Though we want to raise strong and independent girls, it is heartbreaking how our society tells them to be soft, quiet, and docile. In the name of the family’s respect or in the fear of ‘log kya kahengey‘, we tell our daughters to stay quiet every time they are deprived of love, care, and respect.
When our daughter is harassed on roads, we tell her to stay QUIET – ‘Ghar ki izzat ka sawal hai!’.
Without saying a word, we tell her that she deserved it. That she was the one to be blamed. That either it was her clothes or her smile, or her beauty that led to this harassment. Rather than encouraging her to raise her voice against the harassment, we tell her to suffer the attack on her dignity and stay QUIET.
When in-laws abuse our daughter – physically, mentally, or emotionally – we again tell her to stay QUIET and be a good daughter-in-law.
Because good Bahus don’t raise their voices against elders – even be it about standing for their own dignity and respect. It is heartbreaking how in the name of elders’ respect, we expect women to struggle and suffer. It always amuses us how our regressive and unfair society equates suffering in silence to respect!
Every time she tries to raise her voice against the emotional abuse, you tell her to stay quiet:
“Did he hit you?”
“Shh…Don’t provoke him! Why you do things to get him in a bad mood?” “Why can’t you just be silent when he is in a bad mood?” “Don’t say anything.. please don’t ruin the peace of your house!”
As you told her, she stays silent every time she faces emotional abuse – because ‘Ghar ki shanti banake rakhni hai’. But with every passing day, the accusations, the verbal-abuse, the name-calling, the never-ending criticisms about her, her work, her duties and responsibilities, her self-confidence erodes. But, who cares?
Every time, she tries to raise her voice against her noisy relatives or regressive uncles and aunties, who questions her life choices and dreams, we tell her to stay quiet. When she is taunted to be too old for marriage or too old for bearing a kid, she wants to retaliate. But, we don’t let her. Because ‘Ladkiyan shaant hi achi lagti hai!‘
But, girls of today can’t be raised as women who are anything but strong, independent, and loud. With the increasing cases of abuse against women and kids, it is a high time our society introspects how we have failed our daughters.
Our patriarchal mindset denies a life of dignity and respect for women. We need girls who have the courage to say their things loud and clear, more than ever. It’s high time that we parent our daughters to not lower their voice rather raise it for themselves. We should stop telling them to be QUIET whenever they stand for themselves – be it against the harassment on roads or abuse at home!
So next time when your daughter raises her voice – stand with her, not against her.