Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pre-marital Intimacy
and the average indian parent

In my last post, I discussed how pre-marital pregnancy practically means life-long suffering and permanent disownment from family. Now, I will talk about pre-marital intimacy (a collective of kissing, necking, sexual intercourse and consequent pregnancy) with regards to the Indian woman. And what the average Indian parent thinks about it. Uber-cool super-progressive rockstar families will find this post very strange.

Indian Homemaker says that non-penetrative sex between kids should be left to parents to deal with. And person also commented saying that his parents where supportive and allowed him to get intimate with his girlfriend at home. All I can say is, WOW! India will be certainly a better place if more of such liberal and open-minded parents existed. But what if, what if parents do not deal with their children's raging hormones? Trust me there are many, many parents like that and that's why I say that this bill spells big trouble.

I will again talk about this from my point of view. I come from a pseudo-liberal/semi-conservative family. My family is not ultra-orthodox, but they are not very liberal, either. It is sort of in the middle. I remember one day when my mom called to have a "serious" chat. I sighed. I knew what that means. It means sex talk without talking about sex. Get it? Get it? It means talking about being pure and honourable and dignified. I don't remember the exactly conversation - no wait, it was more of a lecture: my mom speaking and me nodding. Because it is really awkward and weird to outrightly talk about sex and boys with her when she's talking the same thing in a conservative "honourable" way. This is what she said:
You shouldn't be getting involved with boys before marriage. Nothing should happen before marriage. You may ask if virginity is a virtue. Of course it is virtue! Losing your virginity after marriage is the right way of losing it, dear. And this is not just for girls. It's a virtue for boys too. 
To me that sounded like: No, it's not really a virtue for boys but I'm just telling you so for the heck of it. The terms "virgin" and "girl" go so hand in hand that the phenomenon of virginity in boys is non-existent. I have a lot of say about the topic of virginity and what it is, according to me and that will take another post, so I'll let it drop for now.

And this is just one fragment of what my mother thinks regarding pre-marital intimacy. She also believes that getting physical with the opposite sex should be limited to hand-shakes. I cannot take a picture with a guy with his hand around my shoulder. My sister did it and mom was very upset. "Why should you let them touch you?" she would ask. I'm not blaming her at all. She grew up in a small town in the 80s, brought up by my conservative grandmother and her grandmother. She has always attended an all-girls institution {though I don't think that is a major reason}. My mom is very open-minded when it comes to my career and my life otherwise. When I look at her, I see a strong, confident, independent woman who chose to marry the person she fell in love with {which by the way, worked out fine because my daddy belongs to the same caste}. And yet, she's so Puritanical regarding sex.

Now, will my mother be supportive of the new bill that has been passed? In case my sister had a boyfriend, would she be allowed to get intimate with him? Obviously not.

Once, there was a boy who liked me. I didn't reciprocate his feelings but I considered him a good friend. I was 15 and he was 17 then. He would send me mails during holidays and there was absolutely nothing romantic about them. They were all just friendly mails. But my father was simply furious that I was getting mails from a boy.
Today, he will send you mails. Tomorrow, he'll call you up. And the next day, you will run away with him.
I was 15 years old, for crying out loud and I wanted laugh at my father's declaration. My dad was temporarily affected with Over-protective Daddy Syndrome. What did I do? I cried and threw a tantrum and my dad eventually apologised for being so unnecessarily melodramatic.

My parents are awesome, but they simply cannot deal with our rapid sexual maturity and there so many parents like that. They cannot come in terms with the fact their babies are growing up. And this especially happens will girls. Even the most liberal family gets all over-protective and conservative when it comes to the sexual freedom of daughters. All this obviously boils down to patriarchy and male chauvinism, but let's not get into that now.

My question is, will the bill work if parents' mindsets don't change. Let's just say, if a 16 year old girl gets pregnant due to having sex with her boyfriend, will her conservative parents be supportive of her? They will either manage to get her married to her boyfriend {which is far-fetched} or make her undergo a lousy abortion with the help of quack kyunki naam badnaam ho jayega {because "name will get spoilt"} or get packed off to remote place where nobody can find her. The girl will not be given the choice to have the baby or get it aborted.You all saw what happened to Kalki Koechlin's character in Dev D. Well, she didn't get pregnant, it was an MMS scandal, but it's a related thing. Parents freak out under these circumstances. Or may be I should say, Indian girl children's parents freak out. In short, don't think of yourself as the Indian Juno if you ever get knocked up.

A friend of mine got raped by her boyfriend. That's what is called "date rape". I however, refuse to classify rape. Classifications lead to justifications. Rape is rape. Don't give adjectives to it. I told her, that he should be put behind bars. I will stand by you if you go to police. Of course, she didn't. The boy was filthy rich and the girl has family honour to protect. The Indian law is weak. He can very well get away with it. My friend will be left with pain and humiliation and no justice. My friend refused to even call it rape. I was the one who called it. She sort of convinced herself that nothing happened. She was so random about it that I am myself not sure what really happened. And he forced himself upon her again, a few months later. Again, she acted vague. I felt, maybe she's telling me that he forced her because she thinks I'll judge her for having sex before marriage. I was confused and she wouldn't talk about it. That too passed.

Parents find it ashamed to even say that their daughter was raped. They start wondering things like who will marry her etc. Hence, in a country consisting of such people, will a such a bill work? It may not or perhaps may prove to be miraculous. It may make the parents confront their conservative mindsets.


Chilli on Fire said...

yes such a bill will work - as IHM has pointed it out - this bill will not allow adults who "catch" 12 year-olds to exploit them.
Conservative parents will continue to handle things like they did and understanding parents likewise !!!

Interesting that you brought out the character played by Kalki in Dev-D. Who made her Chanda ?? Her parents !!! Like her character points it out in the movie - OK she made a HUGE mistake - but why did her parents not let go of their supports. Most of the abuses continue because of lack of parental support - because children/young girls know they cannot confide in their parents and get their support to stop the abuse. One mistake from their side leads to a spiral of abuses.

The bill has no role to play here.

Indian Home Maker said...

'Parents find it ashamed to even say that their daughter was raped. They start wondering things like who will marry her etc.'

And then I have a commenter on my blog wondering why it's always 'only about the girl child', why doesn't anybody care for the boy child.

I sometimes wonder if they really mean what they say. And women talk like this too.

aurpera said...

@IHM: Both male and female children are taken care of, in different ways. Oh yes, girls are cared for more than boys are. 'Cared' is euphemism for controlled.