in response to: Raising a boy in times of rape

This blog post gives me hope, but patriarchy takes it away.

I do not have children so it would be easy for me to dismiss this problem, citing my lack of progeny, but I won’t. Violence against women is a systemic problem, which we need to understand discursively. That’s the only way to figure how to raise children (not just boys) in these times.

The main motive of these crimes — both sexual and otherwise — is the victim’s gender and the meanings we associate with it. For centuries men have had very fixed ideas about women and how they ought to behave. Their protective/violent behaviour towards us is a means of reinforcing said ideas. Which is why we see men desperately trying to protect their women, trying their best to subjugate the inferior subspecies. Rape is an act of domination. Violence is an act of domination. Protective behaviour is an act of domination.

Women are expected to be weak, docile. Any deviation from this behaviour is seen as an act of transgression. What are we to do, then? We abolish discriminatory practices: we treat people the same, regardless of whether they have a penis or a vagina or neither. We stop celebrating rakshabandhan: it’s a fucked up concept. Then we take it further and kill the protectionist attitude that’s so deeply ingrained in our society. And then perhaps some day men will stop assuming ownership over the women in their lives, and start to treat them like real people. What next? We could then try to stop worshipping women and bring them back to the sphere of the human. When the woman is a complete human again — not a goddess or an object — we could try to let her live her own life as she sees fit. This basic freedom should be every human’s undeniable right, and not just a privilege reserved for men.

So how are we to raise children? I think that now, more than, ever, kids need to be raised to be gender-blind. Educate them about sex — as early in their lives as possible — and tell them what it means to be raped. Tell them that people can be hurt in other ways too, and teach them not to discriminate.

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Vasudha Pande

i make stories & teas