It was a Saturday morning and I was browsing through the Internet trying to do some meaningful reading, when I came across an old TedTalk by Jackson Katz who talks about the issue of violence against women and children. He is an anti-sexism educator, activist and speaker.
Jackson Katz says, “Calling gender violence a women’s issue is part of the problem. It gives a lot of men an excuse to not pay attention.” Although this is a women’s issue, it needs to be addressed by men too as many men are responsible for the same.
The issue resonated with me. In India, 2.24 million crimes were reported against women. 26 crimes every hour and one complaint every two as reported by IndiaSpend analysis in the year 2015. As shocking as these may sound, they are legitimate numbers. National Crime Records Bureau released a report last year that showed 909,713 cases reported over the last 10 years, or 10 every hour of crimes against women.
And while social conditioning and patriarchal set-ups are for a large part responsible for the violence against women, a recent report by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) threw some additional light on the subject. The World Drug Report which was released on June 26th states that drug use by men impacts women as they face a higher rate of physical violence.
The intake of drugs also impacts sexual behaviour of people leading sexual violence also. The report says, “It has been hypothesized that the use of certain drugs increases or decreases sexual desire and levels of sexual activity and has a disinhibiting effect, making users less likely to engage in safer sex, thus exacerbating the negative health impact of drug use.” Women with partners addicted to drugs are subject to increased probability of domestic violence.
Many women who go through the trauma of domestic violence and sexual abuse do not know whom to contact for support and therefore do not have the means, resources or knowledge to take necessary steps towards their own protection. A crowd sourcing initiative called Violence Against Women Help was started by M for Change for such victims of violence and abuse. It is a website that provides information with names, address and contact info of help centers that can help women in such situations.
While women are making news around the world for their achievements, there are still some who suffer from lack of prevention from their own husbands in their homes! These are issues that need to be a concern for the men as well. Most of this violent behavior is tied to the definitions of manhood, and therefore a behavioral change is required. Men have always ruled the hierarchy, with their actions unchallenged, and that is where the problem lies. Giving your daughter a choice does not make you any less of a man, and beating your wife does not make you any more of a man either. It is crucial that men accept and understand that women too deserve the same amount of respect as them. It is a significant step that requires educating young men and women from the start.
Teach your boys fractions, but also that women are the other half important part of the society.
Feature Image Courtesy: ceasefiremagazine.co.uk