Every boy wants a virgin girl. It scarcely counts if the guy himself is a virgin or not. From time immemorial, a woman’s virginity has been her most valued possession. India has inherited this from its history and we take pride in placing a high value on a woman’s virginity.
Virginity is interlinked with purity in our Indian psyche and Maa Sita of Indian Mythology having to prove her ‘purity’ is an example of how deeply rooted the mindset is in our culture.
But then things are changing in metros and for a rising number of young men and women, sex is no longer the kind of taboo that it earlier used to be. But what about the semi-Urban and Rural India’s situation where if a girl’s marriage is broken for once, the family gets a Stress-Stroke till she gets another good proposal.
However, when it comes to the question of marriage, especially in the case of arranged marriages, a woman who has a sexually active past is considered to be some alien or untouchable.
Did You Know? A girl can lose her hymen from non-sexual activities too like intense sports, dancing, aerobics, etc. For a virgin, it is not necessary to bleed the first time she has sex. In fact, as per the statistics, only 42 percent of women do so.
The matter that bothers men is what virginity represents- men find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that a woman has been intimate with someone else.
It begins at home when a parent tells their daughter in hushed tones to ‘protect her virginity’ giving the impression pre-marital sex is a bad thing for girls though not for boys. Research says, this kind of mentality has prevailed because the traditional values are still strongly embedded in us.
“It is very common for a male partner or Family to ask these questions to date, is ‘How do I know that our bride or my girlfriend is a virgin?” And in reality, it’s just the man’s and his family’s inflated ego that results in such unrealistic demands.
In a relationship, if a couple is to make it work successfully, it is more important to worry about virtues like trust and honesty. If a woman admits to having a sexually active past, it shouldn’t be used against her to torture mentally.
The very fact indicates she is honest with her partner which should matter a lot, even though she could have hidden it very well. Males, however, especially those raised in very orthodox families or old-fashioned joint families, are already have got influenced by their families.
In most of the Indian families, things like falling in love or sex before marriage equates to the girl being bold and characterless. Their reasons, hence, for rejecting such girls is that post-marriage, too, the girl will continue with the same behaviour.
The modern young Indian woman is working, independent, and makes her own choices in life. India has gone through a dramatic change in the past 10 years but this mentality still prevails in most of the men.
We cannot deny the fact that there is a huge pressure on girls from smaller cities and more conservative families where virginity does still play a major factor when it comes to firming up their marriage.
This is a change the Indian man should adapt to. We should believe, virginity and purity are not the only measures to base a happy marriage on, honesty and trust are far more necessary traits that both partners should possess. It is not untrue to tell that the Indian patriarchal mindset will take decades to change completely.
Virginity is considered to be one of the desired qualities of a woman for a successful marriage. For a man, virginity is not a prerequisite but many in-laws and would-be husbands expect the girl to be a virgin.
Reasons for this distinction are men have unknowingly preached to view sex as a way of claiming ownership over a woman. When it comes to parenting, once a girl attains puberty, virginity feels like the dinosaur in the room.
Something every parent wants to acknowledge and protect but doesn’t want to address and strangely, it only extends to the girl child. So, when a girl loses her virginity before marriage is looked like a ‘second-hand product’.
According to mythology, virginity was never limited to a women’s body but also about the mind, but over time it has narrowed down to sex. Marriage should be built on trust, not past events.
It should depend on a woman to be a virgin or wait until marriage or whether she wishes to express her sexuality should be her privilege, but men and women alike should hold back from giving virginity the importance it doesn’t deserve.
The harassment number list: According to the latest government figures, Indian police registered 33,658 cases of rape in 2017. Research says that a woman is raped in India every 16 minutes.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau which released its report on October 21, 2019, for the year 2017, stated that 359,849 cases of crime against women were reported in the country.
Can we do something about it? We have a patriarchal society in India, where men are given more importance, and women are still usually considered second-class citizens.
A girl’s wishes and her opinions are not considered as important as that of a boy’s. The female child learns to be subservient from the beginning; Children internalize this at a very young age when a son’s parents advise not to cry like a girl because boys don’t cry.
Most of these boys believe that girls in Western clothes are immoral and that they can be harassed because they are asking for it. Women’s expression of their sexuality is an issue balancing on a thin line.
While sexuality is extolled among men and looked into with much pride, women are viewed with disapproval for the same, highlighting the double standard.
The government should provide teenagers with a platform to have a dialogue with girls from their own community, as it hopes that by interacting with girls and listening to their viewpoint, the boys could be gender-sensitized.
Schools should be co-ed only and the education system should spread awareness about topics like sexuality, consent, and mutual respect profoundly neglected in India Families.
And furthermore, only doubling the prison terms will not help these cases to lower down rather the Indian Judicial System needs to be effective and the investigating agency and prosecution more proficiently and efficiently.
It is a fact we all know that justice to any kind of crime here in India takes years on years, a bright example is The Nirbhaya case. Here we appeal the government, civil societies, and Families to chalk out this for the safeguard of women and Humanity.
We believe that men and boys are not naturally violent; patriarchal norms make them insensitive. Therefore, not every man is a part of the problem, but every man can be a part of the solution. Let’s make India a better place for everyone.
Article written by Pratima Mahapatra
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