Being born with pure Chinese parents, I’m the youngest among four, two of whom are girls and the other two are boys. As a little girl whose age was far from my siblings, I grew up being the object of my brothers’ mischief. My brothers on the other hand, particularly the one I followed in birth order, felt like he suffered so much from my bratty and manipulative tactics. I don’t think I was ever spoiled with material things as I had very few toys compared to the best friend I grew up with, and neither do I remember having branded clothes or shoes. But I never felt deprived, and as a child, I thought I could rule the world. I had this feeling that I can do whatever I want, be whoever I want to be, and well, make people do what I wanted them to do. It may not have been true, but that’s how I felt.
I would always look forward to being with my Dad because he allowed me to have the sweets my mom forbade. I look forward to our Sunday dates when I get the chance to buy the pretty dress my mom refused to buy for me, or buy so many Dunkin munchkins to get the free coloring book or canister they gave as free.
I was consistently top of the class from the time I went to school till I left high school. I graduated top of the class, editor-in-chief of the school paper, president of the student council, and the first and only surviving student guidance counselor. My brother, in his attempt to burst my balloon, would always say that it is a small school in the province and that none of those achievements really meant anything. Though he succeeded in dipping my confidence a bit, I still felt that I could do anything.
I went to college, had a great time, and met a lot of friends that would stay with me since then. I went to work first as a Finance intern, then as a financial analyst, then as a Sales Manager in Multi-National Companies. My first company was a company manufacturing microchips and where easily 80% of the employees are men, some of whom are expats. I was one of the first few female sales managers in my next job as they injected diversity in the organization. I worked with so many men of different levels. And never in my life did I ever feel discriminated, or that I could do less than a man.
It was with so much surprise when I found out that traditionally, Chinese would prefer boys. It is said that girls are considered worthless by some, and are just destined to be married off. I feel very fortunate to have parents who though cannot articulate their thoughts in English or straight Filipino, made me feel so loved that I never had an idea they would have preferred me some other way.
And it is from this frame of mind that I read this article, Delhi rapist says victim shouldn’t have fought back. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31698154 .
Two years ago, the Indian girl who got raped in the bus made news worldwide. She was raped by 5 men, and then assaulted with an iron instrument that caused her to bleed to death. The article talks about the interview of the driver of the bus who has been convicted of the crime. According to the article, “Singh showed no remorse and kept expressing bewilderment that such a fuss was being made about this rape”. He said that when a girl is being raped, she should just be silent and allow the rape. He said that people had the right to teach girls a lesson for being out at night.
I read the article as I was waiting for a meeting to start and I felt my body go weak. I my whole body froze and I wanted to cry and scream. I felt like the voice that I’ve known I always had, was suddenly taken away from me.
My belief that every girl should feel like a princess has been shattered. Every girl is someone’s little girl, or should be someone’s little girl. Each girl should have the right, like everybody else, to live life like they can take on anything. Every woman should feel special for being a woman, as any one of whatever gender should. It is my firm belief that it is no one’s right to get in the way of anyone’s dreams, and successes — not their parents, not men who think they’re better, and not the society. We define our own limits, and we transcend them as we go along in life.
With such a tragic incident being brushed off as something girls deserve is way out of line. And it angers me to the very core. I wanted to blame someone, and I don’t know who. I wanted to get mad at someone, and I don’t know who. I wanted to hurt someone, and I don’t know who.
I can’t even start putting a finger on someone. I have no idea how long this has been going. I want to do something, and I don’t know where. How does one start changing the thinking of an entire population? Where did they get their meanings?
As a coach, there are moments when I feel that coaching concepts can indeed change the world. Yet, in moments like this, I am probably as dumbfounded as the next person. I know we have the tools, but where do we start?