Thursday, December 6th marked Canada’s national day of remembrance and action on violence against women. Violence against women is a widespread occurrence and it is, along with child abuse, the biggest social evil of modern times.
But we are proud that our nation Canada has set aside a day of remembrance and action against such violence. This shows that Canada, as a nation, is leading the way towards the protection of women but more always needs to be done.
There are many types of violence against women perpetrated throughout the world. We are bombarded with news of women being beaten, maimed or murdered. Women are often abducted, confined and made into sex slaves. Rapes are frequently reported in the news media. Women are also subjected to psychological violence and deprivation. Abortion of a female fetus may be added to violence against women. It is also well known that some in-laws treat their daughter-in-laws harshly, and honour killings are still occurring in Canada.
It is good and useful to recall the teaching of India regarding a society’s perception of women. All women, no matter what their age is, are to be treated with respect. A woman brought you into the world, nurtured you and is your first teacher. She loved you and endured hardships to make sure that you were adequately taken care of.
A man should see a woman older than him as a mother figure, a woman of similar age to him needs to be seen as a sister or a wife, and a woman of younger age needs to be seen as a daughter. A man would be hard-hearted to be violent to women seen in this light. If men, predisposed to violence, can keep this type of mental picture as they go through life, it will be much easier for them to control their violence against women.
The Indian maxim, “matri devo bhava” is intended to teach that the mother is like a goddess in our life. As women are the gentler sex, governed by tender and caring emotions, and are the source of strength in a stable household, they deserve to be treated with love, respect, compassion and caring, rather than with violence.
When a country sees it fit to mark such a day in recognition for its women, then the society also needs to act on it. Only when the society acts then it will bring about a revolutionary change in the thinking of all people.
Dr. J. Das is a Surrey-based physician and writer. He can be reached at [email protected].