“Respecting a woman is the best way to tell her how beautiful she is.”
It laments my heart to believe that a lady – a birth giver, a caregiver, a passionate lover, a dutiful wife, an intelligent worker, and much more, is also a victim of rape, physical abuse, and disrespect.
Women deaths all over the world have increased manifold in the past years, most of which are due to assault, harassment, and abuse, where the perpetrators are men.
Where does this begin? How does a kid, who is as blameless and unadulterated grows up to be an abuser who demonstrates no regard for ladies?
Where Does It Start?
We have been historically living in a society that praises masculinity with a very narrow definition of it. We are concerned about the safety of our daughters, and yet, on some level, we have accepted abuse and disrespect to be part of the game.
Coming back to the question, any behavior, or misbehavior, is for the most part is often learnt at home by observant kids. Kids do what they see. Some common factors that have been associated with youngsters who disrespect women are:
- Abusive parents
- Personal experience of being humiliated and forced to do something against his will
- Broken homes
- Disrespectful father figure
- Staunch male stereotypes followed by families
- Being in an inappropriate friend circle and doing malicious behavior to gain group conformity.
Why Is It Important To Educate Them
Our boys must know that:
- ‘She’ has feelings
- ‘She’ is not a sex object
- It is a man’s responsibility to protect anyone in any kind of danger
- Showing disrespect is a reflection of who we are
- It is never ‘okay’ to force anyone to do something.
It is high time we stop restricting our girls and start teaching our boys to act right. And education is needed for that purpose.
The 5 Steps To Educate Young Boys
1. Set A Good Example
- Talk politely with your kids, especially if they are teenagers.
- Never shout at a woman in front of your child (not even behind their back).
- Watch out if ever your kid is misbehaving with his mother. Shouting at mother is the first sign that your child thinks it is okay to disrespect women.
- Teach them, but do not be rude.
- Never smack or beat your child. No matter what the mistake, sort it out with words.
2. Monitor Media Use
- Do not watch violent media when your kids are around.
- Do not allow your child to spend more than two hours watching videos and movies, if he is below 10 years.
- Watch out for the friend circle your kid is in and how he is spending time with them.
- Do not indulge them to play violent video games.
3. Talk About The “Things”
- If you ever notice your child misbehaving, ask him why.
- If your kid insults any girl around, ask him how he is feeling after disrespecting the person.
- Teach him the better ways of reacting to a situation.
- Educate him about healthy sex, but not in an awkward way. You can gift him a good book where he gets the information in the right way.
- Talk to him about how women are harassed and how a girl feels when she is abused. Give him personal examples that would touch his heart.
4. Teach Him The Meaning Of Consent
- Respect his consent. If your child says “no” to something, listen to him as long as it is good for him.
- Tell him that he should never force anyone to do anything.
- Never try to force your daughter, wife, or mother in front of your boy. It gives the wrong message to him.
- You can try funny hacks like T-shirts saying “No means no” or “Respect girls and be a man”, etc. It is a friendly way of giving them the good message.
- Teach your child that consent is compulsory to have. Especially if you have an adolescent at home, it is inevitable that you tell him the importance of taking consent before he touches a girl.
5. Be What You Want To See
- Do not allow statements like “girls should go back to the kitchen”, “men should pay the bills”, “it is better if moms work from home”, etc. at home.
- Say ‘no’ to stereotypes. Remember your child is following your footstep.
- Be respectful and empathetic towards others, that is what a child should at home.
- Do not tell your girl to be aware of her clothes. Caution her against the brutalists but never encourage victim blaming.
Respecting women is not an option, it is the only way to treat any woman a boy comes across in his life. And parents need to be involved in this. It makes no sense if we keep focusing on how to save our daughters, and do not consider raising our sons in the right way.