Youth Ki Awaaz is undergoing scheduled maintenance. Some features may not work as desired.

Men, You Need To Talk To Your Sons About Sexual Violence And Consent

Remember how you grew up being taken care of by your mother? Remember how you went straight to your mom whenever you needed anything, but when you sought permission, your father was the way to go?

Yep. We kinda need to talk about that.

Remember your teenage days? Raging hormones, confused state of mind, clueless about the changes in your own body? Feeling strange bouts of euphoria whenever a girl smiled at you or talked to you? And you couldn’t turn to your dad to ask him what’s happening to you because you were scared that it would be awkward. You couldn’t go up to mom and tell her, “Maa, I don’t know why but I’m feeling this way.”

You turned towards your friends for all kinds of questions that plagued your mind and body, seeking answers. And now that you are older, you know that was a weird thing to do and it hardly helped you. Right? There are so many things you got wrong. There are so many things you didn’t understand, and tried figuring them out in your own way, and ended up feeling insecure and concerned about your own health.

Be honest, happens to the best of us.

But the problem runs deeper. You might have had girlfriends, crushes, beloveds? You might have stalked the girl from next door, leaving little notes behind. You could never figure out how to go about it, right?

Have you forced yourself on someone, ever? Your wife? Maybe an ex-girlfriend who needed some time but you wanted to go ahead anyway? Do you ever feel bad about it? Do you ever think about it? When you got married, what was the first thing on your mind that made you happy about the marriage and your newly wed wife? Was it an authorised supply of physical intimacy?

If your answer to any of these is yes, we need to talk.

You have a son, well in his teenage or probably early twenties. He is going through the same thing which you went through 20 years ago. He might be informed, he might not. He might know how to deal with it, he might not. Do you know what his state of mind is?

If you have a son, have you ever sat him down and talked to him about something other than his grades, or future plans, or his extra-curricular activities?

He is becoming a young man, you see.

If you happen to have a daughter, you must be so concerned. I’m going into the cliches, I know. But tell me, do you feel worried about her? You want to be the best dad ever, your daughter’s hero, the protective king to his little princess. But have you ever tried to be your son’s mentor?

Do yourself a favour. Talk to your son. Tell him that you were just like him once. Tell him that you too felt the need to be close to someone you felt attracted to. Tell him you sometimes crossed the limits too, and you regret it. Tell him that when a girl says no, it means no. Tell him that no matter what happens, no person should be an opportunity for him. No girl, no woman, no man.

Tell him people are not opportunities to be taken advantage of. Teach him that respect is earned only when given.

Please don’t tell him that every girl out there is his sister. Because they’re not. They’re people, just like him. And you.

Tell your daughter that she is enough. She can handle everything that comes her way. Tell her you’ll be there for her no matter what, and you will pick her up when she falls. But she should not be afraid of falling.

Tell your son that it is important to separate friendship from romance. Tell him it is important to ask for a person’s consent before entering their personal space.

Tell your son that no one should ever be scared of approaching him for help. Tell him it is okay to help. No matter if it is a girl or a guy. Tell him it’s okay to be the nice guy. Tell him that being a nice guy doesn’t mean someone should sleep with him. Tell him it is okay if he falls for someone and needs to approach them, but it is best when done with respect and dignity.

Tell him stalking is never the way out. Tell him you would treat him the same way you treat random strangers hitting on your daughter, if he ever decided to stalk or harass someone. Or any woman. Tell him that you regret not standing up enough for the things that you felt the need to go ahead with. Tell him he can be free of that guilt.

Give him choices.

Give him support.

Give him deep insights into the human psyche.

Give him a lesson in how to date women and not call them names if they don’t feel like continuing with it.

It is time to be what your dads couldn’t be for you.

Be a friend to your son, please.

Because we have had enough stories of daddy’s little princesses. Let us know you’re capable of raising a fine gentleman. Let your son know that you will be there for him, for everything he needs to know.

It is a test for you dads. Show ’em how you ace it.

And let me tell you, once you start doing this, not for once will you have to worry about any girl stepping out of her home. Because you know you have raised someone who knows how to respect people and their choices.

They will thank you for it.

Your son, your daughter, your wife, and that random girl across the street.