern state who was attacked with acid by two boys and she had to be admitted to the icu of a major hospital.  The Police chief of that city who visited that hospital was so touched by the plight of that girl that he ordered a thorough search for those two boys.  Both the boys were caught and subsequently killed in police firing, reportedly while trying to escape custody.  When the news that the boys were killed  was conveyed to the girl who was on her death bed  - i still remember what she said before breathing her last which was -  " God is there".  That city did not have any more acid attacks while that chief was there.  I have no hesitation in standing up to salute that Gentleman for having made a difficult yet right decision.

To curb this violence there is a job cut out for everyone (listed in  brief and one can use one's own imagination to expand on it)

1. All mothers - Don't treat your son better than your daughters.  This is important as this is the basic start point in the baby's formative years.

2.  For Film makers - Dont depict heroines in a stereo type manner.  Dont depict them only as sexual objects in skimpy clothes!!! C'mon Guys you owe it to the society to make it a better place. Its your social responsibility. Dont shun it.  Just because a "sheela ki jawani" or "Munni" have become hit songs does not take away any of the vulgarity in them or the depiction of a woman as a sexual object.  I am sure they have irreversibly damaged the mindset of many young guys!!
3.  For TV film makers- Dont depict some of them as  scheming and evil women.  Guys you too owe the society just like your big brothers of the film world.

4.  For Police -  Allowing call girls to operate in these high risk areas (high risk for rape) may not be a bad idea.

5.  For Moral police - Monitoring the free sexual content on internet and razing a war against that would be far more beneficial to the society than blackening the faces of a few hapless girls in pubs.
6. Lastly for the Govt - how about self defence courses (judo/karate etc) for girls from primary school level? It may not help if pitted against muscular men but will be of some help against normal guys

7. Even Family balancing could be an answer to this.  Normally a guy with a sister is likely to be more tolerant than a guy with no sisters.  So, even family balancing could help. You can read about family balancing here

There is a lot more to write here and my heart really goes out for the victims.  I hope the government steps in to ensure that all the victims get fair justice and rehabilitation support!!!

May god be with them in all their endeavours!!! 

A related reading is this blog post 

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

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