We all deal with the Indian patriarchal mindset every day. Girls generally hesitate to report harassment like lewd comments and unacceptable touching from men and young boys, and that is where the problem lies. When there in no action taken in response to their behaviour, the culprits tend to be under the impression that there is nothing wrong with what they do.
Ulrike Reinhard from Germany faced a similar situation in Janwaar village of Madhya Pradesh. When a 14-year-old boy touched her inappropriately, his reply to her protesting against his action was “I am a man”. Being a man he thought gave him an advantage over Reinhard and that according to her was his first mistake. His behaviour ticked off Reinhard so much that she decided to teach not just the boy, but the entire village about “How to treat women right!”.
Reinhard is the founder of Janwaar Castle, a non-profit company operating for the betterment of the people of Janwaar. After the boy tried to impose his male-dominance over Reinhard, she decided to take him to the police station. He managed to escape with his friend, laughing at her and mocking her. However, determined to teach him a lesson, she and went ahead to the police station where she complained about the boy. After the complaint was filed, the boy was caught and brought to the station followed by his parents and other acquaintances. Much to her chagrin, those gathered actually supported the boy, rather than rebuking him.
When Reinhard refused to budge, to pacify her, the villagers offered to beat the boy themselves. But this did not seem like a solution to Reinhard, and it was then that she hit upon a novel idea. She thought of starting a campaign at the boy’s school which would be headed by the boy himself, which would be called, most appropriately, “How to treat women right”. This was decided with the entire village agreeing to it and police giving their consent too.
She described the incident on social media through a Facebook post. Two days later, she met with the family of the boy again, who looked awfully saddened by what they have been made to go through, and discussed the design of the campaign. Though glum, they were ready to support her in her crusade.
Kudos to the Reinhard, not just for her determination to not let the matter rest, but also come up with an innovative solution to inculcate the idea of treating women with respect. After all, if that learning is imparted early on in life, the patriarchal attitudes are bound to undergo a change.
Feature Image Credit: YouTube