Published:  12:49 AM, 04 September 2018

An appeal

It is extremely alarming and distressing to read news of girls being stalked, teased and raped - and even more disturbing to read about girls committing suicide as a result of this totally unacceptable state of affairs.
Things are worse than ever before where the security of women is concerned. It is heartening, though, to see that finally the government is taking steps - like starting a campaign against stalking and other vile actions related to this issue. 

My appeal to the relevant authorities is to continue their efforts to make all classes of people more vigilant regarding this poison that is spreading like wildfire through our society, and to ensure that the harshest of penalties is imposed - without fear or favour. 

This article, however, is addressed most specifically to PARENTS. Parents of young boys, whichever section of society they may belong to, must be very, very strict if they even suspect that their sons are involved in these criminal activities. What has happened to the lessons parents used to teach their boys about respecting women? Where are the values they are supposed to instill in their sons? 

What perverse and perverted desperation or frustration drives these boys to such cruel and reprehensible acts? And, most importantly, why do parents look the other way and delude themselves that all is well? Will the boys' sick behavior ever allow them to be good citizens of any nation?

I entreat parents of girls to be very wary, and at the same time, to counsel their daughters to make themselves mentally strong and not to allow eve-teasing or stalking to overpower them. There is no denying that it must be very traumatic for a girl to be in such a humiliating and disgusting situation, but to feel defeated by it is certainly not the answer. It is the offenders who ought to feel guilty and ashamed, not the victims. 

The movement against sexual oppression can be made more solid if ALL OF US - youngsters, parents of sons as well as daughters, human rights activists, women's-rights organizations, law-enforcing agencies (most particularly), the general public, etc, make sincere efforts to do all we can against this curse.

Will I sound very unrealistic if say crimes against women can be reduced? Am I being foolishly optimistic by thinking that a time will come when girls will feel safe to venture out of their houses? My agitation is about girls being treated in such an unfair and inhuman manner - and more so about some girls not being able to face the consequences. 

Things must really be unbearable for them to choose death - but is that a solution in any way? At least, for their parents and siblings, it only makes matters much worse!

My final plea is to all girls and women: DO NOT COWER! I know it is easier said than done, but the best way to address this menace is to resist and fight and to emerge stronger and braver. Please value your life. It is precious. 

The writer is an academic and
periodically reviews books

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