Bullying is a not an India specific problem but is a universal issue. However, what makes the problem even bigger in India is the male dominant society and ancient thinking which doesn’t seem to change much. The shameful thing is that often the girl who was abused/bullied is treated as the culprit and not the victim. Indian girls face harassment everywhere while walking on the road, travelling, in colleges, school and the worst in their homes.
In order to tackle with such men, women have to be strong, confident, and independent. It is also important to teach men to respect women. Anyhow, while we dream of an idle society, here are few tips to tackle physical abuse and bullying by men –
Traditional Methods –
These are some of the practices which are designed for women safety many decades ago and are still prevalent in large part of (especially rural) India –
Accompany some older or male member while going out
In India it is a common practice for young girls to go out with their brothers or other male family members of the family so they are not bullied by other men outsie. It is a funny thing how a girl feels safer even if she is with her younger brother who might be a kid and needs protection himself rather than going alone anywhere. Why Indians follow this practise is another issue to be discussed but as far as our end result is concerned this seem to help.
Avoid using public transport if travelling alone in odd hours
Don’t go out in odd hours, especially by using public transport. Indian roads are not safe after darkness even for married and matured women. It can be dangerous to go out late at night even if a male family member is with you. If it is very urgent. use private transport and accompany someone you trust. While your freedom to go out should be maintained, you should avoid putting yourself in risky situations
Do not attract unwanted attention with your clothing
It is quite common for teenage girls to imitate Bollywood celebrity’s style of clothing even while going out for casual places like market and tuitions. While what you want to wear is your choice, avoid something that is too revealing and might attract unwanted male attention
Modern Methods –
With change of time, women have moved out of the house and have to stay out and travel alone even at nights. These methods are to ensure that woman always stay safe irrespective of choices they make
Every woman should learn self-protection techniques and if possible some martial arts that will come handy if they are trapped in any unpleasant situations. Nothing can help you better than your own self
Use of women helpline
Every school should start a program for self-protection and conduct workshops on how to use different women helpline to reach out for help. This is a responsibility of every school as well as parents of girls to teach them about how to judge a man who has bad intentions.
Carry some weapon for safety
There are so many gadgets available in the market like pepper spray that can be used in difficult situations. Scream for help, get attention from other adults around and try to be in crowded place. A word of warning, do not misuse these weapons to get even with someone you don’t like personally. This can land you in legal trouble.
Don’t be scared of men, use them against each other
It is important to tell your daughters that not all men are evil. Teach them to accept them as fellow human-being and not to be scared of them. No need to avoid boys as long as you know them and if they look decent enough to talk. If a man is really troubling you, you can seek help from your friends
Speak against bullying at home
In India most women face physical abuse and other torture right in their home, especially by their husbands and in-laws. In such cases, check if things can be talked out. It is important to let your friends and family know what is going on. Use women helpline if situation is out of control. Get financial freedom, teach your children to be independent and social. Do not isolate yourself.
Exploitation in offices
In offices there are many strict rules against women exploitation and one can use them whenever necessary. Having said that avoid unnecessary personal interaction or flirtatious behavior while at work. This may send wrong signals.
Help each other
Help each other in case of any problem and be there for one another. It is duty of every adult member of society to raise voice if they see any bullying or eve-teasing around them. These types of people get power from our weakness.
Eve-teasing, bullying, sexual exploitation, physical abuse and other crime against woman can only be stopped when our society will change their attitude towards women. It is much easier to teach our boys to respect girls than teach our daughters how to beat boys up.