The Prime Minister of India has called for "dispassionate debate" regarding sexual violence against women in his country and how to proceed in the wake of the death of the 23 year old medical student who died yesterday from injuries suffered when she was gang raped on a public bus in New Delhi last week. "Dispassionate debate?!?!" Really. Who can remain dispassionate and for how long, given the many atrocities committed against those deemed less powerful or, dare I say, it, less significant, by the majority? Perhaps we have been dispassionate for too long. The protests in New Delhi and all over India are anything but dispassionate, and it seems to have been the motivation, once and for all, for the government to consider deep seated attitudes towards women which translates into violence against women, not only in India, but throughout the world. Have we learned nothing? More than a century and a half has passed since the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13 Amendment. I am not so naive as to believe that regulatory measures could change the minds and hearts of men. Remember that it was not until 1964 that Blacks could vote - 44 years after women won the hard fought battle of enfranchisement. On a more local level, we see a rise in bullying in our schools. Indiscriminant violence against innocents in elementary schools and public places is on the rise. I will not, cannot, believe that it is human nature to possess a feeling of superiority over others. It is learned behavior. What are we teaching our children? More importantly, are we teaching our children?!? For all anti-bullying posters in the classroom and campaigns on the school yard, kids are still suffering - the bully and the bullied. As we have witnessed all too often, the advent and accessibility of social media has provided even more venues for bullying behavior. Back to India. Just as every man is some mother's son, every woman is some woman's - and man's - daughter, sibling, friend. There are so many metrics with the potential to divide us - gender, age, income, religion, ethnicity, citizenship - the list goes on. It is up to each and every one of us as parents to teach our children that despite these differences, for they are superficial differences after all, we share a common humanity. Even if you do believe it is human nature, that doesn't mean that we have to accept it. It is time for passionate debate and discussion - in government, in our homes, in schools, churches, offices, and on the playground. No more Mr. Nice Guy. Let's stop hiding behind political correctness and a false pretense of civility. Let's not pretend that sexism, racism, any-ism, is not an issue in our own backyards. In India, a country that is over-populated, stricken with poverty and an ever-widening gap between rich and poor, educated and non-educated, people from all backgrounds have taken to the streets to say, 'enough is enough.' We will not stand idly by. We will not forsake our brethren here or halfway around the world. After all, if we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem. To quote Sir Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." How is it possible that such an enlightened, civilized society in the 21st century has advanced so far yet learned so little. Where history has not seared out souls, it has become just a story, like a fairy tale, that we read in books and recite to our children. What is not personal is so easily forgotten. A new year brings a new beginning and it is never too late. The past belongs to our parents and ancestors and we are indebted to them in many respects, yet in other, we are free agents to make our own way. The future belongs to our children, and they depend on us. Be the change - or be forgotten.
Some Mother's Daughter
I live in suburban Los Angeles with my husband, two daughters, a hamster, and a Beta fish. I have been working in higher education administration for more than 20 years and I hold an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University. My interests include women's leadership, work-life balance, and youth soccer.
Some Mother's Daughter
Posted on December 30, 2012