Addressing the root cause of Gender-Violence

 

BY HARISH  SADANI

While lakhs of citizens have recently raised outcry over the death of a 23-year girl brutally gang-raped in Delhi, at least 4 to 5 cases of various forms of violence against girls / women are being reported daily from several other cities and towns across the country. A significant number of youths organized protest demonstrations, demanded stronger punishments for male offenders, through various media.

While all this might help in drawing attention to the seriousness of the issue of gender-based violence, the question is what is being done to address the root cause of the issue?


If Men (their attitudes) are 'part of the problem', can we address the problem effectively without involving Men as a 'part of the solution'? In our vision of a gender-just society where there would be peaceful co-existence of both Men and Women, does a person belonging to the 'oppressor' gender have a role? Is yes, what would be that role?

It's not just recently, but over the years that Gender issues (including Gender-based Violence) in India have been seen largely as ‘‘women’s issues’ by all concerned – majority of policy-makers, women's groups, funding agencies and the media. This approach insulates men from the process of transformation, reinforcing masculine stereotype and furthering gender divide.

If we all agree that Gender is a social construct, that Men are not born violent and aggressive, but it is the faulty socialization and upbringing that promotes macho image of men, then do we find alternatives to this model of Masculinity around? There may be umpteen examples of 'women' as role-models for growing-up girls, but there is a wo