“Violence against women and girls continues to be the most pervasive and pressing human rights issue in the world today,” said the secretary-general of the United Nations (UN), Antonio Guterres.
Every day, we come across such instances. And, it is not something to ignore, or just read and forget. Steps have to been taken as well. Some organisations are working day and night to help afflicted women—some of whom are homeless because they raised their voices.
I sternly believe that the day will soon come when we no longer have to observe a special, international day to condemn violence against women.
I want to shed some light on abuses, which in most cases, are not even abusive. Many talk using abusive language as a joke. They use words or phrases like “be******d” or “b**n da t***a”, and many more. These words are painful and enough to kill the self-respect of a girl.
Throughout my life, being born and brought up up in a Punjabi family, I have not been able to detach myself from this ritual. It might not be an intentional usage, but more of a humorous one. Yet, my belief is that even as a joke, it’s lethal and unwelcome.
The reasons I believe it’s bad are:
1. It kills the self-respect of women: When one’s spouse isn’t around then one tends to think of the memories one made together. If it’s mostly offensive or foul language, such words can echo in one’s head and lead to one questioning their self-identity.
2. It teaches children to repeat such words: Often, you see the kids in the house tend to pick up the words which are constantly used at home. Recently, I encountered five-year-olds using extremely foul language that I would never want them to pass on to my kids.
Home is the first school and such things pollute children’s mind and the general environment. It is something that must end and not pass on as if it were an inheritance.
3. To me, even verbal abuse is equal to physical abuse, even if it is a so-called joke.
4. To add to all this, abusive language involves women being insulted, but is restricted to men’s lips. I don’t think any man would even accept or allow a woman he knows to use it openly, or secretly.
These words are rooted in misogyny and often slut-shame women, or belittle them in other ways.
New teachings must be inculcated to bring about new beginnings. Every trend has its expiry date and this trend is not even a trend. It’s neither a joke, nor an experiment.
While writing this article, I remember something from my past. When I was in my teenage years, I took the responsibility upon my shoulders to utter the word “beep” whenever my dad was about to utter a cuss word. I learnt this trick to cover up cuss words from television.
In response to this, my father let go of his habit until I grew up. Yet, it came back after several years. Can we, our generation, change this now?