Don’t protect.. prepare by Neha Dalwani

By Volunteer Neha Dalwani, FHI Surat 

I remember when I was young we had house help, Shilpa tai. She was the most kind hearted person and with a pure soul. My parents were working in the office. So she was my caretaker during the day. She always used to make my favourite dishes, she used to take me to the park, play with me, sing for me. Her husband Ramu kaka used to water our plants. The couple lived nearby our house.

After feeding me, both of them used to eat their meals in one plate. I learnt from movies, “Ek thali me khane se pyar badhta hai”. Me being a kid, I used to watch them secretly. Something that Bollywood didn’t teach me about love was hitting your loved one brutally. Yes, every time they sat together, Kaka used to hit Tai sometimes with plate, sometimes throw his shoe on Tai. I thought that was love. Tai never said a word to kaka. So one day, after tai and Kaka went home, I asked mom why dad never hit her? I guess my dad didn’t love mom. Mom was shocked, she sat with me and asked me from where I learnt all this. I told her about Tai and kaka and the next day the police took Kaka away. Mom taught me, hitting wasn’t love, but it was domestic violence.

Few days ago, I was in a park reading, when I overheard a conversation of two children of 11 years age, they were talking about a rape incident. I was shocked to hear word “rape” from an 11 year old boy. Does he know what the word means? How and where did the young mind pick up the word from? Current issues dominate all minds.

The youth today, watch television, read newspapers, they have everything just a click away. Our children are raised in an environment where they know about their safety. We wish to protect our children in the best way we can, but to protect and to prepare are two different things. We may fail to protect them all the time. Parents and mentors should focus on preparing them to face evils and teach them to raise their voices against wrong.

No education for girls, child prostitution, domestic violence, dowry, child labour, child marriage, rising poverty, bribe, corruption, gender and caste discrimination are some of very common social evils seen in our country, infact having physical relationship with wife forcefully without her consent is no less than a social evil. Sadly some parts of our society take women as their property after marriage, and even women accept physical violence as a part of their life and become the victim for the rest of their life. 

The main cause of social evil is illiteracy, children in their families are never taught about this subject, more likely their parents were never taught, hence both the children and the parents become victims. Just like we tell them about the importance of self defence, curbing social evils, should also be taught to children of the present generation. 

Children do what they see you do, they follow your steps either good or bad. They create an image and follow that for a lifetime. Explaining social evils is not rocket science, it’s not easy to tell about the worst case scenario of our country. We being the mentors should always try to teach them in a way that they will follow for life time. There are different ways to teach about social evils. We can teach them through a role play, show them the videos. After every event a personal interaction with children to understand their mental state, teaches them to raise the voice instead of becoming victims. Children should also be taught about good touch and bad touch. Tread them with caution and care of social evils.

Next time when a child asks you about something such as rape or corruption or domestic violence. Don’t stay silent. Don’t bubble wrap them, instead acknowledge them with the happening events around the world. Don’t protect, PREPARE.

We may not be able to eradicate the social evils completely but your lesson may save the lives of other Shilpa tai and hundred others.

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