That is not why I am here. Not to protest about gruesome rapes that we have had candlelight marches or heated discussions about, not to tell you facts you already know, so you can just give a look at a first few lines and sniff out a “Not another one” and ignore.
Today I am just going to tell a few stories. State a few experiences. Quote a few words I have heard with my own bleeding ears. See if you identify yourself.
- “I was just walking through the dimly-lit lane in front of my house today evening when suddenly a man on a bicycle came nearby and kind of cornered me. I tried to bypass him swiftly when suddenly he leaned towards me. I gave out a shrill cry which would have alerted my neighbours at which the man rode away.I advanced a little farther with fear-stricken steps when suddenly one of the few men sitting on a foot-side bench whistled at me and one of them even showed the guts to come a little forward seeing a shaken me. I ran.”
- “I am a daily metro commuter, and prone to small scale molestation attempts almost every other day during the peak office hour crowd. Touching my private parts to occasional groping, I have learnt to give them the clean cheat of overcrowding. Most of the times the molesters are men who pose the perfect prototype of being a doting husband, a caring father, a dedicated son, a kind and considerate work superior, even sometimes a loving grandpa…What am I supposed to say? Every day ? Ignoring is a better option..”
(This is the voice of several around the nation)
- “I am a practising medical intern. I have frequent ward duties at night. Staring and lewd gestures from ward boys is a regular occurrence I have learnt to overlook. The dismay of such gestures achieved a whole new intensity when yesterday I found the patient I was attending was scanning me with feasting eyes. For a moment I felt like poisoning his medicine.”
- “I boarded this bus the other day while going to college, suddenly I felt a man behind trying to grope me . I confronted him and he nonchalantly denied his misconduct.What surprised me most is not a single helping hand came to me. Even the women passengers pretended to ignore by getting too busy with their phones. At last I had to give up. What else could I have done?”
- “I work as a domestic help in a few houses at a posh Kolkata locality. I don’t know how to read or count, but I can surely say I have been molested or lecherously approached more in the households I work in than in my village where such cases are readily highlighted.”
- “I study at a college in central Kolkata. I stay a little outskirt from the city, so have to commute via the local train every day. Even the ‘Ladies’ compartment fail to provide me assurance now since I lost count the number of times I have been molested on train. Not just me, all my friends have to face this almost regularly. We were terrified to protest at first, now we have stopped complaining knowing it won’t yield better days for us.”
- “I work at a call centre. Most of the times when my shift ends at the dangerous hours of the night , I don’t feel safe even while clutching onto my purse loaded with a pepper spray or a paper knife, even inside the office car. It’s an ordeal.”
- “I am not generally allowed to stay outside the house after a certain hour in the evening. The only day my curfew was raised a few hours extra, when I had my college fest, was the very day I was eve-teased and a drunk guy even pulled at my hand. My male friends who were accompanying me had nothing to do. I have never again dared to stay out late.”
You want to hear more?
I presume, these are your own words, for most of you out there.
I also know all of you are already whining, “What can I do?”
I think, this is high time , we quit thinking what we would do. It’s time to focus on “We Won’t”.
Instead of planning I “would” buy the pepper spray or the stun-gun or learn self-defence martial arts, it’s time to scream “ We won’t” .
We Won’t allow you to molest us anymore.
We Won’t ignore even your smallest attempts of eve-teasing.
We Won’t give you the clean cheat or give us the excuse of being the weaker race.
We Won’t tolerate anymore.
We Won’t absorb our screams anymore for the fear of getting no help.
We Won’t stop protesting until our throats are sore or we are dead.
We just Won’t let this go on anymore.
We Won’t silently watch our friends, sisters being harassed just for the fear of being beaten black and blue or being murdered.
Let us join hands to take this pledge today.