The end of the year is usually a time of partying and enjoyment, when people eagerly anticipate the New Year with nary a care. Unfortunately, two horrific incidents during the latter part of December have shaken people deeply, making many of us fear for the world we are leaving for our children. Though these incidents happened on opposite ends of the world, they were similar in their senseless violence, and the brutality towards the innocent.
However, the sad part is that these incidents were not acts of nature — they could have easily been prevented. Most of us know the details in both these killings so I do not want to go deeply into them. The scary bit is that these incidents showed us how little it takes to be in the wrong place at the wrong time — what if it had been my child? is what many of us may have thought.
As parents, our first reaction is to protect our kids and ensure that they are not victims in these cases, and how can we do that, especially in these kinds of cases? These gruesome incidents happened in places that very often we take for granted to be safe. What can we tell our kids – do not board a bus, do not go to school?? What message are we giving our daughters — your gender makes you a victim, so always be fearful and extra careful? The poor girl in Delhi must have thought she was safe, since she had a male companion with her. Unfortunately, she was proved wrong…..
Each time there is a shooting in America, the very powerful gun lobby tries to deflect the attention away from the weapon used. This time, I heard a representative say that the problem was not guns but with mental illness. Yeah, right! It is true that people who perpetuate such crimes are clearly not ‘normal.’ Then, how do we protect our kids from ‘abnormality,’ especially when this is so difficult to recognize, even for us adults?
I have heard and read a lot about how once these incidents fade from public memory, things will go back to being the same – guns will continue to be sold in America as easily as they are today, and women will continue to be molested in India. But one lesson we should be able to give our children is that while we cannot change the world at once, we can do our bit. We especially have to teach our sons that whatever message they hear from society around them, rape and molestation is a heinous crime. As a blogger Sumit Bhattacharya wrote, “We must tell our sons that it is an unpardonable crime to harass a woman with the same diligence that we tell our daughters how to dress.” The only ‘good’ thing to have come out of this senselessness is that these incidents have galvanized the communities. It is heartening to see the anger and rage in the people, especially in the Delhi rape case. In both cases, the law machinery was not strong enough to protect the innocent.