INDIVIDUAL EMPOWERMENT

After a week long discussion on Women Abuses and Empowerment, I want to end the week by talking about men too. I want to say just one thing – Stand up for equality of genders. I am a strong Feminist who believes in empowerment of individuals (not just women). Yes women need it more in today’s world but a lot of men need it too.

Feminism and women empowerment is the buzz in India, everybody seems to have an opinion about it and they are either for it or against it. Funny thing is that everybody seems to have his/her own definition of the word “feminism”. Some people rightly define it as equality of genders others seem to complain about it, some others are trying to cover up their wrong intentions under the umbrella of Feminism. And there are both men and women doing all these things.

It has become common to see that somebody comes up with “women empowerment” video that goes viral in a couple of days and then there are series of spoofs and videos from men in response to that viral video. It happened with the video of the stand-up comedian named “Rape public” on republic day and then again on Vogue’s video of “My Choice”. I strongly feel that everybody is trying to get their own intention met through these videos released under “Women empowerment”. It does absolutely nothing to empower anybody only publicizes individuals, magazines, groups and organizations. Any publicity is good publicity – hence mission accomplished.

And of course how can I not mention the international controversy over “India’s daughter”. I never heard anybody say anything in favor of the rapist or his lawyers. Everybody (that I spoke to) seem to be angry over what was done to Jyoti Singh and that there were people who justified the whole crime. But the controversy over whether to ban the video or not makes me feel that we totally lost the point. I agree “to ban or not to ban” was a debatable issue, but seriously as Indians aren’t we supposed to take responsibility of how some men living among us think about the other gender? Aren’t we supposed to think of solutions to get this dirty mentality out of our system? But we got too busy debating over our international image being ruined.

I come across various blogs where men are complaining about the privileges women get in our country and how some of them are misusing it. A lot of women are definitely misusing the power given to them under the umbrella of “women empowerment”. There are false dowry cases, false cases of domestic violence, false cases of eve teasing and cases of promise to marry rape etc. which result in men being the victim.

There are people who take things in right intention, take responsibility of the power given to them and respect the power given to others. And there are other set of people who are in a habit of misusing their powers and usually have the intention of making other’s lives miserable. These people belong to all the genders. It would be wrong to generalize one particular characteristic to the entire community of genders.

There are men who stand strongly for women rights and take a stand for women in their lives and outside of their lives. I know men who have helped women in eve teasing situation, I know men who have supported women while she faced discrimination in the corporate world. I know men who have stood against his own parents to support his wife. And when I hear people say “All men are dogs”; I am outraged because I know my father, brother, husband, some male colleagues and friends are the best people in my life and I love them wholeheartedly.

Stop generalizing; stop believing that every man on the bus, train or plane is a molester. Yes, it can be difficult to recognize one but all men are not same. Similarly, stop believing that every woman who calls herself a feminist hates men and being a man you have to go on a war with her. Stop believing that every woman right there can file an eve teasing case against you for looking at her or every girlfriend you get involved with will later file “promise to marry rape” against you in a revenge.

This whole feminist cloud that is hovering over all of us is only instilling more fear and revenge inside people. And trust factor is going down day after day. This is definitely a war, but it not a war of male vs female; it is war of people believing in equality of gender vs. people who do not believe in equality of genders (this includes men who think women are good for nothing and women who think they can misuse the law to get their personal grudges satisfied).

Come on people, wake up. There are real issues that need to be worked on. Whether it is case of domestic violence where wife is struggling to survive or a case of husband struggling in jail due to a false dowry case – this is where our attention should be.

WHY CHILD MARRIAGE?

I experienced a flavor of Child Marriage when I was teaching a bunch of kids as part of a volunteer’s team at my workplace. It was a college going girl not yet 18 years of age who was getting married. She was my student and quite a bright one.

I remember my conversations with her.

“What to do, ma’am? My parents are forcing me. He comes from a good family.”

“He is also earning well. My parents say that he will keep me happy. I think so too.”

“I have never met him but my brother says that he is a decent guy”

In all my conversations with her, all I could feel was that she was brainwashed to believe that this is supposed to be best that she can get. We tried getting in touch with her parents, trying to explain them why she needs to complete her education first and be independent first. But all in vain! She got married at 16 and I never heard from her again.

She did not get the wings to fly, a single chance to explore and build her own identity. Why? Because the guy is earning well and comes from a good family. Is that enough?

