By Pratik Mantri
Edited by Nidhi Singh, Junior Editor, The Indian Economist
As you read this, there might be a woman being beaten mercilessly by her husband for no fault of hers or something more gruesome than that. There has always been the need for an environment in which women feel safe and secure but there is no stopping to the cases of domestic violence. And not just domestic violence, the spike in the cases of rape, acid attacks, wife-beating, harassment for dowry, do not present a pleasant commentary to all of us. The statistics generally do not paint a correct picture by understating the figures but those numbers are ridiculously high even and to add to that there are some more untold stories of pain and suppression. Some sadist men also revel in scaring a woman. A friend recounts an incident where she was leaving the parking lot of a multiplex, when two men drove right up to her and all the while leering as well. As she was scared and her hands were shaking; they drove away laughing out loud. Be it urban or rural India there is just no respite for the ‘XX chromosome’
Traditions and rituals outline the existence of the Indian girl child. Amidst uproars of gender equality and law enforcement, female infants are still found dumped in trash, by the dozens, while unborn fetuses continue to be sniffed in the womb. Wrought with discrimination and prejudiced by rituals, our society has dealt the girl child a rough hand, starting even before birth, till the dark of life. The violence continues and so do the irresponsible statements of politicians.
The question arises why is it that men hate women to an extent that they start beating them up? One of the reasons for this cowardly act is that it emerges from ‘Insecurity’. The ‘Insecurity’ of being taken over by a woman who wields power through different ways and is competent enough to hold their own over them. A man’s need and desire brings him towards woman and he is rather afraid of the fact that she might reduce the sense of power of which he is so proud of. Also, a man generally has powers in different verticals of life and that feeling of dominating the opposite gender seeps in rather quickly. They feel that women need to be dominated in order to establish their own swagger. Moreover, a woman is continuously judged in her life cutting across all her different roles. This everlasting judgment is completely uncalled for.
For generations people have been extremely hypocritical when it comes to virginity. It is very deplorable to see a women being judged on the basis of her virginity and not on the basis of her character. A man’s mere word or even the act of sex with someone is accepted but if a woman does a similar thing then she is being branded as character less or having no values or ‘sanskar’ and, what this has done is that it has made young boys feel as if there is no accountability attached to them and this thinking bereft of any logic, has resulted into blaming the rape survivor for acts like rape, harassment rather than the male aggressor.
The very act of sex has the male as a driving force while woman is a recipient; this allows many men to falsely believe the myth of his superiority and the woman’s submission.
Another interesting thing to be noted is that men who indulge in activities relating to physicality are termed as ‘studs’ while women in the similar scenario are termed as ‘sluts’, ‘whores’ etc. In this case, the language which we use is also derogatory. And many a time some women with a regressive mindset or rather aunties I should say join this women hating club. They seem to have some bias or envy with their own gender. These women always find a reason to blame a woman who had survived in unfavourable circumstances. This to me escalates the problem because if women themselves don’t empathize with each other then it is very hard to expect that men will be any better.
Make no mistake; men are perpetrators of crimes like rape and domestic violence. There’s no two way about it. The survivors resort to law and police but since the procedure of law is extremely time consuming it often leads to frustration for the survivors. Men who indulge in these crimes are aware of all that is wrong with our judicial system and use it to their advantage. If there is a better ‘law and order’ situation in our country then may be out of fear of law and not out of respect, men will keep their zippers up. But, sadly that is a dream.
Religion too has made its contribution in keeping the hatred for woman a continuous activity. According to religious books, a woman has to be a devoted wife at any cost and that too after sacrificing her personal happiness for the sake of her husband. A man’s mere word is taken as the truth while a woman has to prove her innocence or her sanctity. This is the feature of the hypocritical society which we live in. Repeated exposures to these theories of a submissive woman shape the behaviour of young boys growing up. It is very crucial for parents to realize this and discuss it with their children particularly boys. Gender sensitization will help in curbing the violence against women. We need to accept the problem and then only we can work to fix it.
For all the hatred and violence to end we need to consciously respect each and every woman in our life starting from our respective homes to everyone in the society.
Pratik is a graduate in commerce with varied interests such as reading, writing, traveling and following cricket and politics closely based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. A naturally reserved personality, he has worked as an editor at IMAGE (Annual magazine of college) and has been trying to carve a niche for himself in this world. He wants to see India as a poverty free nation in his life time and bring about a change through his writings. He’s been blogging for the last two years and can be reached through www.pratikmantri.blogspot.in or [email protected]