To all the anguished Facebook posts by men asking “what is it that we can do? We’re so helpless” provoked by the recent rape in Delhi that they consider — and was — beastly and were done by “others” unlike them, thus safely distancing themselves from a violently misogynistic culture:
You can help by introspecting and reflecting. You can start from your thoughts and language. You can stop using language unthinkingly, stop talking of women as “babes” and “maal”; stop ogling women; stop calling your best guy-friend as well as the guy who cut you at the traffic light “behenchod”; stop preventing your woman-friend, colleague, daughter, partner, and sister from going out and doing things she wants to do; stop policing your daughters and partners; stop preventing women from sexual freedom; stop thinking of women who choose their sexual partners as “easy”; stop thinking of your girlfriends, lovers and wives as passive, start caring for her pleasure, go down on her and give her orgasms; stop talking harshly to women anywhere, starting at home.
And you can bring up your boys better and to be gender-sensitive individuals; you can expect your boys to clean and cook; you can stop perpetuating notions of what it is to be a man; you can cry.
You can also support women fighting for their dignity; ask for more efficient probity into sexual harassment in the workplace and stricter laws against gender harassment; be offended when a woman is not treated equally and stand up for her; do your bit in making public spaces safer.
Oh there’s so much you can do, dear men who feel helpless and thus unwittingly distance yourselves from the responsibility you have to yourself to make Indian society better for women. We’re all shocked and saddened and enraged, and we’re all in it together!