A young woman wonders why her parents ask her “ten questions” when she wants to go out at night but not her brother and a Hindustan Times reader says women should never be afraid.
These are some suggestions readers have sent in response to our series ‘Let’s talk about rape’, for which eight eminent Indians are writing open letters about sexual assault in India. Actor Farhan Akhtar’s letter to his daughter discussed the “crudity and vulgarity” of Bollywood movies. Boxer Mary Kom’s open letter to her sons recalled the time she was molested. Novelist Shashi Deshpande asks men to understand that being gentle is not being unmanly.
Shamima Khan wants women to speak up, not to be afraid
Let’s have an open conversation about rapes and sexual crimes against women and girls. Let’s talk about the reasons behind crimes against women, what do people think - the sufferer and the culprit - and the cause that leads to all this. And, I am addressing every citizen of India and especially teenagers.
I have seen girls being sexually harassed almost every day on the road and the college opposite my home. I am not the only one to notice them. A male friend even chanced upon the boys who harassed girls. He told me once he was standing near a group of boys when a girl passed by and they started harassing her.
He was shocked and asked a boy from that group how did they know that the girl was bad. “Can’t you see the amount of makeup and the dress she is wearing?” the boy said. My friend responded by asking a simple question. “Does your sister just wakes up and goes out makeup? If she does, isn’t she the same as the girl you were harassing?” The boy was ashamed and stunned and said he never thought about it.
I don’t know how can a girl be judged for the way she looks or lives. Can girls or women who wear makeup be labelled as a “bitch”? No one has the right to touch you or abuse you - even if that person is your father, brother, husband or a friend. Our country assures all of us of equality, the right to knowledge and faith and much more and all of these are for both men and women.
So girls, be brave and don’t be afraid. Ignore harassers for the first time and slap and punish the next.
Priya Chauhan, a 16-year-old student, asks why question daughters, when sons don’t face any
One night I wanted to go to a stationary shop barely a minute’s walk from my home. My dad asked about 10 questions as to where I was headed and decided to accompany me because “Beta, it’s not safe”. I could understand his concern but I was really pissed off.
Why do I have to think 10 times before stepping out of my house? Why do I have to answer about 10 questions? Why are my parents on the verge of a heart attack when I say that I am going out for a walk at 7:30pm? My brother, who is 2 years younger, can go to the market, about 4 km away, anytime.
I completely understand the concern of my parents - they just want me to be safe but sometimes I do find the above-mentioned procedure a breach of the freedom promised to me as an individual living in a democracy in the 21st century. People say that the maximum we can do is teach our sons to respect women but sometimes I think there is a possibility of change if every parent asks those “10pm question” of their sons also.
Finally, our dear PM Mr Modi, I guarantee you that your ‘Acche Din’ are a waste if every Indian girl finds it a challenge to go to a shop at 8 “PM”.
Renu Mathur writes about the trauma of sexual assault victims
We discuss rape, violence, abuse and incest. We try to teach our children about being touched, violated or bullied. Except for a few isolated examples, these have become mere words holding no meaning to most apart from being the headline of the day. How many of us even stop to think about the long-term consequenses of rape? Sexual violence traumatises not just victims but their families too. Do we even think of the often permanent emotional and social scars they deal with for months and years, a lifetime? How does a parent come to terms with her child being raped, or attacked with acid?
Where do they go with this trauma?
Dr MA Ibrahimi warns against misuse of laws
Nowadays we read in the news about cases filed for molestation and rape that mostly appear to be false and filed for settling scores. The law is strict but misuse of it should have stricter punishment. Then only will people believe such cases (rape) to be true.
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