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How safe are our daughters in a society where every two minutes, a female is sexually assaulted, majority of the victims being under the age of 30. In a society where a young bride is brutally murdered because her parents can not fulfill the ever increasing demands of her husband and in-laws. In a society where people don’t bat an eyelid before aborting a female foetus. In a society where young girls are killed in the name of honour-killing on a regular basis. In a society where thousands of women and girls are trafficked annually into prostitution, forced labour and slavery.

Really, we should all ask ourselves this- How safe are our daughters? Where have we, as a society, failed? How can people living in a civil society commit such brutal acts like the Delhi rape case? Females from the age of our grandmothers to small toddlers who have yet to learn how to pronounce their names are being sexually assaulted all over the world! What kind of twisted mentality allows a man to rape a two year old?

Once again, lets introspect; where have we failed as a society in safeguarding our daughters. On one hand, we raise our daughters to believe that they are no less than the boys, they can do anything that the boys can. Yet we would never want our daughters to get drunk at a party as that would mean compromising on their security. We tell them to be proud of their beauty. Yet we fear that showing off that very beauty will probably make them a target.

So where are we going wrong? I think we have failed as parents. We have failed in making our children understand that human life is valuable- whether it is a boy or a girl. We have failed in teaching them the boundaries that each one needs to respect. We have failed in telling them that its okay if others have different beliefs and values. We have failed in teaching our boys that girls are not mere commodities to be used. We have failed because we tell our girls to be safe in a society that continues to prove otherwise.

What is required today is an immediate plan of action to set things right. I know it can’t be done overnight. But we have to make a start somewhere. Let’s start from our own homes. Teach our boys to respect girls. Make them understand that a woman is a living breathing human who has feelings too. We’ve got to stop fanning their male egos and make them learn to take “NO” for an answer. And let’s teach our daughters to be smart and strong- smart enough to realise what is good or bad for them and strong enough to protect themselves from unwanted advances. Let’s enroll our girls for those karate classes. Make them self dependent when it comes to their safety and security.

Until we reach that stage where our boys and girls respect and love each other, we’ll have to keep asking ourselves this question– “How safe are our daughters?”

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