Many a time, I silently thank God for giving me a son and not a daughter. No. Not for the usual reasons that you would imagine. The sole reason is safety. Yes. I feel sorry for parents who have daughters for they cannot have a moment of peace. Every nanosecond they have to watch out for the prying eyes of either an outsider or worse even a family member, sometimes even a servant working full time at home. For that matter, even boys are not safe, but the damage that girls suffer is irrevocable. Truly, at times I even feel that people who don’t have children or who have opted against having one are luckier than you or
Truly, at times I even feel that people who don’t have children or who have opted against having one are luckier than you or me, who have to constantly worry about our child’s safety. We cannot let them free, we cannot let someone watch over them while we tend to important, unfinished tasks, we cannot send them to reputed schools, day care centers without being anxious all the time.
That’s the kind of world we inhabit and that’s exactly what we are leaving behind for our future generation as well.
When A Daughter Grows Up, The Worries Grow Up Too
We want them to be free, but not sure if we may have to pay a price for it. If she is beautiful, she will attract the attention of anyone who glances at her. Should we feel happy at our own creation? Or worry that a passer-by who she rejects might throw acid at her beautiful face and leave her scarred for the rest of her life with memories of nothing, but pain. Or worse, punish her audacity to reject by killing her.
If she wants to fly higher, will the world admire her strength and courage or punish her by clipping her wings and leave her crawling.
If she wants to live on her own terms, will the ever-watchful society pat her back or brand her for her decision and call her names making her “available”?
On the one hand, we brag about, “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao”, while on the other we want the educated beti to be submissive and controllable. Within these boundaries, the beti can move around freely, but should not dream in excess. Sometimes, I shudder when I think of how a mother would feel when she sees her daughter, so carefully brought up, lying in a pool of blood. How helpless will she feel! And why was the daughter punished? Because she dared! How could she? Did she forget that she can be physically violated?
Some people blame the mothers of sons for their style of upbringing. But, I doubt if any mother teaches her son to sexually assault a girl as a punishment for denial. If you think of it carefully, it has nothing to do with the dressing up as well. Even well-dressed girls get assaulted. What could be the real reason then?
The mass uprising that followed the Nirbhaya episode made many people like me believe that soon rape will be a thing of the past. Women will now be respected and can move around freely without fear. But alas! We were naïve. Unless a crime is punished in a way that people shudder to even think of committing it, women cannot be safe in our country.
The irony is, a girl is raped for the simple reason that she refused to comply. But the perpetrator of the crime walks free as if his act was not worse than the reason that caused it. If this is the projection, why will men fear to rape and walk away? At a time when everything is fast paced, no one can take “no” for an answer, especially from a woman. Moreover, we all suffer from Alzheimer’s, in the sense, we forget too easily. As soon as a sensational headline moves into some corner of an inside page, our memory fades too – until something more attractive catches our attention. As long as this continues, let us not pride at being empowered.
No Apps, no precautionary measures can help when the perpetrator is careful and planned enough to choose the time and the place of the crime. That they are able to execute it so well is proof enough that safety for women is a distant dream. As long as our sisters and daughters are not safe, our empowerment has no meaning. Only if the government comes down heavily upon these ‘trespassers’ and ‘prosecute them the right way’ will the crime against women stop.
Will that ever happen? Not anytime soon, for sure! I believe. What do you think?