She was a student par excellence, the life of the house, pride of her parents and all she ever dreamt of is to make a fortune for her and yes, the right to live a dignified life. Alas, her dreams fell apart like a house of cards! Nobody knew her name, although, the unfortunate and the ill-starred course of events and her indomitable spirit to fight all odds pronounced her as the Delhi’s BRAVEHEART!
As I read the morning newspapers and browse the news channels, suddenly, I am constantly reminded of the fact that being a girl, I need to be more watchful and on my guard all the time. “Start carrying a pepper spray”, so says my mother and my dad’s heart just sinks whenever I am late from work – even if that means by just 5 minutes! And, I was thinking to myself that even if I start carrying that pepper spray or be home on time…am I still safe?
This fear is not irrational. It is the result of a series of instances where young girls, women and even minors have been victimised to the savage crime of rape. Many a times, or should I say almost every day, girls have been at the receiving end of the men’s unsolicited behaviour, be it the inappropriate staring, groping, whistling or the lewd comments belittling the dignity of a woman in public. Flash mobs and candle marches have been done in the past too. But, a muted New Year celebration across the country, the incessant cry for justice and a mass condemnation for such acts is only reflection of the fact that there is zero tolerance and a dire need for a wave of change to set in.
Every day when I step out of the house, I want the right to be able to walk without the fear of getting raped or even molested (people in power do not even consider it as a ‘crime’) by some roadside romeos. Even an inappropriate stare is unacceptable to me. I refuse to be demeaned as a sex object or a ‘pleasure-to-the-ugly-eye’. What I wear, where do I go and with whom, whether I booze or not; it is nobody’s business and definitely not an excuse to lay your hands on me! For all the men out there, if you see us as your meat for the day… you better be caged in your homes. Because, that’s what we do when animals go all berserk.
I don’t know if there will be any revolutionary change to ensure safety for women, though I hope for a change in the mindset. A short dress is not a “YES”; it’s not an invitation! I am neither going to stop living my life the way I do nor I will give in to the society’s version of “ideal” lifestyle for women (by that they mean stay indoors and stop giving a chance to the men to resort to such acts).
Instead of telling your daughters to come home early, tell your sons to behave. I refuse to be a ‘victim’ of their brutality and horrendous acts. And, I certainly refuse to pay for their actions. I have a right to my dignity and I am not allowing anyone to take that away from me.
I AM THE CHANGE.