Disrespectful attitude towards girls and women in this country is not a new thing. What is very alarming is this kind of mentality is growing instead of disappearing. Though there is no precise tool to capture the trend in a statistical format, a close look at society is enough to understand the negative social more. Again, available data on reported incidents of physical torture, sexual harassment, rape and murder of women reflect the disrespect for them. Many boys and males now think that it is their 'right' to dishonour and humiliate girls and women. Exam-oriented stressful education, lack of healthy entertainment and sports, growing income disparity and biased political support for wrongdoings are the main reasons for such an unhealthy and distorted attitude.
Nevertheless, it is probably the family orientation that matters most to make a boy respectful to a girl. Unfortunately, most of the families in Bangladesh are yet to pay adequate attention to this issue. Parents and guardians are too much busy with schools, classes, coaching and examinations of their children. They don't have time to teach their boys some basic and healthy manners to be courteous to elders and consider girls their equal.
Again, male members of many families are used to treating female members disrespectfully. When a boy finds that his father has little respect for his mother and abuses her verbally and even physically on a few occasions, the boy also learns not to respect a girl or woman. Even, sometimes he also tries to abuse his mother when he has grown up. So, boys grown up in such families may also develop a deep disrespect for girls and women in their subconscious mind. This is reflected in their activities in later years.
Many children are now growing up without some minimum social manners. Whether their parents are solvent or poor, family teaching of good behaviour to others is almost absent. Lack of civility and respect for others undermine healthy and positive relationships between boys and girls.
Teaching boys and young men about a healthy relationship are necessary for themselves and women and girls in their lives. They need to learn and understand from their boyhood that girls are as good as themselves to enjoy equal rights and grow up without any fear. The core issue of such family precept is making a boy a good human being who has to be kind to all around him --- siblings, cousins, friends, school mates and neighbours. Being a good man means he will not molest, harass, disrespect women, or inflict any violent act on children or adults.
Many in society think that boys have to be tough and take over any space forcefully and suppress any soft emotion. Being tough doesn't mean they will not learn and practise softness and show kindness to others. In many families, boys also grow up learning to deny or ignore creative activities or emotional things as these are 'for girls and the weak'. In this way, they ultimately become insensitive and express their intolerance in abusive language and rude behaviour to others. Family and community need reorientation to stop such wrong and misleading lessons. They must teach boys to be gentle and sensitive to girls.