Ek Thappad – it all starts with that one slap being okay. Once the dance of violence starts, does it ever stop? The more we normalize domestic violence, for whatsoever reason, the more we are stating that violence is okay, especially violence against women.
What triggers this conversation, you ask? Another acid attack, another girl sacrificed for someone else’s satisfaction. A 17 year old gets attacked, perhaps by a jilted boy. The media covers it, the entire nation is anguished. We talk about banning acid sales, punishments, pouring acid over the criminal’s body for revenge, punishing the offender even after his death if possible. A couple of days and then the world forgets.
To be perfectly honest, all of this talk is immensely satisfying to me. I am an eager supporter of revenge, when it comes to crimes against women. But what we really need to talk about is how to prevent such crimes.
As far as I am concerned, separating crimes of passion from premeditated crimes only gives a better excuse for the perpetrator.
Even in a crime of passion, in majority of cases at least, the offender has enough discretion to choose a deserted place and time, plan enough of the event to qualify it as “premeditated” in my head. They sure don’t want to be caught. If the offender has time enough to get rejected, go back home to digest the fact of rejection, resolve to take revenge, go to the store to buy acid and stalk the girl till he gets a chance to pour it over her face without getting caught, he has time enough to contemplate on what he is about to do may be wrong.
But why doesn’t he change his mind? I can think of only one reason. He doesn’t really understand that it is wrong to hurt others.
What we discuss after every incident, is how to punish and what action to take AFTER the incident happens. But what we really need is prevention, which is really the only cure here.
Normalising or justifying any kind of violence is definitely not okay. So the next time any woman wants to leave her husband due to violence issues but hesitates because of her children’s wellbeing, please let her know that her children are better off in a peaceful environment. A daughter who grows up in an abusive environment learns to take the abuse, and a son who grows up in an abusive environment learns to abuse. This is because we are so separated by gender, that gender is the first thing we notice about a person. So when dad hits mom, the child learns that it is acceptable for a man to hit a woman, not the other way around. Also, that it is the way it should be, a tradition (for lack of a better word).
Secondly, even in today’s “woke” world, there is an extra happiness when a son is born. It may not be apparent, the parents may not say it even to themselves, but it is there all around. In fact, there is a lot of superstitions around not saying NO to a male child. A son should not be refused anything, whatever he asks for. Guess where that leads to?
Such examples of this can be seen around us, in small things, a mother who is told that her son should not be denied anything while growing up, a father who is told that a son carries on the family name and fame. I have even seen parents ply their eight year old son with acidity issues with pizzas and burgers, I have seen parents give extra share to the sons as they have to “work harder”, I have seen parents take it lightly when a boy child plays with a doll by punching her or pulling out her hair or eyelashes. Boys will be boys, eh?
Would anyone say that the girl (the acid attack victim) should not have said no to him, or should have ensured that he doesn’t get attracted to her in the first place? I am sure the “enlightened” brigade which talks about banning girls from wearing short clothes would say so. But a sane and wise mind would not. So then is the guy at fault?
To a large extent yes. But imagine being brought up where your parents think that the world owes you for being born. That you deserve everything in the world. Such a person, when rejected, would lose their mind completely.
Each one of us may have been put on this earth for a purpose, I don’t know. But the ones we contemplate are all micro level purposes, even the ones that involve greater good of the society. At a macro level, there is only one purpose we all have. It is one common purpose for all – to coexist peacefully.
This involves respecting each other, their space, their rights, and our own duties. If we all do this, our rights will automatically be taken care of.
*All images used in this article are either Eyra’s own design or widely and freely available on the internet.*