India is a funny country. Perhaps the only country with women goddesses. And that’s exactly what makes it ludicrous! You see while we worship Goddesses, we take no shame in raping a woman. In fact, raping a woman is no news in our country. It is just too ordinary, mundane event to grab any media or law attention. If you rape a minor and brutally murder her, then you get some attention. But to grab the attention of the masses you need to gang rape a child, mutilate her in the most brutal way and then give her a horrific death, if she manages to survive after all that. Now what is next? Well, the law of the land will take its own sweet time to serve justice, just enough to help grieving parents reach their grave. All this while the accused can stay low-profile, scare witnesses and continue about their business. The nation will shiver and mourn for a few days and then magically everything will get back to normal as if nothing happened on this holy land. Goddesses will be worshipped again and women and girls will continue to be raped again and again. Everything is fine, stock markets are getting bullish, economy is growing…all’s good.
That’s how a story of rape unfolds and ends itself in our country. We howl, we cry and we forget till it hits us again. Makes me wonder what has happened to us! And on top of it all, we have the courage to talk about breaking gender stereotypes. What the heck? How can a child, forget the gender, achieve full potential when all he/she is worried about is keeping safe?
I don’t want to get over these incidents anymore. I don’t want to close my eyes when I see a brutalized body. I don’t want to close my ears for the fear of anger it will ignite in me. In fact I want the contrary for the whole nation! Only then we are going to witness a change. We need to let our blood boil and our bodies seethe. We need to bring up our daughter as KALI – the goddess of power and death. The one who symbolizes fear with a necklace of heads, skirt of arms and a knife dripping with blood of all those who try to defy her dignity.
Enrol them in Self defense classes: Every parent should enroll their girls in self defense classes. We cannot and should not rely on the system to protect our girls for us. Teach your girls to hit hard with all their might and at all the right places.
Equip them with right tools: Pepper spray, pull-pin alarms can really help. All we need is to carry them with us.
Teach them to Stay Alert: The same study also indicated that women or girls who appeared carefree and less attentive in public places were easier targets. Teach them early on to stay alert, make note of their surroundings and shout their lungs out if they sense danger.
Ask them to Chin up: I was always taught to ignore eve teasers and avoid eye contact with them. Don’t do that! Instead ask your girls to chin up and walk. Raise them to be confident and ask them to wear an expression that says ‘Don’t mess with me’. A study on rapists serving in Tehar Jail indicated that these animals (sorry I can’t call them human) look for softer targets, girls who appear submissive.
Replace Fairytales with Super Women Stories: Teach your girls to be their own heroes. Read about real women who accomplished greatness, broke glass ceilings, climbed Mt. Everest to your children. These stories will build confidence in your daughters that they are no less and teach your sons to treat women as equals.
And while we teach to daughters to be Kali, we need to teach our sons to respect women. We need to teach them NO means NO. They need to understand that their sisters and mothers are no less. They need to learn to stay within their boundaries.
As for me and you, let’s stay angry. Let us put our girl’s safety on the frontline. That should be our only agenda for every poll that this country witnesses from now on. Enough is enough!