If you have not had an opportunity to read parts 1 and 2 be sure to give them a read before reading this final part.
The last two posts examined why the rapists were brought to justice and the impact Jyoti’s death and India’s Daughter (the documentary) have had in India. It was discussed that India still has a long way to go as a woman is raped every 20 minutes and marital rape is not considered rape illegal in India. But how can India proceed to try to address the issue?
After discussing the topic of gang rape in India with many individuals, there have been multiple suggestions including blaming the mothers for raising their sons to not respect women and the need to change the mentality of the men in India. Thus, they are arguing that the changes need to begin at a mircro-level and will translate into the bigger picture. I however, take a different approach.
I believe the change needs to come at a macro-level via the legal sphere, political sphere and media before we can see drastic changes in mentality. Why?
Much of India lives in poverty and parents in dire need of money do not have the time to discuss such matters with their children because they are too busy putting food on the table. The mentality in India is very different than that of in the western world. How?
For instance, as a South Asian woman, I know my parents did not want to discuss the idea of sex, dating, rape, gender equality or even sexual health with me. It is an awkward topic to discuss, especially for less educated parents and older generation parents as those conversations never took place with their parents. Fortunately, children born in Canada have sex-education in school where they can learn about their bodies, healthy relationships and ask questions. Conversely, India does not have sex-education. The topic of sex is considered extremely taboo. Moreover, there are no legal pornography stores and homosexuality is illegal.
On the other hand, India has one of the largest prostitution markets in the world. A market that is readily available for interested customers. A market where men are invited and women essentially fight for a chance with a man to make some money. Women and girls often resort to prostitution in times of financial hardships as the sexual services are always in demand. India is also known to have one of the largest markets for human trafficking which aims at girls as young as 12. I often question if the average male in India knows how women end up in prostitution or about the hardships these women face.
In the Western world we have social sciences to teach individuals about socio-economic conditions that contribute to the individuals choices and learn to empathize rather than exploit the disadvantaged. If there was a mandatory equivalent to this type of education in India, perhaps this could help evolve the mentality of the future male generation.
The first step is to have the younger generation (high school, university students) discuss sex in a safe environment in a mature and non-hypersexualized manner. If teenagers can see that this is a mature subject, they may learn to take it more seriously rather than relying on unreliable sources, such as Bollywood, for self -education.
If the subject of sex no longer becomes taboo, it becomes easier to discuss. If the topic is open for discussion then woman may feel less scared to come forward when they have been sexually assaulted because they will learn to not blame themselves for dressing a certain way, being at the “wrong place at the wrong time” or for any other ludicrous reason. If women and gay men recognize that the male is wrong, they may speak out. This kind of paradigm shift, may take down a couple of bricks in a very high wall. This can only be implemented by legal changes and political pressure.
Make sure to read part 2 of the part 5 series next week. Don’t forget to “like” the post, if you like what you read. Follow The Social Paralegal
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