In this post, I have tried to provide a solution to a problem I feel strongly about... this is a change I would like to see in this society we live in, for a cleaner and safer future for our women.
Around October, I bookmarked the Times of India website on the web browser of my phone. I had decided to use a news website to keep updated while on the move (which means a four-hour travelling time to and back from college). Within few months, I realised that what had made the worst effect on me was the news headlines informing of rape incidents all over India appeared without fail on the TOI Mobile homepage at the rate of two headlines every three days. Or probably more. Which is why I replaced that bookmark with Google News bookmark pretty soon. And this does not mean I was indifferent to the dirty picture, in fact I was too disturbed by what was going on in the country.
Rapes and sexual violence have been part of civilisation (rather, un-civil-isation) ever since man started to think... ever since man wrongly realised that being a man is a passport to strength and superiority (over women). Sexual crimes are as much about the misplaced superiority complex of man, as they are about his misplaced sexual desire. Since a lot is said about the topic every day, and I have myself written a lot in my earlier article "Woman – A Complement, or Commodity to Man?", I will come straight to my present topic, which is about what I hope is a plausible long-term solution to the issue.
PART ONE: CAUSES AND THE ACTUAL ISSUE
Before I present my solution logic, I need to discuss the root features of the issue.
(a) The reasons within man: An animal sexual desire coupled with an animal sense of chauvinism, lack of respect of a women's modesty not merely in activities, but also in their general thought process (Quoting from my own earlier article on the topic, "A group of men discussing women presents the most disgusting conversation transcript. While a group of women would discuss men more in the sense of joking, a group of men discusses women in the sense of ridiculing. Men make it a point to discuss women in a way that reflects the slavery of one gender and the mastery of the other. Women, instead, discuss men in a way that reflects the stupidity of one gender and the cleverness of their own.").
(b) The reasons within woman: If I have to write any, I'd say misplaced trust on men in some cases when they do not deserve any. Women need to realise early in life what Mariam realised in A Thousand Splendid Suns only after her mother Nana hanged herself. Wearing provocative clothes is not a mistake, nor does it invite rape, but it is a form of misplaced trust in men. How? You might not be raped for wearing such clothes, but if you think men will not eye you in undesirable manners, you are misplacing your trust on the men on the streets, whom you don't even know. This I mention, because I don't think any woman would like to be viewed in any tasteless manner. This said, it is true that not wearing provocative clothing does not ensure you any safety or undesirable looks. But since it can be agreed upon that the new sense of dressing up does generate a special interest among the men with animal instinct, I am not ruling this out yet.
Question you will ask me: So, do you think women should not dress provocatively, in order to avoid rape?
Answer: No, that is not a correct idea. In fact, a decade later, I would not choose to write anything at all under the section called "the reasons within woman", but I think I have to include this at this stage, because we are in a transition phase in the sense of clothing in our culture. Our parents' generation does not dress the way today's generation does, and hence this could have an effect on the male mindset. I include the reasons within women as mentionable reasons, because we are dealing with a whole society in a crisis, not the mistakes of men or the victimisation of women. I am trying to look for reasons behind the trend, and we have to consider all elements of society, including some reasons within the victim, at least at a hypothetical level, probably to be rejected in the conclusion phase.
(c) The reasons within the society: The commercialisation of women's modesty at the media level in the form of movies and advertisements, and the easy access to pornography, diminish the value of a woman's modesty in the minds of young boys at the age when they can be easily influenced. With a mind full of dirt and filth in terms of the way he views a woman, that young boy gets even more influenced by the female acquaintance at school/college, which is obviously more now than it was fifty years ago. Hence, an exposure to filth at an impressionable age, and then an exposure to the female gender at school, again at this impressionable age, is not an ideal "theory–practical combination" to be exposed to.
These are not the causes behind rapes, but these are the social changes that have contributed somewhere in the corruption of the male mind, and the corruption of the sanctity of the daily news.
PART TWO: THE SOLUTION
The time for a solution: All the changes in our society that I have mentioned above work mutually in a manner that can be depicted by this flowchart:
In the flowchart, please note the blocks 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Reasons behind our problem: Blocks 1 and 2. Effects: Block 4.
Block 1: We cannot and should not curb social changes and the empowerment of women. Women must be brought to the same level as men, and their interaction with men must be encouraged for a competitive civilised society.
Blocks 2 and 3: We have to find a way to ensure that the reason given in block 1 does not add up with the reason given in block 2, to yield the intermediate effect given in block 3. That is, the social changes that are always going on, should NOT influence young minds in any way whatsoever, that would lead to victimisation of women! The task at hand now reduces to this: that we have to make young teenage boys sensitive to gender issues, in such a way that they are IMMUNE to the social developments and their exposure to the female gender.
My solution to the matter of concern hence narrows down to this conclusion:
Just like the introduction of sex education at school level, the education system should introduce a subject called "Gender-Sensitisation" for young schoolboys in their teenage. The subject course should aim at inculcating a scientific realisation among them, that the girls they ogle at are also human beings like them, and are not objects of sexual desire. This is easy to tell a young boy, and it may also be ignored by him. But when this is told in a proper classroom environment, this is surely going to work differently, when the teacher takes good examples that sensitively illustrate the "hot girl of the other class with a sexy figure" as being someone's sister or daughter, examples that illustrate how "that whore of a girl who was flirting with me the other day" might just be a friendly girl who loves to interact, et cetera. They should give the idea how the pornography on internet doesn't mean that a woman's body is a playground which is meant to be surveyed and touched and imagined as and when you wish. And, how the girl who shows cleavage in the marketplace just likes to be independent and to dress the way she wants. The curriculum should include topics like basic understanding of the female gender, and the importance and key ideals of the man–woman coexistence on earth. (And anyway, we expect them all to live happy married lives later on without ever having a formal "man–woman course" in the education system!)
A similar course could also be done for female students as well, with a slightly different and relevant syllabi.
How this could change things: There are a number of things in life which might look easy-to-realise... but only once you realise it. When young boys are at an adolescent stage in the last few years of school, they are influenced a lot by their friends and the internet and the media. They grow up with these ideas, and make bad men, unless they worked on themselves and matured properly. A proper guidance is a MUST, at this stage, to neutralise the ill-effects that arise from these three factors. While parents tend not to discuss these topics, the boys are left to exercise their brain in a bad school of thought. If only they are made to realise certain things about women and girls, in a scientific way in a classroom environment at the age when it matters most, they will certainly grow up into more manly men in future.