Altering gender attitudes

mindset that considers
women inferior to men
must be challenged
MAKING A POINT: The mindset that considers women inferior to men must be challenged

by VIRENDRA SHARMALabour MP forEaling Southall ENDING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN WILL NEED A COLLECTIVE EFFORT EVERY week it seems as though more bad news comes – another child raped and murdered, an­other girl killed, her life wasted. The stories are horrific, hours, days or weeks of abuse of a child by adult men. We need change, our children and our grandchildren need change. The rape and murder of eight-year-old Asifa in Kashmir shocked people, but it is just the most highly publicised case in a long list. When India’s prime minister Modi spoke in London at the Bharat Ki Baat Sabke Saath event, he said that we shouldn’t just wonder when our daughters come home late, but we must also ask our sons where they had been. He is right, it is never a woman’s fault when she is attacked, the attacker is always to blame. Our community is not there yet, though. This change cannot just come from politicians, it needs change from society, it needs action from parents, schools and families. Wherever the mindset and opinions which treat a girl as worth less than a boy are seen, we need to combat them. In the case of Asifa, the murderers and their ac­complices have tried to defend excuse their actions by cloaking it in religion. No attacker of a child can in any way claim to be religious or to defend their behaviour as a religious act – this was an irreligious act and to try and use religion to defend it is a per­version of religion. Religion is about kindness and tolerance, good works and generosity of spirit, and this is the opposite – a cruel, small and barbaric act. The perpetrators deserve the harshest punish­ment under the law. The news that Asifa’s killers could now face…

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