No, I am not trying to solve the border issue though I wish I could.

The Line of Control is a pre decided boundary between two countries, violation of which is forbidden. Crossing this boundary requires permission from the country and only a select few get it.

How often have you wished that there was such a line in existence in our real life? A point beyond which no one would be allowed to enter.

In absolute sciences there is a concept of threshold beyond which the matter or substance will change. We know the absolute point where water will boil and the solid will break. Unfortunately there are no ‘absolutes’ in our life.

At which point do we decide that we have had enough? I think therein lies the problem most women face. We do not have a reference point where our tolerance ends.

Take the point of sexual harassment. Ask any woman from any place around the world and she will tell you that she has faced some form of harassment. From boys whistling at you to being groped in the bus most of us have faced it at some point of time. So at what point does eve- teasing become harassment? Who draws the line at harmless flirting to offensive behaviour? Where lays the threshold? Is it defined by the legal system? Or is it defined by the norm of the society? If it has happened to most of us is it then normal?

Another example is that of domestic violence. When do we say we have had enough? Which is the right point to fight back? When does a push become abuse? Is violence only physical? Most women may not face physical violence in their home but that does not mean that they don’t face abuse. Belittling the woman’s looks, capacity or intellect are forms of abuse too. Controlling her actions and questioning her acts are humiliating too. Why should they not be above the threshold?

The threshold has to be defined by all of us. Each one of us is different and has a different view of what is ok and what is not ok. We need to have our own point of reference and respect it too. We often come across a girl who is upset by  some boys who passed lewd remarks as she walked past. Most of us would react by saying that it is okay I have had worse. So? That was our limit, this is hers and we need to acknowledge that.

A young woman filed for divorce because she felt that her husband did not respect and value her. Most of us would judge her. We put up with so much more!! This is how most men are!! Just because you put up with it does not me someone else should. It also does not mean that she has no tolerance. It just means that her boundaries are different than yours.

It also work the other way. We tend to look down upon women who tolerate more than us. “She has no sense of self respect”. “She is old fashioned”. No she just has a different threshold that you do.

However more than respecting the boundaries of others we need to respect and honour our own boundaries. Imagine if your country had a new boundary every day. How confused the world would be? And how prone to attack would we be? Why? Because no one will have a clear understanding of where your limit starts.

I have often heard women talk about how they put up with a lot of things initially and how things just got worse. Whose fault is that? How is a person to understand that this behaviour is not acceptable unless it is made clear the first time it is done and then every time thereafter? What is wrong is wrong from the beginning. Our teacher did not accept 2+2 as 5 in the first grade and then whack us if we wrote it in the second grade.

We often tend to keep pushing our boundaries too. “I will react the next time”. I will raise my voice if the whistling actually becomes a remark. And when it becomes a remark we wait for the next step. We wait for the push to become a slap and a slap to become a repeat till we are not sure of where to draw the line.

Let us today decide where our limits lie and respect it. Let us not wait for the next attack.

Dr. Gauri Nadkarni Choudhary
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