Sexual Abuse and Globalization

1 month back:

News flash: (Tamil Nadu): A young woman, Swathi, was brutally hacked to death by a young men. Incident happened early in the morning in Chennai, at the crowded Nungambakkam Railway Station.

The killer walked away from the spot and no one chased him or took a photo / video on their phones. Police reached the spot 2 hours later. This incident has created a big outcry in the media, and among the public.

6 years back:

It was 8 PM in Chennai. I got down from the local train at Kodambakam Railway station. I had to walk though a few by-lanes to reach home. There were many passers by and street lights were on.

As I waited to cross the road, I felt someone push me aside. I looked up to see a man standing right next to me. I also noticed his hands coming towards me again. I asked him what he wanted. He replied back with a sheepish smile, without withdrawing his hands. I yelled at him saying he ought to watch his hands or be ready to face the police. I was scared and angry that I ran till I reached my  room.

I have faced similar incidents through out my tenure in  Chennai. While I write this, similar incidents are happening to many young children, teenage girls, working ladies and mothers across India. They face similar feelings of vulnerability and insecurity.

25 years back:

India was very different 25 years back. Streets in India were safer for women. In those days, it was common to see well-dressed stylish young men lingering near residential areas and universities to ‘watch’ young ladies. I remember seeing well dressed uncles loiter around our residential area to watch the young school and college going akka’s. But no one dared to go near or touch unknown ladies in public places.

A comparison…

25 years back, there were no hi-tech smart phones and CCTV cameras. Yet, an incident like Swathi’s murder in broad day light in a crowded public place could not have happened. Public would have raised the alarm, and chased behind the murderer. Passers by would have rushed the victim to a hospital immediately.

But today’s reality has let the murderer walk away leisurely from the spot, and no one went near the victim for 2 hours till Police arrived on the scene.

Bangladesh

Safety for women in India

What happened in the last 25 years ?

In the 1990s, India embraced globalization. It opened the door to lots of financial changes.  Education and career options became wide spread. It became easier to find jobs that paid well. Traditionally conservative women ventured out to colleges. They also got high paying jobs. Men and women interact and mingle a lot. Party culture, along with IT and BPO jobs have led to more women on the streets at night.

On the other side, Gloablization has also brought many social changes. There are realistic portrayal of crimes and social extremes in media. Films that portray brutality are appreciated by the public for their realism. TV channels bring all latest brutal crimes right in to the house. TRP is the norm of the day… As a result, common man’s mind has become used to crimes.

We have become numb to crimes and brutality. Unless something extremely brutal happens, there is no public outcry for the common everyday crimes. India is definitely not headed towards a safe zone.

The future…

Since globalization, India has been changing its social mindset. In the past, our culture and traditional practises were at risk due to globalization. But now, India has found a balance between international exposure and its own cultural identity.

Similarly, we are now going through a phase where human rights and personal freedom are at risk. We have to find a balance between modern lifestyle vs gender / religious / caste identity, and embrace humane feelings.

Globalized India has to pass this phase, and emerge out as a balanced and more humane society. Only time will tell how and when this happens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Secrets behind skin color and complexion

What defines a woman? Is it her brains, abilities, nature, beauty,  curves or skin color ..

There are so many of us, both men and women who take skin color very seriously. Many of us are proud of our skin color  We take all efforts to maintain it. There are an equal number of us who feel inferior, or at the least, not satisfied with our skin color  We continue our life feeling inferior about our skin color.

Nandita_Aishwarya

Image source: SantaBanta.com

Is skin color really worth anything, or is it just another false judgement of our society?

Will a fair skinned teacher make your child score high marks, than a brown skinned teacher? The answer depends on the teacher’s skills and methodologies, not on her color.

Will a fair skinned doctor cure you sooner, than a darker skinned doctor? Will we risk our health based on the doctor’s skin color, or will we give importance to the doctor’s credentials and treatment methods?

These examples go on and on… It only proves that when it really matters, we give importance to abilities, brains, credentials, experience, etc… rather than skin color!

Medha Patkar

Image source: Hindustan Times

Now what really decides our skin color?

Our skin has a protein called melanin. When Suns rays affect our skin cells, this melanin protects our skin. So when we are exposed to Sun, our skin automatically creates more melanin. This melanin collects in the top layers of our skin, preventing the below layers from damage. This makes our skin dark.

If our ancestors had lived in areas of high sunlight, their skin would have more of melanin. We inherit the same from our ancestors through our genes. This is why some of us are born dark. Many of us who are exposed to sun light because of work or other reasons develop more melanin, thus making us dark, though we are born fair.

This is the reason why people living around the equator have dark complexion and people living in the north pole have fair complexion.

What is forgotten is, this melanin makes us dark… but it protects our skin and our body from sun’s harmful rays. 

Dalit girl

Keeping this in mind, is it not foolish to believe in creams and treatments that claim to change our skin color! If it really works, can we predict what will happen to our skin cells after their composition is altered? How safe are these treatments from skin cancers and skin diseases.

It is rubbish to say people with less melanin are more superior! It is even more stupid to believe you and your children are inferior because of skin color!

Lets forget all this hype about fairness and skin color.

It is our personality, smartness, communication and abilities that measure success and happiness. Do not measure yourself or others based on looks or skin complexion.

Where the head is held high

Education does not define her,

Career and salaries do not matter,

Cooking skills are not counted,

Fame and fortune will not help here,

None of these define a successful woman.

Calm dignity is what she wears,

Knowledge is what she adores,

Reasoning and logic her two friends;

Sense and sensibility her way of life.

This is the successful woman, and

indeed a progressive human being.

maniammai

Image source: http://keepingcount.wordpress.com

The wide world outside

Girl’s education is fast becoming a reality everywhere in the Indian sub-continent. Atleast all metros and suburbs have a good girl to boy ratio in primary and elementary schools. Though we need a lot to be done to make education accessible to girls in all nook and corners of the country, a considerable ratio of girls are educated now.

The advantage this offers is girls and women can now read and write their regional language, they can understand news broadcasts, they watch TV or listen to radio, paving the way for awareness campaigns to reach them, etc.

sivasankari-OPT

Our grandmothers had no source of outside news except from relatives and neighbours. But we have access to newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, cinemas etc. Starting from easy to use detergents to awareness campaigns for cancer prevention, there are many consumer items that can make a woman’s life easy and healthy.

Want to know how much your residence is worthy of int he current economy? Do not rely on chats with your neighbour for this, instead switch on your TV channel and there is so much information on the current land prices in your locality.

Is your child having difficulties in studies or games, check out the daily afernoon doctor Q & A Tv programmes or your regional women’s magazines for child related columns.

Do you run out of time trying to manage your work and your children, check out the Time management articles and tips in magazines and books.

Chances are that if you are a woman from the India reading this post, then you are well-informed and already access information available in print and digital media. Is your mother or grand mother or mother-in-law fond of family or local gossips… are you facing incessant problems because of this? A quick solution would be to turn their focus to cooking shows, or recipe books, or DIY-home remedies or DIY-beauty tips, etc. Play a local FM radio or TV in a place where they can hear it. Buy women’s magazines in your regional language and place it such that it grabs their attention.

aval_vikatan

When members in a family get to know about happenings in the world, and discuss about things happening outside their known circle, it would reduce petty arguments and spats within the family. The more informed and aware the family members are, the more chances for financial and social progress of the family. And when this starts from the women of a family, it will definitely help the whole family.

 

Image sources: www.sparkthemagazine.com, www.vikatan.com