The life of Namgay Dolkar being squeezed out of her by an angry partner, a young woman being gang raped by two students of the prestigious Paro College of Education, a teacher in Lhamoizingkha molesting 7 school children, a father raping his own underage daughter and trying the same with the younger one, and a step father in Punakha repeatedly raping his step daughter for close to two years to the point she attempted suicide.
If that was not enough, a glib monk recently came on social media in a video broadcast classifying women as ‘prey’ in a jungle and men as ‘hunters’ and he called on women to take the onus to cover themselves up and stay away from these ‘hunters’ who cannot help themselves.
His post went viral and many Bhutanese heartily agreed and backed up this misogynistic and victim blaming statement.
The above incidents provide a real snapshot of how our male dominated society thinks about women.
The above crimes are not a simple accident or anomaly, but they are the products of a deeply patriarchal society that treats women as inferior beings who can’t enter the inner sanctum of holy places or match up to men.
Women are not only treated as being inferior and thus of an unequal power status, but are also commoditized.
Even in the so called educated offices sexual harassment of women employees is rampant.
Rape and sexual harassment is not a sexual act, but it is an act of power over another person. It tells the other person they have no agency over their own body.
When the societal mindset tolerates an inferior view against women then crimes against women will follow like water following a channel.
In Bhutan it is said that women only have to break the glass ceiling, but what they do not say is that when the first glass ceiling is broken there will be several more glass ceilings to break often placed by men.
Even with Bhutan getting more women leaders when one looks at the bigger picture women leaders are hugely underrepresented in various fields from politics to the boardroom, and even if they are there the men still call the shots.
It is high time that both men and women stand up against this poison that is harming our girls, women, society and nation.
We have to rid ourselves of our patriarchal mindsets, have zero tolerance for sexual harassment in any setting and allow women to climb up the ladder and play an equal role.
We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.