Sex Crimes in India is a very major problem and no one living in this country with any sanity left in their mind would turn a blind eye. As a result of the recent series of rapes in India which we hear in the news almost everyday, the whole class of parents has become extremely sensitive around this topic.
Thinking a bit in the past, the whole fire of thoughts started from the infamous Delhi Gang Rape care in Dec 2012 which shocked the country to its core. People got on the roads to protest against things and eventually, the government had to notice that the current Section 375-376 in the Indian Penal Code does not create enough deterrent for the offenders. Also, someone who has committed the offense is not being punished adequately.
A lot of nationwide debate happened with some very interesting and debatable viewpoints. One such example was the kind of punishment that a rapist should get -- Death Sentence -- somehow this was on the mouth of 90%+ population. I happen to be in that minority who do not believe that death sentence is a proper punishment for the rapists. Forgive me if you as readers feel that I have any tolerance for rapists. It is a simple logic for me. If the punishment for rape and murder is the same, the probability of the survival of a rape victim suddenly drops to zero. Any rational person can see the problem in this whole approach.
Then happened a series of other sex crimes in India and something as recent as this week where a mother and daughter were thrown out of a moving bus in Haryana for not complying with the sexual approaches of some random men in a bus. The child died on the road due to lack of help. This shames me and this shames our country.
It just raises a critical question in my mind -- When we teach our daughters on what to do and what not do, when we talk to them about security and insecurity, when we talk to them about what to wear, how to talk, and god know what all, we are just teaching them to minimize the probability of putting themselves in any kind of a dangerous situation which can range from someone looking at her with lustful eyes to rape and murder.
Better safe than sorry. I am fine with that approach. But hold on. The same parents, when they are having a son as well along with a daughter, what are they teaching the sons ?? Why is it that all kind of bull-shit indian norms and culture comes int he picture where parents don't talk about sex to their kids and words related to sex-crimes are not something that is discussed in so called "civilised" families ?? Why do we not teach our sons that it is NOT acceptable to eve-tease, it is NOT acceptable to molest a girl, it is not even acceptable to stare at a girl ?? Why are boundaries not being drawn around the sons when there are strict boundaries around our daughters ??
This reminds me of something that our honourable Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi said in his Independence Day speech -- "Even when they are only 12, young girls are always being asked so many questions by their parents, like 'where are you off to?'. But do these parents ask their sons where they are going? The law will take its own course but as a society every parent has a responsibility to teach their sons the difference between right and wrong".
Kirtida Gautam is a clinical psychologist and the author of novel #IAm16ICanRape: The War Against Rape Culture.