The skeletons are tumbling out and how!
Every day there is news of one more person being accused of sexual misconduct or harassment.
While I totally agree it’s high time such voices be heard, we also need to rear generations of children who necessarily need not face this.
What gives a man the right to misbehave without qualms? What makes a woman fear every step she takes?
As a teenager who grew up in the capital city of Trivandrum, I for one was forewarned by my mom to keep to myself.
Our school did not allow us to talk to boys. We had a coed school but I never learned how to talk to boys or negotiate spaces with them.
As a family, we never went to the famous Thrissur Pooram as my parents had been told that it was not a safe place to go with girls. This basically meant that even while praying to the Gods men had sex on their minds !
I remember a friend of mine saying she carried half a blade in between her fingers while travelling on the public buses in Trivandrum because men would just cover her palms with with theirs while she was travelling as a standee. So the blade would hurt and they would stop troubling her.
When I heard this I was scared. Today I realize the implications of this. Even in the late 80s getting to school for a girl was a battle!
Today when women are speaking out, we have men questioning their silence ! Men have been brought up with a sense of privilege. They are entitled to open spaces, sitting at junctions, taking , chatting openly and being boorish basically. Women are taught how to navigate these men almost by being invisible.
Teach your daughters to be strong
And teach your sons how to respect strength.
Teach your daughters how to interact with men safely.
And teach your sons how to respect this safety. It’s a shame if a woman needs to be scared of him.
Teach your daughters they are equal to men.
And teach your sons to respect equality. They too should know that women are their equals..
Teach your daughter cooking ,stitching and washing by all means.
Teach your sons these skills too. These are lifeskills and are not defined by gender.
It’s how we nurture our children that we can make the difference!