Sexual assaults: men need to involve in awareness creation

Not a day passes without reading or hearing at least one news item about assault on women. In spite of being in the 71st year of our independence, it is quite disheartening to be a part of a society which still cannot understand or figure out a solution for this constant issue faced by women, but prefers blaming them for the unfortunate incidents.

Why are we being mute spectators? How many more women should forsake their dignity before we put an end to this? And it is not just women, but boys and men too have undergone the mental and physical trauma of sexual assault.

We have become too cliched. Every time there is a story about molestation, there is an outcry and debate that occupies volumes of space in the newspapers and television news, with little or no effect in the end. Fighting the evil of sexual assault is only possible with heavy emphasis on personal morale and it is important that every individual is groomed to respect and command respect from others.

It is said that education begins at home. Parents should teach their children that women are equal and are as strong as men and there is no weaker sex in any sense. There is a glaring lapse in educating men about the equal stature of the other sex, which leaves them with pre-conceived notions about women. This lack of onus on the family's part to familiarise their children with equality of sexes is the biggest burden on the society.

Family is extremely important in mould-ing the character of a person; society comes next. Family has the responsibility of ensuring that their children are not antisocial and are taught the basic ethics of how a human being should be treated. Every time the son receives preference over the daughter, a male chauvinist is born.

Every behavioural restriction and curfew being on the daughter while the son enjoys freedom causes a girl to lose her potential of fighting against the vices of the world. Teach your sons to respect all women and all people, teach them that they themselves could just as easily be vic-tims. In the meanwhile, empower your daughters to face the world alone, in the light and in the dark.

The society has already victimised a woman; now you need to change it. The archaic, misconceived notion of the father being the breadwinner and mother handling the kitchen no longer applies. The roles are already reversing, and a change of mindset is necessary to cope with the new norms of the society.

I believe that today men must take charge. Men should join hands with women and lead the denunciation of sexual harassment. Men are in the focus for wrong reasons for causing molestation. It is important to bring empathetic and considerate men who condemn sexual assault, to point out molesters and stand against them.

When good men turn against men who victimise women, then we can hope for some kind of a social change. I believe that this should be incorporated everywhere.

Men should come forward to criticise the incidents. Instead of women forming a chain against sexual assault, let the men form the chain; let men hold the candles and walk towards the brighter side. Let men go and condemn other men. Let a man take that step forward to stop every assault on woman.

That will teach a lesson to the man who has crossed his limits and also be an example for the others to take initiative to be protectors of girls everywhere; because courage inspires courage. Women are already looked down upon and considered the weaker section. It is time we associate courage with women too. Think about that single mother who works a full time job while tending for her children.

Give a thought to that soldier who is away from her family fighting for her country or that Olympian who fought against all odds to win our country the most coveted medal. If they don't exemplify courage, who else does?

Staunch condemnation

Women are intelligent and capable of taking initiative and cater to their own needs. Using sexual assault as a means to dominate and subdue their individuality and power will only leave the world worse off. Such acts need staunch condemnation and when men join hands to work with us against this, the process will catapult into success that much sooner.

Men need to take the lead in this revolution and engage in a campaign of men against men - a campaign to recognise women for the powerful entities that they are and not a prey of masochistic men with misconceived views of the male-female relationship.

All men, from the top to the bottom rungs of the society, whether it is Shah Rukh Khan or Amitabh Bachchan or any layman, should emphasise on how shameful sexual assault is for the attacker. When such stigmatisation of the assaulter and not the victim is highlighted constantly, it adds to the empowerment of women.

It is time we put the stigma on the attacker and not on the women. Encourage women to bring their assaulter to light, so that they can be tried under the law. The time has come for men to lend a hand to the women to get the justice they deserve.

Getting men to understand the sensitivity and become the torch bearers for the cause can be an important step in defeating the problem. Only when there is an involvement of men, will society be able to stand together against the impending problem and we can see the change we all are longing for.

(The writer, well-known in the field of assisted reproduction, is Medical Director, Milann, a leading chain of fertility centres)