“My phone kept on notifying me alerts. I finally paid it some attention and bothered to look at it. There were over 300 messages. within a span of a mere 7-8 minutes. The texts that I ignored till then brought tears to my eyes, not because it was over some random forward that I found extremely moving, but because I was furious at what I had read, and I cry when I am angry, because that’s how girls respond sometimes at pathetic situations.
My friend had just shared in our group chat what happened to her the previous night as she was returning to her hostel. Two guys just pushed her around as they went past her, touching her without her permission, in places where they had absolutely no right to touch any women without their consent. You are mistaken if you think the ‘guys’ I just mentioned belong to the age group where their actions are highly driven by their testosterone levels, but no; they were old enough to have their own daughters of the same age. She cried out for help, nobody paid any heed. Even worse was the fact that she felt that there was no point in reporting this to her hostel warden, he’ll just laugh at her and forget it the next day. There were suggestions that all of us should carry pepper spray, knives or at least safety pins. It sure sounded like a worthy answer at the time. But really? Is that a solution at all?
This is the price a girl has to pay for being born with a different set of reproductive organs. Denied the right to be heard. Denied the right to their own body. Denied the right to take action on what happens to them. Denied the chance to be taken seriously when it matters.
This is not some casual feminist rant. This is an incident which you can remind yourself about, when you hear a cry for help the next time. This is an encouragement to look at the girls walking around our city as more than a mixture of flesh, blood and bones.”
This isn’t the account of a girl living in some metro like Delhi or Mumbai, places that are deemed ‘unsafe’. The above incident recently took place in our very own, very ‘safe’ Vizag, recounted by our intern Christy Rose Babu. Vizag is only thought of as safe because people who encounter such incidents do not report it – out of fear, shame or lack of support, we don’t talk about such things. Not talking about it will not change the fact that girls who go out to schools, colleges and work everyday get molested in some form or the other in crowded areas, empty streets, public transportation, cabs, work places, anywhere really.
But you don’t want this to happen to any of your family members do you? We didn’t think so. So the next time your neighbour, child, ward, a woman you’ve just met yells for help or tells you, be of some use and respond, comfort her, support her, encourage her to file a complaint at the nearest police station that exists for this very purpose. While’s it’s infinitely easier to blame the victim and brush it off as her fault, find some empathy. And women, make yourself heard because you deserve to be, just like you deserve to exist.