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Parents must teach their sons to respect women

Eve-teasing is something that a woman has to contend with everyday. The laughing and passing lewd remarks of an eve teaser can leave a permanent psychological mark on a woman. Eve-teasers feel that they are doing nothing wrong by having some fun. Eve-teasing leads to restrictions on women’s mobility. Eve-teasing is a typical social crime, where the perpetrators and victims are ordinary people. Women on the other hand are made to feel vulnerable and the weaker sex. Sexual harassment laws hardly contain any recognition of male victims and female perpetrators. Eve-teasing is a crude way of garnering female attention. One must admit that eve-teasing can most certainly be perpetuated easily by its continued glorification in movies.

The immeasurable damage to a woman’s self-esteem and the subsequent avoidance of public places by single women could hardly take us on the way to achieving gender equality. Innumerable movies show that eve-teasing eventually ‘wins’ a girl’s attention. Changing this behaviour is easier said than done. Bad films with vulgar songs and stars in indecent dresses add grist to the eve-teasers’ mill. Many Bollywood movies depict scenes of eve teasing, showing this behavior as a way to win a woman’s heart. Others show this as a behavior for men indulge in some fun at a woman’s expense of course. In India, every 51 minutes a woman is sexually harassed; every 21 minutes one woman is molested. Eve teasing is something that a woman has to contend with everyday.

One should bear in mind that it is not only men responsible for this to some extent women are also responsible. Over 30 per cent of the women surveyed said they would not go to a local doctor or health centre alone. Anecdotally, many doctors said that mothers wait too long to bring a sick child to a health centre; they wait until their husbands come home. Men are raised to believe that they are more powerful — physically and emotionally than women. Women on the other hand are made to feel vulnerable and the weaker sex.

A little bit of courage by girls can set right all the things. We all today just say big things, women liberation, women empowerment, women equality etc. but everything said and done nothing. Eve teasers need to be whipped then and there. Until then, the problem will persist. It is the joint responsibility of parents and the colleges to ensure safety of girls.  We need to change ourselves. Redefine our moral Code of Conduct. Efforts to prevent and eliminate violence against women should have high priority by way of implementing various measures. Laws against eve-teasing and sexual harassment are necessary but not sufficient to address this challenge. Women must realise that it is not “their fault” that such crimes occur. “Often we are made to feel ashamed, and therefore made to maintain silence when we do face abuse. Young women must be prepared to reclaim their lives from harassment and young men must be taught to take pride in a masculinity that stands in solidarity with women. Parents should treat their sons and daughters on equal footing – no privileges for boys. The change begins at homes where the parents must teach their sons to respect women. We must educate our sons. We must tell our daughters not to keep mum about these issues. They should be vociferous and definitely learn self-defence. The best solution is that women themselves give a befitting reply to these eve-teasers. Sexual harassment is a serious issue that has long been ignored and treated with complacency. Every human being has the right to live with dignity and respect.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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