Maya Khan & SAMAA TV asked for a constructive criticism. There it is…
“Maya Khan did it in good faith. Her concern was the safety of girls,” said a friend over telephone while discussing the much talked about show by anchor Maya Khan.
Well even if I presume her intentions were ‘noble’, the method of hounding young couples under the eye of a camera was certainly not just inappropriate, but highly deplorable. And now in a new video she talks about her ‘good intentions and the worries the parents have about girls who are lured into ‘wrong’ acts‘.
“Ab ager aap ye samajhte hain ke Maa Baap ye fikr na karein ke unki bachiyaan kahan hain to is barey mein main kyaa keh sakti hoon.”
There is no doubt that the issue of girl safety and sexual harassment in relationships or dating is a concern. It is still a concern in the West too.( http://elizabeth-stannard-gromisch.suite101.com/signs-of-an-abusive-relationship-in-teens-a218861).
It is the duty of a society as a whole and of the parents to guide our growing teens about the ethics and risks involved in relationships. Our culture is at the cross roads of modernism and conservatism. Many of us have conveniently picked up that part of modern culture which suits our personal interests, but stay glued to the old conservative dogmas otherwise.
As a friendly mother of two university-going kids, I am quite aware of the mixed trends and risks that surround my new generation kids in Pakistan.
It is very normal for boys and girls to form clandestine relationships when parents are unduly strict. This leads to many girls ending up in a trap caught between the parents and the boy and if the boy is taking her for a ride, he uses her vulnerable position to his advantage, as seen in many cases reported and unreported in Pakistan.
I certainly do not think this holds true for the majority, but it does happen with quite a few. The girl is forced to comply to the demands of intimacy by the opportunistic male counterpart. In that situation,especially in places like Pakistan, where there is gender selective judgement of ‘character’, she does not have many options. Seeking refuge with her parents and escaping the boy will eventually result in the same disastrous situation, in her head, and so she chooses the troubled path.
How do we deal with this? Do we go around with a broom stick microphone and witch hunt like Maya Khan? Certainly not.
In the west, these things along with sex education are taught to the students in middle school, while they are going through the most stressful times of their lives—puberty. Unfortunately in our society this is not done nor is it possible in the foreseeable future, thanks to our preconceived negative notions about this three letter word ‘sex’.
It is the duty of parents to play their part. They should open up their minds and place themselves in the shoes of their growing boys and girls. And to be understanding about the many complicated issues of the heart and mind.
What is needed is to empower our girls with the knowledge of how to save themselves from pressures of giving in to undue demands of a physical compromise, if they are not a willing partner to it. Boys also need to know that they cannot force upon their girlfriend any demand, be it as trivial as holding her hand, if she is not willing for it. The boy must be able to respect her ‘values’ in the relationship.
The girls should be given confidence, and taught how to stave off undue pressure or abuse of any sort in a girl-boy relationship. It is also important to reassure them that if they have made a mistake befriending someone who is abusive, they must come and confide into anyone who they trust-be it a sister, friend or even mother. I tell my kids, in such a case if you come and confide in me, “I may get angry or a lot angry, but perhaps it will save you from further unnecessary abuse.”
It is a myth that talking to your children openly about relationships will make them indulge more. Perhaps, if they know their parents understand them they will be more confident in taking responsible decisions. Once you have informed them, let them take their own decisions. Do not dictate to them.
I tell my kids, “If you take a decision which is wrong in my eyes, I may feel hurt, but it is ultimately you who will have to live with it. When you choose your decisions, you choose their consequences too. So be mindful and do what you think is right.” So far, so good.
Keywords to parents: Keep lines of communication with kids, educate them and then trust them while they make informed choices. Do not control their decision making.
Message to future Maya Khans: if you really wish these girls well, please call experts in the studio, and let them give tips to the parents, boys and girls about how to handle relationships. It will save you from a lot of running around in the park, unnecessarily.
Source: Tips based on resources on Sexual and other forms of abuse in youths from: http://www.metrac.org/about/about.htm
This is a video from Canada, but talks of the disturbing trend and some tips for how to help them.