BY: Salima Aman
A girl is like a piece of glittery crystal that needs upkeep and a safe place to sustain its existence. I belong to a society where, in accordance with the teachings of Islam, a girl should be given admiration and harmless dwelling to breathe and grow.
Unfortunately, our society is running in the opposite track where girls are harassed through words and roving eyes.
It is like a viral disease that runs through the genes of men. You will find the syndrome of staring and harassment of women in men of all ages; younger, adult, the elderly, and even among the immature school going children. The bug is spreading so rapidly that it has become a challenge to be tackled.
For a long time I wondered about what could provoke men to stare at a lady they never know, and behave so immorally and insanely manner?
This is not a new happening; we have gotten used to it for long,. And, I believe that staring and harassment of women is not about inappropriate clothing or men not being respectful. When we dig deep into it, we find a whole new perspective to this issue.
Men alone are commonly blamed for such behavior. However, women are not an exception. We critically stare at almost everyone who seems a little different from us; a little ugly or a little fair, dark skinned or a little lovely (well, that rarely happens though!).
In short, we look at everything and everyone around. We stare at people until they feel harassed and uncomfortable. We, as a society, are used to it since we as a whole are nurtured in such a way. Ask a foreigner and they will explain how bizarre and strangely sore it feels to be starred at.
The query is, why is it so in our society?
My opinion links me to the early childhood education and nurturing at home. Primarily, lack of female education appears to be the root cause. Then there are mothers who never teach their children not to gaze at people. It has never been a part of our ethics as a society (you may disagree). It’s not because they are naturally deficient of anything or they lack any ability to raise their kids well. It is because there is lack education and critical thinking.
Since our childhood we are cultured to criticize people who do not resemble or belong to us. We have lesser acceptances for things that are diverse. Do you remember people praising a kid who seems a little odd in some way, a little messy, or not so good in grades? If you do not remember, then luckily you happened to be in an environment that majority of our population cannot relate to. Such fundamental ethics and manners are taught at home. I don’t blame men or parents. Instead, I blame the society as whole. We all are equally responsible.
It is an issue in society that I think can only be eradicated through parenting and early childhood care and education. Teach your children at home not to be judgmental and discriminatory for whatever reasons. It should not be confused with school teaching at secondary level.
Developed societies follow the norms of accepting the differences, respect people irrespective of their social status, color or creed. Culture your kids to respect a doctor and a sweeper equally and that everyone deserves respect on human grounds. Teach your kids that observing veil or other religious rituals does not necessarily determine good character of a woman, and not observing veil may also not be the sign of immorality. Teach them to respect people of other faiths too. So when you will have kids teach them to respect everyone equally regardless of sect, faith, position, color or clothes etc. Once they learn to respect people on human grounds, they will learn to respect women automatically. Women have an equal share in society but social issues have obstructed them from playing their due role. We all should take initiative, starting from ourselves, our homes and from our surroundings. Importance should be given to early childhood development education as well as mothers should be provided awareness sessions to create a future society that is free of social evils to the extent possible.