Birth of a Predator
In my previous post I had talked about what more should be done to go beyond Hashtags. Today I’m going to discuss why and how predators may be born in our society.
Nobody is a born predator. At a fundamental level, even though we’re animals, we still yearn for higher level things like love, companionship, trust, and so on. However, we tend to take the easy way out whenever possible, and this is true in case of pleasure as well. We are all looking for instant pleasure, even at the cost of others. This particularly happens when we feel we have an advantage over the other person. Such thinking in the past led to slavery and exploitation in different ways. Recent resurgence of MeToo movement is an important evidence that such animalistic behavior is still rampant in our society.
Interestingly, the incidents have been rising over the years, perhaps due to more people becoming vocal about it (a useful and healthy development towards a better society), or such incidents have actually increased (a disturbing trend). Assuming the worst, i.e., the latter case, I would share following reasons which are, in my opinion, leading to an increase in such incidents in today’s times.
It was nothing short of miracle that I almost completed 4 years of my college life without watching pornography. My batchmates argued that every guy needs to watch such videos to know what to do at their wedding night. And I counter-argued that such “education” wasn’t needed since Early man didn’t have any videos to guide them to procreate! Sadly pornography is not about education but about instant gratification of sexual desires. There is too much ugliness and violence in pornography and it can hamper more than help a young mind in understanding complexities of their body post-puberty and respectful interaction between him/herself and their companion.
During the last semester of my Bachelor’s degree program, I succumbed to the idea of watching pornography, perhaps not to feel left out as the only guy who hadn’t seen pornography during his college days! But I wish I hadn’t. If I could go back in time and sleep early that night, I happily would. Because once you watch pornography, its difficult to undo the effect it can have on you. I couldn’t go back to being “accha baccha” anymore! Any girl I looked at after that, I felt that, simultaneously, a predator was also looking at her from within me. This made it almost impossible for me to have normal conversation with a girl. This is horrible for a 22 year old boy who never had a girlfriend. In such situation, a person tends to watch more pornography, which makes it even more difficult to talk to girls. This vicious cycle can pull you down and keep you there. That’s why pornography should not exist, whereas it might be increasing in quantity due to availability of internet and tools to make videos.
Add to that, the increasing number of disturbing reports of molestation and rape makes a pornography addict even worse about himself and can lead to depression and severe inferiority complex. For many years after college I lived in this fear that I might end up becoming a predator myself. I constantly kept “one hand distance” as taught to us all in school, from girls and in closed crowds, kept both my hands in my pocket to make sure I don’t touch any female (or even male) in a wrong manner.
It gets even worse when others don’t get it and sometimes laugh it off. My friends told you that since I’m a guy, obviously you’ll be attracted to girls, unless you’re gay, and then they may tell you that being a guy, isn’t it better to feel attraction to girls. They’ll tell you its normal, and its no big deal. And when I shared my fear of becoming a predator, most of them laughed, maybe because I don’t look like one. Either they don’t understand the difference between attraction and lust or they were avoiding the topic. Attraction is often healthy but lust is what awakens the predator. And pornography is the easiest way to awaken the predator.
Its atrocious that the advertisers need six pack abs or size zero figure models for selling soaps and flavored drinks. Times of India and some other news bulletins are flooded with pictures of women, and these days men too, flaunting their perfect bodies, barely wearing any clothes. Earlier I had reasoned that it was because those models were poor and couldn’t afford clothes of longer length but I knew it was a silly reason I gave myself to look away from the harsh reality. And the reality is that the advertisement world has been trying to appease our animal side that enjoys watching semi-naked women and men. And this, in my opinion, is also leading to our predatory tendencies coming to the surface. Consider this scenario — a person looks at nudity in advertisements, on TV, and billboards, which makes him/her desire for more. Daily exposure to such advertisements only leads to increase of thirst for such pleasure which may lead to an innocent person becoming a victim. In the opposite scenario, if advertisements were not selling scantily clad men and women, people would focus more on the product and what it offers, and make better choices while shopping. Moreover, they wouldn’t unnecessarily be turned on every now and then, and would be able to focus more on what truly matters: family, work, friends, personal health and growth.
3. Repressed society.
We don’t openly talk about certain “taboo” topics. MeToo has been a bold move to break away from such a construct. Good news is that its working. But it must continue, not just on social media, but also within our homes, and especially between a child and his/her parent/guardian/teacher. Such interaction is of utmost importance because parent/guardian/teacher are the authority figures for children in their formative years and wholehearted support from them would give these children strength to talk about such incidents, get the predator punished and also help them grow up to become strong and empathetic adults. While many have confessed about their ugly experiences to their friends or girlfriends/boyfriends and even spouses, this has often happened much later in life. Such confessions are always helpful but nipping the issue in the bud will be more effective.
In conclusion, building trust and focusing on delayed gratification can go a long way to discourage birth of predators. We must foster trust among each other so that we could freely talk about such issues, the way one talks about an injury or illness, and also understand that certain pleasures must come after certain effort. Preying on someone else for one’s own pleasures not only makes the other person suffer, but the predator themselves suffer for such pleasures do not last long and they look out for more, making themselves miserable in the process.