A few days ago I read an article written by a very good friend of mine on the movie Pink. I hadn’t watched the movie at that time but it brought back so many bottled up feelings of guilt and shame when I read the post. I could relate to each and every word in this post and went through the same ordeal which Rohini went through after watching the movie. The innumerable instances when my modesty was violated and I could not even talk about it to anyone came rushing. Another point which hit home is that good men will never understand what we go through when something like this happens even if they try their level best to give us a consoling shoulder.
I watched the movie 2 days ago just on a whim and insistence of two other female friends and my friend’s blog cut even deep after watching the movie. We friends started talking and all of us spoke about some or the other incidences we faced while growing up and how it still disgusts us. That feeling existed within all of us!
I remembered the time when I was traveling with my family and a middle aged man constantly kept nabbing me from behind. I was so terrified and yet I could not utter a word about it to my parents and silently tolerated the atrocities. The unwanted touching created a wreck in me and sometimes even dismantled the self confidence.
It isn’t just about a stranger doing this, but there are innumerable cases when a family member does it. I distinctly remember, one of my friend’s uncle sexually molesting my friend at the age when she hit puberty. She came and cried to me and I said let’s go and talk with your mom. That mother’s reaction unnerved me and it still haunts me. She said, “You are imagining things. He is just merely trying to be ‘friendly’ with you.” She gave me a stare and further told her daughter, “Please don’t involve ‘others’ in family matters.”
An auto driver tried to touch my boobs as I was sitting in the auto with the pretext of turning the meter on and I could not say or do anything. Bus journeys were always a nightmare and the touching made me disgruntled. If it was dark outside and I was walking down to my home in a dark lane, my heart raced.
But then slowly, I started speaking out. Not about the encounters to anyone, but voicing my displeasure in public. Once on a flight with my husband, a man kept on touching me from the window seat cavity. I kept silent for 10 minutes and then stood up and looked behind. The guy looked like a sophisticated guy and this made me even more angry. I asked him what was his problem and why was he touching me like this? I think he didn’t expect this and was completely taken aback. He apologized and said it must have been by mistake. But from then, he stopped what he was doing. My husband didn’t understand what happened and the flight was quiet for a while.
But while doing this also, there is a fear inside. What if the guy finds me and avenges this insult? The fear which Meenal witnessed in the movie is REAL. We may take a stand but that FEAR never leaves.
Another recent event which shook me completely was the incident which took place in my home town Pune , where a well educated man brutally assaulted mother-daughter duo for a reason which seemed quite frugal. What shocked me was that this man had the audacity to assault these women in broad daylight in front of a fully occupied residential building.
What makes me sad is that all these men have the guts to do this even when you are with your family or there are bystanders around. Broad day light also does not deter them, then what will? How can we end this?
I know for 2 bad men, there are 8 good men standing strong with you. But sometimes those 2 men just ruin your life.
As the movie says, don’t save our daughters…save our sons so that our daughters are saved makes a valid point. It isn’t just about the sons but even daughters have to be taught to come and speak out about bad touch. Let’s come out of the closet now and nurture open communications. Let’s shed the curtains of false modesty and speak freely with our kids. Let’s stand with our daughters and listen to what they have to say and not just shrug things off. Let’s not instill that FEAR in women so that they can speak out with their mighty strength.
Let’s make our daughters disgust and guilt free! Let’s not keep quiet anymore!