It was a lovely afternoon of 2010 when I was with friends in an amusement park. We were watching a 3D Roller coaster ride in a hall when I felt someone pinch my chest. That was the first time when my modesty was outraged so blatantly. The room was dark so I couldn’t see the culprit’s face. For months I seethed with anger, not because someone dared to violate my privacy, but because I had kept quiet. If there’s one feeling that launches a flood of all other emotions, it is the feeling of Helplessness.
A year had passed since that incident. I was returning home in a share-auto. It was around 6pm. The auto was empty except for me and a man who was sitting next to me, a little too close for comfort. I could feel him rubbing his arm against my body. Maybe it was the pent up anger or maybe I just couldn’t stand being helpless anymore. I turned my head, looked straight at him and asked him to move away. He got down immediately.
It was then I realized that unless you help yourself – no one would come to your rescue, unless you take the first step – no one will walk with you. I carry safety pins with me, an umbrella and have attended self-defense classes too. It’s not because I am afraid, it’s because I am prepared. It’s because I have resolved not to become a victim.
The women in Cameroon have resort to breast ironing, a barbaric practice in which Mothers rub hot rods on their teenage daughter’s chest to prevent the growth of breast. This is to save their child from being raped. Our society is no less brutal because it victimizes the victim, always blaming the girl for evil that had befallen upon her.
Apart from education, strict laws for rape and female foeticide, I believe the perspective towards women needs to be changed at the grass root level i.e. during childhood.
– Equality and respect towards women need to be taught when the minds of children are tender, because what they hear and see during their younger days molds their behavior at a later stage. But in order to teach such qualities, the parents themselves must not succumb to stereotypes and partiality.
– When a girl is taught to protect her modesty, a boy must be taught not to violate it.
– Instead of hushing up such matters, family should support the fight for justice.
– There are many NGO’s sheltering victimized women, one should volunteer and promote their cause.
We have matured tremendously in the last two decades. Indian women have succeeded in shattering the glass ceiling too, yet our society still hasn’t come in terms with the fact that women deserve to be respected. It would take herculean efforts to make a man understand that woman is not a property or an object of desire, till then sisters – Stay Strong and never back down.