In today’s time, there is hardly any field, which is left untouched by females. But it has never been so easy for them. women face many challenges and adversities in society, work place and even at home. The one, which changes her life altogether, which can become a nightmare or which is so insulting and degrading for a woman, is molestation. Though not only women, rather children are also molested in some or the other way. The word molestation cannot be confined in any strict definition and it has wider perspective than rape. It includes the crime of sexual acts with children up to the age of 18, including touching of private parts, exposure of genitalia, taking of pornographic pictures, rape, inducement of sexual acts with the molester or with other children and variations of these acts by pedophiles. It also applies to incest by a relative with the minor family member and any unwanted sexual acts with adults short of rape. Broadly speaking, molestation is sexual assault or abuse of a person, especially a woman or child, and the action of pestering or harassing someone in an aggressive or persistent manner.

Harsh reality in India is that a woman is judged primarily by her clothes. If she is in western clothes, she will be presumed to be an open minded, extrovert and even available for any kind of relation, type of woman. It’s not that a woman wearing Indian dress would not ever face molestation because in case of females, it is sufficient to be a female. Likewise, when a woman opts for a career then she is taken to be open for everything. I think there has been lots of lamenting on such issues, discussions and what not. Now while leaving other things aside, we should focus on three things. Firstly, to bring up our sons in a manner to always respect dignity of a woman, secondly, to bring up our daughters in a manner to prepare them to deal with any kind of situation and thirdly, to educate children in a manner that they always feel free and comfortable to talk on any issue. We should educate our sons right from childhood to respect women and their wish. Girls should be trained for their self defence in early age. We need to adopt open mentality so as to discuss each and every thing under the sky with our children so that they feel free to talk with their parents.

Molestation of a woman/girl can be checked, if we keep certain things in mind. As it is said that woman has a sixth sense, it’s true. Our mind or conscious does alert us before hand but we fail to understand it. Many a times, our conscious says no for something but we ignore it and proceed further. We should be vigilant enough to read and understand our conscious. There is a difference between being fearless and wise. If a girl avoids taking a deserted road then it is not being fearful rather it is being wise. The fact is that we can’t change the world or wait for the world to change but certainly we can change a few things which are favourable and can ensure safety to certain extent. Similarly, females should always walk with the sense that they have six eyes, two in front, two on back and one on either side. I mean to say, she should be vigilant and alert to that extent that she notices everything around her, especially when she is alone. Parties, specially late night parties, have become a symbol of modernization these days. Do we really need such late night parties? what is the fun, which we can’t have in evening or late evening parties? However, if it is really required to go, then females should go in a group and venue should always be disclosed to the parents.

molestation is prevalent more at workplace, where the female can neither go somewhere else nor can she avoid the person, being in the same office. Once the female has decided to shape up her career, then she needs to be bold enough to face the challenges. Her attitude should not let any man to approach her easily. It does not mean to be rude or arrogant but she should always keep her eyes and ears open. Man has been taking advantage of a woman’s nature to not to disclose anything untoward happening to her to anybodyelse. Now, women should speak up. She should expose the man without any hitch. When such trend will follow then the message would be loud and clear to the society. It is an act of shame for the doer not the victim.

I remember, once a female officer, who was in charge of a team comprising around 15 persons, had to face something very ridiculous, which cannot be termed as molestation but was not less than molestation. Her subordinate team member used to come to her with his problems and while standing besides her, he used to touch his genitals frequently (the habit which many men have). Initially, she ignored but later on, it became impossible for her to bear with it, as it seemed as if he is doing intentionally and if not intentionally, then also he should have controlled his actions. One day she told him in a loud voice, almost shouting to let other team members hear as to what he had been doing for long and to behave properly. Since that day, she had a sigh of relief. Had she not taken this step, then she should have been suffering till date and probably, that man would have advanced further with his indecent behaviour and this female officer would have been harassed persistently but no, she did not let this happen and showed courage. Her action would have given loud and clear message to other men also. Now, under the directions of Supreme Court of India in Re Vishaka case, it is mandatory to constitute a committee for sexual harassment at work places, where such complaints can be made.

The case of a child is altogether different from that of a female, as a female, being grown up, can understand the situation but a child, being innocent, does not even understand as to what is being committed to him/her. It may change the life, attitude, behaviour of the child forever. It’s very disheartening to know that India is on the top of the list in cases of child molestation. We need to focus on parenting which is not just a process, but a big responsibility and it has increased manifold times with deterioration of society. Today when almost all the couples are working and mostly there are nuclear families, then this has become much more difficult. What I mean to say is that to bring up a child does not mean to take care of his/her necessities like food, clothes, sleep and studies. These are just to enable the child to do his/her daily chores. Bringing up a child is beyond this.  It is to nurture a child with good human values, to make him/her understand about good and bad and many more such things. For this, we need to spend time with child, so as to impart such knowledge through stories. A very minute watch is required to be kept on children for their safety. Mothers should not trust anybody, when it comes to their child. 

Here, I would like to add that it’s not only about you or me and my children or your children, it’s about every female and every child. So, we all should be vigilant enough in every sphere of life so that as soon as any unreasonable or abrupt thing/act is noticed, we can bring it into the knowledge of the concern person or family or authority. Let’s bring change in our homes and society at large.

Be happy be safe!

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