Do you know how it feels to walk on the road by yourself, consciously aware that there are dirty eyes on you scanning your body from head to toe the entire time?! If you do, then I can guarantee that you’re a woman and if you don’t, I can almost certainly guarantee that you’re a man. Girls are taught from the time they’re born that they’re equal to boys and apart from having a couple of physical differences, they’re almost identical. It’s high time we started educating ourselves and our children that sadly, it’s never the case.
Safety for women is a myth. A woman is not safe anywhere. A girl, from the moment she steps foot into this little world is unaware of pedophiles and rapists who will change her sweet little innocent life forever. How do you teach a 6 yr old to protect herself from rapists and pedophiles?! How do we protect a 10 yr old from that pervert on the bus?! How long can we protect and be protected by boys and men?! What is the way out?! Is there a way out?! Does anyone have the answers to these questions?!
I had blogged about the insecurities of being born a girl once, and a man had commented saying that instead of cribbing about what happened to us, we should learn self defence. That man, obviously has never had a daughter and his wife must have been spared the evils of the world when she was growing up. Fortunate for him and his family. It’s so easy for people to give solutions to problems which are still hypothetical for themselves but not as easy for those who live with the trauma that follows an incident.
My college hostel in Surat was located right opposite the Police Station of that particular area and when parents came to drop their children off, always left with a sense of security. Would you believe me if I told you that particular road has more exhibitionists and perverts than any other part of that area?! I’ve related incidents that have happened to me, my friends and fellow hostel mates to the boys in my college and they laughed in my face, telling me that I must have imagined it happening to me because Surat is the safest city for women. Was my imagination so fierce and wild that I remembered the tears on those girls’ cheeks as they related in broken words how men on bikes touched them inappropriately?! Were the imaginations of all the hostel girls so strong and powerful that they shared similar incidents?! It’s happened to me too and trust me when I tell you that the first time it happens to you, you just curl up into a ball, shut yourself from the world and cry yourself to sleep. You play that situation over and over again in your head, each time devising a different way as to how you could’ve reacted like taking a stone and throwing it at the moving bike or running after him but to no avail. It happens in a couple of seconds and by the time your mind switches back and realizes what just happened, the biker has already sped away. I’ve personally counselled juniors in the hostel as they cried the first time it happened to them and advised them to always travel in pairs, just like my seniors advised me when I related what had happened.
Recently, I was travelling from Delhi to Bangalore by 3 tier AC alone and I found a man staring at me inappropriately at me for some time. I pulled the curtains together and settled to sleep and for some reason couldn’t sleep. As the night progressed and the fellow passengers slowly fell asleep and the lights dimmed out; I catch this man peering into the curtains. I pulled open the curtains immediately and yelled out asking him what he wanted. My fellow passengers woke up and he ran off. I was sure that he was from our coupe’ and he eventually had to return so I waited till he came back and like clockwork, the man came back. I confronted him and he apologized; as I kept on yelling at him, he raised his voice and said, “Maine sorry bol diya na; maine sister bana diya apko…” Translated – “I said sorry no; I’ve made you my sister” He said this and got up to his berth and went to sleep. I was dumbfounded and slowly I realized why parents don’t let their daughters travel in trains alone and why I should never travel in trains without pepper spray.
All of these instances which I narrated above are not half as traumatic as that 23 yr old Medical student fighting for her life after she was gang raped by 5 men on a bus in Delhi or the 6 yr old who was raped by men in Pakistan or that foreigner who was gang raped by villagers in Auroville, Pondicherry. There will come a time when women will go extinct because female infanticide will be back in practice. Can we blame the parents for wanting to kill off their female infants?! I’m not even married yet and I’m hoping and praying that I don’t have a girl child when the time comes because I will not be able to protect her as much as I want. There will always be that moment when she will also realize the truth that she is indeed CURSED to be born a girl. Is this the world that we were scared was going to end?! I think the world has already ended and we’re already in HELL!!