You call her Braveheart, Amanat, Damini, Nirbhaya.
You admire her fighting spirit and courage.
You call her the Nations daughter.
You give up celebrating New Years because you say you are grieving for her.
You say you won’t disclose her name to the public for fear of shame, stigma, or protests by people over that.
You grieve with her family. You compensate them monetarily for their loss.
You announce that you will bring in new laws to reform this.
You show outrage at this act. You say that you are seething with fury. You condemn it. You hold candle-lit vigils. You conduct peace marches. You sympathise. You empathise. You preach that this will change.
Words like Capital Punishment, Death Penalty, Chemical Castration, Lifetime Imprisonment, Amendments to the Rape Act, all get bandied about.
And yet, nothing happens.
NOTHING. EVER. HAPPENS.
And anyone who even starts a change will be subdued until they are in a minority.
And yet again, this girl’s death will just become another statistic.
And these words will just remain that. WORDS.
And the country will continue to function like how it always does.
I am sorry; am I sounding too cynical? Too matter-of-fact? Does that bother you?
Can you really blame me for it?
Just a few days after an entire nation’s protest, shock and outrage at this ghastly act, I read about another girl who was molested again in a moving bus again in Delhi. I read that a woman who was raped, went to the police station to file a complaint and she was raped there again. I read that a girl was being molested by her own brother for 3 years until she reported it.
And we are a country that says that we celebrate our women. Why, we say that our country IS a woman, and we call her Bharata Mata. Mother India.
Really!! Wow!! Now if that’s not an ignominy, I don’t know what is!!!
It’s my helplessness that’s making me write this. I seethe with fury every time I read about another act of violation of a woman’s dignity. Much like anyone other girl. I feel that cold rage sweep over me every time I feel a man’s eyes wrongly on me. Much like any other girl.
And yet I am helpless.
Because it has been drilled into me by every single person during my formative years that I AM A GIRL. That I am not supposed to wear that. That I am not supposed to go here. That I am not supposed to go alone. That I am not supposed to walk like this. That I shouldn’t attract attention to myself. I did ask questions. I did retort back. I did say that I can take care of myself. I rebelled in the ways that I knew. And yet, when I stepped out there, onto the roads, I knew they were right. It is a JUNGLE out there. Ages don’t matter. Looks don’t matter. What you wear does not matter. What matters is that you are a GIRL. That you are a member of the opposite sex. That you can be looked at, felt up, groped at, pinched, prodded, cupped, pushed and shoved just because you are a female. And that it doesn’t cease. At any time. Day or night. Indoors or Outdoors.
After a while, the questioning stops but the fear doesn’t. And in the place of those questions, other traits came up.
The survival instinct. The sixth sense that tells you when a man is getting too close for comfort. The strategic cover-up that happens when you know that a man’s looking where he is not supposed to. Of how to hide from roving eyes. Of what to do with sharp heels in a crowded places. Of how to use safety pins for in crowded buses. Of how to use the elbow jab when pushing through a crowd.
It’s a fight every day. And it’s never ending.
Yes! I am scared. But more than that, I am proud of the fact that I am a female. That I am a woman. I celebrate the fact that I was born a GIRL. And how much ever I lament the fact that guys have it easier than girls, I would never give up being a woman for anything.
Because how much ever men call us the weaker sex, we are really the stronger sex. Ask a guy to walk in our shoes for just one single day and they will know what stern stuff we are made of.
And the best and worst part of it is that, they are the ones who made us this way.