Gender Justice: We need leaders, not mourners.

Anirudh Belle

Note: This story was originally published on You Speak India’s web-publication. It has been republished on this blog with permission from the publisher and the author.

What about that time when I told my buddies about that ‘hot’ girl? Or when I saw some other guy say the same thing to me, perhaps throwing in a few cruder adjectives? Why didn’t I stop myself, and him, remembering that such statements are a disgrace to human dignity?
Shame on me.

What about that time when I witnessed that man outrage a woman with his gestures, words or actions (however subtly or loudly)? Why didn’t I stop him remembering that an assault in the event of silence is violence with the acquiescence of society?
Shame on me.

What about that time when I visited my brother’s home for the summer, quietly watching him make his domestic help eat, drink and sleep in conditions that no self-respecting human being would tolerate? Why did I not remember to stand up to the despicable idea that those who do me the courtesy of serving me are consequently assumed to be beneath me?
Shame on me.

What about that time when he didn’t see her intellectual prowess only because he assumed a house-wife doesn’t fit the bill? And still worse, that time when we stood nonchalantly as our manager refused to recognise her splendid performance because he thought the workplace is better-off being a man’s play ground? Why didn’t I summon my conviction that men and women are equal partners in society and injury to one is surely an injury to the other?
Shame on me.

I am a dignified and sensitive member of society. So are most of my other male friends reading this. We are all sickened as the fangs of sexism sink deeper into our social fabric, day after day. However, we don’t need mourners. We need leaders. We need responsible men who take charge of themselves and their environments. We need men who know the fine difference between ‘standing up for women’ and ‘standing WITH women’. We need people who will carry their conscience on their spines.

I have reflected on this deeply, especially in the event of recent happenings. I promise to buck up, be vigilant and act when I see injustice. Join me.

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