I was 22 when my parents started a groom search for me. And every time they found a guy who was earning well and comes from a good family – I would be haunted by it. I was quite over the permissible age of marriage and hence cannot really compare it with the child marriage but I was quite a child, not as mature to really know what marriage means and what companionship really is. I could have been easily molded into whatever my husband and his family wanted. I could have never been a person with my own opinions and aspirations. Eventually, I got married at 25 to the guy I loved and I still think that it was early.

Well, coming back to child marriage. I cannot imagine what a 15 year old girl would go through when she is married off to a guy who comes from a good family and is earning well. With a minimum level of education – she is totally at the will of her husband and his family. They can keep her happy like the queen of the house or they can make her a servant who is never paid. Either ways, it is a loss for her because it is not as per her own wish. Where was she given a chance to explore her own thoughts and build her identity on them?

I get shivers when I think how would she take off her clothes and be intimate with a man she hardly knows. To what levels she would have to surrender herself for the sake of her survival? Physically, financially, mentally and socially; in every aspect of her life she would only have to survive on her husband. What a pity? Why do we have to do this to our daughters?

Empowered individuals create empowered societies and cities and nations and world. Subjugating half the population of the world in the name gender is only going to pull the whole world down.

MEMBERS ARE THE HONOR OF A FAMILY

Both Honor Killing and Domestic Violence are related to family or its members… Both are caused within the boundary of a family and by one or more of the family members.

Let’s talk about domestic violence first…

I won’t forget the evening when I was very angry. My anger reached to the highest level and I was simply out of my mind. I was beating the wall and the air in anger almost hurting myself because there were some arguments which made me angry on my family members. My poor wife wanted to stop me from hurting myself who came in front of my raging fist and hurt herself badly. Her thumb broke as she wanted to hold my hands. Even we don’t remember whether it was because of my fist or the wall or the bed which her thumb came across when it broke… That is immaterial…

It was accident…not at all intentional… BUT I REGRET IT!

My anger could have caused her even greater loss than what she had suffered or still suffering… I am not defending myself or acknowledging my mistakes here but want to a family member’s anger leads to domestic violence… Anger is the emotion which leads to such deadly acts inside the cosy environment of a family.

I had a talk with Kuljeet regarding this issue and her view was as under:

Firstly, Upbringing of the husband plays a big role… He has been taught that he is superior, he needs to control his wife and even if he is a nothing in the outside world he becomes the supreme king in his house by suppressing the easiest target in the house – his wife.

Secondly, the upbringing of the woman who is taught right from childhood to adjust and not come crying back to her parents after marriage even in houses like yours and mine if a woman complains about anything on her sasural (in laws house) the first things parents would say that you need to compromise a little, initial hiccups will come, come to us only when u think the problem is too huge.. 

I have been teaching history to my sons and together we have covered quite a few civilisations. Do you know what is common among them? My son jokes that for all the civilisations the answer to the question “What was the status of women in xyz civilisation?” we can safely write a few points like it was a patriarchal society, the women were considered inferior or the women were not allowed to own property, study, cast vote or take part in government decisions or read religious scriptures. And to my surprise he was right with the exception of only handful like early Vedic period the position of women was always inferior to men. This is what we are teaching our children today also.

The cases of domestic violence reported daily is a proof that the mind-set of male superiority is still prevalent.

And mind you the so called class and money and education has not improved the mentality of the people. Just google and see celebrities like Actress Rati Agnihotri, Miss World Yukta Mookhey,  TV actress Sweta Tiwari, Bollywood actress Zeenat Aman, etc etc, women who have earned a name for themselves in the world have faced domestic violence at home.

Sadly the women in our Indian society have been taught to adjust to the environment of their marital house and not complain. This leads to the cases of domestic violence not being reported or reported very late, after undergoing years of torture. These women start believing that they deserve such treatment because of something they have done or could not do. They keep trying to please their tormentor thinking that things will improve. But alas this gives the husband (the tormentor) more power over them.

There are many a tell-tale signs of domestic abuse. We in the society tend to ignore it saying that it’s their ‘Ghar ka mamla’ or domestic matter. We should stop this attitude. If you see a victim of domestic violence, help her gather the strength to report it.

So controlling natural emotions and changing certain mediocre mindsets can really help  getting rid of domestic violence to a greater extent.  

