Another day. Another incident.
This time, it is a self-styled motivational speaker and social media influencer Vivek Bindra. He has been accused of assaulting his wife Yanika, rupturing her eardrum. She had attempted to intervene when Bindra allegedly had an argument with his mother.
Notably, the two had got married on December 6 this year.
This incident shines a sorry light on the status of women in our country in general and of married women in particular.
Assaulting, verbally abusing and mentally harassing women has become commonplace in our society. So much so, that now people think it is possible to get away with violence of all sorts and degrees.
What was the motivation of Bindra, ironically a motivational speaker, is something only he can attest to. But the fact remains that subjecting women and girls to violence, abuse and harassment is considered ‘do-able’ and no accountability is fixed on perpetrators for such actions.
Hitting your wife, assaulting your girlfriend, abusing you female friend — whether in the name of machismo or attributing it to a ‘fit of anger’ — is not and cannot be justified in any manner possible. Yet the fact remains that popular culture depicts such actions as ‘cool’ and ‘uber-masculine’, thus giving men and boys the excuse to engage in them with no regard for the consequences for themselves and those at the receiving end.
Films like ‘Animal’ and ‘Kabir Singh’ only help push this kind of behaviour forward. In one ‘famous’ scene in ‘Animal’, the protagonist asks his female friend to ‘lick my shoes’. Nothing can be more demeaning than this yet the makers of that film have thought it alright to include such a scene and not remove it, as common sense suggests. Thousands of young men and boys now have a ready excuse to subject their women friends to similar behaviour in the name of bravado.
A similar trend was seen in the film ‘Kabir Singh’, which justified violence against women in the garb of ‘passion’ and ‘protectiveness’. It set a horrible example for moviegoers in general and romantically-linked men in particular. However, all it amounts to is toxic masculinity. And therefore, it should be called out as such.
Is it not enough that girls in our country already suffer so much ever since they are conceived? While the practise of sex determination has been banned for the past few years, the fate of many young girls is sealed the moment they are born. The governments of the day have to perforce give incentives like paying for the education and upbringing of young girls — all this so they don’t end up being considered a ‘burden’ on their families.
This is the real condition of the female gender in our country. Despite so many incidents of violence, abuse and harassment, attitudes towards our young girls and women are deeply entrenched in misogyny and toxic masculinity. They are not likely to change any time soon.
That is why we must call out incidents like the one involving Vivek Bindra and his wife. When a social media influencer and public figure can do this, what can we expect from ‘lesser mortals’?
Violence against women is not acceptable, in any form and manner. Let this be the rule by which they all live — boys, men and hard core misogynists among them.