A crime such as rape anywhere in the world is extremely condemnable and certainly one of the most horrendous crimes faced by women. Everytime, a rape in India receives national media attention, our social media gets flooded with several blogs/articles about “How To Raise Your Sons?”…or “I Am Raising My Son To Respect Women”…or even “Teach Your Son Not To Become A Rapist”.
To begin with, there is not an iota of doubt that parents must teach their sons how to respect and behave with womenfolk in general. However, this particular blog that I write today is a manifestation of several incidents where crimes / misbehaviour by girls or women go unreported and also unpunished. While I have been reporting endless such stories on a daily basis, one recent incident that cannot be erased easily from my memory is that of 17-year-old Manav Singh from Gurugram.
Manav was a young school going boy, who was named in an alleged #MeToo incident on May 4, 2020, that happened 2-years ago. The minor girls who named and shamed him in one-sided instagram post, pressured the teenager to an extent that he decided to end his life….within few hours of the slanderous post. When I spoke to his father in detail, he shared with me how the girls actually planned to defame him, perhaps just to trend or get more hits during the on going #BoisLockerRoom controversy. Today, Manav the only child to his parents is no more, his father has been struggling at courts to get the girls arrested, yet allegedly the police has barely even questioned the accused girls.
Imagine if this story had genders reversed, it would have been prime time news for days/weeks, but sadly #JusticeForManav may never happen as he was a boy. You can watch my detailed interview with the boy’s father at the end of this blog.
The incident of recent alleged gang-rape in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, was yet such event, where people started abusing all boys/men in general. I am not going to debate the facts of this case, since the same has become highly political and we have narratives from both ends. However, I do not want to be party for pushing any narrative which can cause deterrence in justice – either for the victim girl or for allegedly falsely accused boys. That’s for the investigating agencies and system to decide and act upon.
But, Hathras yet again opened up the debate of why should parents only teach their sons how to behave? Why, as parents, do we distinguish between genders of our children in the process of their upbringing? Both kids irrespective of their genders are immature and deserve to be guided in the right direction by parents. However, where at one end we do not leave a stone unturned in continuously bashing the boys, we often tend to give a free pass to girls in the name of empowerment.
What does this translate into? It starts from the school level. If girls today are made to feel that they can get away with anything, because of the privilege of being a girl, how do you expect them to be fair when they grow up, go for work or co-partner with men in their marriage? Remember, gender justice debates started with the term “Equality” and not “Women Overpowering Men” at the cost of ruining and muzzling their respect and dignity.
We asked a few parents to open up about this matter and here is what we learnt. Read On…
Clarinda Fernandes from Mumbai shares how she was almost ridiculed for having two boys and no girl. She quotes:
Let me start by telling you that when my second son was born I was told “Pehli beti dhan ki pati” (girls get good fortune) but you have two boys. After a brief pause it was followed by “Never mind God’s will”. In a society where we always hear about female infanticide and gender discrimination, I belong to a parallel universe where a mother of four daughters who prayed to God for a son (my husband), was now taunting me for having two boys.I am constantly reminded that my boys need to be self reliant and not “cry like a girl” if they are hurt. Yet when both my 9-year-old and 5-year-old boys act out, they are termed acting like gundas (hooligants). My elder son wanted to be transferred to a co-ed school and I gave him every possible reason not to because I didn’t want to tell him that as per today’s lifestyle scenario, incase he accidentally runs into a girl, he would end up at the receiving end without a chance of explaining himself and even if he did he would be asked to “be more careful as girls are around”.Such an incident has happened with a friend’s son. So I’m fearful where will my sons be in the future society where they will have to live dodging egg shells.
Happened to read your post on Twitter. Wanted to share an incident that happened with my son at his school. A bit long though, but feeling relieved that I was given a platform to share my thoughts.
It happened so at my son’s school when he was in Class 8th. A subject teacher was taking the class and my son was sitting on a bench with his girl classmate. My son got up to answer a question raised by the teacher during the class. His partner strategically held a freshly sharpened pencil on his seat while my son was answering his teacher. My son not knowing of this and not at all anticipating any such thing sat down after answering the question. It was sheer luck that the pencil barely missed piercing his rectum and instead tore his pants and pierced his bum. He was in pain and went to the teacher who further sent him to the medical room.
The Medical attendant, embarrassed to examine the wound, very casually said it’s a minor scratch and asked him to not bother. According to my son, the medical attendant never even properly checked the wound. He complained to his class teacher about his female partner later, who in return gave me a call and narrated the incident. The teacher said I could take up this issue with the principal and put in a complaint against the child. However, she also requested me to not take any stern action against the child as she herself was very guilty of the act. It seems the teacher also complained about this to the mother of the girl child.
