Every alternate day, one cannot help but get triggered by all the violence against women, children and even babies, and an almost instinctive reaction to rationalise the violence by shifting the focus on the victim. Our society spends a lot of time on ‘patronising’ and ‘grooming’ young girls for the world, all of your energy invested in making them marriageable and later ensuring they stay married.
There are so many other things you can help them with – teach your girls survival. Teach them self-defence. Teach them to raise their voice when they have to. And for days when the world drains them, teach them self-love.
Constantly tell your girls they are enough and that they must remember it. Not for a minute, let them believe that they need a man to be seen as a society-approved version of a woman. Encourage empathy in them for the rest of the woman-kind. So that one day, they do not end up becoming an ally to the oppressors just to stay in a convenient position, something, a large number of women in this country have conditioned themselves to become and to be honest, requires a battle of its own.
These internalised biases within our women too are almost impossible to notice and sometimes even come across as an individual value system. This convenience is neither freedom nor dignity, and our daughters should know that difference.
And every single thing you’ve been teaching your daughters up till now, please turn all of it towards your sons. Teach your sons to behave like “good boys”. Teach them to apologise when they humiliate or belittle another person. Teach them to not step out at night or take a deserted route just so that they don’t find an opportunity or have the urge to rape—monitor who they hang out with if you must.
Teach them to think about society and people for once. Teach them consent, respect and decency. Most importantly, teach them from an early age that their gender, age, caste or relationship will never be a license to violate another human being in any manner – not with sight, not with words, not with actions and not with barbarity. And please get them to help if they show signs of aggression or violence.
It’s not rocket science!