I am a Woman. It’s a wonderful thing to be me. There are a lot of things that make life enjoyable and happy for me. But there are a few things that make it torture sentence though. Women in our country are respected by many people but in certain incidents and moments, it seems as though everything stands against us. Certain men ruin what few others build up, a sense of having freedom. It starts from a young age; apparently, a girl going through puberty is fair game for any random chap to cat call, eve-tease or pinch her waist. I was just a girl in her 7th grade. Most girls at that age would just run home and cry, but I retaliated- I slapped this random guy who thought he could pinch my waist and get away with it. I think maybe this is how every woman wants to react, but I think a combination of the feeling of weakness and societal conditioning makes them to meekly move away. Fast forward to ten years later, something happened which made me feel unsafe in my own country. It happens near a location called Jalahalli in Bangalore. A guy cat called me and made lewd gestures at me. Even as I tried to fight back, he held my hand and tried to hit me. All this happening in a crowded place and no one tries to do anything. Everyone just stared. JUST STARED. No one called the police; no one came to my aid.
Our schools and educational institutions are normally likened to temples of learning. But these places aren’t exactly exempt from any kind of harassment for a girl. In the guise of trying to forcefully put on headphones to make me listen to a lecture in the audio visual room, the instructor tried to “cop a feel”. First I thought it was a mistake but when he tried it again, I didn’t hold back, I slapped him hard enough to break his glasses (mind you, this happened in a very reputed coaching institute). I brought it to the attention of management who promptly removed him from the staff. But this wasn’t the last time to happen. At the same institution, a lecturer called me to his cabin; posing as a loving husband who missed his wife, he told that like all men he had certain “needs” and tried to convince me for sexual favours. He promised that he’d look after me very well and that “We can have some fun”. Disgusting is an understatement. I vented this to my friends who then went and roughed him up a bit; he didn’t try to have any “fun” after that.
It’s not all physical objectification and harassment, mental torture through making rude and disgusting remarks about my character. Most of the times, if a girl is extroverted or friendly; she’s a slut who’s trying to get her goals through shady means. Jealousy and insecurity made patrons of a well-known gym complain that the trainer and I were having something between us. Word gets around soon if a girl is having a relationship with a guy, even if said “relationship” is just a rumour. And then when I let people know about it on social media, I get threatened to be charged with defamation. I had to retract my statement and shut up about it. I have few questions for you all. Is the fact that I am a woman mean that I can be subject to unsolicited texts from any random guy? Does being friends with a guy make me a whore? Is it wrong to text or call a male friend? Is it wrong to ask to be dropped back home when it’s late and it’s raining?
Men think it’s okay to make a woman feel uncomfortable by ogling at her breasts. No, I’m not saying all men are like that, many of them are gentlemen. And no, I’m not a feminist, I stand for whatever I feel is right.
All this is just because I am a woman. I guess my face and my body are just invitations for harassment and objectification. It’s time the society realizes that it’s not just men we face all this from, the women are also the source of these oppressive things. Backward thinking of people, the unbridled courage of a few and the hesitation of the remaining will always be the reason why woman don’t feel safe. I will keep trying to fight for being myself because if I don’t, no one will. This, my reader, is not a rant, but a statement of what happens with most girls in my country. If you have done this, please change your ways and apologize if it’s an available option; if you’ve seen such a thing happening around you and kept quiet, fight the next time you come across such a situation. If you see a woman in trouble, I request people to help her. Afterall , she’s someone’s daughter, sister or mother. Change comes only if people strive for it.