Now talking about honor killing I had a talk with Kalpana who gave me her thoughts which was quite interesting about the so called honor of the family. Let’s read her thoughts as under:

A girl complaining to her mother about a guy stalking her. The instant reaction is to hush her down saying don’t let this spread around saying “aakhir parivaar ki izzat ka sawaal hai” (it’s a question of family honour), and the reaction remains same even in the heinous crime committed without her will. The worst thing is when people try to find faults in the lady’s character.  Questions like what she was doing there at that hour of the day, why she trusted the person, why she dressed like that which provoked him and why only she was attacked among so many, it must be her fault only.

Terms like chastity, virginity, character are a woman’s prerogative only. And family honour is only her responsibility.  Would you believe if I say a woman in one village of Maharashtra was stoned to death because it was found out that she was not virgin at the time of marriage.  But it was later found it was her fiance only who was involved with her in trespassing the limit just few days before wedding.  But he backed out instead of supporting his wife and the result was blood and gore in the name of honour and the lady was made the scapegoat.

If a drunkard person beats his wife that’s a family matter, but if the lady raises voice and leaves him, we still have a majority of mindset that asks her to reconcile and compromise. Because they feel woman is weak and can’t sustain alone.  And again the entire blame is shifted towards the woman of the family and it is deemed it is her sole responsibility to keep the honour and family intact.

I quite agree with what she said above.

I remember in Jesus’ days once while He was teaching, people brought a woman caught in the act of adultery to Him for His verdict. But He said, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  And starting from older to younger left that place leaving the woman unharmed.

I am not supporting adultery neither Jesus did that day. But I am talking about our approach towards a human life. How quick we are to condemn a human in the name of false religiosity without a thought!  

I found a piece of information on family honor which literally took my mind away… The term called ‘Breast Ironing’.

Breast ironing, also known as breast flattening, is the pounding and massaging of a pubescent girl’s breasts, using hard or heated objects, to try to make them stop developing or disappear. It is typically carried out by the girl’s mother who will say she is trying to protect the girl from sexual harassment and rape, to prevent early pregnancy that would tarnish the family name, or to allow the girl to pursue education rather than be forced into early marriage. It is mostly practiced in parts of Cameroon, where boys and men may think that girls whose breasts have begun to grow are ready for sex. Some reports suggest that it has spread to the Cameroonian diaspora, for example to that in Britain. The most widely used implement for breast ironing is a wooden pestle normally used for pounding tubers. Other tools used include leaves, bananas, coconut shells, grinding stones, ladles, spatulas, and hammers heated over coals.

What a stupid and inhuman practice? My heart broke reading this… How lowly we can be in our thinking and actions!!!

Dear Parents! Your daughters are your honor and pride! Please keep and take care your honor and pride!

Stay Blessed!!!

GIVE HER A CHANCE TO LIVE HER WILL

“We say that slavery has vanished from European civilization, but this is not true. Slavery still exists but now it applies only to women and its name is prostitution.” – Victor Hugo

It gave me immense pain when I was writing this down. When I was doing my personal study on the subject, ‘Abduction and Prostitution’ I was disturbed the entire day imagining the condition of the victims. The worst part, I can only sympathize with them not knowing the actual pain, and the tremendous torment they have to go through. One can never relate to the actual feelings unless one has gone through it! Imagine the uncountable cries that are either suppressed with strength or pretended to be unheard. Imagine the state where ones greatest asset (the body) is abused as an object of pleasure by others, out of their control, will or interest.  Imagine the endless mourning and lamenting of souls which does not ‘dare’ to expect any help in return. Imagine the state of minds where a normal decent life is just a far-fetched dream.  How grievous!

Burdened to note this down- there are 42 million prostitutes all around the world and up to 10 million are child prostitutes. Sex slavery is worst and highest in Asian countries. It is much popular among the young innocent girls who are abducted and forced into this trade of body at the expense of humanity. Young and old men prefer young and new girls. Today there is existence of kid porn where children and not adults are chosen for sexual exploitation. Seeing them dress up like older women in dark shades of cosmetics is a heartbreaking sight. But do these innocent girls have a choice? Girls who try to escape are beaten mercilessly with belt, sticks and iron rods. And hence the groveler is taken full advantage of.

No women in this world would ever choose this work of crud by her free will. She is either compelled by situations or entangled by wrong companies. Once trapped, it’s difficult to come out of this dark world. Darkness binds them completely, screening any trace of light that may try to enter. Chains of anguish, self-pity, abomination then binds her tightly in a never breaking manner.

