This one is coming up Bold, but nevertheless this needs be conveyed.
Just recently I had some urgent errand to complete and the scanner at my workplace was out of order, so I had to go to a nearby photocopy shop to complete the work. It was a small place with a floor occupied by photocopy machines and a guy standing in his mid twenties waiting for me to explain him what I wanted. He asked me to get my scanned copy from downstairs. I followed him to a dingy looking shack in the basement with two men sitting with a computer. The mere sight of that scene sent me goose bumps, chills to my body. I was scared to hell to enter that place. Though everything went out smoothly must I say, the men were nice, they did their job, no lewd looks, or remarks but yes I only let out a sigh of relief when I finally left.
It was only then on my way back home that I realized that just what has happened to us, the females of India, why has this fear settled into our conscience.
What I have really learnt from growing up as a girl in India is, that it is not the circumstances, not the sexuality of a female, not what we wear, nor what we say that instigates a man, it is totally the disposition of the males that is wholly and solely responsible for heinous crimes like these. We belong to a society wherein we nurture our daughters in such a way that over time they themselves feel that they are vulnerable showpieces. We educate them, encourage them for sports, extracurricular, want them to be independent but I believe that only a small fraction of the society does this solely for the girl, it is more to grab a suitable suitor for their daughter. I am very sure that when a girl child is born in India, (undoubtedly most of the urban society now feels happy, things have changed), but the happiness is also immediately invaded by thoughts of the mere responsibility this girl child will be, her marriage, and thoughts of making all possible provisions to keep her safe in this world starts to ingrain the minds of the parents. Then how do we expect these girls to become confident young adults??
We are in the habit of undermining the women so much that every raised head of a female is bashed up by thousand raised fingers. How did rather one decide that who is the stronger gender, was it merely on the basis of physical strength. This catastrophic conclusion was reached thousands of years ago and hence we are still taking the brunt of these actions. From goddess Sita who had to give herself up to the whimsical doubts of his husband Ram who did not consider the fact that the same lady left all worldly pleasures to be with her husband who was out fulfilling the whimsical demands of his father. He forgot the fact that it took a lot for a girl to give everything up for her husband. And then there is Draupadi who accepted being wife of five husbands, gave up her love, nobody bothered to know what she wanted, who she loved, and after all this too she sets a bad example in history of someone who slept with more than one man, Draupadi is synonymous with derogatory terms in the present time, but what people fail to understand is that it was not by her choice. Apparently our forefathers failed to set a very good example for respecting females. History is proof that women were always treated as mere objects of pleasure.
There are certain things that just plainly need to be understood and accepted, the bodily autonomy of a girl needs to be respected no matter what. We need to accept that it is very OK for a female to want and enjoy sex. Here in India and probably elsewhere as well women are not meant to like sex, it is merely an act to gratify men for their deed, for them being in our lives, or plainly for they being men. A woman’s sexuality seldom exists for her own. Mostly a woman who is outgoing, confident about herself, capable of taking control, outspoken, is considered a dreadful, abominable being. It is OK to have more male friends than females, OK to dress to our liking, get drunk at parties, come home late at night, and doing any of this does not mean we become open to violence to our bodies. The tendency of society after rape is to find reasons, “What did the girl do to deserve it” and not, “Why the rapist did not stop”. Clearly no rape victim gives any signal, did not dress thinking, “OK today I am dressing perfectly to get raped”, nothing that we do implies that we are ready to be manipulated by anyone. We are capable enough and should be able to decide when to say “YES” or ”NO”, is it really so much to ask for. Yes females do want to have sex but with partners of their choice, in surroundings of their liking, and why NOT?
Every girl is born with a “I don’t want to be RAPED” birth right and you just cannot deny it to her, just cannot!! There are no excuses or justifications for rape, never have been, never can be. No one can disregard our NO, it is part of our existence. Rape can never be a punishment for how we dress, drinking too much, staying out late, or having a partner. Those are choices we make according to our liking, that does not entitle men to do what they do, and it is not a compulsion. A rapist can never have excuse for what he did, he can never justify it, he should only regret it. It’s a CRIME no matter what reasons are put up later. Rape victims are always blameless no matter what. Living by the idea that she must have done something to instigate the man is wrong and needs to go. We need to stop the culture of shaming and blaming rape victims, have quicker and fairer trials, stop the absurd culture of silent institutions towards this heinous crime. A woman needs to be respected in all means for a country to progress and this needs to be emphasized that’s it.
Happy Women’s Day Everyone!!