Ulrike Reinhard, a German woman working in Madhya Pradesh recently found a brilliant way to teach a lesson to a 14-year-old boy who misbehaved with her. She started a campaign named “how to treat women right” at the boy’s school and decided that it will be headed by the boy himself.
Ulrike is the founder of a non-profit organization named Janwaar Castle that works for the upliftment of the villagers of Janwaar.
She was walking in the village market one day when a young guy approached her from behind. “He took his arm around me and touched my upper left arm – at least twice,” she wrote in a Facebook post. He then went past her. But Ulrike wasn’t one to ignore the incident. She followed him and asked why he touched her inappropriately, to which he simply said, “I am a man”.
Surprised and frustrated, she began walking with him to the police station. But about 50 m from the police station, he fled off laughing with a friend who was on his bike. Ulrike still went to the police and the officials caught him within five minutes. His family and friends came to the police station and started requesting to let him go.
“They told me that they would beat the shit out of him back home and that he would face punishment. I asked them what this would change. It’s important that he understands what went wrong. That he is not in the position to treat women like this …. It was hard to make them understand …” she wrote. They also called in his teacher who said that the 14-year-old was a well-behaved boy. This was when Ulrike found out that there are 1000 children in his school, and she came up with an idea.
“I asked the officer if I could file the case still on Wednesday. He said yes. So I gave the guy and his family the idea – that they could turn the case into something good if they start together with the school, a campaign “How to treat women right!” – our boy in the major role. They looked surprised, the officer liked the idea and said that he would join the meeting and we agreed that we would come together on Tuesday afternoon. Until then they’ve time to figure out how they could run such a campaign and how the boy can contribute,” she writes.
Ulrike says that her motivation behind turning an incidence like this into something very positive was the belief that it is only understanding that helps in such a situation, not punishment.