I have no more strength to describe it any further. I am digressed. But I want to put up a question to my readers, “what are we doing about this issue?” Merely reading this article and commiserating isn’t going to help! Even we learned people don’t play our parts properly. We are busy living selfishly and ignoring the hands which are crushed even before they can ask for help. We accept this gloomy side of the society as if it were one of the levels of some inter-connected food chain, essential for the balance of communities. And since the fear of protest has always dominated us, we have a mega word for this today – CORRUPTION. I believe tolerating the wrong things is an equal crime. Through the generations, these corrupt practices have propagated and augmented, abandoning the victims of the true happiness which they deserve. We need to fight back! Even though our efforts may seem like taking out a bucket of water from the ocean, yet if the numbers of buckets are increased there will definitely be a remarkable change.

If you are aware of anyone, anywhere close to this realm of filthiness, play you part, make them aware, and put up a rebellious countenance! Let’s hope that our baby steps would one day sum up to make this world a better place.

OH BOY! IT’S A GIRL!

1st time in the labour room:-

Me: “Dr, what is it? I wanted a girl”

Doc: “Wait for 5 minutes.”

I apprehensively waited & the doctor said “It’s a boy”, showing me the baby.

My baby gender wish vanished the moment I saw my baby and held him in my arms.

Throughout my pregnancy, I kept praying for a girl. I didn’t like when anyone used to bless me saying, “Doodo nahao, puto falo”, which means may you bathe in milk and give birth to sons. In my heart I used to cry – why can’t people give blessings for a girl, why does it have to be ‘putravati bhava”?

When my son was born, most of the people said now that a boy is born first, I can sit back and relax. I kept telling them that being a female, I wanted a baby girl, not for any other reason, but fascinating about their endearing clothes, making their pretty hairdos, indulging in gossips when they grew older and all that.

2nd time in the labour room:-

I was pretty sure this time that it’s going to be girl. I bought some ‘pink’ stuff also. My 4.5 year old son and I were so confident that we named ‘her’ Zara.

The moment I heard my newborn cry, I sprang up to see and confirm if it’s a girl.

I shouted at my doc: “You delivered a boy, I wanted a girl!”

Doc: “I can take this baby in that case”.

Me: “No…It’s MY baby!” Everyone had a hearty laugh!

My husband and my cousin sisters were worried that I might go into depression because they knew how badly I wanted a girl and also planned accordingly. But, the sheer fact is that the moment you know you are carrying a life inside you, you fall in love with it, whether it’s a boy or girl.

However, the heart-rending truth remains that in many families, the male baby is given importance and that too at the cost of taking the lives of the newborn girls. Every time I read or watch any news of girl infanticide, I feel poignant and enraged.

How can anyone be so cruel and heartless to kill such a beautiful creation of God?

Instead of “Ladies first”, it’s “Males first” in our country. Even in today’s changing times, our society is so biased against the females. Many parents don’t believe in higher education for their girl child. Because of raucous boys, girls are restricted to go out after the dark, whereas the boys are born to roam freely anywhere anytime.

Even if a woman is working and earning equally as her husband, she is supposed to give her cent per cent towards her house and family members. A woman isn’t supposed to fall sick, whereas the entire house will be concerned if her husband has a headache.

And it doesn’t stop here; we have put restrictions on her during ‘those days’. She isn’t supposed to offer her prayers, just because she has got her periods. My mother used to say, “Why restrict when this is also a part of the nature?” True, if God isn’t biased, so why are you!

Times are changing. Our generation has been able to mould a lot of things, but still a lot needs to be done. The other day my son told me,”Cars are for boys”. I immediately corrected him, “If a girl likes to play with cars, she can. No toy is girl or boy specific, just like you play with your kitchen set, a girl can play with cars as well.” I keep telling him that girls are equally strong as boys.

She is the creator, the core of all relations;

She makes the world a living place with her emotions;

Everything is just beautiful when she is around;

She can do wonders, why do you frown?

Don’t cut her wings, you will cry;

For she is as good as a boy.

Let her live, give her a chance;

Else, without her we will go into trance.

WILL YOU FIGHT OR CAVE IN ?

