I am a woman. I wake up every day early morning. My day usually begins much earlier than the other members of my family. As a young girl, I often saw my mother waking up at the wee hours. I, on the other hand, slept till 11 o’clock or 12 o’clock in the morning. It felt great and so relaxing. But now, I am grown up. Though I feel like sleeping late even now and my loving mother does not say a thing to me, but suddenly a fear grips my heart and my mind, even though I am yet not married. No, this piece of my writing has nothing to do with the pros and cons a girl faces after marriage. But lately, there are a lot of events developing in this country. Sadly though, they are all unfavorable for the womenfolk of this country.
On 16 December 2012, I woke up so relaxed. By the time I reached my office, I was working normally. It was like any other day. Then, I went home and switched on the television. Nothing had changed, yet everything had changed. The horrific gang rape of the girl who was named “Nirbhaya” or “Damini” by the Indian media was reported widely. I am quite sure every other woman, irrespective of the age would have felt the same way like I did. Terrified!
“How will I go alone to the office tomorrow? Will someone follow me? What if I was there? Even if I step out with a guy, I am still not safe,” and the endless questions popped into my head, giving shivers to my heart and making me numb. My parents looked equally petrified for me. Though they didn’t say a word to me, but the look on their face said it all.
For some days, going to the office and coming back was like struggling with myself and dealing with the endless emotions that flowed through my heart and mind. Every day, when I stepped out of my home, I had one question in my mind, “Will I be safe today?” I prayed to Lord to keep me off such a tragedy.
Time passed, months passed and I got back to my normal self. Though penetrating looks of a few men terrified me, but I didn’t take things in “that direction.” All my womenfolk went to their schools, institutes, colleges and offices with less fear. Then April 2013 came. The media again flashed the story of a little girl (this time she was called ‘Gudia’) who was brutally raped. The same questions popped in my head and I felt the same way. I didn’t care what age I was because now I knew that women, as a whole, were not safe in India. Again my little heart jumped with fear and once again my parents looked at me as if requesting me not to be alone at any time of the day.
The scenario repeated itself but it again went back to normal like it did before. I was, by now, sure that I am not safe at all. Then again time flew and wounds healed. Then in August 2013, I heard the story of a photojournalist who was gang-raped.
This time, I just wanted to gather all the men of this country and shout collectively at them. I wanted to ask them all what odds that girl had against her. She wasn’t in Delhi (which some stupid people call the Rape Capital of India). Mind it; she was in a city, which people say, never sleeps. She was in the so-called “most happening city of India- Mumbai.” Secondly, she was raped at 5 o’clock in the evening (the broad daylight). So now some stupid people can’t even say us not to travel alone at night. Thirdly, she was accompanied by her colleague. People often tell us not to travel alone and that we should have a male person with us (what in a case like this? What could a male friend do to save her life? Nothing at all!) So, now that all the conditions of saving ourselves from “getting raped” are met, what do people have to say?
The reason I, as a woman, want to collectively question the men of this country (I know all men are not same and all of them do not rape!) is that when a woman is raped, all the women of this country are collectively advised and taught lessons. When one girl is raped, all the women of this country feel like they are a disgrace. So when we, as women, are not saved from being treated alike, why should men receive the special privilege of not being talked about this at a common podium?
To all those men, who never accept that a man has done anything wrong and that a girl should have followed the protocols: To hell with your norms! I am a woman and I am proud of it. I give birth to you. You exist because of me! My parents taught me and made me eligible not because I should sit at home or come home early even when my job does not permit it. Sometimes, I am the sole bread-earner of my family. What do I do? Listen to your stupid fucking suggestions? No, I will not!
To those of you who feel that I should take up jobs which are less challenging: You too should go to hell because your male ego does not allow you to accept that I, as a woman, can perform better in such jobs. Yes, I can do crime reporting better than you (I am not made for merely Lifestyle reporting!). Yes, I can do investigations in CBI or Crime Branch better than you or if not better, equal to you! Why should I be asked not to take such jobs that compel me to go out at night? Why don’t you men folk sit at home because you are doing wrong to this society, not me! It’s men like you who should sit at home because you are doing the misdeeds and not me. If I need to be safe, you should be locked up in your rooms.
To those parents and that society which feels that women are a disgrace when they get raped: Kindly notice that your not-so-decent son is a disgrace to the family and the society as a whole. He is sick! You should take an appointment with the gynecologist and get his testosterone controlled. He is a threat to the society. He is not well! He is a shame to your family, not me! What did I do? Just go out to watch a movie with my friend, just went out to cover a location for my reporting project? That’s what I did and mind it, it’s my right, to travel anywhere in India with freedom! Indian constitution guarantees me this right. So shut your fucking mouth and ask your son to sit at home so that he can be treated with the doctor!
I am a woman and I keep my head held high in this pride! When a woman gets raped, it’s the man who should feel disgrace, and not the woman! Be proud to be a woman!