Nagashree – Gender woman Was: a victim City: Bus, Park, everywhere

 
 

Gender woman

Was: a victim
City: Bus, Park, everywhere
Was wearing Chudithar/Salwar Kameez with dupatta
Reaction: Helpless, Passively Endured

Incident was : multiple times

Perpetrator was a Friend or acquaintance and aged 20-30

Experience:
The one thought that always comes to my logical mind, when I hear of sexual abuse is this… Why should we, as victims, be ashamed, ever. It has been long since we have ignored the monsters, who have mistook our tolerance to be our weakness. Our silence has been taken for submission.

Today, I would like to share a few lessons I learnt, through my story. I had a taste of fear, embarrassment and an assault to my dignity too, not once, not twice, but several times. It is appalling that all of us have similar stories to tell. Our men can keep us safe and we can, together, keep our daughters safe, only when all of us know what we go through each day. As I walked through incidents of

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my life, even as a little girl, I let go all the fancy myths of a the world being beautiful and built a safe sheath of facts around me, which is sad , but a practical guide for survival. I would like to share it with all girls and parents too.

My first brush with the ugly side of life was when I was 9. My parents bought me a bicycle and asked one of my young relatives to tutor both my sister and me. He was a young boy of 16 and my distant brother. As little sisters of his, we trusted him more than anything and he proved us wrong. We were taught fewer lessons of cycling, and bigger lessons of life. After a couple of days, I complained to my sister that the guy has been touching me in ways he should not. She agreed that everything wasn’t right with her too. We took it to our parents, who were equally shocked, and being teachers at heart, went to the boy’s parents to impart some moral science lessons to him. However the boy’s parents strongly dismissed our complaints and threw my parents out of their house. Today as a grown up man, the boy faces charges of dowry assault and sexual harassment . How I wish they took time to hear us, then.

Myth 1: Your little girl is too young to be sexually abused.

Myth 2: Your little girl is in the safe hands of a relative and you can leave her un-monitored.

Myth 3: Your boy comes from a great family background and hence cannot perpetrate sexual crime. [ Please identify early and nip it off, at the bud ]

I was probably 12, not even mature enough to understand the adults world. I was only taught that the world is a beautiful place and to greet everybody with a smile. I was at a supermarket, with my parents around, and my cousin brother holding my hand. A man passes by, probably a middle aged uncle and I give him a pleasant smile. He returns a wicked smile and pinches my chest. I step aside in embarrassment. I was in safe hands, I was fully covered and damn, I was not even an adult yet – none of it matters. That day I believe the innocent smile turned into a skeptical one and continues to.

Myth 4: Sexual harassment does not happen when parents are around.

I was 13 when I was travelling by bus and a man kept rubbing his penis against my shoulders standing next to me. This time I was brave enough to tell my uncle accompanying me. He only replied, “let us get down in the next stop”. The only logical thought I had was, “Why should I get down?”. That day I began to question.

Myth 5: Your little girl complains so often. Don’t take much notice since she is a kid.

Myth 6: Your girl is safe if she is taking the public transport [ Not at all. Please talk to her each day ]

I was 14 and was traveling by bus to my village. The man behind me groped me, while the uncle sitting next to me was all over me. I got up and complained to the conductor, who meekly gave me another seat. That very day I saw that not everybody stands up against shit, and probably I should do it myself.

Myth 7: People around you will always stand up, in your support. [ Don’t expect support. Just be confident to fight it out]

I was 15, and was at a cousin’s marriage. My cousin’s neighbor, who was atleast of my grand dad’s age groped me and pulled me towards him, all in the name of love and care. I quickly resisted and jumped back.

Fact: Age, family, caste – Nothing matters – such acts can happen with anyone and anywhere

I was 16 when I was being followed by a fellow student, who was stalking me wherever I went. My mother asked me to be cautious, but probably did not take it very seriously, considering he was a class mate. One fine day he stopped my friend to inquire about me, she took the incident to her dad and to my dismay, her dad complained to my parents about me and not the boy. My dad looked at me, smiled, placed his hands on my shoulders and said “I trust you my little girl. I will sort this out for you”. I am so indebted to my dad for those words of support

Myth 8: Your girl is safe with her classmates.

I am 29 today. Not a year has passed without one such incident happening . But I am proud I have learnt to handle it better.

The other day strangers asked me for directions and as I led them their way, they began to pass lewd comments. I shouted back and called the traffic police.

I was walking to the station to catch a train back home and a drunk teenager follows, asking me to accompany him home. I yelled so loudly that an entire coach stepped out in support.

My widowed maid told me that there was a family fight and her brother in law told her ” I will get both your girls raped” without any remorse . I went to her house and threatened him that I will get him arrested the next time he makes such remarks.

I realize, nothing around me has changed, but I have. I learnt my lessons the hard way. I am definitely stronger than what I was when it all started – bold, capable and outspoken. I encourage every girl to protect herself and not become easy targets.

WHAT HELPS: Be confident, be loud, discuss with your parents, friends, and relatives, and always, shout for help. “I’m not sure if it was a deliberate act” is a common thought that comes to our mind, under such circumstances and the prime reason for young girls to endure such nonsense. Brush it aside and shout for help. It is our innocence, our unpreparedness, our timidity, and the habit of giving the perpetrators the benefit of doubt, that leads to such brazen acts of abuse and assault.

We have no choice, but to only grow stronger from here. Let us build a safe haven for each other. Little acts of caution, little fingers of support and a LOUD CLEAR SHOUT OUT can go a long way. I only request all men to be more sensitive towards what a lady is put through each day and to stand by them. One single voice of support from our own men comes a long way.

Despite all this, it is amazing how we women still continue to lead an extremely sane life, strive to keep our families secure, perform fantastically well at work and continue to explore life with enthusiasm. It requires not a heart of steel , but a ‘heart of a lady’ to do that..ibms_pic

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