“Did you say ‘No’, when he was inside you ?”, asked the doctor for the second time. The young girl, aged 7, was trembling with fear, she turned back, hugged me tight and started to cry… “Oh my dear, I wish you shouldn’t have to go through all this” was my thought.  It was very clear that the little girl did not even understand the question, of course, how can she ??  I couldn’t control myself from giving a nice lecture to the doctor…

“Didi (it means sister in hindi language), can we go back ? I don’t want to talk anymore”, her words brought instant tears to my eyes.

This happened after two months she was raped, brutally raped by many men, actually we don’t know the number of men who took an advantage of her. When she was found and brought to rehabilitation home, she had bruises all over, she had to undergo a surgery which turned out to be a life saver. So much of pain and agony at such tender age, what was her fault in all this ? 

On top of what she had to go through, the doctor’s insensible questions. I was just stupid to think that it may help her heal faster if I take her to a counselor. But, not all counselors are good. If he cannot understand how she might have felt about the horrifying act, how can he ever heal her ? I rushed her out of the hospital…

I really don’t want to give statistics of how many rapes happen, how often they happen. We all know it, and we don’t have to be accurate. It’s all in the news – fathers, brothers, grandfathers, neighbors, friends, there is no disparity in the relation when they attempt to rape. The act of sexually assaulting another person (no gender bias), even if it happens one in a million is still shameful and questions how we continue to be called humans ? Are we animals ? Where is our so called humanity ?

No rape is instantaneous. It may not be pre-planned, but it’s pre-meditated. It must have been alive in their thoughts for duration longer than the actual rape. How many of us know that most of the people who commit rape tend to repeat the act ? 

More or less similar are sexual assaults and sexual advancements. All sorts of sexual crimes do not happen only at homes, schools or colleges. After all the education, people find better ways of taking advances that are sexual in more neater and cleaner ways. Offices are no exception. I myself have been through it and I know many other colleagues who have been through. 

Sexual advancements at office usually are of quid pro quo, where the offender is either threatening to ruin your reputation at work or is not allowing you to grow unless a sexual favor is done to him/her. If not, they have a habit of it and cannot stop themselves, even when they are aware of how strict the laws are. 

What can we do to eradicate sexual assaults and how do we deal with people who would have fallen victims.

  • First and foremost, love and care for the victim as you always do.
  • If you are a man trying to help a woman going through sexual abuse
    • Give them strength, they tend to get mentally very weak…
    • Tell them that you would be there no matter how difficult the situation turns out to be.
    • Give them courage to express themselves and complain to the concerned authorities regarding what has happened.
    • Educate them that the fight won’t be easy, it indeed wouldn’t be.Be their support system.
    • If it’s a work place, school or college, the victim would be facing the offender even after the compliant has been launched, but be aware that there are laws which allow the victim to stay away from work/school for close to three months.
  • If you are woman who has gone through or is going through abuse or helping others
    • Always remember to talk to family, friends and peers.
    • Break your silence, make sure it is highlighted in all the right forums.
    • Please talk to your female colleagues and warn them of what’s happening in the work environment. ( I mentioned this point only because I got to know of many women who talk to their male colleagues, but never to their female colleagues. No offense, but may be it’s more important that your female colleagues know, so that they don’t fall prey)
  • If the victim is a kid or a young girl, never tell them that their life is ruined. It hasn’t. A girl’s life cannot be ruined just by this.
  • If at all the girl’s family has a problem with the assault, try your level best to make them understand.
  • Educate children about sexual abuses and how they can recognize them 

If I were to think of a solution, I would suggest setting up an anonymous reporting system, where the victim’s identity is hidden unless a similar incident about the same offender is reported, since the majority would be repeat offenders, it would be easier for the authorities to talk with the victims in isolation and do the needful. It is not fool proof, but would be a good start and can be extended as per our future needs.(I sincerely wish such need never arises )

Dear victims ,relatives and friends,

Please consider rape or sexual assault as an accident, in fact, it is nothing more than that and shall not disturb our lives in any way that can hinder normal life. It is not end of life.  Please highlight the incident and lodge a complaint with the authorities so that such incidents don’t repeat at the least.

OUR BOYS NEED HELP

Twelve years ago Anu Mukherjee, a bar dancer in Delhi had acid poured on her leaving her blinded with extensive injuries on her face, arm and thighs. Sources say that this attack was an account of acute jealousy in workplace. Her co-worker’s brother was held in offence.  

