Women Empowerment Starts with Respect

Respecting a woman is the best way to tell her how beautiful she is.”

As a Teen Life & Parenting Coach, I meet some kids from affluent and educated families where the mother is still searching for her identity. Once a mother came to me and said, ” I want to open a fitness center but I am afraid of taking responsibility”. I made her delve deeper and understood that she had a father who always curbed her desires and then she married a man who never thought she was good enough. This wonderful woman is excellent in fitness, wants to open a fitness center but is full of fears. She is so used to disrespect that now she questions her own self-worth and has stopped giving herself any value.She has two boys who again do not talk to her with reverence. Nobody ever took her CONSENT when it came to HER decisions.

It pains my heart to believe that a woman – a birth giver, a caregiver, a passionate lover, a dutiful wife, an intelligent worker, is also a victim of rape, physical abuse, and disrespect.

Women deaths all over the world have increased manifold in the past years, and most of which are due to assault, harassment, and abuse, where the perpetrators are men.

Where does this begin? How does a kid, who is as blameless and unadulterated grows up as an abuser who demonstrates no regard for women?

Where does it start?

We have been, historically living in a society that praises masculinity with a very narrow definition of it. We concern ourselves about the safety of our daughters, and yet, on some level, we have accepted abuse and disrespect towards women as a part of the game.

Coming back to the question, any behavior, or misbehavior by children, is for the most part learned at home, by observing elders. Children show what they see. Some common factors that can be linked with youngsters who disrespect women are –

  1. Abusive parents
  2. Personal experience of being humiliated and forced to do something against his will
  3. Broken homes
  4. Disrespectful father figure
  5. Staunch male stereotypes followed by families
  6. Being in an inappropriate friend circle and doing malicious behavior to gain group conformity.

Why is it important to educate them

Our boys must know that

  1. ‘She’ has feelings
  2. ‘She’ is not a sex object
  3. It is a man’s responsibility to protect a woman’s prestige
  4. Showing disrespect is a reflection of who we are
  5. It is never ‘okay’ to force her to do something.

It is time we stop restricting our girls and start teaching our boys to act right. Education will fulfill that purpose.

The 5 steps to Educate Young Boys

1. Set a good example:

  • Talk politely with your kids, especially if he is a teenager.
  • Never shout at a woman in front of your child (not even at his back).
  • Watch out if ever your kid is misbehaving with his mother. Shouting at mother is the first sign that your child is disrespecting women.
  • Teach them, but do not be rude.
  • Never smack or beat your child. No matter what the mistake, sort it out with words.

2. Monitor Media Use:

  • Do not watch violent media when your kids are around.
  • Do not allow your child to spend more than 2 hours watching videos and movies if he is below 10 years.
  • Watch out for the friend circle your kid is in and how he is spending time with them.
  • Do not indulge them to play violent video games.

3. Talk about the “things”:

  • If you ever notice your child misbehaving, ask him why.
  • If your kid insults any girl around, ask him how he is feeling after disrespecting the person.
  • Teach him the better ways of reacting to a situation.
  • Educate him about healthy sex, but not in an awkward way. You can gift him a good book where he gets the information in the right way.
  • Talk to him about women harassment and how an abused woman feels.  Give him personal examples that would touch his heart.

4. Teach him the meaning of consent:

  • Respect his consents. If your child says “no” to something, listen to him as long as it is good for him.
  • Tell him that he should never force anyone to do anything.
  • Never try to force your daughter, wife, or mother in front of your boy. It gives the wrong message to him.
  • You can try funny hacks like T-shirts saying “NO MEANS NO” or “RESPECT GIRLS AND BE A MAN”, etc. It is a friendly way of giving them the good message.
  • Teach your child that consent is compulsory to have. Especially if you have an adolescent at home, it is inevitable that you tell him the importance of taking consent before he touches a girl.

5. Be what you want to see

  • Do not allow statements like “girls should go back to the kitchen”, “men should pay the bills”, “it is better if moms work from home”, etc. at home.
  • Say ‘no’ to sex stereotypes. Remember your child is following your footstep.
  • Be respectful and empathetic towards others, that is what a child should at home.
  • Do not tell your girl to choose “safe clothes” – clothes which are deemed to protect her from sexual harassment. Caution her against the brutal but never encourage her playing the victim.

Respecting women is not an option.  It is the only way to treat any woman a boy comes across in his life. This education can be imparted only with parental engagement. It makes no sense if we keep focusing on how to save our daughters, and do not consider raising our sons in the right way.

    Women are complete in themselves, Men should get aware of the power  and completeness of the women.