A mother is a child’s first teacher. It is the most important job bestowed upon by Mother Nature on a woman. Her deep abiding love for her child and her guidance illuminates her child’s heart with love, compassion and mercy. And yet we have-a child who grows up to become an absolute monster devoid of a drop of sympathy; a child who grows up to commit the most heinous act in the history of human kind.
The December 16 rape case and the numerous rape cases that we hear through the media throughout the year makes me often think about one person-the rapist’s mother. One might argue that in this time and era when absolutely anything and everything is possible and a gigantic avenue is available to steer you away from the path of decency, what and how much a mother can possibly do. But this fact itself makes the teacher’s role of a mother all the more crucial and urgent. So I did a quick internet research on what a mother should do to ensure her son does not become a rapist and to my dismay could not find a single serious article on this. Yes there were few blog posts.
Although I am myself an unmarried woman, I have two brothers and I can confidently bet real money on them that they will never ever touch a woman even with their pinky finger without her prior consent. And it’s not like they are conservative boys. No they are not. They are like any modern boy out there wearing the latest trend, hanging out with friends, going to the malls and cinema and studying abroad. A huge part of the credit for this goes to my mother. So according to me following are a few ought to be doings which if adopted by mothers with respect to their young boys can really make a difference in the rape statistics.
1. To begin with a mother should give her new born her complete attention making it her first priority to keep a strict vigilance on him, taking note of his behaviour and activities. From my own personal incident I remember recently visiting this woman’s place where I was cuddling her cute little 5 year old boy when suddenly he lifts my skirt to take a peek inside!! I was speechless. Mothers! Take note! If your boy has done something similar then do not laugh at such incidences labelling it as trivial and innocent.
2. A mother should mumble to her child about love, compassion, justice and equality since his very first bed time story listening phase. She should repeat such stories again and again and prepare fun quizzes to understand if her boy has grasped the message.
3. As the boy grows up and enters school, a mother should teach him to be helpful and kind to everyone especially his girl classmates. Any complain of bullying against him should not be ignored.
4. She should keep a strict watch over what his little boy is watching on television or the internet. These days even cartoon serials might show adult dialogues and content. She should ensure that her boy does not lose his innocence much before time.
5. “Boys will be boys”. I don’t know who invented this but what I know is that this is an absolutely obnoxious statement. A mother should not use this as it will only contribute to making her son insensitive and irresponsible; someone who will grow up believing he can do anything that the man inside him wants to. “You are not my daughter but my son”. A mother should avoid using this for her daughter near her son (or otherwise) as it will indirectly send a message to him that being a woman is uncool and inferior.
6. If the boy is watching a girl on television wearing short clothes then a mother should never ever utter from her mouth statements like, “Don’t watch her! She is a bad girl”. A better option would be to say that the movie/serial etc. is boring/bad. If she does say she is only making her son believe that girls not adhering to a certain dress code should be looked down upon. Eventually the boy will grow up to believe that it’s OK if a girl in a mini skirt is raped or worse that he has the natural right to punish a girl who does not adhere to certain standard.
7. Having said this, it’s important that she teaches her son that irrespective of what a girl wears, irrespective of her sexual history; irrespective of her public image, irrespective of her lifestyle he should treat her nicely like a gentleman. That he should never take undue advantage of a woman say if she is unconscious due to whatever reason, never click her pictures and share it on social media sites without her explicit permission and that he should never mock her ridicule her in front of his gang of boys.
8. It’s also important that a mother lets her son understand that girls are not sexual objects to be viewed as someone created only for fulfilling their need for sex and maybe later bearing them heirs. She should let her son know that a woman just like a man possesses intelligence and dreams and choices of her own.
9. “You are my son. I will support you no matter what”. I just read this terrible blog post where this lady says that it is better to have a rapist boy than a daughter who sleeps with many men. Sad it is, isn’t it? A mother should make sure that she warns her son of the worst consequence if he does anything miserable to anyone. This is tough but justice should always prevail over love.
10. Last but not the least a mother along with her husband should create an atmosphere at home of love, mutual respect and tolerance.
While these are few of the doings which I could think of, I might be able to improvise on this when I will become a mother myself someday. While a mother’s teaching does not completely guarantee that a boy will not become a rapist as he might still become one. Yes the law has to be made stricter, the media more sensible, police needs to become more vigilant and the schools more wise. But we need to understand that all these institutions are run by women and men who were once only a child. A child makes his very first emotional and physical contact with a mother thus to a significant extent the future of our world lies in the hands of nurturing mothers.
In the end if we really want to end this menace that has befallen all humankind then we need to do some genuine soul searching and investigate our consciousness regarding where we are all going wrong. Only then might we be able to produce a world full of women and men capable of great strength and resolve where rape will be a horrifying tale of the past and nothing else.
By Arshiah Parween