AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT
As your daughter steps
into her teens, it is also advisable to inform her
about other forms of sexual abuse such as rape,
'date rape' and sexual harassment. Unfortunately,
in these times, she needs to be cautioned about
these issues early on, so that she is prepared for
any untoward incident that may occur just about
anywhere in school, college, at one's work place,
in public places, at social dos. Sad, but it is
best to work with the premise that one can never
be too careful, and prepare your daughter likewise.
Rape is a forced sexual act, which can be perpetrated
on a person of any age or gender, and at any place.
Mostly the rapists motive is not to enjoy sex, but
is a way of expressing anger, hostility, power or
aggression towards a victim, or a class of people
whom the victim represents.
A woman who has been raped is affected both physically
and psychologically. Her initial reactions in the
aftermath may range from numbness and disbelief
to extreme anxiety and fear. Once she is removed
to a safe environment, she is likely to experience
depression, anger and humiliation, feel guilty and
defiled at her body being violated. Women often
feel that they are no longer worthy of their partners
or families, having brought disgrace to them.
While we would like to think that such violence
cannot touch our or our daughter’s lives,
it happens only to unfortunate others that would
be an extremely unwise premise. Like child sexual
abuse, rape too is mostly perpetrated by people
known to the victim, in presumably safe places like
one's own home, place of work or study or even at
a friend's party. The phenomenon of 'date rape',
so far a western phenomenon has become a harsh reality
which youngsters increasingly have to face. Typically,
the young girl or woman going out on an innocent
date with a partner, is encouraged to get drunk
or try drugs, or even drugged with substances mixed
with drinks. When inebriated and with no control
over herself, she is an easy victim of rape. It
is common for a victim of date rape to consider
herself guilty and responsible for whatever happened.
Mostly out of fear and shame she does not inform
any adult and suffers in silence, while the perpetrator
hardly faces any consequence.
Mothers must believe that it is better to be safe
than sorry, explain the imminent dangers that exist
and the need to be prepared in every situation.
Being forewarned is being forearmed and mothers
must, must instill the need to practice basic measures
that will help their daughters to avoid any untoward
incidents. Some of these include :
Being alert and aware,
your daughter can protect herself from unfortunate
incidents of any form of violation. However, despite
our best interests, as young women, they are often
at the receiving end of unwanted sexual attention
or what is commonly termed as sexual harassment.
This may be in any form from touching, catcalls,
obscene gestures or phone calls. This usually happens
when someone has power over another (usually, a
man over a woman, but the reverse is equally possible)
such as a doctor over his/her patient, a teacher
and a student, but is mostly an occurrence in the
to be assertive, being able to say No when
she wants to.
how to practice some self defence techniques
(for instance spraying cologne in a rapist's
eye, or kicking him hard in his genitalia)
or acquiring martial arts skills.
lonely areas, or travelling / driving alone
late at night, or being out until very late.
excessive drinks at a party or accepting
drinks from strangers or less known people.
We would like to conclude by reiterating the need
to be able to talk to your daughter from as early
as possible, and to continue doing so. By developing
open, honest and ongoing communication about responsibility,
sex, and choice, you as a mother can help your daughter
learn about sex in a healthy and positive manner,
which will enable her to grow and develop as a confident
young person, able to negotiate her way through