...Is the motto of the Men Can Stop Rape organization. You can read about them at their website linked here: mencanstoprape.org. Established more than a decade ago, with the vision to "institutionalize primary prevention of men's violence against women through sustained initiatives that generate positive, measurable outcomes in populations throughout the world", the organization is primarily based in the US and has recently come into lime light with their very popular The Strength campaign, with the slogan, "My strength is not for hurting"...
I have always believed that to create a society that is "safe" for women, it is not sufficient to educate the women and make them aware of their rights, their strengths but also educate the men and sensitize them on issues that women face.
Mothers need to cultivate in their sons respect for women, sisters need to talk to their brothers to help them understand how a girl feels, classmates and colleagues should open up communication channels so that a girl does not hesitate to ask for help.
Women can't just do this on their own, not because we lack in courage but because we lack in numbers.
A long time ago, I wrote an article for a university newspaper on eve teasing and women's harassment on Delhi University's campus with exactly the same argument - The editorial team came back to me saying how so many men appreciated the thought and how it had never struck them that they could help proactively rather than simply consider these as only "women's issues".
Like other crimes that our society is ridden by - murders, thefts, corruption, harassment against women is also a social problem not just a "woman's problem". And like other issues are dealt with out in the open - the girl child education program, the polio campaign, the AIDS awareness program - we need a dedicated, well planned campaign for stopping sexual harassment of women in any form.
I cannot stress enough the need of such a campaign like the "Men Can Stop Rape" in India. Let this be a subject in the school syllabus. Adult education centers and other literacy missions should imbibe this in their curriculum.
We need to go to the grass root level - when kids are as young as two or three years old, they are told to hit someone is wrong; when they grow up a little more and learn the sense of ownership, they are told to steal is wrong; and when they reach adolescence, we are hesitant to even impart sex education to them (atleast in India) and we simply refuse to talk about all the headlines they read - women raped, harassed, burnt, killed - We tell our daughters to come before dusk and not to roam about alone, without actually talking to them about all the dangers that lurk and what they can do in self defense - And we don't find any need to tell our sons anything. Why? Why this hypocrisy in our own value system?
Let's educate the women and the men. Awareness and mutual understanding is the key to a healthy social eco system where crimes can be thwarted and criminals justly punished.