The relationship between traditional male commanders in the armed forces as also the soldiers with the increasing numbers of women in the armed forces would be one of the most robust ways to create a society that looks at its women and men on merit and capabilities, and not judge them on gender, says Rina, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
The thought of a woman being in the armed forces or in uniform denoting the ability to protect, or to attack foes of people, of nations, is one that’s met with hysteria in any way – whether that of cheer, or of scorn.
The world, in all its appreciation for civilisations past, has conveniently overlooked the fact that the continuous cycle of wars and conquests often forced women to be competent in self-defence, or, in several cases, to conquer lands and resources for their people.
History has taught us that deception is often one of the finest ways of defence or of attack. Strong defence or attack from those we least expect it from results in a defeat in the mind of the adversary, to begin with. It’s only compounded if the combatant can stay true to course.
Women are being inducted into the armed forces and lines of defence across the world – from the US through to India and beyond. It’s a test of the fortitude of women in their natural sense of protectors and nurturers, to also learn to attack and seek to subdue or eliminate foes. Such a move is not without risks.
In combat, however, this directly exposes women to the possibilities of sexual assaults upon being taken hostage or captive. In contrast to this threat is also the fact that a woman can be a supreme self-defender when faced with humiliating attacks and will often find a way to time her attack just right. Some of the world’s strongest male leaders are guarded by an entourage of very well trained women guards.
The relationship between traditional male commanders in the armed forces as also the soldiers with the increasing numbers of women in the armed forces would be one of the most robust ways to create a society that looks at its women and men on merit and capabilities, and not judge them on gender. This co-existence, and excellence in service to nations and citizens between men who are seen as supremely male, and their women counterparts, will set off a great change in allowing the two genders to feed off one another’s intrinsic strengths and capabilities.
This is a much-awaited world instead of one where women are trying to prove themselves superior, or one where men only believe in their primacy over the oft-misrepresented “fairer sex”.
This can only be achieved of course once women are truly accepted in the modern conventions of being combat worthy, and of contributing to the accomplishment of objectives of the armed forces. To get there, a woman will inevitably have to win the acceptance of male combatants of her craft and her spirit in being one of the “armed forces”.
Mentally, in combat, a woman will need to accept the sheer physicality of a battle and consciously step away from viewing this as a sexual assault. A combat often has a winner and loser, and a war or battle often has no hostages. In this sense, a woman will have to strengthen her mind significantly to battle her inner demons, while also winning the true battles of the body and mind.
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