(The Indian Express, 6th June, 2016)

“Shaboo faced an acid attack when she was just one month old resting on her mother’s lap… The mother was killed in the attack and her father sentenced to jail.” The reason of the attack is still unknown. The incident left her orphaned and scarred for life.

(The Citizen, thecitizen.in, 11th December, 2016)

“Pragya Prasun was on her way from the city of Varanasi to New Delhi after her wedding, when a distant male relative poured acid on her.”

(dw.com, 8th June, 2016)

Laxmi Agarwal, a well-known figure and a social activist, fighting in favour of the acid attack victims is herself a survivor of the same. She had refused to marry the man who stalked and pursued her.  Her disfigured face and body parts screams out loud of her horrific experience.

The plight of the women in our country is beyond explanation. A few of our South Asian and African countries have reported the likes of this heinous crime in the recent past. With special mention to our Nation, which is leaping forward every second towards the so-called development and prosperity, a pertinent question rises in my frustrating mind. Why is there a rise on the amount of acid attacks and eve-teasing in India? Where does our country stand today?

As we try to fill up the empty seats in educational institutions, donate our share of money in buying products that add up to the expense of one child, clean our houses of dirt and old currency notes, join hands to end corruption in India, light up candles, conduct protest marches and debate the expansion of our rights, a woman dies metaphorically and at times literally, curled up in disfiguration. The woman of today has realized her rights, has the support of her parents and rightfully makes choices. She is not denied education and to a certain extent has gained independence. She goes out to transform the society and contribute and work hand in hand with the menfolk.

Now that she has stepped out of the thresholds of her confinements, the newly acquired confidence has started to threatened and in these cases has injured the inflated ego of certain menfolk. No matter how much we support our women, postulate a code of conduct and discipline them to become modest and repressing there are a section of people who will find a fault in their way of living and I don’t know why have also taken the responsibility of moral policing. This is moral policing only to demean the opposite sex. Then there are people who refuse to take no for an answer. Whether it is a refusal for marriage, an upward shift in the social ladder or simply the existence in case of the girl child these people with their swollen ego aim to disfigure the victim and condemn them to a life of suffering. If they could just cripple these women who crippled their self-pride!

Humans seem to have been petting bitterness in their hearts. The act that is done out of jealousy consumes the doer and the victim in its own fire. Vengeance never tastes sweet and satisfying. After all we are humans made of the good and the evil. At a point guilt will creep and destroy the very soul.

The very root of this heinous crime finds its way in the regular teasing of women carried out by self-proclaimed and narcissistic cynosures who are devoid of basic discipline. Their actions are as loud as their words and thus they stink of nasty upbringing. This in totality is termed as ‘Eve teasing’. Cat calls, stalking of every manner, molestation, manhandling, sexual harassment, ogling are the very elements of Eve Teasing and is carried out mostly in South Asia. This is what our Indian Penal Code terms as outraging the modesty of a woman and righteously condemns it.

 Despite of the innumerable strict laws present in our country these continue to flourish. This is because we women have become immune to the various mistreatments meted to us. We are OKAY with what is going on. We are OKAY with people brushing against us, making us feel uncomfortable in public places. We are OKAY with the ogling, stalking and cat calls. If not raise your voice make it known that it is uncomfortable. Make it known it is not liked by you. Sometimes raising your hand or raising your voice feeds these scumbags and they get entertained by it. They have an adrenaline rush and God forbid if you injure their ego they decide to maim you mentally and emotionally.

This issue will go on and on scarring generations after generations. Speaking of scars, one cannot possibly imagine the predicament of the acid attack victims. The countless surgeries, reconstruction of melted body and facial parts, the huge amount of debts, the failed promises of the government and the excruciating pain is good enough to mar a human life forever. Just as stated above, this will continue if we do not bring about a change in the manner of our upbringing. Gender discrimination needs no introduction and explanation. It is better to teach our boys than to impose codes upon our girls. I used to teach a group of small boys in church. I was teaching the concept of trust and respect through activities and storytelling. They were eager to know what trust meant. I simplified and expressed in terms of a close relationship they had with their family especially with their mother or sister. I used this thought to assert that trust should never be broken and every girl needs to be respected. Amazingly they came up with examples of how that could be done.

It is definitely possible that these mistreatments be stopped and we don our roles of a sister, mother, friend, girlfriend, wife, aunt, grandma and so on and so forth and help our boys as they are the ones who need it the most.