Wednesday, October 17, 2012

They know. We don't.

October 11 was designated as the International Day of the Girl Child. But just around the day marked for the event, girls all over the world went through troubling times. 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot. A 14-year-old Indonesian girl was detained and raped for a week by Sex Traffickers who found her on Facebook. The girl was then thrown out of school for being a factor that tarnished the school’s image. More recently, a 21 year-old-girl was raped at Law School, Bangalore, India. Still more recently, a teenage girl was gang-raped and then set on fire in Bengal.

It’s perhaps easily the truest thing to say that we live in a world that is a thriving hotbed of shameless impunity and abject disregard for women. The global struggle for gender equality is still such a climb uphill – and still remains one of the biggest moral fights in the world today – much on the lines of the fight against slavery and colonialism.

But here’s the true deal: While the Taliban, these rapists, these oppressive masses understand something, we are conspicuously lacking in our understanding of this: That an educated and equal woman is truly a force to reckon with. So they go about oppressing women, so they can break society, so they can keep their dominance alive. And we? We support them through our rhetoric: “Silly girl! Who asked her to write about Education when she knew the Taliban could wipe her off?” “She dressed provocatively, so they raped her. Good girls don’t do that.” “Oh she? She stayed out long with her boyfriend. No wonder she got raped.”

This mindset – this very notion – that a girl “deserved” what she got, though everyone knows it is WRONG, is what needs changing. As a people, as a society, as this “intelligentsia” that we love calling ourselves, we’ve failed to understand that this culture of impunity thrives because of our tacit consent: through our “she-deserved-it” speeches and tsk-tsks.

So yes: The Taliban, The Human Traffickers, The Rapists, The Oppressors: They’ve realized the significance of an educated, employed and empowered woman. They’ve realized that these women can obliterate their hard-line thinking and action. But we? We think that they are “powerful” because of their brute force. We think that we are nothing against them because they can use violence to silence us. We think that our girls deserve to be oppressed, so we do nothing about it.
And that’s why, our girls suffer.