The Leadership Journey – 21. Leadership. Rape. Education (3)

The sailors have a proverb that everyone in his lifetime must eat a peck of impurity; and it seems more yet clear that every generation of the human race must swallow a certain measure of nonsense”

                                                                                                                                —- Sir Walter Scott. Letters on Demonology & Witchcraft

I will come back to this quote later, with the complete quote. I just finished reading this book, and these are amongst the last lines in the book. They struck home.

The question about rape, is that this peck of impurity seems to carry down the generations, and there is no end in sight.

To come back again to our Prime Minister, he said that we should start by educating our sons and daughters about this, and that the sons should be taught to respect women and girls.

He hit the nail on the head.


Yes, it does start at home. We need to teach our sons how to respect other people, and not to denigrate them and then forcibly stick their penises into the vaginas of women, or into the butts of men. This is imperative.

Yet, it is not enough.

And, I can buttress my argument, on the assumption that the call to arms, as it were, is now.

  •  “Legitimate Rape” Akin, as he is called, is an adult;
  • I recently read an article in The Economist about  how in one area, young girls were systematically abused and raped over a period of about 12 or 13 years. the authorities were aware, it seems, and did nothing about it. The guilty are again – adults
  • During the Nirbhaya case in India, the President’s son spoke of ‘dented and painted women’, and the country went into an uproar. There were, of course, a whole series of such comments but I quote only one. This chap was a minister (who subsequently lost in the elections) and, is an adult!

So here is my point.

If this is the example that we adults leave behind for children, then what lessons do they learn? We can have all the school lessons in the world,  but unless we change as adults, then the lessons fail.

To further illustrate my point, we used to have a subject in school called “Moral Science”. This goes back to the time when dinosaurs were young and romped around the world with gay abandon.

I hated Moral Science, and I was in Grade 5. I still hate that subject, and the reason was that all the lessons were preachy and sanctimonious. We, in India, tend to present scrubbed down sanitised version of our Gods. It is almost as they have been scrubbed with Dettol. Anyway, I was 10 and there was a sentence that said, “Every boy in India must strive to be like Rama, and every girl in India must be like Sita”. I remember reading this, sticking my middle finger up and saying “Eff You” or something like that.

Preachy and with no relationship with life!

As per the way that education has moved since then, we look only at the grades of  kids, but don’t too much, or enough, to inculcate values. Moral Science has its place in education, but not the Dettol-scrubbed version.

Having said that, apart from punishment and making them walk the Walk of Shame, if we want to make a difference, we need to educate the adults. 

The question is, and this is for any supposed educationist out there – how do we do this?

Will our ‘leaders’ stand up and make a difference? Leadership is not just about GDP and sales growth. The task sometimes can be as simple as changing values. Most of the time we mistake ‘the task’ that a leader has to accomplish as sales growth, bombing countries, making money etc etc. Values are spoken about. Lip service is not enough,


    1. I don’t know if I did that! I did not. Oh…. I know… I changed the e-mail address for WP, and the new e-mail does not have a photo! I think that must be it!

      1. No, no! Good you told me. Someone else said the same thing, and when I saw your comment, I realised that this must be the reason!

  1. I like the idea of discussing morals or ethics in school, but I agree that trying to simplify a complex topic makes it boring. Why turn a topic that could be so facinating into a simplistic formula? And when you bore a kid they stop paying attention. Unfortunately, some kids get the same formulaic lectures at home, so discussing ethics at school is about the only way to get them really thinking. I always wonder why so many parents avoid discussing complex ideas with their kids – I had some really interesting conversations with my daughter about the differences between right and legal or wrong and illegal!

    1. Oh yes, I have them too! They come up with interesting perspectives. The one thing I worry about most, when it comes to my daughter, is date rape. Guys seem to think it is cool to slip a drug into a girls drink and then rape her. It is sickening.

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