Girls still bearing the brunt of patriarchy?March 21st, 2011 - 6:21 pm ICT by ANI
By Priyanka Kumari
Darbhanga (Bihar), Mar 21 (ANI): Living in one of the larger towns of Bihar, change in the world outside does not become immediately apparent, especially if it is to do with perceptions about women.
What is more easily available is information of how the nation is moving ahead towards economic growth or it is making its presence felt in the international arena. However, what we need to understand is that even in this world of progress and new achievements nationally and internationally, have people begun to view women as equal or does the same discrimination and prejudiced mind-sets in smaller towns and villages still exist?
In these towns, there is an inherent contradiction. While parents allow girls to move out of their homes to go to school, even college, extra tuitions, they still retain in their hearts a vague sense of restlessness, even fear.
What if something untoward happens to their daughter? Is this freedom of movement, of access to education at all necessary? Indeed people live tormented lives, torn between an aspiration to educate and expose their daughters and a regressive social attitude, which prevails.
If we are to move forward as a society and as a nation, should this mind-set not be questioned? Instead to merely providing educational facilities, should not the family and social attitudes to support this education and exposure to different disciplines and fields of learning of girls be fostered?
What proves even more detrimental to girls is the threat to their security even within the family confines. Instances of girls being raped by their close relatives are not unknown.
In more horrific cases, it is sometimes the father who violates his own daughter. Who is she to turn to when the monster within the home makes its presence felt? Parents who are supposed to be the custodians of their children’s future turn out to be their tormentors.
No doubt, there is legislation for protection of women. The police are also supposed to be the custodians of this law. But it all amounts to nothing, if the crime against the girl or woman happens within the confines of their home or family. It is hardly likely that the crime or violence would get reported. Even if she wants to talk about it and has a mind to report it, she is life under a fear, a threat from her own family members.
Often the matter is quashed there itself. Family dignity and family pride takes on new connotations and the victim, often a young girl is left bereft of all support to deal with the physical violation of her dignity and the emotional and mental trauma, which can mar her.
Left in the lurch, such instances turn out to be a nightmare for the girl. About 15 km from Darbhanga town, this happened with a young girl, Reena (name changed) living in Madopur village. 13-year-old Reena, a student of Class IX lived with her parents and two brothers.
Life was restrictive and she was not allowed to venture out beyond going to school and back. It was an uneventful existence till one day; all hell broke loose in her world. Obviously, she was growing, her body was maturing into woman-hood but who would have thought, and this was being coveted by none other than her own. Her father used to teach her at home and it was during one such ‘tuition’ that he began to molest his daughter.
Distraught, Reena began to shriek and shout for the one who could save her, her mother.But her mother did not come. Whether she was also cowed down by the father or was complicit in the crime is a matter, which can be debated but at that moment, her mother turned her back on her own daughter and her anguished cries for help.
This became a regular feature within the confines of a home, which had become a hellhole for Reena. Little did she know that the worst was yet to come. One day, her two brothers chanced upon the scene and caught their father red-handed. But instead of rising to their sister’s defence, they too began to derive a perverse enjoyment.
Rather than be incensed at the act, they took a wicked pleasure in it themselves, not only watching but actually making their sister, a target of their lust. This continued till one day, Reena conceived and in a desperate bid to hide their crime, married her off to an aged man, condemning a young life to a world of ugliness and despair.
Reena’s case is not an isolated one. The question comes back to whether society has really changed in its attitude towards women. More specifically, are family units, the custodians of their girl-child’s welfare and security? The answers perhaps are not so simple.
The same attitude, which prevents a girl from venturing out, is the very mindset that violates her and denies her dignity and her security. It is imperative that these societal and family attitudes change to allow the girl to grow into a mature and capable adult with all the opportunities for her learning left open.
Both actions reflect a similar mind-set, only one is more extreme. In both cases, it is in the name of security, family dignity and pride that the life and growth of the girl is curtailed.
Let parents of girl-children come to that understanding that curtailing their daughter’s movements and activities is not the key to her security. Infact it is quite the reverse. The more they give exposure to their girls, allow them the opportunity to learn from varying situations, the girls themselves will evolve a way to create a life of peace and security.
In the more extreme cases where girls are molested and abused, enlightened sections of our society need to wake up and call the bluff, have the gumption to take the fight for its girls to the police, to the courts, to seek the legal way for justice. Unless this is addressed, all the talk of women’s empowerment, of girl children being given bicycles in Bihar and any amount of allocation for their education means very little.
Hundreds and thousands of little girls in Bihar are growing up now. Let them not grow up in fear and with low self-worth. They need to find the source of strength and self-confidence from within. It enjoins upon the rest of society and indeed the political leadership to provide the right environment for this to happen.
Charkha Development Communication network feels that girls have to go through the same discrimination and prejudiced mind-sets in smaller towns and villages even at a time when the nation is talking of women empowerment. (ANI)
- BJP leader's sister drugged, left to die by kin - Aug 30, 2011
- CBI probe demanded into Bihar girl's suicide - Sep 06, 2012
- She battles for women's property rights in tribal Kinnaur - Dec 22, 2010
- Terror suspect's arrest violated law: Nitish Kumar to Gowda - May 13, 2012
- Veena Malik plays sex worker - Oct 21, 2011
- Adoptions on rise - and many want a girl! - Mar 12, 2011
- Madonna is upset with her daughter Lourdes' hair - Aug 03, 2012
- 'Where goddesses are worshipped, women are treated badly' (With Image) - Jan 31, 2012
- African immigrant girls face sexual mutilation threat - Feb 06, 2012
- Andhra man beats wife for carrying girl child - Apr 03, 2012
- Not all is well with Bihar's young rural mothers - Dec 25, 2010
- A battle won for girls' education in male bastion (Feature with images) - Jun 03, 2012
- IT executive arrested for abetting wife's suicide - Jun 06, 2011
- Change mindset to curb female foeticide: Experts - Jul 13, 2012
- Taking up the gauntlet for sister's education - Jan 06, 2011
Tags: aspiration, brunt, confines, contradiction, custodians, darbhanga, disciplines, discrimination, economic growth, educational facilities, freedom of movement, instances, international arena, no doubt, patriarchy, perceptions, restlessness, social attitudes, tuitions, vague sense