Women

Soldier for women

4:17 PM

BlogAdda is having a contest asking bloggers to write about one man that stood up for a woman and I decided to write on that topic.

My hero here would be my dad, not because he stood up for me or my sister against anybody daring attacking us. But because as a father he believed his job was to equip his daughter with knowledge and power to face the world out there.
I did blog about him in the past, he was in his working days (he is now retired) a prison officer, you know the guy that keeps the bad ones behind bars. His daily grind was spent being exposed to the worst society had to offer. He knew what men and women were capable of: murder, theft, rape, paedophilia…he had them all within the walls of his workplace, and he knew there were more running free in the streets, ready to attack anybody they fancied. Denial was no option, his girls had to know what was lurking out there, he knew that protecting us from the ugly truth was doing us a disservice, and thanks to having an insider edge to what makes criminal who they are he could actually protect us the right way. Not by telling us to stay indoor, cover ourselves from head to toe, never be out at night and other nonsense I came to know was common advice to girls in India. Nope his tips to us were how to being able to defend ourselves, to understand that under no circumstance would it ever be our fault if we ever came in the way of a sex offender.
Being a prison officer, he had many seminars on criminal behaviour to attend, he had to take self defence as part of his job, he got to listen to psychiatrist making psychological profiles of criminals. Rapists aren’t after the pleasure of sex, they are after power. This was the first thing my dad wanted me and my sister to know. From there went many lectures at the dinning tables on how to never give away our being in control to anybody, to be strong ladies, to walk tall and assertive, to own the ground we were walking on simply because it was our birth right to do so, and because there are still deranged individuals out there that will take up the challenge of going after a strong woman, he taught us to defend ourselves. I remember many talks of “Never let your guard downs”, “If it comes to you having to fight, fight nasty to escape”, “always carry weapon of sort on yourself when you feel your other sense are diminished…know how to use it”, “Do not give in to fear, don’t let your attacker feel your fear, they thrive on it, it excite them, never give them that pleasure”, “never feel shame about being attacked if you ever should be, it’s your attacker that should be shamed, not you”…these were the kind of talk I got to hear from the age I was 10, my dad wanted to make sure we were growing up knowing that the world is no rosy place, and that just because it has some dark ugly corners didn’t mean we had no place in it. he was clear about wanting his girls to be able to stand up for THEMSELVES instead of having someone else stand up for them. He taught us to throw punches, kicks and how to inflict enough pain to anybody who would be foolish enough to try going after us, to him there was no such thing as a weaker gender, just sick and weak minds on either side of the gender fence, and he didn’t want us to be part of that flock.
My dad is a hero not because he stood up for us, but because instead of making himself a soldier for women, he made sure we grew up to be these very soldiers ourselves.
He gave us what every dad should give their daughters: pride, and the the power and belief we had as much right as anybody to be who we wanted to be and fight for our rights should the need arise.
And as I grew into a strong woman, I now feel it is my duty to pass it on to my own daughter, I grew up in a land where rape is less endemic as in India, simply because the law that protects the victim is implemented, I moved into a country where many still have the idea that a woman can only be safe cooking chapatti in the kitchen and never venturing outside the 4 walls of her father’s and later husband’s house, and I refuse to bow to that idea or even have my daughter think she should ever do so. Because once upon a time the most influential male figure in my life taught me to be proud of who I am and to never be afraid of being that person. And his legacy shall be passed on regardless of where I live.

2 comments

  1. Beatrix4:24 PM

    That's one thing I find disturbing in talking to India's youth- they aren't told they can be ANYTHING they want to be if they try hard enough.
    In California we were told this by our parents, at school, in TV shows, books for kids etc.
    It probably isn't completely true, but it does change your view of world & the possibility of change for the good.
    Totally off topic-
    IKEA will be opening it's first store in India in 2014-2015!!!
    WOOHOO!!!

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  2. A couple of years back DH realised that everybody he came across from Europe or US pretty much chose their career path while growing up he had only two "approved" choices : Engineer or Doctor and he choose engineering. To him it was amazing that people in the West had the right to choose what they wanted to be so freely while pretty much everybody he knew in India was doing what the parents deemed right to do even if they sucked at it or hated it. There is the idea in India that you can make money ONLY in these two fields and that's what parents want for their kids, sadly in lot of cases because kids are pretty much considered as a life insurance policy by the parents especially in the old generation when there was no otherway to guarantee a good enough life in your old days.
    Boys are taught they must study hard and get a high paying job, girls just need to be good Indian girls that will know how to take care of their ageing in-laws...and there is the root of the problem when it comes to women's condition in India...

    Yeah on IKEA opening soon, I can't wait :)

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