Right now, the entire India is celebrating its one of the most splendid festivals, “Navratri.” It is a festival where we pray to Goddess Durga, a symbol of strength a woman has in her. Ironically, where one side, the whole country, worships a goddess so divinely, the other side is one of the most unsafe countries for women in the world. It’s the same country where sexual assault, rapes, eve-teasing, violence against women has nearly become a new normal. However, today, I am not writing to tell you how grave the evil situation against women is in India. You have already witnessed countless candle marches to discern that.
Today this piece is for the one who raises a generation, people who possess the highest respect in our culture, yes, “To all the Parents.” What parents have to do with increasing rapes? Well, because I firmly believe that it’s not just the men who rape; it’s also those parents who raised such minds. It’s a well-known fact that a child is most influenced by his parents in his formative years. The way a man treats a woman depends profoundly on his bond with his mother and his parents’ relationship. Home is the first school, and parents are the most critical educator a child ever has, we say. But, we need to admit that there’s something profoundly wrong with parenting in our country. Unfortunately, the way a child is raised in our men-dominated households has a lot to do with the increasingly unsafe environment for women in India. And this one is for all the parents on coming together and parenting against rape culture to change the picture.
Medieval Mindset of Avoiding Sensitive Topics in Home!
Under India’s fragile layer of modernity lies a massive bog of medieval mindset promoting men’s domination in our society from ages. It can be witnessed in any typical household in India. Topics such as consent, sex, relationships, periods, etc. bring in this mourning silence in the atmosphere the moment it arose. Even today, these sensitive topics are taboo in the majority of our households. Snubbing it behind culture and tradition, Indian parents usually avoid discussing sensitive issues such as safe and responsible sex with their children.
When parents deny answering the queries on these topics, children are left with no option but to rely on unsafe places to get their information, i.e., through the internet or friends getting misleading knowledge about Sex Education – A half baked knowledge for the Youth! The moment you deny talking on topics such as safe sex and consent to your child is the moment to refuse to make this country a safer place for you, girl. Ending this rape culture mindset will take a generation and the first step to start it is to leaving being the medieval mindset of avoiding talking on sensitive topics to your children.
Time to raise sensitive men and strong women.
In a stereotypical Indian family, parents teach their daughters to be sensitive, obedient, and polite; however, a boy is usually expected to be tough and manly enough not to cry and avoid emotions. Whereas looking at the country’s current scenario, parents need to change the core of their upbringing. It’s the peak time to start teaching your sons to be sensitive to understand others’ emotions and your daughters to be strong enough to raise her voice against wrong. Today being a parent, one needs to realize that they are not just raising a child; they’re raising a generation. Parents need to teach their sons not only to respect the other gender but also need to be vocal on topics such as consent; that no means no! Remember, if the parents of a rapist had taught him about consent, he might not have become the monster he did.
Times are gone when women are confined within four walls of the house. Today women are out there everywhere, equally competing with the men in every domain possible. Today being strong and bold enough to fight the men-dominated society is imperative for every female out there. So, while parents need to teach their sons how to be more sensitive, it equally becomes necessary to teach your daughters to be strong and independent. Because if every victim’s parents had made her a strong and independent individual, the world would not have been this cruel to them.
Importance of starting early!
Parenthood is a great pleasure and a blessing, but it comes with a huge responsibility of shaping a human at the same time. And as a parent, one needs to understand that following the above statements is not a day or two’s work. One needs to inbuilt the values of humanity, respect, and equality into their children from a tender age. It’s always important to start early and keep communication channels with one’s child open on topics such as relationships and mutual respect. Don’t make your child get his/her knowledge from misleading sources. It is tough but not impossible to challenge the norms of a society where men are always considered to be at a higher place than women. And as I said, earlier home is the 1st school, so try and make a child’s first school teach him/her the values we need the most to make this country a safer place to the gender we pray so divinely.