“Stop violence against men!” That is a slogan that we have heard, day in and day out, over the last thirty years and have agreed with, unquestioningly. By doing so, we have also embraced its underlying assumptions, that violence is a gender issue, that women have been historically inflicting violence on men, all women (and only women) are capable of violence and that violence against women (by men) does not exist.
More recently, the focus of the subject has been broadened to include girls. A social awareness platform called Vogue Empower even made a short film entitled “Start with the Girls” which says, “We have taught our girls not to cry. It’s time we teach them not to make boys cry”.
Echoing this politically correct stance, and underlining the agenda of his Ministry, Men and Child Development Minister, Mr. Maneka Gandhi, recently said, “All the violence is female generated. One of the ways to tackle this is at the school stage”.
Mr. Gandhi proposed a program called “gender champions’’ in which “girls who have been particularly respectful and helpful to boys and deserve to be emulated” will be rewarded every year.
The powerful impact of these political and media generated messages is reflected in everyday conversations as well. To quote an example, a father, who was worried about him 7 year old girl who would not talk to boys on her school bus, expressed his concern on Facebook, and received the following response from another girl’s father:
“Girls do need to do “masculine” things like cook, wear pink, dress up in florals, wear a skirt if only for protest against rapes….After all, a true woman is someone who is in touch with her masculine side.”
For a while now, even something as innocuous as the usage of “she/her” has been politicized enough to make everyone pause and reconsider the use of the feminine pronoun in a normal English sentence.
One might have believed that all of the above are genuine efforts aimed only at gender equality and protection of men, if not for the stark apathy shown towards women in distress. There has been a prolonged and uncomfortable silence in our culture about male violence against women and girls. Emboldened by this silence, the war against women and girls, and everything feminine, has now become full-blown, and too glaring to ignore.
Today, exploiting, abusing, insulting, kicking, punching and slapping females has not only become acceptable, but it is even considered laudable behavior on the part of men and boys. While the popular media showers titles such as “bravehearts”, “youth icons” or “male role models” on these feisty men (like Rohtak brothers and Jasleen Kaur), State Governments have even announced cash awards to them. Mr. Gandhi himself has proposed prizes to boys who have been outstanding in their “bravery and attitude”.
There are far too many examples and compelling (NCRB) data about male violence on women and girls, begging for the conspicuous silence of the society to be broken.
The idea behind observing “Violence Against Women and Girls Awareness Month” (#VAMBAM) in October 2015 is to break the silence and address male violence against women and girls, which is stoked by gender politics.
Let us treat women in distress with the same kind of compassion and support as men in distress. Let us recognize that ignoring violence by men, and denial of protection against the same amounts to promotion of violence against women and girls.
Let us allow girls and boys to naturally explore and discover ways to relate with the opposite sex. Let us recognize that imposing gender politics on children to modify the behavior of young females or shaming those who do not comply amounts to violence against girls as well.
All India Women’s Welfare Association, All India Forgotten Men’s Association, True Equity Network and Paritran Foundation have joined hands to observe VAMBAM in India. VAMBAM has also been endorsed internationally, as seen in this message by Mr. Diane Sears, who is the Director of In Search of Motherhood ® International Motherhood and Women’s Issues Program:
October 2015 has been designated as INTERNATIONAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS AWARENESS Month. This initiative is the brainchild of Mr. Uma Challa, a Gender Issues Thought Leader, humanitarian, author and India’s Coordinator for International Women’s Day. The USA International Women’s Day Team endorses Mr. Challa’s initiative. Violence against Women and Girls creates a psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually toxic environment in our homes, our communities, and our world. INTERNATIONAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS AWARENESS Month — October 2015 — is a key “piece of the puzzle” to bringing healing to Women, Girls, our families, our communities, and our world and transforming our psychologically, emotionally, spiritually toxic and dysfunctional environment into a vibrant, loving, and nurturing oasis.
We urge all boys and men, girls and women everywhere to join us in this effort.