Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Taking the Easy Way Out

Dr. A. L. Sharada

Director, Population First

Yesterday's report on the misogynist, rape posts by boys from a reputed school on a WhatsApp group sent shock waves across the nation. Many parents are petrified. I am sure, the girl students are also nervous. 

We need to act as this is the tip of the iceberg. The number of rapes and murders committed by young adults and adolescents reminds me of the filth that the sea throws back at us on Marine Drive during high tide in monsoons. The filth we are exposing our children through unregulated internet and social media is creating dehumanised young generation. I have been looking at some of the music videos of Yo Yo Honey Singh and  looking at the translation of the lyrics. I feel nauseous and sick, thinking how could someone promote violent sex and rape so blatantly. We don't watch Yo Yo Honey Singh right, we go to concerts by Shujaat Khan and Shiv Kumar Sharma, right. The culture gap between us and the youth we have not even thought of it.  I have been experiencing panic attacks just thinking about what must be happening to a confused, high on hormones adolescent who has no options of healthy conversations on sex, sexuality and relationships!!!

Time we introspect our responsibility towards children. Some parents said yesterday in a conversation, "how do we rob the innocence of the children by exposing them to issues like rape !!" I can understand but we have no option but to speak, move beyond good touch bad touch. Let's recognize that they are exposed to the toxic pop culture, rape videos and cyber predators. We need to pull our socks up and demand for good sex and sexuality education in schools.  Being prudish is not going to help. Let's face it head on.

It is sad that the only action that the school could think of is suspension, further marginalising and stigmatising the boys. The parents and students should undergo intense counselling sessions, individually and in groups to deal with the situation. 

I can understand how traumatic it is for the parents to know that their children are involved in such activities. I am sure they are the normal, well-intentioned parents like all of us. Let's not be judgmental about them. It could have  been our child also. Because increasingly, family and parental influence space is being encroached by mobiles, social media and pop culture. 

It's a serious issue. Let's not take the easy way out.

Source: @unwomen 

Quick Trials Not at the Cost of Fair Trials

Dr. A. L. Sharada

Director, Population First

Glad to see the stand of SC on expeditious trials leading to death sentence. While we all want the process to be expedited and justice assured to rape survivors, setting unrealistic deadlines like in the Disha policy of AP government may compromise investigative and judicial processes.

What we need is :

  • More Forensic labs and specialists
  • Better and professional protocols for investigation
  • No political interference in the police investigation
  • No corruption in the police and judiciary
  • Victim and witness protection
  • Fast track courts to deal with rape cases exclusively etc

Is there anyone willing to invest in these? Too much work and commitment, right? Instead pass populist laws that subvert the whole judicial process. Create a problem while trying to solve a problem.