What surprised me was that the mother of the child called me personally and apologised for the behaviour of her own child. She requested me not to complain or take up the issue with higher authority as it would tarnish her child’s image. After much thought, my husband and I decided to let it go as we thought that the girl too was of the same age like our son and forgave the child for her behaviour, even though this act of hers could have resulted in an extremely serious life threatening injury to our son. This was where we were wrong.A few months later, during a free period my son was playing catch-catch with his cloth pencil-box alongwith his male classmate. The same girl suddenly got up and the pencil-box mildly hit her. There was no injury or such but this girl made a huge hue and cry about it by complaining to the class teacher, floor in-charge, medical attendant and even to the Principal!What appalled me was the very same setup of the class teacher, medical attendants who in my son’s case — wanted me to be kind-hearted and let go off the incident that happened earlier — were all up in arms with lots of reprimands and stern actions against my son. The Principal, who called my son to discuss this issue somehow felt it isn’t that big an issue and knowing my son that he ain’t a bully or anything, has a clean track record and is one of the bright students including the Group Leader in his class, closed the issue by making my son apologise to the girl.
- Why are there two standards of punishment, while on one side where all my son’s teachers felt that I should be large hearted and forgive his female class partner whose intentional dangerous act could have endangered my son’s life forever; on the other hand no one was large hearted enough to forgive my son for an incident that accidentally happened and never caused any injury. Was it because the victim happened to be a girl this time?
- My son was made to feel like an accused for hurting the girl, when all the while he kept explaining that whatever happened was unintentional and an accident. Why was the girl never reprimanded in such a manner?
- My son was given a stern warning not to repeat such a thing, while at first he never did anything to hurt the child. He was merely playing with his male classmate when the girl got up and came in between. So why was my son made to feel like he was the accused?
- If school happens to be a place where such open discrimination is meted out how shall the girl child ever learn, that justice is equal. Here I am sure the school and the parent showed a picture wherein the girl must have realised she could always have her way out
- The girl’s parents also told me that since you forgave our child, we forgive yours too. The audacity of the parents to tell me this when the two incidents can never be compared and here the girl was never injured
You tell me, am I wrong here feeling so? Always wanted to vent out my feelings on this but there never had been a platform for this open discussion. I am a strong woman and a proud mother to a son whom I have brought up with values that teach him ‘gender is only in the mind’, and that he must know that both boys and girls are equal. But he still discusses this incident where the girl happened to get support from all sides, while he received none and questions me where is equality in this amma? My son is 14-years-old.
I am 19-years-old from a small city (Kasganj) in Uttar Pradesh. When I was in 11th grade I got punished even when it was not my fault.One day, we were playing during our lunch break and there was a girl who was standing/blocking the class door and talking to her friends. When I asked her to move aside she bluntly said no and when I tried to enter in the class — as there was a small gap — she pushed me and at the same time I pushed her back. She fell down, I immediately thought I had made a mistake and I said “Sorry”. However, after the lunch break she registered a formal complaint against me to the principal and I was called in the principal’s office. Even after listening the complete story I was slapped by my principal and was issued a three-day suspension. I was asked to go home even despite four classes left for the day.When I was going to pick up my school bag from the class, my Hindi teacher (female) there called me and whispered that I know it’s not ur fault but “Wo Ladki hai” (she is a girl). That Hindi Teacher was the first lady I have seen after the incident who acknowledged who was actually wrong.This was the kind of injustice I faced, and I know that parents were asked to share a story here, but I never told this to anyone including my parents. For the next three-days, I went to a park with my friend so that my family did not get to know about this.
It is extremely humiliating when things are generalizes and the witch hunt. Now it is become a normal thing to typecast all men as perpetrators. It never bothers what the impact might be even if there is a false case.
Not my parents but I have seen many it is unfortunate, next generation boys are gonna face identity crisis and we are already seeing Men’s suicide rate going high.
May be what’s in media, is really the reflection of what parents think about boys at large. May be there’s a widespread belief that there’s something problematic about masculinity. May be Misandry is so deeply routed in our beliefs we are constant denial.
@MensDayOutIndia the only thing that worries me is how do I bring up my son in such a world?
Constant message theme “teach the boys responsibility, teach them to respect” why not say teach all children their rights, their responsibility and to respect others” each rape story starts a fresh tirade against boys. Girls get a free pass
Gave a nice one back to someone who had posted the same in the school parents’ group just yesterday. Tired of hearing this shit every other day from “proud parents of girls” who try to shame us for being parents to boys.
I m so much fed up that i have even lost the energy explaining anything. “Mothers are posting i will raise a son whom ur daughter won’t be scared off” My parents taught me to respect equally and i never had any diff in M/F
Most parents don’t have the time or the energy to dig up facts and counter the feminist agenda. Hence some of them tend to accept what the media projects. But many who have sons and r not blinded by Indian women= Devi propaganda they do take such things with a pinch of salt+
Not humiliated but tired and irritated. And those who give gyan spoil their own children irrespective of gender.
I faced it in a fair ground when a boy shoved my father and when I tried to protect my dad his sister started doing drama like screaming that I was drunk n sht when the boy was constantly trying to hit my father. That day I shunned it
When I was too small I was sent to tuition and my teacher late Lizzy used to punish me by striping me naked out side where girls hostel was beside, I was a silent kid & didn’t said this to mom but after few years I said accidentally, my mom became angry on her & I was embarrassedThis is under presentation of what happened it’s much more than that twitter gives only 280 character limits
Yes, I came across such incident against my son by one of the councillor for special kids. I talked with her and took matter with Head Mistress and Principal. Her contract was not renewed later. She was at fault and I made her understand this.