As a Parent and Educator, and most of all as a human being, I have been profoundly impacted by the recent ‘me too’ campaign. It has brought back many ghastly memories of unfortunate incidents of sexual violence I have been privy to at very close quarters; all of which were swept under the rug in the name of this so called ‘societal image’. And that disgusts me!
I’d like to share two primary aspects to this entire sexual-predator phenomena. One, it isn’t always the case that it is maids, staff, and people from a lower strata of society who prey on our wives, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces and children. On the contrary, it is often times within the uppermost echelons of society, that these monsters lurk. In the garb of patriarchs, uncles, intellectuals, educators, captains of industry; they seek refuge in the assumption that their ‘goodwill’ and fame will make them above both suspicion as well as the law. Two examples from popular culture and literature immediately spring to mind. One is Mira Nair’s masterful Monsoon Wedding. And the other is a running theme in my friend, author Ratna Vira’s writings. That evil exists among us, often times in our very homes!
The second point therefore brings up the most important question perhaps. How do we control this menace? One definite answer is to empower our children. Scores of young people, girls especially, after experiencing a horrific violation, will not have the courage to do ANYTHING about it. Be it shame, or worse still, an inherent belief that the ‘victim’ somehow was to blame; there are many reasons why the violated, do not tell a soul! And that is just tragic.
I did not willfully write this rather sullen post towards the end of the year. But maybe instead of the many relatively banal New Year Resolutions we tend to make around this time of year, this once, we can vow to talk to our children, educate them, sensitize them, and make them aware of what is OK, and what isn’t, and give them the courage and confidence in themselves and in us, that they should not, and CAN NOT stay mute, and MUST SPEAK UP. That from this moment on, all the Sexual Predators that are hiding in plain sight, BEWARE!